Google Workspace is #2 in Top 11 Online Office suites
Last updated: October 07, 2020
Get business email, video conferencing, and cloud storage from Google. All you need to do your best work, together in one package that works seamlessly from your computer, phone or tablet. The free G Suite version, including online document editors (Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets) is available in Google Drive.
Positions in ratings
#2 in Top 11 Online Office suites
The best alternatives to Google Workspace are: Microsoft 365, Zoho, DropBox, Google Drive
Latest news about Google Workspace
2021. Google Workspace adds new features for home and frontline workers
Google Workspace is launching a large update that touches everything from your calendar to Google Meet and how you can use Workspace with Google Assistant. Useful new feature for workers that split time between home and the office is support for recurring out-of-office entries and segmentable working hours, as well as a new event type, Focus Time, to help you minimize distractions. Location indicators across Google Workspace will allow users to share which days they will be working from home and which days they will be in the office. For frontline workers, Google is adding something it calls Google Workspace Frontline, with new features for this group of users, and it is also making it easier for users to build custom AppSheet apps from Google Sheets and Drive, so that frontline workers can digitize and streamline their work, whether it’s collecting data in the field, reporting safety risks, or managing customer requests.
2020. Google rebrands G Suite as Google Workspace
Google Workspace is a new name for all of Google's productivity apps, including Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides and Meet. According to the company, Google Workspace isn't just a new brand identity (even though that's a big part of it), but it will also offer a deeper integration between individual apps, helping "teams collaborate more effectively, frontline workers stay connected, and businesses power new digital customer experiences." Some of these integrations have already happened — remember when Google put Meet into Gmail — but more are coming soon.
2020. Google updates G Suite for mobile with dark mode support, Smart Compose for Docs and more
Google has released a major update to its mobile G Suite productivity apps. Among these updates are the addition of a dark theme for Docs, Sheets and Slides, as well as the addition of Google’s Smart Compose technology to Docs on mobile and the ability to edit Microsoft Office documents without having to covert them. Other updates include a new vertically scrollable slide-viewing experience in Slides, link previews and a new user interface for comments and action items. You can now also respond to comments on your documents directly from Gmail. Instead of receiving individual email notifications when you’re mentioned in a comment in Docs, Sheets, or Slides, you’ll now see an up-to-date comment thread in Gmail, and you’ll be able to reply or resolve the comment, directly within the message
2020. Gmail for G Suite gets deep integrations with Chat, Meet, Rooms and Docs
Google is launching a major update to its G Suite productivity tools today that will see a deep integration of Gmail, Chat, Meet and Rooms on the web and on mobile, as well as other tools like Calendar, Docs, Sheets and Slides. Google is branding this initiative as a “better home for work” and in practice, it means that you’ll not just see deeper integrations between products, like a fill calendaring and file management experience in Gmail, but also the ability to have a video chat open on one side of the window while collaboratively editing a document in real time on the other. For now, these updates are specific to G Suite, though similar to Google’s work around bringing Meet to consumers, the company plans to bring this workspace experience to consumers as well, but what exactly that will look like still remains to be seen.
2019. Google Docs now lets natively edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint
Until now to edit Microsoft Office files in Google Docs you had to convert them to Google’s format. That’s about to change: Google just announced that it’s adding native support for Microsoft’s Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats — like .docx, .xls, and .ppt — which will let you do real-time collaboration in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The feature is already available in the commercial versions of those apps and is coming to regular users too, as soon as this month.
2019. Google’s AI grammar checker is now live in Google Docs
Google's new machine learning-powered grammar checker is now live in Google Docs for G Suite users. Google uses machine translation techniques to find obvious mistakes as well as more subtle issues and suggest corrections as work is getting done. It’s one thing, after all, to compare words in a dictionary to what you’re writing and mark up mistakes. It’s another to understand complex grammar rules, which can vary by region and style. The company claims that its machine translation technique is able to catch these kinds of issues because they are very hard to encode as a set of hard rules. They worked closely with linguists to decipher the rules for the machine translation model and used this as the foundation of automatic suggestions in your Docs, all powered by AI.
