What are Rapid and Scheduled Release domains in Google Workspace?

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What does Google Workspace mean when it talks about Rapid release and Scheduled release domains?

If you’re a Google Workspace administrator then you’ve probably seen something like this before in a Google Workspace update post:

  • Rapid Release domains: Gradual rollout (up to 15 days for feature visibility) starting on March 31, 2022
  • Scheduled Release domains: Gradual rollout (up to 15 days for feature visibility) starting on April 14, 2022

And you may have wondered, what exactly is the difference between these domains, should I care about the difference, and should I change my domain setup?

Ok, so first up let me just clarify – when Google Workspace talks about ‘release domains’ they’re really talking about ‘release tracks’ – they don’t have anything to do with your own domain (like example.org). It just refers to how soon your own organisation might get access to a new feature.

The difference between the two domains

The default release domain is Scheduled – so when you set up a new Google Workspace installation that’s what you’ll be placed on. This means that you and your users will get access to new features at least 1 week after they’re released to the Rapid Release domain organisations.

Your access may in fact be later than that – as in my earlier example where the rollout to Scheduled Release domain organisations is taking place 2 weeks after Rapid Release domains.

Users in organisations that have signed up for Rapid Release generally get access to new Google Workspace features as soon as they’re released (within the scheduled rollout period).

So why should you care and should you change?

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If you’re a large organization then you probably want to be on Scheduled Release – Google recommends setting up Rapid Release on a test account to try out new features before they hit your users.

But for sole traders, solopreneurs and small business owners with small user numbers I always recommend using Rapid Release. You get access to the new features as soon as Google Workspace rolls them out, and with a small number of users there’s not a great deal of concern about having to update lots of people on how to use the features.

I do stress that this isn’t like being in a ‘beta’ or ‘test’ release – Google Workspace rolls out the exact same features regardless which track you’re on; it’s just that Rapid Release domains get them sooner (and everyone likes to be first to use a cool new tool right?).

And in fact, sometimes Google Workspace will release features to both release tracks at the same time. These are usually

  • Admin features that don’t impact users
  • User features that have to be turned on by admins and
  • Features that affect mobile devices

How to change to Rapid Release domain in Google Workspace Admin console

If you’d like to change from Scheduled to Rapid Release then it’s very simple:

  1. Log into your Google Admin console (at admin.google.com)
  2. Go to Account settings > Preferences.
  3. In the Release preferences section, click New features. 
  4. Select Rapid release.
  5. Click Save.

Google Workspace claims it may take up to 24 hours for this change to take effect but in a small business I’ve found it’s usually immediate.

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What are Rapid and Scheduled Release domains in Google Workspace?

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