Thursday, November 21, 2013

Real time text cursors and other enhancements in Slides

The Docs editors make it easy to work with others on the same file at the same time. And the next time you are working with others on a presentation in Slides, you'll see their names appear next to their cursor as they type—just like in Docs.
Also, many of you have been editing themes in Slides for the last few weeks and sending us helpful feedback. Today you’ll be able to make use of a couple of new ways to save time and customize your presentations.

Reuse custom themes in new presentations 
There may come a time when you want to reuse a theme that you worked hard to create, and now you can—just select “From another presentation…” in the theme chooser.
Add objects to themes and layouts 
While editing a slide, you can now right click on any object and add it to a theme or a specific layout so that the next time you want to use it, it will already be part of the slide template.
Update text styles in placeholders
Let's say you're editing a body placeholder, and you change the font of your text (or other style properties, such as bold, color, etc.). You can now easily apply this formatting across slides that use the same layout by right clicking on the placeholder and selecting "Update in theme."

Third-party apps: now easier to find and more secure

For Admins: Sometimes your users want a little more functionality and the Marketplace is a great place to find it. However, as an Admin, you are tasked with making sure your users are secure. Based on Google's latest post, you can have the best of both worlds - more functionality and more security.

There are thousands of third-party applications that integrate with Google Apps for Business to help people to do more on the web and accomplish specific business tasks. These include apps like Mavenlink (project management), Insightly (customer relationship management), and myERP (business management). Starting today, administrators will be able to find, manage and deploy third-party applications, like these, directly from the Google Apps Admin console.

To start, over twenty third-party applications will be available in the Admin console. These applications all offer the latest OAuth 2.0 security, single sign-on (SSO), and integration with Google services. Admins can now see reviews from verified users of the applications to help select the best app to meet their needs. As additional applications are updated, they will become available to Admins directly from the Admin console. In the meantime, all third-party applications are available as always in the Google Apps Marketplace.

Many admins have asked for greater control of third-party applications. With this upgrade, third-party applications are moving to OAuth 2.0. This means admins can deploy applications only to specific people or organizational units (rather than the entire company) and developers can design apps to request more narrow access to corporate information. 

To learn more about how to add third-party applications that work with Google Apps for Business, visit the Help Center.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Save Attachments directly to Drive.

Years ago, there was a Lab that let you save email attachments directly to Drive. It was one of my favorites and sorely missed when it became unavailable. Well, the feature is back and I think you will find it very useful for getting attachments into your Drive account quickly.

From Google Blog:
You're probably used to downloading email attachments, but each of those files takes time to download, eats up space on your device, and can get buried deep inside your "Downloads" folder. With today's update to Gmail, you can skip that whole process. Instead, you can view attachments and save files directly to Google Drive without ever leaving Gmail, making it easy to access them later from whatever device you’re on—computer, phone or tablet.

The next time you open an email with attachments, you’ll see new previews of the files at the bottom of the email, from photos and videos to spreadsheets and PDFs.
When you click on one of those previews, a full-screen view of the image or document will appear. You can read, search for a particular phrase, and even browse through multiple attachments right in Gmail. 
You can now also save your attachments directly to Drive simply by clicking the Drive button that appears when you hover over the preview. Of course, if you prefer to download the attachment to your computer, you can—just click the arrow button.
This new attachment experience is available on desktop and will be rolling out over the next week. If you’re one of the more than 120 million active Drive users, you know that saving your files to Drive lets you get to them from any computer, phone or tablet. 

Private conversations with restricted Google+ communities

Working together just got easier...and more secure.

New Google+ communities will have an extra layer of security by rolling out restricted communities that only users in your organization can join. Posts in these communities are only viewable by people within the domain. You can still choose to create communities with people outside your organization so clients, agencies or business partners can join in. You can also make your community open to anyone at your domain, private or joinable by invitation only. Community owners can easily change settings, manage membership or invite other team members to join.

Whether it’s designs of your beta product or notes from your team off-site or a grant proposal, anything you post will remain restricted to the organization.