2019. Google Docs gets an API for task automation
Google opened a new API for Google Docs that will allow developers to automate many of the tasks that users typically do manually in the company’s online office suite. The REST API was designed to help developers build workflow automation services for their users, build content management services and create documents in bulk. Using the API, developers can also set up processes that manipulate documents after the fact to update them, and the API also features the ability to insert, delete, move, merge and format text, insert inline images and work with lists, among other things.
2019. Google raises G Suite prices
Google announced that it is raising the price of its online office suite G Suite. The prices of G Suite Basic and G Suite Business editions will increase by $1 and $2 per user/month, respectively. The new pricing will go into effect on April 2; those on annual plans will pay the new price when their contract renews after that date. This is the first time Google has raised the price of its G Suite subscriptions. The company argues that it has added plenty of new services — like video conferencing with Hangouts Meet, team messaging with Hangouts Chat, increased storage quotas and other security and productivity tools and services — to the platform since it first launched its paid service with its core productivity tools back in 2006.
2019. Google Docs get Material Design
Google has started the rollout of its Material Design update for Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Sites. What you can expect to see, when you get the update, is different interface fonts, slightly revised controls and some new iconography. There are also some fresh new colors here and there. Google started the rollout of this new design for G Suite subscribers on the Rapid Release schedule today and everybody who is on that should get it within the next 15 days.
2018. G Suite makes it easier for people without Google accounts to collaborate on documents
Soon it will be easier for people without Google accounts to collaborate on G Suite documents. Currently in beta, a new feature will enable G Suite users to invite people without G Suite subscriptions or Google accounts to work on files by sending them a pin code. Using the pin code to gain access allows invitees to view, comment on, suggest edits to or directly edit Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. The owners and admins of the G Suite files monitor usage through activity logs and can revoke access at any time. According to the feature’s support article, admins are able to set permissions by department or domain. They also can restrict sharing outside of white-listed G Suite domains or their own organization.
2018. Google Docs gets AI grammar checker
Google Docs gets a new AI-based grammar checker, which is now available through Google’s Early Adopter Program. It's powered by what is essentially a machine translation algorithm that can recognize errors and suggest corrections as you type. Google says it can catch anything from wrongly used articles (“an” instead of “a”) to more complicated issues like incorrectly used subordinate clauses. Google’s service will find issues with punctuation or odd word choices, something that tools like Grammarly can check for. It’s interesting that Google is opting for this translation-based approach, though, which once again shows the company’s bets on artificial intelligence and how it plans to bring these techniques to virtually all of its products over time.
2018. Google Sheets gets smart macros recording
Google has launched a major update to Google Sheets. With this update, Sheets users can now record macros. The new “record macros” feature, which sits in the Tools menu, does exactly what you think it should do. You simply start your recording, go through your usual steps and when you’re done, all it takes to repeat all those steps is to run the macro again. In the backend, Sheets actually converts your macro into Apps Script code, which also means that if you want to dive a bit deeper or make a small change, you can edit that script.
2018. G Suite gets Google Domains integration
Google announced Google Domains one-click integration with G Suite, allowing businesses to quickly create professional branded email addresses and simultaneously access G Suite’s range of intelligent productivity tools like Docs, Calendar, Google Drive and Hangouts Meet. Benefits also include 30 GB of file storage, and 24/7 customer support. Google also introduced simpler domain management settings, allowing for access to be shared among multiple authorized users. Google Domains is available in 14 countries in addition to the U.S. including: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom and Vietnam.
2018. G Suite added Security Center
Google launched a new tool Security Center for G Suite admins that gives them a better view of the state of their organization’s security. It is only available to G Suite Enterprise users, features two main components. The first is a dashboard that gives admins an overview of current security metrics across services like Gmail (think incoming phishing emails), Google Drive and Mobile Management. The second main feature is a security health checkup that provides a quick overview of current security settings and recommendations for potential improvements.
2017. Google updates Docs with new collaboration features
Google added a number of new features to its alternative document editing apps Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. The biggest new features come with the organization of a group Doc. You'll now be able to name separate versions of the same file, which should be a helpful way to clarify which versions are final and which are still in progress. With the new features, you'll also be able to preview "clean" versions of a Doc for easier reading and review, and accept or reject all edits with one command to save time approving every little thing. Most helpfully, you'll be able to access the suggestions tool from mobile devices using the "three dot" menu. Google's also introducing some new add-ons and templates for its productivity suite, making it easier for users to quickly draft documents like NDAs in the cloud. Partners include LegalZoom and Docusign, LucidChart, PandaDoc, EasyBib, and Supermetrics.
