Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Google+ Events in Google Calendar


Today at Google I/O, we announced Google+ Events, a new way to create, capture and share public and private events. Google+ Events are seamlessly integrated with Google Calendar to simplify the planning process, so you’ll always know when you have something coming up.

When creating a Google+ event, you can check your Google Calendar to make sure you pick the best time to party. Google+ events also sync to your mobile device's calendar, so you can have them handy when you are on the go.



In week and day views in Calendar, you’ll recognize Google+ Events by the event owner's profile picture. When you click to expand the event in Calendar, it displays a beautiful theme and allows you to set reminders, see other guests, and respond to the event.



Clicking ‘View on Google+’ takes you to the event page, where you can exchange comments with other guests, view photos, and more. Learn about Google+ Events here, and see our post on the Official Google Blog.

Get things done anytime, anywhere: Announcing offline document editing and Google Drive for iOS


In April, we introduced Google Drive, a place where you can create, share, and keep all your stuff. Today at the Google I/O conference we announced two new ways to get things done in the cloud: offline editing for Google documents and a Drive app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Offline document editing 
No internet connection? No big deal. With offline editing, you can create and edit Google documents and leave comments. Any changes you make will be automatically synced when you get back online.

You can enable offline editing from the gear icon in Google Drive and find more detailed instructions for getting set up in the Help Center. Note that you’ll need the latest versions of Chrome or ChromeOS to edit offline. We’re also working hard to make offline editing for spreadsheets and presentations available in the future.

Google Drive for iOS 
We launched the Drive app for Android phones and tablets a few weeks ago, and starting today, Google Drive is available for your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.



With the Drive app, you can open PDFs, photos, videos, documents and anything else stored in your Drive while you're on the go. You can also search all your files, add collaborators to documents, and make filesavailable offline to view them even without an internet connection. For blind and low-vision users, the app also works great in VoiceOver mode. Learn more about what you can do with the app in our Help Center.

Get Drive in the App Store for your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 5.0+ and visit the Play Store to get the latest on your Android phone or tablet.

To learn more about Google Drive, visit drive.google.com/start.

Notification Center support for Gmail on iOS


Our team has been working hard to bring your most-requested features to the Gmail app for iOS. Today, we’re excited to add three new improvements to that list of updates: full notification center support, the ability to send messages from your alternate email addresses and an improved login experience.

First up, Gmail is now fully integrated with Notification Center and supports banners, alerts and lock screen options. Plus, notifications are now incredibly fast -- up to 5x faster than in the previous version.
Next, you now have the option to send mail from alternate email addresses. If you have configured alternate sender addresses in Gmail on your desktop under Settings->Accounts->Send mail as you will see a From: option when composing new messages in the app.
Lastly, we’ve improved the login process to allow you to stay logged into the app for as long as you’d like. You can still choose to sign out of your account, but you won't be automatically logged out after a certain period of time has elapsed.

We’ll continue to improve the app, and we’re looking forward to bringing you more features in future releases, including support for multiple accounts.

Google Apps Vault goes global


In March 2012, we launched Google Apps Vault, bringing enterprise-class information governance to Google Apps. Vault delivers retention, archiving and eDiscovery capabilities for email and chat messages, enabling businesses of all sizes to access and manage business-critical information. Vault offers true manage-in-place capabilities by applying retention policies directly to the Google Apps data, without the need to move, export, or create a copy of data in a separate location. 

Google Apps Vault already archives, searches and manages messages in all languages that Google Apps supports (50+). Now the Google Apps Vault user interface is available in 28 languages, including double-byte languages like Japanese, Chinese and Arabic. This new, global Vault interface enables customers worldwide to more easily access and manage their data, further reducing the costs and risks that businesses today face.
"Google Apps Vault offers compelling capabilities and value for businesses around the world in preparing for litigation, investigation, and managing day-to-day business. Vault integrates seamlessly across the evolving Google platform while integrating with business and industries of all sizes. This is a key component in our forward thinking strategy to drive down costs and provide enhanced client service."

- Eric Hunter - Director of Knowledge, Innovation & Technology Strategies at Bradford & Barthel, LLP
Google Apps Vault is available for new and recent Google Apps for Business and Education customers. Existing customers will be able to deploy Google Apps Vault later this year.

In schools, all you need is web


While students in the northern hemisphere say goodbye to each other and another school year, we’re in sunny San Diego meeting with thousands of educators and administrators at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference. While on break from teaching, these folks are here to teach others how they’re bringing innovation into their classrooms—a lot of which centers around the web. 

While the web was developed well before today’s students were born, it’s come a long way even since a year ago. Today you can access the web on any device, use the web offline and take advantage of amazing graphics. For example, you can get a powerful graphing calculator on the web today, for free.

It’s been really amazing to see how the web is impacting schools. We’ve heard great real-world stories about Google Apps for Education, but lately we’re hearing more and more about schools extending the functionality of Google Apps with educational apps available on the Chrome Web Store. There are tens of thousands of apps in the Chrome Web Store, and today we’re adding some new ones: ST MathVoiceThread and Acheive3000.

To give you an idea of what’s possible on the web: Leyden High School District from Illinois is rolling out Chromebooks to their 3,500 students and are using apps like WeVideoEasyBibVernier Labquest2SlideRocket,Geogebra and Pearson’s OpenClass as part of their 1-to-1 learning initiative.

Students at East Leyden High School work together on their Chromebooks. Photo credit: East Leyden Art Teacher Anna Reed. 

Chromebooks as a tool for 1-to-1 learning
It’s great to see that many schools are choosing Chromebooks as an effective and affordable 1-to-1 education tool. There are more than 500 districts in the U.S. and Europe actively using Chromebooks, and today we’re pleased to welcome a few more to the community, including Rockingham Country Schools, N.C., Transylvania County Schools, N.C., and Fond du Lac School District, Wis.

Chromebooks are always new—just last month we announced new devices, an updated, app-centric user interface and new pricing for schools. Chromebooks also make it just as easy for administrators to distribute 10, 100 or 1,000 Chromebooks, saving precious summer vacation time previously spent installing software and policies on computers. And great news for schools looking to make hardware purchases: the PARCC and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia confirmed Chromebooks meet hardware and operating system requirements for student assessments in the 2014-2015 school year.

Applications for education
Today at ISTE, we are introducing some new features for schools using Chromebooks that make it even easier to find, use, install and manage web apps for your entire school:
  • Grade-level application packs are groups of Chrome Web Store apps that integrate tightly with Google’s suite of Apps for Education, divided by grade levels to meet different classroom needs. These packs are installable from the Chromebook management console. Many of them are free and we’ve worked with the app makers to offer discounts for bulk purchases.
  • Organization-specific web app collections in the Chrome Web Store give administrators the ability to recommend apps to students, teachers and staff. The collection is visible only to the school, and admins can curate apps from the Chrome Web Store, application packs and web apps purchased elsewhere or private apps developed by the school. (This feature is also available to Chromebooks for Business customers from the control panel.)


We’ve enjoyed being a part of ISTE the past several years, and always look forward to hearing about new ways that students and teachers are using the web to do amazing things

Introducing Google Maps Coordinate: Organize teams on the move


Imagine you are a call center operator at an electric utility company. A call comes in reporting a downed powerline in one of the northern suburbs of your city, and an entire neighborhood is without power. You need to quickly dispatch one of your line repairers to the site, which is almost an hour away. To save time and get the power back up quickly, you want to know which line repairers are already in the area and send them the relevant information about the job.

That’s where Google Maps Coordinate comes in, a new tool designed to improve communication between businesses and their employees in the field. As the number of mobile employees continues to grow, so does the need for a location sharing solution that works in real-time. Research firm IDC estimates that there will be over 1.3 billion mobile workers by 2015 (37.2% of the total workforce) 1. Google Maps Coordinate combines the power of Google’s mapping technologies with modern smartphones to help organizations assign jobs and deploy staff more efficiently.


When a business signs up for Google Maps Coordinate, they get access to the Google Maps Coordinate web and mobile apps.

Employees in the field download the mobile app to their phone and then can:
  • Share real-time location. Google Maps Coordinate is built on Google’s mapping and geolocation infrastructure so the app will send an accurate location, even if you’re indoors (Google Maps Coordinate integrates with Google Indoor Maps).
  • Record data. Mobile teams often need to collect information while out in the field. Google Maps Coordinate allows the admin to customize the fields that the mobile team needs to capture and collect – from measurements to client contact details – directly in the app.
Meanwhile, a designated dispatcher back in the office can:
  • Create teams. Add team members to a Google Maps Coordinate team and see their locations in the Google Maps Coordinate web and mobile app. For example, our electric utility company might create a special team for home electricians and another for line repairers.
  • Manage jobs. Easily create jobs, precisely locate the job, assign the job to the nearest team member and notify them instantly. The next time there is a downed powerline, the operator at the utility company will have no problem identifying the closest team member and assigning them to investigate the issue.
  • View past jobs and locations. Get the hard data you need to make strong business decisions. With Google Maps Coordinate, businesses can easily visualize the locations of all their jobs and teams, including current and past jobs. Businesses can assess where they should be assigning or hiring more workers and how to optimally place their teams.
Any business can sign up for Google Maps Coordinate. Google Maps Coordinate is built to work seamlessly with the entire Google Enterprise Maps and Earth experience, and it comes with an API that can integrate with any of your existing systems.


1 IDC, Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2011-2015 Forecast, Doc #232073, December 2011

Custom themes in Gmail


Themes have been an important part of Gmail ever since we launched them back in 2008. Not only do they let you personalize your inbox with fun backgrounds, but they’re also practical, helping you easily differentiate between multiple Gmail inboxes (e.g. work and personal).

When we unveiled Gmail’s new look back in November, we introduced a number of new, beautiful HD themes. We also heard that many of you wanted to bring an even more personal touch by setting your own background. So over the next couple of days we are rolling out a new Custom themes section with two options, Light and Dark where you can do just that. Watch the video to see some examples:

You can upload your own images directly, select from your Google+ photos or simply paste any image URL. Or, if you don't have a particular image in mind, you can browse our searchable Featured Photos section to find one that speaks to you. With so many great options, it may be hard to choose, so to get a sense of the images available, try searching for ‘hdr scenery’ or ‘bokeh wallpaper' in the Featured tab.

Whether you want to bask on a tropical island or simply reminisce about last year’s holiday with the family, your Gmail can now be customized to your mood. Find your perfect image and make your Gmail your own with custom themes.

Two new security features for Google Apps


Keeping Google Apps accounts secure is important to us, and we've recently added two security features that can better protect user accounts. The first helps businesses deploy 2-step verification and the second enhances integration with Microsoft Active Directory®.
Since we launched 2-step verification, we’ve seen millions of users enable it and thousands more do so every day. 2-step verification requires two means of identification to sign in to a Google Apps account: something you know (a password) and something you have (a verification code from your mobile phone). Even if someone has stolen your password, they'll need more than that to access your account. This additional layer of security greatly reduces the chance of unauthorized access via account hijacking or other means.
Starting today, domain administrators can require the users in their domain to use 2-step verification. This new feature will help Google Apps customers accelerate their deployment of 2-step verification.

For businesses that use Microsoft Active Directory® (AD), we’ve added new capabilities to synchronize and manage passwords. Businesses can manage password policies (e.g. password strength, reset intervals, etc.) using AD and then synchronize from AD to Google Apps when passwords are changed. Passwords are transmitted hashed and encrypted during synchronization.

Learn how to configure this new 2-step verification policy in the Google Apps help centerDownload the Google Apps Password Sync for Active Directory (GAPS), and learn how to configure it in the help center.

Energy efficiency in the cloud


At Google, we’re obsessed with building energy efficient data centers that enable cloud computing. Besides helping you be more productive, cloud-based services like Google Apps can reduce energy use, lower carbon emissions and save you money in the process. Last year, we crunched the numbers and found that Gmail is up to 80 times more energy-efficient than running traditional in-house email. We’ve sharpened our pencils again to see how Google Apps as a whole—documents, spreadsheets, email and other applications—stacks up against the standard model of locally hosted services. Our results show that a typical organization can achieve energy savings of about 65-85% by migrating to Google Apps.

Lower energy use results in less carbon pollution and more energy saved for organizations. That’s what happened at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which recently switched approximately 17,000 employees to Google Apps for Government. We found that the GSA was able to reduce server energy consumption by nearly 90% and carbon emissions by 85%. That means the GSA will save an estimated $285,000 annually on energy costs alone, a 93% cost reduction.

How is the cloud so energy efficient? It’s all about reducing energy use for servers and server cooling. Here’s how it works:


A typical organization has a lot more servers than it needs—for backup, failures and spikes in demand for computing. Cloud-based service providers like Google aggregate demand across thousands of people, substantially increasing how much servers are utilized. And our data centers use equipment and software specially designed to minimize energy use. The cloud can do the same work much more efficiently than locally hosted servers.

In fact, according to a study by the Carbon Disclosure Project, by migrating to the cloud, companies with over $1 billion in revenues in the U.S. and Europe could achieve substantial reductions in energy costs and carbon emissions by 2020:

  • US companies could save $12.3 billion and up to 85.7 million metric tonnes of CO2
  • UK companies would save £1.2 billion and more than 9.2 million metric tonnes of CO2
  • French companies could save nearly €700 million and 1.2 million metric tonnes of CO2

We’ve built efficient data centers all over the world, even designing them in ways that make the best use of the natural environment, and we continue working to improve their performance. We think using the super-efficient cloud to deliver services like Google Apps can be part of the solution towards a more energy efficient future.