Once a community is created, you’ll be able to share files from Google Drive as well as videos, events and photos. Community owners can easily change settings, manage membership or invite other team members to join and jump into the conversation.
You can read more about starting and managing a community in the Help Center.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Where's the Black Menu Bar

Some of you are already noticing the roll out of the new Google Apps Menu. The black bar is gone and a "grid of square dots" next to your name in the upper right now gets you from mail to docs, to calendar, sites and more. 

From Google:
We are rolling out a new version of the Google bar for Google Apps users. This is designed to be simpler and more consistent with Android and Chrome OS. It includes notifications, a Google+ share box (if Google+ is enabled), and a new App Launcher with links to other Google products.

Google Apps users will have easy access to all the Google Enterprise products they care about. Google services that are not enabled will not be shown in the App Launcher. Marketplace apps will be listed under the More section in the App Launcher.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Share Docs, Slides and Drawings with people who do not have a Google Account

Sharing Google Documents with someone who doesn't have a Google account was sometimes a little confusing. An update was announced that should make this sharing process a little easier.

Google update: Share Docs, Slides and Drawings with people who do not have a Google Account
We are making it easier to share Docs, Slides and Drawings with people who don’t have a Google Account. As a result of this change, files shared outside your domain to an email address not linked to an existing Google Account can be viewed without having to sign in or create a new Google Account. If a file is shared with edit or comment permissions, the receiving user must still sign in with a Google Account in order to edit or comment on that file.

When a user directly shares with individuals who do not have Google Accounts, those recipients will be able to view the file without signing in. Because no sign in is required, anyone may view the file with this sharing link until the person who the file was explicitly shared with creates a Google Account and expends the invitation. Once the person creates a Google Account two things happen: (1) the sharing link will no longer work for new users to access the file and the sharing dialog will indicate that the invitation has been used; (2) any user who accessed the file using the sharing link while it was open and signed in using their Google Account will be added to the sharing access list for that file and will continue to have access. Users with permissions to change sharing settings can revoke this access if desired.

Google Apps admins can prevent this behavior by disabling sharing outside the domain to people who are not using a Google Account via a setting in the Admin console.

Rebirth of IT - a post by Eric Schmidt


Yesterday I had the chance to deliver the keynote at the Gartner ITExpo in Orlando. I took this opportunity to reflect on how business technology has evolved in the three years since I last spoke on this stage — and, as part of that, how Google’s commitment to enterprise customers has grown.

In 2010, the suggestion that a company could move all of its employees to the cloud was often met with skepticism. People relied on desktop computers and Exchange servers because that was what they’d used in the workplace for the past two decades. And, the few companies that did embrace the cloud tended to see it as a more cost-effective way to do things they’d always done. But over time, they started to recognize the transformational benefits of working in the cloud.
Today, moving to the cloud is not a questionable proposition — it’s inevitable. This is good news for IT staff, who don’t need to spend time maintaining servers and installing upgrades, and also for employees, since the cloud makes it easy to collaborate and get more stuff done quickly. Sooner than almost anyone thought possible, hundreds of large-scale companies have succeeded in moving their businesses to the cloud, paving the way for millions more to follow. Consider a few recent examples:

  • Woolworths is Australia’s largest retailer, with more than 3,000 stores and a staff of 200,000. They moved to Google Apps and Chrome.
  • The country of Malaysia adopted Google Apps for 10 million students, teachers and parents, and deployed Chromebooks to schools nationwide.
  • And yesterday, Whirlpool — which owns Maytag and KitchenAid — announced that they’re rolling out Google Apps to help 30,000 employees collaborate and innovate more quickly.

These organizations realize that the cloud is not just a cheaper way to maintain the status quo, but also a way to fundamentally transform the way a business is run and how people can get work done together. Inviting 50 people to collaborate on a Google document in real-time is an order of magnitude more efficient than sending attachments back and forth to those same people. More than half of Americans now own smartphones, while PC sales are steadily declining. In their personal lives, employees expect to check email on their phone and join a video call from their tablet, at any time, from wherever they are. Increasingly, people want to bring these habits to the workplace so they can work the way they live.

Companies like Google play a pivotal role in this “consumerization of IT.” More than 425 million people around the world rely on Gmail in their personal lives, and now more than 5 million businesses are using Gmail as part of Google Apps at work. At Google, there are now thousands of employees — a substantial portion of the company — who help us build and support products for these business customers. 

