Mac Power Users 469: Running a Business with G Suite


David really wants that Jamboard.


I thought the realtime feedback was going to be Stephen saying that he’ll have to pay $18 per month instead of $15 starting in April (

I don’t disagree with the conclusion that G Suite is much better at collaboration than iCloud or Office, but I don’t agree that this is because native apps add more “abstraction.” When you’re running Google Docs you’re running software locally on your machine in exactly the same sense as when you’re running native Word. This software is obviously tightly tied in to Google’s back-end, but so is Office these days, and the software that you are using is not running on Google’s servers.

This is just a pet peeve of mine, as the default mental model for web apps seems to be that you’re remoting into a server and running apps there, like you would with ssh or an X-session. But that’s not how web apps work, and the problem they solve is different (cross-platform availability, since you just have to ensure each platform has a decent browser that can run apps, and installation and version management headaches).

I think you’re reading too much into it. The way I think about it is in concrete terms. Google Docs may use system shortcuts for some things, but didn’t have immediate access to thinks like the macOS font panel, AppleScript, the Finder and other OS-level features. It has the browser as a level of translation between the work and my computer.

I had used G Suite for about half year before migrating to Microsoft offer. I was indeed quite satisfied with what G Suite offers, especially the versatile search-based filtering, but as mentioned several times in the episode, using Google’s service on iOS is a pain-on-the-ass. The official apps hesitate to incorporate latest iOS features, and if you use the stock Mail app instead, there’s no push notification. Microsoft, on the contrary, has been a good Apple developer and supports all these in a far quicker pace.

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Listened to the episode. Was enjoying it, was annoyed. Overall feeling…

Meh… ¯_(ツ)_/¯

The only Google Drive feature is Drive. I can rarely find stuff in Google Drive if I don’t have the link. I don’t really know why either.

I don’t know if anyone has this issue, but I really want to use Gmail with but the lack of push notifications with Gmail bothers me. I have a Gmail, not a Gsuite account. Has anyone found a way around this?

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Fraser Speirs, a school administrator in Scotland who co-hosted the iPad-focused Canvas podcast with Federico Viticci 2016-2018, brought up numerous times the different ways that GSuite did not work as well on iOS as it does on Windows or Chromebook. (One of the best episodes discussing this is last August’s “Living the Google Lifestyle on iOS”)

This seems o be a purposeful decision by Google to make iOS a second-class citizen with its app suite.


I’ve been using most of Google’s IOS apps exclusively for the last year or so, and haven’t bothered to keep up with changes in What are the “latest IOS” features you mentioned? Thanks.

Split view, drag and drop, new screen resolutions, etc.

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I’ve found search really good in Drive, better than navigating a web interface anyway.

This is where I was while listening to the episode. Thought David and Stephen might be interested to see! Note the iPad. We use these for a bunch of very cool aviation apps. I fly in Lesotho, in Africa, doing medical relief flights into the mountains. We use iPad based software for a whole bunch of things. In flight I usually have a map screen on, showing me terrain, as well as our company, made airstrip diagrams. It’s very cool. Anyway, thought you guys might like to see it. I’m listening to MPU through my flying headphones via Bluetooth, BTW. Thanks for the show.


Wow, that’s really neat to see!

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I spent 5 minutes looking at that thing in his hand, thinking, “What the heck kind of iPad…”

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As a nice follow-up to this week’s episode, Google has just announced their Docs API. I haven’t got a chance to try it myself yet, but it seems promising.

PS: Finger-crossing to see whether this could enable third-party, non-Electron wrapper apps with more “native” behaviors.

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So in listening, David talks about a spreadsheet he made that then clients can comment about stuff. I like the usage case though I’d there a concern for privacy? Is it fine because the files referenced aren’t directly in Google sheets?

Great episode! Thanks for everything you shared, David and Stephen.

I have a Google Apps…I mean G Suite accounts for both my personal and professional domains dating back to the days when Google offered a free tier.

I use Google Calendar for my calendaring (which is great) and have been using an IMAP provider for email for years after giving up on using Gmail with Mail for macOS. Good to hear that these issues are a thing of the past.

A few collaboration apps that are worth considering as alternatives or complement to some of Google’s offerings:

  • Dropbox Paper — I started using this regularly quite recently. I much prefer it to Google Docs overall. It’s not as feature-rich in some areas, but it’s much more attractive, works better on iOS (as far as I can tell), and supports Markdown. It also has a slick checklist feature; checklists can even have due dates and be assigned to specific people.
  • Quip — I’ve spent a bit of time with this one, but not long enough to have a very strong opinion. It’s owned by Salesforce (so has a strong backing) and the feature set is impressive
  • Airtable — I’m a BIG fan of Airtable. It’s kind of like Google Sheets on steroids. Its functionality is extensive, yet it’s very intuitive to use.

Haha. Yeah, sorry. But you saw it in the end? I usually have a knee strap, and our cockpits are pretty small and short on space to have it anywhere else!