Thursday, September 29, 2011

New apps status dashboard improves visibility

Reposted from Google Enterprise Blog:
Posted: 27 Sep 2011 09:39 AM PDT
Posted by Sumeet Pannu, Site Reliability Engineer Manager

Editors note: This post is part of a series that explores the top ten reasons why customers trust Google with their business data. A complete top ten list can be found here.

People expect their email and productivity tools to just work, and we’re very proud of the reliable services we’ve been able to give our customers. Last year, Gmail was up and running 99.984% of the time, and in the first half of 2011 we’ve delivered 99.99% availability—that’s less than 5 minutes of downtime, on average, per month.

But we aren’t perfect, so providing you with information on how our apps are performing is very important to us, and we’re committed to being transparent with you in the event that something goes wrong.

To this end, we’ve developed a new Apps Status Dashboard that we believe will give you accurate information faster. The former day-by-day design will be replaced by the new dashboard which gives a more clutter-free status with a single, continuous timeline.

The new dashboard shows only service disruptions and outages. The size of the dot will indicate the length of outage and the color will indicate the severity. The dot to the left of the service name will show the current status of the service.

When you click on one of the yellow or red dots in the timeline, you’ll see a single transcript that will display all the status messages until final resolution—even if the outage spanned more than a single day. There will now be a single URL that describes the issue and resolution for the entire outage.

As before, the dashboard is visible to everyone on the web—there’s no username or password required. We hope you’ll find this new presentation of Google Apps status to be even more accessible and useful, and please share your feedback in the comments below.

Multiple sign-in, preferences and auto-responder settings now in Gmail for mobile

The following new features have now been added to Gmail for mobile:
Multiple sign-in: You can now to sign into multiple accounts simultaneously just like on your desktop.
Mobile-specific signature: To let your recipients know that your email has been written on a mobile device.
Vacation Auto-responder: You can now set your vacation auto-responder from the mobile version.

How to access what's new:
Multiple sign-in: To sign into an additional account, click on the account switcher at the bottom of the threadlist, then click ”Sign into an another account”.
Mobile-specific signature: Press the new settings icon, choose your signature, and then check the box to activate it.
Vacation Auto-responder: In your settings, choose a start and end date and specify your message, just like on the desktop interface.

For more information:
Gmail for mobile: Visit on your smartphone or tablet browser

Vertical merge, more paste options and more import/export support in Google Spreadsheets

The following new features are now available in Google spreadsheets:

Vertical merge: The merge functionality has been extended to let you create vertical merges across several rows of data.
Paste options: Four new paste special options have been added including: paste all cell contents except borders, formulas only, data validation only, or conditional formatting only.
Import/Export support: You can now convert most pivot tables between Microsoft Excel files and Google spreadsheets.
How to access what's new:
Vertical merge: Select the set of cells you’d like to merge, then click on the down arrow next to the merge icon, and select ‘Merge vertically’.
Paste options: These new options are in a list under “Paste Special” in the ‘Edit’ menu of Google spreadsheets.
Import/Export support: To import a pivot table you created in Microsoft Excel, click the ‘File’ menu in Google spreadsheets, and select ‘import’, then select the file from the import options, and click the ‘import’ button. If you’ve created a pivot table in Google spreadsheets, go to ‘File’ in the spreadsheet, then click ‘Download As’, and choose ‘Excel’.

For more information:

Gmail and Gmail for mobile go global again, available in Persian

You may think that Google services being introduced in Persian doesn't affect you too much, but have you noticed that on the new layout for Google Apps, there is less text and more icons. Just a guess, but universally recognized icons make it easier to collaborate through multiple languages. Go to the wrench rather than look for the word settings (which in another language may not be called settings). Any way if the need for Google in Persian arises, you're all set.

Reposted from Google Apps Blog:

At Google, we want to make our products universally accessible and useful, and that means providing them for as many people as possible in the language they speak. The Gmail and Google Localization teams have worked together to bring Gmail to people around the world in 53 languages. Today that number grows to 54, because we’re proud to announce that through working with the Persian Initiative Team, we are able to release Persian (Farsi - فارسی), as the newest language available in Gmail. If you or someone you know speaks Persian, they can change the language in Gmail by selecting it on the Gmail settings page, under the language dropdown.

Gmail for mobile is also now available in Persian through your mobile browser.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Introducing multiple sign-in and preferences on Gmail for mobile

The Gmail for mobile team works hard to bring you features that make you more productive on the go. Today, we will highlight some new features for Gmail in your mobile browser.