2017. G Suite now allows to manage access to third-party apps
G Suite is adding a new security feature that improves data access control and enhances phishing prevention - OAuth apps whitelisting, giving your organization added visibility and control into how third-party applications are using your data. It helps keep your data safe by letting admins specifically select which third-party apps are allowed to access users’ G Suite data. Once an app is part of a whitelist, users can choose to grant authorized access to their G Suite apps data. This prevents malicious apps from tricking users into accidentally granting access to their corporate data.
2017. G Suite gets smart cloud search
Google launched for its business customers a new tool called Google Cloud Search, which will allow users to search across G Suite products, including Drive, Gmail, Sites, Calendar, Docs, Contacts and more. It's designed for use in larger companies where different groups and individuals have access to different files. The search service respects file-sharing permissions, so users can only access what’s available to them, whether that’s company-wide resources like a policy manual, team projects or documents only they can see. In addition to surfacing work documents, Cloud Search works as a directory service, allowing users to seek out colleagues’ contact information, while also viewing the events and files they have in common. When viewing a contact’s info in the search results, users are able to click to start an email, phone call or a Hangout.
2017. G Suite adds more security tools for admins
Google’s G Suite is launching a number of new security features that aim to keep these businesses’ data safe on its platform. Admins can now, for example, force their users to use physical security keys from companies like Yubico to access their data. They will also be able to manage the deployment of these keys and get usage reports. Google notes that one of the companies that are already using this feature is online payments service Stripe, which uses Security Key as an additional layer to protect its employees from phishing attempts. For improved email security, G Suite now also allows enterprises to bring their own certificates for S/MIMI encryption, and the company is also making it easier to search Gmail logs with BigQuery. In addition, Enterprises that want to archive their emails outside of Gmail and Google Vault can now more easily integrate third-party services like HP Autonomy and Veritas.
2016. Kanbanchi - missing project management tool for G Suite
Google's G Suite still doesn't have its own project management app. And the recent partnership with Slack means that it won't appear in the near future. But Slack doesn't fit all companies, some of them prefer kanban-style project management, for example. For these teams there is a new option - Kanbanchi. This service integrates into your G Suite dashboard, plays well with Drive and Calendar and allows to create multiple kanban-boards. Kanban-board organizes your tasks into columns according to their status, i.e. "ideas", "to-do", "in work", "done", etc. Thus the whole project is visualized on single screen and you can evaluate it at a glance. The app is free for use, but it provides also paid version ($20/month/user) with some additional features like Gantt Chart, Time tracker, your company style.
2016. Google launched App Maker for G Suite
2016. Google Docs now let you create custom templates
Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms are getting support for creating custom, reusable templates that you can share with your co-workers. While you may not use templates much in your day-to-day G Suite life, this is a necessary feature for businesses. You don’t want to have to recreate your report or newsletter layout every time you start a new one, after all. For the most part then, the addition of template support in Google Docs is yet another example of Google trying to make its service more attractive to business users as it gets serious about the enterprise.
2016. G Suite adds Slack integration
Google has added Slack integration for Google Docs and Drive in G Suite. It allows users to bring files from Drive directly into a Slack conversation. They can also create new Docs, Sheets and Slides files right from Slack. Every Google Drive file you share in Slack is automatically indexed and searchable, so you can tap into your team’s collective knowledge and quickly find past conversations and files.
2016. G Suite adds some intelligence to Docs
G Suite (former Google Apps for Work) is getting a couple of new smart features. The most interesting of them is automatic action suggestion is Docs. When you type something like “Mathew to create a document with all the upcoming earnings,” Docs will now automatically suggest that you create an action item and assign this to (hopefully) the right person. Google now also makes it easier for you to see which action items have been assigned to you and which documents may need your attention. All the G Suite apps will now show a badge on files that have action items attached to them and when there are unresolved suggestions that others may have made to your files.
