Saturday, August 20, 2011

Better control in Google Sites with page-level permissions

I've been waiting for this for a while!

Today Google is introducing page-level permissions, a new feature that will allow you to control who can view and edit your Google Site on a page by page basis.

Using page-level permissions, you can make some pages private for certain users while keeping other pages public for everyone to see. For instance, let’s say you have a Google Site that you’ve shared with your team and your manager. You can allow your team to see one set of pages, let your manager edit another set of pages, and keep yet another set of pages private for only you.

Only site owners have the ability to enable this feature, which is turned off by default for new and existing sites. To turn on page-level permissions, go to More Actions > Sharing and Permissions.

From there, click Enable page-level permissions. Then, in the dialog box, click Turn on page-level permissions.

Once page-level permissions is enabled, you’ll have three options to choose from:
  • allow a page to inherit all of your site-level permissions
  • elect to include future site-level changes to a page
  • prevent a page from inheriting any future changes made at the site-level

Using page-level permissions should give you greater control over who can edit and access your Google site. 

Example of page-level permissions in action

Let's say you are the owner of a website with a Home page at the top and two pages -- called Private Page and Public Page -- underneath it. You want to share this site with your coworkers and allow them to edit both the Home and Public Page. However, your interns aren't allowed to see the financial data you keep on Private Page, and only accountants are allowed to edit that data. Everyone else can only view the Private Page.
To set this up:
  1. From the More actions menu, select Sharing and Permissions.
  2. In the top right, click Enable page-level permissions.
  3. In the dialog box, click Turn on page-level permissions.
  4. Once you have page-level permissions on, you'll see the hierarchy of your site on the left side of the "Sharing and Permissions" page. At the top, click on the name of your site to set your site's permissions.
  5. In the dialog box that appears for your site, add everyone in your company and set their access level to Can edit.
  6. Find your Private page in your site's hierarchy and click on it.
  7. In the dialog box that appears for your Private Page, select either Link iconStart with the list below and include any future changes to Name of page above or Broken link iconStart with the list below but ignore any future changes to Name of page above.
  8. While in the dialog box for your Private Page, delete your interns from your page.
  9. While in the dialog box for your Private Page, set everyone who isn't an accountant or an intern to Can view.
This will make your Private page editable by accountants, restricted for interns, and viewable by everyone else. In addition, everyone will be able to edit the rest of your site.

Google Spreadsheets: Now easier to discover and use functions

It is now easier and quicker to use the functions feature in spreadsheets.
- Help snippets directly in spreadsheets: Instead of always manually building a formula, spreadsheets will now offer suggested functions and explanations of that particular function. This also supports nested functions allowing for even more complex formulas.

Google Documents List: Try out the new look & keyboard shortcuts

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 05:30 PM PDT
Google Apps users can now try out the new look for Google Documents List. If users opt in to the new look, keyboard shortcuts are also now available.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New in Gmail Labs: Preview Pane

Posted: 04 Aug 2011 02:30 PM PDT Posted by Maciek Nowakowski, Associate Product Manager

When we check our email, many of us rely on the message snippets to figure out which emails to open first. We've been listening to your feedback though, and we know that sometimes, you want more than snippets. This is why I’m happy to announce that you can now preview messages in your inbox using a new feature in Gmail Labs called Preview Pane. It’s probably a very familiar layout to those of you who have used Gmail on a tablet device. We also think it’s going to work especially well if you have a larger resolution screen.

Click the image above to see a larger version.

After you enable Preview Pane from the Labs tab in Gmail Settings you’ll see a toggle button in the top right corner of your message list, which lets you switch between preview and list views.

For those of you who have more vertical space you can also move the preview pane below your message list. You can enable this using the dropdown arrow next to the toggle button:

By default there is a 3-second delay in marking a conversation as read after previewing it. If that doesn’t feel natural to you, you can change the timing in the General tab of settings:

If you’d like to remove the new layout, simply return to Gmail Settings and disable the lab. Finally, don’t forget to let us know what you think about the latest addition to Gmail Labs.