Multiple sign-in support

Just like on your desktop, you can now to sign into multiple accounts simultaneously. To sign into an additional account, click on the account switcher at the bottom of the threadlist, then click ”Sign into an another account.” You can quickly switch between accounts by selecting the desired account from the Accounts menu.

Mobile-specific signature

We know that autocorrect and other mobile spell-checks can be frustrating as you are typing on the go. Let your friends know that you are responding via your mobile phone so that they understand why you might have sent a message that you are meeting for "monitors" and not "mojitos". It's an easy way to make them understand why your message might be short or have a few typos. To create a mobile signature, from the menu view, press the new settings icon, choose your signature, and then check the box that tells us you want to activate it. If you ever want to disable the mobile signature, you can uncheck the box and we will use your desktop signature instead.

Vacation Auto-Responder

Ever forgotten to set your out-of-office auto-reply in Gmail before going on a trip? You don’t have to worry about that anymore, since you can now set your auto-reply using the mobile interface. Simply choose a start and end date and specify your message, just like on the desktop interface.

As part of added multiple sign-in support, we’ve updated URLs so that each account can have a separate bookmark. For those who have previously bookmarked Gmail for Mobile, please update your bookmark. If you haven’t, now is a great time to head to on your smartphone or tablet browser and add a bookmarkto your home screen.

This week in Docs: Format painter, Google Fusion Tables, and drag & drop images

This week in Docs,  three new tools are being introduced that put the fun in functional.

Format painter in Google documents

First, format painter was added to help you copy formatting within Google documents. The new format painter allows you to copy the style of your text, including font, size, color and other formatting options and apply it somewhere else in your document. To use the format painter, select the text for the formatting you want to copy, press the paintbrush button in your toolbar, and then select the text where you want to apply that formatting.

If you double-click on the format painter icon, you’ll enter a mode that lets you select multiple sections of text so you can apply the same formatting to each section.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts for format painting. To copy the style of your selected text, pressCtrl+Option+C for Mac or Ctrl+Alt+C for Windows. To apply any copied styles to whatever text you have selected, press Ctrl+Option+V for Mac or Ctrl+Alt+V for Windows.

Drag & drop images in Google drawings

It is easier to add images from your desktop to Google drawings. If you’re using the latest version of Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, you can now drag an image from your desktop and drop it directly in the drawing canvas.

Originally posted by: Micah Lemonick, Software Engineer

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Comment-only access in Google documents

Posted: 12 Sep 2011 09:02 AM PDT
In the past several months, we’ve added new discussion and commenting features to improve collaboration in Google documents. As an engineer, I often create docs with design concepts and send them to my team to review and provide feedback, and we use the commenting features to facilitate these discussions. Sometimes, I want to let team members view and make comments without allowing them to directly edit my document.

Over the next several days, we're releasing a new sharing option so that you can let people view and add comments to your documents without giving them edit access. To give comment-only access to your document, click on the Share button. From there, add in the contact you’d like to share your document with, and select Can comment.

You can also choose to give comment-only access to anyone with the link or anyone on the web by changing the sharing settings within the document. To do this, click Change in the sharing settings window and change visibility options to Public on the webor Anyone with the link, then change the access options to Can comment.

Similarly, if you’re using a Google Apps account, click Change in the sharing settings and select either “People at who have the link can access” or “People at can find and access.” Then change access option to Can comment.

Users that have comment-only access can view your document and add comments throughout -- without being able to change the content of the document directly.

We hope this latest feature in discussions helps you get the feedback you need while providing you with more control over the content in your docs.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tips & Tricks: Using the new Subtotal function in Google spreadsheets

Posted: 01 Sep 2011 11:31 AM PDT

This week, we added the Subtotal function to our list of functions in Google spreadsheets. One of the benefits of the Subtotal function is that it works well with AutoFilters by only using unfiltered data when performing calculations (other functions such as Sum include filtered data calculations). Subtotal also lets you change what function you’re performing on those values very quickly, by selecting an item from a drop-down list. See our help article for details.

This versatile function is often used by accountants, finance professionals, and business consultants. It can also be extremely convenient for any user -- let’s show you why.

Say that you’re helping to plan your family’s annual Labor Day beach weekend. You want to decide how many hot dogs and veggie dogs to buy. To figure this out, you create a Google spreadsheet that includes all your family members, their meat preferences, and the number of hot dogs everyone ate at the past several family gatherings:

To quickly count how many veggie dogs you need to buy based off the number of veggie dogs eaten last month, add a filter to the columns , sort to “Yes” only in Column C, and type in this Subtotal function underneath the table:

=SUBTOTAL(109, F2:F14)

Cells F2 through F14 show the number of hot dogs each family member ate last month. “109” is the code that references the Sum function (“9” would also work). Typing in a regular Sum function in this case (=SUM(F2:F14)) would have added all dogs, veggie or not, whereas Subtotal ignores hodogs which have been filtered.