2016. Google Apps rebranded as G Suite
Google rebranded its online office suite Google Apps for Work as G Suite. Google says the new name better reflects the mission of helping people everywhere work and innovate together, Blah Blah Blah... So at first sight it seams that Google marketers have nothing to do except changing titles. But from the other side, this move shows that Google is again interested in Enterprise collaboration market, and may be soon we'll see the real innovations in its office suite. In particular Google promises more machine intelligence features, for example the ability to interact with Drive, Docs and Spreadsheets with natural language commands and queries. The pricing of G Suite remains the same - $5/month per user.
2014. Google rebranded its business products
Usually Google doesn't use to rename its products all the time, like Microsoft. But this time they decided to take this step and renamed the group of business services Google Enterprise with Google for Work. From now Google Apps is called Google Apps for Work, the enterprise search engine - Google Search for Work, etc. Why did they do this? Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman, explained this rebranding with the change of the way how people work now. Previously, people worked only in the Enterprise-cubicles, where their computers with business programs were installed. Now they can Work anywhere using cloud applications. In addition, Google is now positioning (or selling) its services not as tools for Enterprises, but as tools for people that help them to do their favorite Work.
2014. Google Docs for iPhone/iPad now can edit MS Office files
Google is bringing support for natively editing Microsoft Office documents to iOS. Google Docs, Sheets and Slides apps for Android and web browsers added this feature two months ago. With this, Google now offers the full-fledged MS Office alternative on all of its major platforms, including Android, iOS, Chrome OS and the web (it’s unlikely Google will ever launch a Metro app for Windows, though.) Microsoft launched Office for iOS earlier this year. To fully make use of those apps, however, users need a subscription to Office 365. Google’s apps are available for free, though business users are likely already paying for a Google Apps for Business account anyway.
2014. Google Docs allows to edit MS Office files without conversion
Google made it possible to edit Microsoft Office files directly in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, so you can open and edit those documents in their native format using Office Compatibility Mode. No need to buy additional software or think about how to open your file. The Docs, Sheets and Slides mobile apps come with Office editing built right in, and with the Chrome extension, you can edit and share files directly from Google Drive or Gmail. Another new feature - Suggest Edits in Docs. It lets you do just that: your team can make suggestions that you can accept or reject with a single click.
2014. Google to discontinue QuickOffice for Android, iOS
Google announced it will be “unpublishing” QuickOffice for both Android and iOS in the coming weeks. "With the integration of Quickoffice into the Google Docs, Sheets and Slides apps, the Quickoffice app will be unpublished from Google Play and the App Store in the coming weeks," the company said on its official apps updates blog. "Existing users with the app can continue to use it, but no features will be added and new users will not be able to install the app." Google purchased QuickOffice in 2012 to integrate the Office-compatible software in Google Docs. Chromebooks have already seen some of the QuickOffice integration and once the software is pulled from app stores, you’ll only see QuickOffice in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides unless you already have QuickOffice on your mobile device: Existing app users can keep using it but the software won’t get future updates.
2014. Google launched standalone Docs and Spreadsheets for iOS and Android
Until now, all Google's document editors for mobile devices were available in the single app called Google Drive. Ok, they remained there, but recently Google also launched standalone apps Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets (for iOS and Android). The presentation app is coming soon, and will be called not Google Presentations, but (for a change) Slides. Maybe, you could think that thus Google wants to unlink the editors from Google Drive and let users edit files not only from Google Drive, but any other documents stored on your smartphone/tablet. But no! In the new apps you still can't open a document without uploading it to the Google Drive cloud storage. So for while there is not so much sense in these standalone apps.
2014. Google Docs gets Add-ons store, ONLYOFFICE gets server version.
Online office suites continue to evolve. Google Docs adds embedded add-on directory, which is accessible from the top menu Add-ons and contains all sorts of useful things. For example, a plugin for collaborative docs approval, for printing stickers, for integration with Mailchimp (email marketing service), etc. Obviously, this directory will grow day by day. Meanwhile one of the main Google Docs rivals - Teamlab Office unveiled the local version for large companies, that can be installed on the own server. Besides the office document editors, Teamlab Office Enterprise contains the full set of collaboration tools . Teamlab already provided in-house open-source version - Community Edition. It's free but trimmed in functionality. The new Enterprise version costs $1200/year per 30 users. If you think that it's expensive, calculate how much MS Office and SharePoint will cost for the same number of users.
