No-Code September 23, 2020

Thoughts on new Google Tables

Ben Collins @benlcollins

I've been using an alpha version of the new Google Tables product for the past few months and it's become an indispensable tool for my business.

I use the kanban board and some no-code bots to manage my weekly tasks. I have other Tables setup to track issues with my online courses and for my product roadmap.

I think of it like this: Google Sheets is for your data and Google Tables is for your information.

Google Sheets does calculations, charts and dashboards etc. Tables doesn’t.

Instead, Google Tables makes it easy to store and organize information, and automate workflows.

More here: https://www.benlcollins.com/tables/google-tables/

What do you all think? Who else has tried it?

  1. 2

    Your original article inspired me to look more closely and when I noticed the lack of formulas, I decided to give that problem a little attention - this post was the outcome.

    Google Tables and Formulas (there's a way)

    I also presented Tables to 20 of my G-Suite clients who use Sheets and Google Apps Script largely for automation and workflow with the caveat that Google openly tests many products which never become mainstream.

    But given the vast investments and competitive landscape of the no-code movement, I have a hunch this one will garner paying users almost immediately (I have 20+ clients who saw it last week -- 11 upgraded their teams to paying users).

    Immediate [paid] adoption is a strong indication of rapid acceptance into Google's mainstream collection of business tools, so this is definitely worth a close look.

    In a broader sense, Tables seems weak, but this is because we have a habit of expecting IT tools to do everything. I believe Area120 has correctly identified the missing elements of a workflow/information feature set that is vastly missing from Sheets and Docs. With this relatively precise gap targeting, they have perhaps created the perfect invitation into the larger realm of G-Suite.

    We often see and gravitate toward feature weakness when assessing new ideas (no formulas ... Wait. What?) but fail to see integration strengths (webhooks, Google Apps Script, etc). I believe the sum of the integrated parts presents an opportunity for business users to build systems that will be very difficult to achieve in a practical and affordable manner with competitive no-code platforms such as Notion and Airtable.

    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, Bill! Interesting to hear about the positive reception and uptake from your clients. Cheers.

    2. 1

      We often see and gravitate toward feature weakness when assessing new ideas

      So true! Once you include Apps Script in the mix, though - anything's possible! I just struggle to source freelancers who can help develop in it!

      1. 1

        I just struggle to source freelancers who can help develop in it!

        Indeed, it takes a unique developer to understand the broad integration opportunities possible in Google Apps Script. While most developers think of it as yet another javascript environment with some awkward nuances, it is far more than that because of the adjacent ecosystem.

        Few developers realize that each project is a serverless container capable of interesting with hundreds of additional Google systems and service. What does that make Google Apps Script? Certainly not what anyone would regard as a cute way to create custom cell formulas for spreadsheets, right?

  2. 2

    Seems like it's potential trouble for Notion as well, but I don't see if it's possible to create webpages or embed tables.

    1. 2

      Yes, potentially, although I'm not familiar with Notion myself. Have heard others compare it though. Not possible at the moment to create webpages or embed. Maybe in the future but I don't know.

  3. 1

    It will kill airtable in Long term

    1. 1

      Perhaps, but as markets have shown, there are always at least two fast horses in every race.

  4. 1

    I agree with this - Google Tables makes it easy to store and organize information, and automate workflows.

    Considering the current #nocode trend, there is lot of scope for Google Tables.

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