Another neat feature of the Subtotal function is that the function code (such as “109” above) can easily be changed to refer to different operations like Average, Minimum, and Maximum. As a result, Subtotal can be used to condense a number of calculations into a small space.

Let’s say you want to see not only the total number of hot dogs eaten each summer month, but also the average number eaten. Rather than creating two different functions (Sum and Average) for each month, you can use Subtotal.
  • In an open cell -- let’s use B15 -- you would create a drop-down list with the codes for the Sum and Average function (109 and 101 respectively).
  • And under the column for each month, you would write a Subtotal function, but reference cell B15 instead of typing in a code.
For June, therefore, your function would read: =SUBTOTAL(B15, D2:D14)

Every time you change which code appears in cell B15 through the drop-down, the values under each month will change, showing either the total or the average number of hot dogs eaten by your family with just one click.

We hope the Subtotal function makes your data analysis a lot easier -- and maybe even more fun. 

This week in Docs: Page numbers in documents and one click to Google Cloud Print

Posted: 30 Aug 2011 03:03 PM PDT

This week in Docs, we’re announcing page numbers and page count in documents, plus one click to Google Cloud Print -- a couple features that we hope will save you time and energy.

Page numbers and page count in documents 
Today we’re making it possible to add page numbers and page count to your documents. You can use the Insert > Page numberoption to add page numbers to the header or footer of your documents.

We’ve also added the option to insert page count, which displays the total number of pages in your document. You can combine the page number and the page count to create more advanced headers and footers. For example, to create the “Page 3 of 15” header below, take the following steps:
  1. Go to Insert > Header.
  2. Click the right align icon in the toolbar to move the cursor to the upper right corner.
  3. Type the word “Page”.
  4. Go to Insert > Page number > Top of page to add page numbers to the headers of your document.
  5. Type the word “of”.
  6. Go to Insert > Page count to add the total number of pages to the headers of your document.

Print with Google Cloud Print in just one click 
Earlier this year, we announced Google Cloud Print for mobile documents. Google Cloud Print is a service in Beta that allows printing from any app on any device, OS or browser without the need to install any software.

We’re making it easier to print on the go directly from your mobile documents list in Google Docs. Simply select a document from the documents list and click on Actions > Print from the bottom toolbar. Currently, you can use Cloud Print in Google documents and spreadsheets.

To get started, you’ll need to connect your printer to Google Cloud Print. To learn more, check out the new site

Viocorp broadcasts clear signal for growth with Google Apps

Posted: 31 Aug 2011 03:44 AM PDT, 
Posted by Ian Gardiner, CEO of Viocorp

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Ian Gardiner, CEO of Viocorp, a leading provider of digital broadcast video solutions in Asia Pacific. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Viocorp has provided digital broadcast video solutions to local and global corporations, governments, and media companies since 2002. The video webcasts we host, such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race or World Youth Day, often attract millions of viewers worldwide. We manage the back-end infrastructure to encode and deliver video of these events online, giving businesses an easy way to publish these digital media webcasts. Our customers don’t have to install anything on their end. They just buy a username and password and we deliver our services through the web browser.

Prior to Google Apps, we used a legacy on-premise solution to support our communication needs. Exchange had several shortcomings which became especially obvious as our business started to expand. Employees working from home and on the road had frequent problems with mobile email access and with synchronization of email across multiple devices. Our IT staff spent hundreds of hours each year managing and maintaining our email server when they could have been improving our video software solutions.

As a company that provides its services entirely online, we saw Google Apps for Business as a natural fit. Deployment was very easy and there were no major issues since Google Apps supports user choice, enabling us to have a gradual transition. Initially most of our users chose to maintain Microsoft Outlook as their email client, but today, given the option between Gmail or Microsoft Outlook, 90 percent of our employees choose Gmail.

We’ve also adopted Google Calendar to set up meetings and reserve shared resources such as conference rooms. Google Talk and Google Docs let us create, share, and collaborate faster than ever, moving projects forward as teams connected by real time information. Most importantly, Google Apps lets our employees work from anywhere with any smartphone or web-enabled tablet. When I’m in transit to client meetings, I can use my phone to email, chat, or even review my presentation in Google Docs. And every month we get new features that support innovation and efficiency within the company—at no extra cost.