Security First: Google Apps and Google App Engine receive SSAE-16 certification

Posted: 05 Aug 2011 03:26 PM PDT  by Eran Feigenbaum, Director of Security, Google Enterprise

One of the ways our customers can be are assured their data is protected is through third-party audits and certifications. Since 2008, Google Apps has successfully undergone annual SAS 70 Type II audits. This year the SAS70 Type II audit has evolved into the SSAE 16 Type II attestation and its international counterpart, ISAE 3402 Type II. We’re happy to announce that Google is one of the first major cloud providers to be certified for compliance to these new standards.

Over the past few weeks, Google has successfully completed the audit process for the SSAE 16 and ISAE 3402 standards for Google Apps and Postini services. In addition, we expanded the audits to include Google App Engine, Google Apps Script, and Google Storage for Developers. Together with the SAS 70 Type II (covering dates prior to June 15th, 2011), these third party audits provide additional assurance to customers that their data is well protected.

Third party audits are only part of the security and compliance benefits of Google Apps and Google App Engine products. We protect our Apps customers’ data by employing some of the foremost security experts, by executing rigorous safety processes, and by implementing cutting-edge technology. These protections are highlighted in our security white paper and data center video tour. For more information visit our Google Apps Trust page.

Google takes extensive measures to protect users’ data and they are constantly innovating to develop new features and capabilities in these areas.

2-step verification: stay safe around the world in 40 languages

Posted: 28 Jul 2011 12:09 PM PDT
Posted by Nishit Shah, Product Manager, Google Security

(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog and the Online Security Blog)

Earlier this year, we introduced a security feature called 2-step verification that helps protect your Google Account from threats like password compromise and identity theft. By entering a one-time verification code from your phone after you type your password, you can make it much tougher for an unauthorized person to gain access to your account.

People have told us how much they like the feature, which is why Google is thrilled to offer 2-step verification in 40 languages and in more than 150 countries. There’s never been a better time to set it up: Examples in the news of password theft and data breaches constantly remind us to stay on our toes and take advantage of tools to properly secure our valuable online information. Email, social networking and other online accounts still get compromised today, but 2-step verification cuts those risks significantly.

We recommend investing some time in keeping your information safe by watching our 2-step verification video to learn how to quickly increase your Google Account’s resistance to common problems like reused passwords and malware and phishing scams. Wherever you are in the world, sign up for 2-step verification and help keep yourself one step ahead of the bad guys.

To learn more about online safety tips and resources, review a couple of simple tips and tricks for online security. Also, watch our video about five easy ways to help you stay safe and secure as you browse.

A look back as we move ahead: Google Docs and Google Sites

Posted: 28 Jul 2011 02:14 PM PDT
Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Product Marketing Manager

We’ve all been frustrated by technology that gets slower, less reliable and less useful over time. Google Apps is different – it actually gets better automatically week after week without patches or updates to manage. People can absorb this stream of innovation without being distracted from their workflow, so this month we’re taking a look back to highlight the most interesting ways that Google Apps has grown up over time. Last week, we started with Gmail and Google Calendar.

Today we’ll break down how Google Docs and Sites support better teamwork, mobile productivity, ease of use and trustworthiness – four areas where Google Apps excels. We hope you’ll find a few capabilities here that you didn’t know about before, or haven’t tried in some time.