2014. Google, Microsoft and Apple refreshed their online office apps
These are not very important updates, but we thought why not remind you once again that online office apps exist, develop and you may well use them instead of paid Word, Excel and PowerPoint. So, Google updated its spreadsheets (watch video above). Now they work faster, even with a very-very large documents. There are new filters and functions, as well as the ability to work offline in the Chrome browser (just like it works for text documents and presentations). As for Microsoft, they mainly worked to redesign their Office Web Apps. The interface became more flat (like in Outlook.com) and more comfortable thanks to the updated toolbar. And the notebook app OneNote for Android has become like Evernote (watch video below): The biggest new addition in Apple's cloud iWork - is document password protection. The passwords are compatible with Microsoft Office, so a secured iWork document can be opened in Office without reformatting it, letting users share sensitive information between the platforms. Among the other additions: customizable alignment and spacing guides to Pages, allowing you to rotate, resize and mask objects with various-shaped frames. The app Numbers also added column and rows sorting, as well as the ability to switch to vertical view. And recall that recently this good company of online office suites was joint by free Teamlab Personal.
2013. Google makes QuickOffice free for everyone
The best mobile office suite QuickOffice was acquired by Google a year ago. Late last year Google released the free version of QuickOffice for paid Google Apps users. And now they decided to make QuickOffice free for everyone (who has Google-account). And on all platforms: Android, iPhone, iPad. That's a smart step. While Microsoft is trying to earn on mobile Office apps, Google may well defeat MS Office in the fight for mobile users. To make this announcement even more impressive, Google is giving extra free 10 Gb to those who install QuickOffice before September 26. To be fair, we note that Google became so generous only after having integrated QuickOffice exclusively to Google Drive. You can't use other cloud storage services with QuickOffice any more. Recall, QuickOffice allows to open and edit on your smartphone and tablet Word, Excel, PowerPoint documents and view PDF files.
2013. Google Groups adds features for collaboration and customer support
Just before the closure of Google Reader, Google has rolled out unexpected update for its another service - Google Groups. Yes, this forum / mailing list is still alive and even updating. And this despite that in Google Apps this service competes directly with Google+, which Google offers to use as an internal social network. Well, it's useless to try to understand the logic of Google. But let's get back to the update, which is called Collaborative Inbox. Now, in Google Groups you can create a group that will operate as a support forum / task list. Users will be able to post questions/tasks, administrator can assign task owners and when task is complete - change its status to Closed. In addition, you can assign an email-address for the group (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org) and all customer emails to this address will be automatically converted to topics in this group. And the task owner will be able to post the response via email directly from the Groups interface. In addition, the update brings new tools for moderation and topic organizing. In particular, administrator can now create tags that users can use to organize discussions/tasks. Also administrator can flexibly assign user roles: group owners, managers and members. Besides, you can create email autoresponders for external customers. Recall, all these changes apply only to Google Groups in the Google Apps for Business.
2013. Google Forms adds real-time collaboration
Google added multiuser real-time collaboration to its online forms editor Google Forms. This feature is already available in all other Google office apps: Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, Google Presentations and Google Drawings. Now, when creating a form, you can invite one or more co-workers, control who is currently helping you to build the form, what field he is editing (each user has different color), communicate in chat and comments. In general, after the recent update Google Forms turned into the world's best tool for conducting employee or customer surveys. It allows to add any any kind of fields (text, checkboxes, radio-buttons, lists, tables ...), select a template, embed form to your site, collect the entered data into a spreadsheet or view it on a graphical report.