Compared with our previous solution, managing Google Apps is incredibly easy. We think moving to Google Apps saves Viocorp well over 200 hours (approx. 5 weeks) of IT work annually, with no drawbacks in service or uptime. Although we definitely saved money by switching to Google Apps, the real value for us goes far beyond reduced costs. The question was, will Google Apps allow us to work more effectively? And when we ask our employees, the answer is “yes, without a doubt”.

Using Gmail, Calendar and Docs without an internet connection

Posted: 31 Aug 2011 09:00 AM PDT by Benoît de Boursetty, Product Manager 

The great thing about web apps is that you can access all of your information on the go, and we’ve introduced ways to use Google Apps on a variety of devices like mobile phones and tablets. But it’s inevitable that you’ll occasionally find yourself in situations when you don’t have an internet connection, like planes, trains and carpools. When we announced Chromebooks at Google I/O 2011, we talked about bringing offline access to our web apps, and now we’re taking our first steps in that direction. Gmail offline will be available today, and offline for Google Calendar and Google Docs will be rolling out over the next week, starting today. 

Gmail Offline is a Chrome Web Store app that’s intended for situations when you need to read, respond to, organize and archive email without an internet connection. This HTML5-powered app is based on the Gmail web app for tablets, which was built to function with or without web access. After you install the Gmail Offline app from the Chrome Web Store, you can continue using Gmail when you lose your connection by clicking the Gmail Offline icon on Chrome’s “new tab” page. 

Google Calendar and Google Docs let you seamlessly transition between on- and offline modes. When you’re offline in Google Calendar, you can view events from your calendars and RSVP to appointments. With Google Docs you can view documents and spreadsheets when you don’t have a connection. Offline editing isn’t ready yet, but we know it’s important to many of you, and we’re working hard to make it a reality. To get started using Google Calendar or Google Docs offline, just click the gear icon at the top right corner of the web app and select the option for offline access.

IT administrators can deploy Chrome Web Store apps to users en masse by setting up organizational policies for Chrome.

Today’s world doesn’t slow down when you’re offline and it’s a great feeling to be productive from anywhere, on any device, at any time. We’re pushing the boundaries of modern browsers to make this possible, and while we hope that many users will already find today’s offline functionality useful, this is only the beginning. Support for offline document editing and customizing the amount of email to be synchronized will be coming in the future. We also look forward to making offline access more widely available when other browsers support advanced functionality (like background pages).

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Powerful administration tools give you control of your data

Posted: 30 Aug 2011 01:10 PM PDT
Posted by Jaideep Mirchandani, Google Apps Product Manager & Parag Samdadiya, Google Apps Engineer 

One of the myths surrounding cloud computing is that you lose control of your data when it’s stored in the cloud. In fact, the opposite is true. When information is stored in Google Apps, administrators have access to management tools that give them the visibility and control they need without having to manage IT infrastructure. The Google Apps control panel offers a host of management tools, and over the past year alone we’ve added capabilities that let administrators manage multiple domains,configure specific administrative roles, and set user policies, to name a few (a complete list is here). 

Starting today, the Google Apps control panel will also provide access to an audit log which permits an administrator to view details of administrative changes that have been made to their Google Apps domain. Some examples are: 

  • Changes made to users, aliases and organizations
  • Changes made to various application settings in Gmail, Google Docs
  • Changes made to mobile settings
  • Changes in delegated administration

To save administrators time and make it easier for them to find reports, we’ve also moved the reporting section (including the audit log) to the top-level of the Control Panel. This section is now immediately visible within the Control Panel.

Debbie Farley, a Business Analyst with Caraustar, Inc. comments: “The Admin Audit capability provides our company with insight into key administrative tasks such as who is creating users and changing passwords. We also appreciate the new location of the Reports tab. It makes it easy to get to the audit log.”

David Cifuentes with added, “With the Admin Audit feature we were able to gain visibility into changes that are taking place in the admin panel of our Google Apps domain, in a very easy and informative way. It even displays the changes that have happened months ago, letting us filter by action, date and administrator. The ability to export the information in a file was also helpful, in order for us to analyze the data deeper outside the panel.”

These reports are available today to users of Google Apps for Business, Education and Government. Together with other Google Apps APIs these tools give administrators the visibility and control they need to effectively manage their Google Apps instances.

