Google Apps highlights – 6/18/2010 this week

Over the last couple of weeks we introduced several new features to Google Docs, and made updates to Gmail, Buzz and Blogger. The Google Apps Marketplace expanded, and we brought many new businesses and schools onboard. Here’s the scoop:

New Google Docs editors rolling out to everyone
Just a couple months ago we started previewing Google Docs’ new editors for documents and spreadsheets, and on Monday we began turning on these faster, more feature-rich editors for everyone. In new documents, you’ll see character-by-character real-time collaboration, a ruler for custom margins and tab stops, and the files you import from your computer will be much higher quality. The new version of spreadsheets is faster, and includes a formula editing bar, cell auto-complete and much more. If your university, employer or organization provides you with a Google Docs account, you’ll start seeing the new editors by default in the coming weeks, too.

New sharing settings in Google Docs
Just yesterday we launched a streamlined way to share your files more easily in Google Docs. You can set a document, spreadsheet, presentation or drawing to be “Private,” available to “Anyone with the link,” or “Public on the web,” and then customize who has access by inviting specific collaborators. If you’re using Google Docs at work or at school, you’ll also see options that make it easy to share your files just with other people within your organization. Learn more about the new sharing options on the Google Docs blog.

New features for drawings in Google Docs
We introduced several new features for the drawings editor in Google Docs, too. Now you can center objects on the page, resize your entire canvas, view thumbnails of your drawings in your doc list, search across your drawings by text contained within and quickly view a list of handy editing keyboard shortcuts. We also added the ability for you to share drawings in the Google Docs template gallery, so other people around the world can use your creations.

Blogger Template Designer available to all
Back in March we introduced Blogger Template Designer in Blogger in Draft, and last week we made it available to everyone. You can choose from more than 19 stock templates and further customize your design with hundreds of free, professional background images, custom color schemes and pixel-perfect layout manipulation. Customizing your blog and making it “your own” is now much easier.

Google Maps previews in Gmail and Buzz
Last week, we added a new Labs feature in Gmail that automatically displays a Google Map below messages that contain street addresses—saving you the trouble of copying and pasting of addresses from Gmail to Google Maps. You can enable this feature and many others from the Labs tab under Gmail Settings. Google Buzz also integrates Google Maps now too; when your buzz includes a Google Maps link, you’ll automatically see an image of the map that you can choose to include in your post.

Apps Marketplace
For the businesses, schools and organizations using Google Apps, cloud-based functionality continues to expand through the Google Apps Marketplace. There, developers around the world can offer business- and process-enhancing apps that seamlessly integrate with Google Apps. The Marketplace has everything from accounting applications and CRM solutions to marketing automation and project workflow tools. Last week we added five new applications, and this Tuesday we tacked on over a dozen more.

Who’s gone Google?
We’re thrilled to welcome Brady Corporation, a globally distributed safety and security products company with more than 7,000 employees and 90 globally distributed business locations, to Google Apps. Cost savings were a factor in the decision, but Brady’s IT team chose Google Apps to simplify their worldwide IT operations, to streamline the integration of future acquisitions and to offer employees advanced sharing features like real-time collaboration.

In addition to the big guys, tens of thousands more small and medium size businesses have also gone Google since our last update, including Hiatus Spa + Retreat, Goble & Associates and Método DeRose Matosinhos. Welcome!

And school’s out for summer, but many colleges and universities are using the quiet months to reinvigorate their student technology. Sonoma State University, Meharry Medical College, Tokyo Keizai University (translated), Santa Fe Community College, Great Basin College and Colby College are all going Google.

Whether your company or school has already gone Google or if you’re just starting to contemplate the move, tune into our live webcast next Tuesday, June 22 at 9:00 am PDT to hear more about the improvements and new features we’ve added to Google Apps during the first half of 2010.

For more details and updates from the Apps team, head on over to the Google Apps Blog.

Posted by Jeremy Milo