Designed for Teams
Google Docs and Sites were built from the ground up to make teamwork seamless. Being able to simultaneously edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations without the hassles of attachments is just the start.
  • Great documents come from great discussions, so in addition to collaborative editing, Google Docs also enables conversations right alongside your content. Comments can be directed to specific co-editors, who can then respond in the document’s discussion panel or over email.
  • Sometimes you want to collaborate freely with others in a spreadsheet, but other situations call for a bit more control. Data validation lets you enforce cell input restrictions. You can also protect sheets – making them view-only – or hide sheets entirely within a collaborative workbook.
  • Forms in Google Docs also offer a structured way of collecting information in a spreadsheet from others. Questions can be multiple choice or open-ended, and your surveys can include branching logic to display different questions to a respondent depending on how they respond to earlier questions.
  • When a document, spreadsheet or presentation isn’t able to truly capture an idea, try a collaborative drawing. The same real-time co-editing found in those other formats is part of the drawing editor, too.
  • Across documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings, revision history lets you see any edit made by any collaborator since the file was created, which comes in handy when you need to revert changes or view a previous version.
  • Google Sites can really bring a collection of information together neatly – including embedded documents, spreadsheets and presentations – into a collaborative team, project or public website. Anyone with edit access can contribute and share, no programming skills required.
  • In today’s world of distributed contributors, working across language barriers can be critical. With automatic document translation, site translation, and even a translation spreadsheet function all powered by Google Translate, being productive in multiple languages has never been easier.
  • If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, so we added built-in analytics within Google Docs and Google Sites, which provides content owners with aggregate stats and metrics about who’s accessing their files and sites.
  • Beyond collaborative documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings, you can upload and share any type of file with Google Docs, including pictures, videos, and special file formats like CAD drawings. Simply upload to Google Docs and decide who should have access. You can even set permissions to a mailing list, which automatically adjusts access as individuals are added to and removed from the group.
  • Shared collections is a great way to efficiently manage sharing access across a group of files. Instead of sharing file-by-file, you can share a whole folder of information all at once.
  • And if you’re looking to bring more efficient collaboration to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint without upgrading to Office 2010, give Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office a try.

Productive Anywhere
Mobile access to email, contacts and calendar information is pretty common now, but access to documents, spreadsheets, presentations and team sites across all major smartphone platforms is unique to Google Apps.
  • Unlike software and files that live on one specific computer, you can access and work with information in Google Docs and Google Sites from any computer without hassles like software licenses and VPN connections.
  • Beyond simple mobile document viewing, you can edit documents and spreadsheets from Android and iOS devices. This can be a faster way to make a simple change than firing up your laptop.
  • The Google Docs mobile app for Android allows you to browse, search, open and share your Google Docs files from your phone or tablet. This app even lets you convert mobile phone pictures into editable documents.
  • Google Sites are also optimized for smaller screens through automatic mobile rendering. When you’re viewing a site on a small screen, we can automatically display a version of the site that’s easier to use on your phone or tablet.

Simple & Affordable
Google Docs and Sites bring together the best of two worlds: the power of the web and the richness of traditional software applications, all at a dramatically lower cost than buying, installing and managing client software.

Pure & Proven Cloud
As with Gmail, the collaboration tools in Google Apps for Business are backed by a service uptime guarantee and transparent system performance information. And compared to sharing information using old tools like thumb drives, Google Apps can help businesses keep their data a whole lot safer, too.
  • Our 99.9% uptime SLA guarantees reliable access to Google Apps, and our commitment doesn’t have any exceptions for planned maintenance. This is because our systems are designed to handle updates without interrupting service for customers.
  • Our publicly available status dashboard offers transparency about the health of our systems, and 24x7 phone and online support is there when you need it.
  • Google goes to extensive lengths to protect the customer information in our data centers, including extensive personnel background checks, security-focused processes, advanced technology, and around-the-clock physical protection.
  • Google Docs and Sites have completed a SAS 70 Type II audit, and have achieved the U.S. Federal goverment’s FISMA certification.
  • With default https connections, your information is encrypted as it travels from your web browser to our servers. This helps protect your data by making it unreadable to others sharing your network.
  • Google Apps accounts can be further secured with 2-step verification, which requires users to sign in with something they know (their password) and something they have (their mobile phone). With verification codes available via SMS, even basic mobile phones can serve as powerful authentication devices.

As with Gmail and Google Calendar, Google Docs and Sites have been on a fast innovation path (85 improvements last year alone!) that you just can’t get from typical software upgrades every three to five years. So if you missed any of these new features over the years, give them a go – you’re bound to find a few that’ll help you work more efficiently.