Top ten reasons why customers trust Google Apps with their business data

Posted: 29 Aug 2011 11:20 AM PDT
Posted by Adam Swidler, Senior Manager, Google Apps Team

Over three million businesses have moved to Google Apps, and several factors have driven this transition. While improved productivity and cost savings have long been at the top of the list, more and more customers are choosing Apps for its security and reliability benefits. Our pure and proven cloud is designed to protect our users’ data and deliver reliability at levels that are very difficult or impossible for many organizations to achieve on their own. Even on-premises, so called “private cloud” and hybrid technologies are challenged to deliver the data protection and reliability that comes with Google Apps.

Here are the top 10 data protection and reliability advantages that we hear about most frequently from customers (in no particular order):

1. Powerful administration tools give you control of your data
When business data is stored in Google Apps, administrators have powerful tools to help them manage things like users, documents and services. Reports also provide visibility into how the applications are being used and what data is in them so that administrators have the control they need without having to maintain the infrastructure.

2. Pure and proven cloud architecture
Our datacenter server infrastructure is specifically designed and built for our applications and does not include unnecessary hardware or software code such as peripheral ports or device drivers. This reduces the number of potential vulnerabilities that could be targeted.

3. Patch management
Downloading, testing and deploying patches has become a significant pain for many IT departments. Google Apps reduces this pain because there are no servers for customers to patch. We manage the servers and take care of all updates.

4. Strong authentication
Google Apps includes 2-step verification for all user accounts - at no additional charge. Businesses and organizations can easily deploy an extra layer of protection for their user accounts using devices they already have. This makes strong authentication available to many organizations that did not have it before. Google Apps also integrates with existing Single Sign On (SSO) mechanisms via open standards.

5. Disaster recovery
Google Apps offers robust disaster recovery capabilities which are commonly measured by Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). RTO measures how long before users can access systems in the event of a failure and RPO measures how much of a gap there is in the data when it is restored. Google Apps is designed with RTO and RPO goals of zero. Emails, documents and data are saved every few seconds and replicated in multiple data centers. This means that if one of our data centers becomes unavailable, we seamlessly switch the user to another data center and because it has been replicated there is no loss of data and users can continue working uninterrupted.

6. Third party verifications
Google Apps and our data centers are SSAE 16 Type II audited and have achieved the U.S. Federal Government’s FISMA certification. SSAE 16 is an auditing standard where a third party auditor evaluates the controls in place for numerous areas including physical and logical security, privacy, incident response and more. The Federal Information Security Management Act or FISMA is the law defining security requirements that must be met by all US Federal government information systems. While FISMA certification is required for U.S. Government agencies, it is also a strong validation in the private sector of the technologies and processes we use to protect the data in Google Apps.

7. Information security expertise
We employ an information security team of over 250 people with a wealth of expertise not found in most organizations. Many have advanced degrees and are thought leaders in information security. The security team regularly publishes research and contributes open source tools to the security community. They monitor our global network of datacenters and applications 24x7x365.25 (they don’t rest on leap years).

8. Secure connections for users
We automatically encrypt browser sessions for Google Apps users without the need for VPN’s or other potentially costly and cumbersome infrastructure. This helps protect your data as it travels between users’ browsers and our data centers.

9. High availability
Google Apps has zero maintenance windows or planned downtime. While we offer a 99.9% uptime SLA, Gmail exceeded this guarantee in 2010 and achieved 99.984% uptime. We did this while delivering more than 30 new features and adding tens of millions of users. The status of Google Apps is visible to administrators and users on our publicly available status dashboard.

10. Reduced risk of data breach 
Google Apps allows users to work securely on their data wherever they are, using a wide range of devices. The data is stored centrally in Google’s cloud which greatly reduces the need for users to take their data with them using USB drives or similar devices, which can be easily lost or stolen. This can help reduce the risk of a data breach, something that is on the mind of many organizations these days.

Over three million businesses trust Google to protect the data they store in Google Apps and make it reliably accessible. Over the next few weeks we’re going to dive deeper into each one of these areas to provide more details why Google Apps customers trust us with their business data.

More Stars for Gmail

Reposted from Google blog:

Stars are handy for marking important messages, but how do you mark really important messages? That’s where Gmail’s additional stars options can come in handy.

Use purple stars to mark important messages from my family, red exclamation points for messages that need my immediate attention, and a green check mark for messages that I’ve already taken care of but want to keep track of (ok, so we’re using the word “star” loosely here). This way your inbox can become like a to-do list.

Now that Superstars has graduated from Gmail Labs, it easy to incorporate these different stars into your workflow. Go to the General tab in Settings, then scroll down to the “Stars” section:

Here you can select which stars you want to use, and in which order you want to them to cycle through when you click the star icon in your inbox. Simply click and drag the stars to the appropriate spot in the lists.

You can also find messages with specific stars by using the following queries in your search box: