Google has unveiled its take on the market for highly customizable work-tracking apps with the beta launch of Tables.
Created in Google’s Area 120 project incubator, Tables combines spreadsheet and database functionality with a “no-code” approach that lets users create simple apps to meet individual needs. This could mean anything from a tailored timesheet forms to a support ticket queue or even serve as a lightweight CRM.
It’s an approach heralded by San Francisco Calif.-based Airtable, which recently attracted $185 million in Series D funding; Microsoft has launched a similar service to Office 365 customers with Lists.
As with those apps, Google Tables lets users automate repetitive manual tasks, such as collating data or pasting information into another document, in an intuitive spreadsheet interface.
Tables also features familiar work-tracking elements such as kanban board layouts to monitor team progress. It integrates with other Google productivity tools – it can import data from Sheets, for instance – and share data with colleagues in Google Groups.
“Tracking work with existing tech solutions meant building a custom in-house solution or purchasing an off-the-shelf product, but these options are time-consuming, inflexible, and expensive,” Tables general manager Tim Gleason said in a blog post Tuesday. “Tables helps teams track work and automate tasks to save time and supercharge collaboration – without any coding required.”
The launch of Tables allows Google to close the gap with rival Microsoft following its own launch of Lists, said Raul Castanon, senior analyst at 451 Research / S&P Global Market Intelligence. “More importantly, it highlights the emphasis that Google is placing on enabling user productivity,” he said.
“While the feature might appear simple at first glance, it can be quite powerful given that it adds a layer of functionality that allows users to work with other team members across different applications.”
In this respect, Tables helps employees address key challenges, said Castanon, namely dealing with a growing number of business applications and having to constantly switch between them to accomplish routine tasks.
“The features in Google Tables provide ‘lite’ project management capabilities, which, combined with low code/no code automation, have the potential to elevate collaboration to a different level,” he said.
Tables is currently available in beta in the U.S. A free version is available to try out, alongside a $10 per user/month version that removes certain usage and feature limitations.
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