The real beneficiaries of this rebirth of IT are not technology companies, but the rest of us — business owners,makersteachersstudents and employees. Having the power of massive data centers and smart mobile devices at our fingertips makes it easier than ever to create, communicate, learn and collaborate. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Make sure you include everyone needed on that email

When you compose an email you enter email addresses in the To, Cc or Bcc fields for delivery. Sometimes, it's just helpful to look at your contacts to make sure you've included all the people needed.

You can now click on To, Cc and Bcc as theses are hyperlinks that will bring up your contacts. This will let you review your contacts to make sure you are sending email to all that need it

New ways to customize Forms

Four new ways to customize your Google Forms

From classroom pop quizzes to RSVPs for your team offsite, you can use Google Forms in tons of different ways -- which is why it's important to be able to customize each form to fit your needs. Starting today, you’ll be able to take advantage of four new features to create your perfect form: progress bars, data validation, embedded YouTube videos, and custom messages.

Guide respondents through your survey with a progress bar
Sometimes it’s helpful to give respondents a sense of how much of a survey still needs to be completed, and now you can by turning on a progress bar in your form.
To turn it on, just check the progress bar box in the Form Settings tab.

Get results the way you want them with data validation

Let’s say you’re using Forms to collect sign ups for an email newsletter. With data validation, you can now ensure that the email addresses are formatted correctly, and consequently avoid those unpleasant bounce-back messages.

To get started, create a new Text question in Forms, then click on the Data validation tab. Click the checkbox and select “Text,” then “Email address,” and voila, the survey taker will see an error message if they don’t enter an email address.
You can also set up data validation for maximum character count, numbers, zip codes, and more.

Embed YouTube videos
You can now embed a YouTube video right inside a form -- perfect if you want to get feedback or ask questions about a video.

This works really well for quizzes in class, especially if paired with data validation and the progress bar. Embed a video and then use data validation to give hints when students enter incorrect answers, and add a progress bar so they know how far along they are in the quiz.
Add a custom message to closed forms
Sometimes when a form is closed, you still want to make information available for respondents who weren’t able to complete it in time.
After you've switched your form to “Not accepting responses,” you can now add your own message and instructions for follow up.

Get your email favicon back - get rid of that wrench

Many people have become distraught about losing the red and white gmail icon on their tab. Apparently the gold wrench with the blue background is just not cutting. Here are two solutions that could help.

  • Option 1 - Go to Labs and Enable Unread Message Icon
    • Click on the Gear and go to Settings
    • Go to Labs and search for Unread message icon 
    • Enable Unread Message Icon
    How to Get Rid of That Annoying Blue Gmail Favicon

  • Option 2 - Just be patient, and it will get fixed. From Google: 
    • This is the new favicon for the Google Apps Admin Console. It is definitely nothing to worry about. It is currently being displayed for some users in Gmail as well. This is not intended. This issue is currently being worked on and will be resolved as soon as possible.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Free app edits Microsoft docs from your mobile device - get an extra 10GB of Drive storage

Quickoffice is a free application from Google that lets users open, edit and create Microsoft Office files from their mobile device. Ensure you can access your documents, files, and apps anytime, anywhere, and from any mobile device by downloading the app from the App store and/or Google Play 

As an added bonus, if you sign in to your Google Account from the Quickoffice app by September 26th, you get 10 GB of extra storage space for 2 years. This offer is only valid for a limited time, so communicate this to your employees as soon as you can. Follow the link for more on Quick Office

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Steps for deprovisioning user accounts

Every organization has turn-over at some point. As a Google Apps Admin, it’s important to understand best practices for deprovisioning Google Apps user accounts. As easy as it is to click on that delete button hold off and follow the below steps when an employee departs.

If you need to deprovision many users at once and/or prefer to follow a step by step process consider adding FlashPanel from the Google Apps Marketplace

1. Change the user password:
By changing the password immediately, it ensures that company information remains internal. It also allows time for the Admin to get back into the account to transfer any necessary data.

2. Set Out-Of-Office notice:
Go into the user account using the new password and set the out-of-office notice to notify others of personnel change.

3. Determine valuable information: Make a quick list of the information that may need to be transferred. Some examples may include:
  • Emails
  • Shared Calendar/Project Calendars
  • Documents owned by that users
  • Groups that the user is an Owner of
  • Sites that the user is an Owner of

4. Add forwarding address OR delegate the email account:

Add Forwarding address: Use this option if you need a current team member to monitor the incoming emails of the old employee. In the old employee’s user account, go to the gear, then select ‘Settings’. Once in Settings, select the ‘Forwarding and POP/IMAP’ tab. 


Delegate the email account:
Use this option if you need a current team member to access both new and previous emails in the old employee’s account. This would allow the current team member to check the mailbox occasionally and have access to emails and labels. In Settings, go to ‘Accounts and Import’ and locate 'Grant access to your account'. Then select ‘Add another account’.

Note: The delegate of the old employee’s account will NOT be able to:

  • Change account settings
  • Use chat
  • Use Task lists
  • Use Gmail Labs
  • Change Themes
  • Use Offline Gmail

5. Transfer Document Ownership: If you delete a user account WITHOUT transferring document ownership of the documents, the docs will be deleted from the domain. In the Control Panel, go to Settings → Drive and Docs → Tools and set up the document transfer.

6. Share important calendar or project calendars:
In the old employee’s calendar, be sure the share important caledars with other individuals so the calendar is not deleted. Grant the highest permission (Make Changes AND Manage Sharing) to an existing employee. Click on calendar name on the left to ‘Share this calendar’

7. Transfer Google Groups: If the old employee is an Owner or Manager of a Google Group, you must reassign that Group to another individual. The group will disappear if the Owner is deleted before it is reassigned.

8. Transfer site ownership: If the departed employee is an owner of a site, you should assign new ownership of the site to another individual. Go to the site, click on Share, enter new person or select someone already listed. Click on drop down menu and select "Is owner"

9. Delete the user!
In the ‘Organization & userstab, select the check-box next to the user you wish to delete. Then select More actions’ and choose Delete users’. This will delete the selected users. Be sure you have the correct user selected to be deleted.

10. Add the deleted user as a nickname to an existing user account:
Use this tip to ensure that when a customer or client emails the old employee, the email won’t go unnoticed. Organization & users 
→Select username → Select ‘add a nickname’.
Note: You can recover a deleted user, within 5 days of deletion.

To Restore a Deleted User

To restore a deleted user, Go to the Admin Console then 'Organization & users'  List  Select 'Recently deleted users'.

Understanding What Can Be Restored
  • Users accounts can be restored up to 5 days after deletion.
  • Google can not guarantee full data recovery for the deleted account.
  • Restoring the account in a timely manner will restore more or all of the user's data such as email and calendar events.
  • If you do not see the user listed under 'Recently deleted users', the user account has been permanently deleted. 
With the above steps you can feel confident that  you have taken the necessary steps to ensure data is securely transferred before you delete a user.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Email alerts for Admin

If you’re a Google Apps for Business administrator—or if you know one—you know it’s not just about managing users, services and devices. It’s also about keeping users secure and productive

Now, admins can elect to receive customizable email alerts when certain events of interest occur. By subscribing to alerts, admins can stay informed and, when needed, take prompt corrective action. These alerts are also helpful when multiple admins work together and want to stay informed on these changes.

There are two kind of alerts:

  • User Alerts: Generated when our systems detect suspicious or unusual login events as well as on user-level administrator actions such as additions, deletions or suspensions. Real-time alerts allow admins to review the changes and take corrective action.
  • Settings Alerts: These alerts are automatically generated when any change by administrators to applications, device management or service settings is detected.

To see the latest alerts – and to subscribe to emailed alerts – simply login to your Admin console and go to Reports > Alerts and turn on the alerts that you would like to receive.

Also for Admin: Get to the Admin console more easily with the new simplified URL ( 

Search menus in Google Docs

Search for what you need
A recent update to Google Docs lets you search for actions within the doc. Whether you’re trying to change a font size, insert a comment, get to spell check, or align a paragraph -- it’s nice to have technology that can keep up with your train of thought!

That’s why the search box in Docs lets you take quick actions in just a few keystrokes. Visit the ‘Help’ menu or use Alt / to get to the search box, then search for what you’d like to do -- all without having to click through the menu bar.

Check it out -- what do you think?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Using Google Groups as a collaborative inbox

You can use a Google Group as a collaborative inbox to distribute and track responsibility for topics among the group's members. These features are especially useful for customer service teams. For example, you can create a group with the address [email protected][your domain].com, add your support staff as members, and allow people outside your organization to send messages to the group. Your support staff will receive your customers' messages, and they can do any of the following from the group's Topics view:
  • Assign responsibility for a topic to a member of the group
  • Mark a topic as resolved
  • Edit the tags associated with a topic
  • Filter topics according to tag, resolution status, or assignee
To set up a new group as a collaborative inbox or add collaborative inbox to an existing group, read more here

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Unread message icon

One of the first labs I enabled was "Unread message Icon". Once enabled you can tell how many unread messages are in your inbox without browsing to your Inbox tab. This lab embeds the number of unread messages you have right into the Gmail icon itself, like this:

To turn it on: From your Inbox, click on the gear, then Settings. Now go to Labs and scroll down to Unread message icon, click enable and Save Changes at the bottom.  Next time you have a ton of tabs open, just glance over at your Inbox tab to see if your unread mail count has changed.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bullet points get an update and your spelling gets better

If you like using bullet points and/or numbered lists, check out the new dropdown menu on these icons in Documents - Google has added customized lists. 

You can change the color, size, and style of individual bullets, or even customize your own -- whatever you prefer!

The next time you put together notes, list priorities, or set your next agenda, click on the dropdown menu next to the number or bullet list icons to choose your list style. 

Once you have chosen your custom list you can right click (two finger tap on Chromebooks) for more editing options.

Also added is an updated spell check that lets you check the spelling of your entire document or presentation at once, instead of having to resolve misspellings individually. See it in action now by clicking on “Tools” then select “Spelling.”

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Print anywhere, from any device

Google Cloud Print connects your printers to the web. Using Google Cloud Print, you can make your home and work printers available to you and anyone you choose, from the applications you use every day. Google Cloud Print works on your phone, tablet, Chromebook, PC, and any other web-connected device you want to print from.

Away from the office, no problem. Just log in and print a document to your office printer. If you have multiple offices, you will be able to print to any office location them from where ever you are.

You can share your printer with anyone you choose, as easily as you might share a Google Docs document. If your team needs to print, you could share a printer with team members so they can print their weekly reports to whatever printer is closest to you. To learn more and get started check out Google Cloud Print

Monday, August 5, 2013

New inbox puts you back in control

Our past training used to include a section on how to filter and label newsletters so they can be read at your convenience rather than interrupting you as soon as one hit your inbox. As you will see below, the new (default) inbox can take care of this automatically. 

Like many, the new look bothered/confused me a little. However, once I "taught" my inbox where I wanted new email to go and I edited a couple of filters that were conflicting with the new inbox, I have to say: this is a great update! I find that I am getting through more mail, faster. Perhaps more important, I am focused on higher priority email first.

(The following is from Google's Gmail Blog Posted by Itamar Gilad, Product Manager)

We get a lot of different types of email: messages from friends, social notifications, deals and offers, confirmations and receipts, and more. All of these emails can compete for our attention and make it harder to focus on the things we need to get done. Sometimes it feels like our inboxes are controlling us, rather than the other way around. 

But it doesn't have to be that way. Today, Gmail is getting a brand new inbox on desktop and mobile that puts you back in control using simple, easy organization.
On the desktop, the new inbox groups your mail into categories which appear as different tabs. You simply choose which categories you want and voilĂ ! Your inbox is organized in a way that lets you see what’s new at a glance and decide which emails you want to read when.
You can easily customize the new inbox - select the tabs you want from all five to none, drag-and-drop to move messages between tabs, set certain senders to always appear in a particular tab and star messages so that they also appear in the Primary tab.

In the Gmail for Android 4.0+ and Gmail for iPhone and iPad apps, you'll see your Primary mail when you open the app and you can easily navigate to the other tabs.
If the new inbox isn't quite your style, you can simply switch off all optional tabs to go back to classic view, or switch to any of your other favorite inbox types.

The new inbox is rolling out gradually. The desktop, Android and iOS versions will become available within the next few weeks. If you'd like to try out the new inbox on Desktop sooner, keep an eye on the gear menu and select Configure inbox when it appears in the Settings options.