2012. Google adds free QuickOffice to Google Apps, improves MS Office documents conversion
We all hope that since Google removed free version from Google Apps, the development of this office suite will become more active. For example, it will get the full-featured mobile version. As you know, in June, Google bought the best mobile office QuickOffice. And only after 6 months (!) it started to tie it somehow to Google Apps. The free version of QuickOffice for iPad (including text processor, spreadsheets and presentations) is now available to paid Google Apps users. The versions for iPhone and Android will be also available soon. QuickOffice for Google Apps unlike the regular version of QuickOffice can save your documents to Google Drive. Why QuickOffice is better than Google's own Google Docs, that already work on iOS and Android? Google's own editors can only edit documents in Google Docs format, which are stored in Google Drive, and can't edit regular Word, Excel, PowerPoint documents, which are stored on your phone / tablet. Meanwhile QuickOffice allows to open and edit the local documents in MS Office formats. Moreover, QuickOffice works so well with Microsoft's formats that Google decided to use its technology to convert Word, Excel, PowerPoint documents in the online version of Google Docs. In the picture there is an example of converting Excel table, old one and the new one:
2012. Google terminates free Google Apps subscription
From today, companies can't sign up for the free version of Google Apps. They are suggested to start the 30-day free trial of Google Apps for Business and then begin paying $50 per user per year. Existing free version users won't be affected. The free version of Google Apps for several years, was, perhaps, one of the main engines of SaaS market. Business owners trusted Google and liked the familiar interface of GMail, Calendar, Google Docs - so they didn't mind to move a part of their business activities to the cloud office. At first, the free Google Apps version had almost no difference from the paid one and was only limited by the number of users in one domain (up to 200). In 2009 this limit was reduced to 50, and in the past year - to 10 users. Today - to zero. Why Google did it? Google is hardly going to earn more money via this step. They earn on advertising and the revenue from Google Apps - is a drop in the ocean for them. Probably the main reason - is their partners who have troubles with selling the suite that is available for free. And Google needs to develop the partner network if it wants to compete with Microsoft. On the other hand, this Google's move can be a positive signal for the SaaS market. Perhaps Google decided that SaaS market is already mature enough and can live without its free injections. Also, Google clears the way for many SaaS-startups that couldn't compete with Google's free services.
2012. Google Drive for iOS now can edit documents
In July, when Google released a mobile client Google Drive for iOS, users were disappointed by the lack of ability to edit documents on iPhone/iPad. Today, Google has fixed this drawback, but with some limitations. Editing (including real-time collaboration editing) is available only for text documents. Though the video shows that spreadsheets can also be edited, in fact, it's just a special effect. Editing spreadsheets will appear later. Besides, Google added the ability to view presentations, create new folders and move files between folders. Google Drive for Android app has been also updated today. It now also features the ability to create folders, move files and add comments to files and documents.
2012. Google Docs - on its way to offline
Some day Google Docs will fully support offline access on all computers and mobile devices. But apparently, it will be no earlier than in two years. Because Google likes to delight users with more happy news about the motion of Google Docs to offline. At a recent Google I/O conference the company proudly announced that Google Docs now works Offline! What does it mean this time? The service really now works Offline - but only in the Chrome browser. And to make it work you need to ... install Google Drive app for Chrome. Those readers that are following our news may say that about a year ago we already reported that Google Docs work offline in Chrome. But then it was about viewing documents, and this time - you can edit docs and even post comments. The changes will be synchronized with the online account once the internet connection appears. And for now you can only edit text documents and spreadsheets. Editing presentations will be obviously the next big news.
2012. Google acquired the best mobile office - Quickoffice
It seams that start-ups become cheaper in spring. Every day IT giants are buying someone. During two days Google has bought two companies - Meebo and Quickoffice. The acquisition of social messenger Meebo aims to strengthen the social network Google+. And the acquisition of Quickoffice is much more interesting to us. Quickoffice is known as the best suite of mobile document editors. Quickoffice provides native applications (that can work offline) for iPhone, iPad, Android and even for Symbian and webOS that can perfectly open and edit Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel and PowerPoint). In addition, Quickoffice can synchronize documents between different platforms, but this feature is likely to be replaced by the Google Drive. Thus, Google Docs is becoming the dominant office suite not only in the cloud, but also on mobile devices. As for the main competitor (Microsoft), the MS Office Mobile so far works only on Windows Phone and Symbian. The version of MS Office for the iPad is under the development and is scheduled for November. Version for Android - may be will never be created. Given that the iPhone + iPad + Android dominate the mobile world, then it's evident that Microsoft is now far behind Google.
2012. QuickOffice now can sync your files. Even with desktop
The developers of the most popular mobile office suite QuickOffice have created a new product QuickOffice Connect, which allows not only edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on your smartphone and tablet, but also sync these files between user devices (or between co-workers). However, QuickOffice is not going to compete with Dropbox, Box, SkyDrive, SugarSync and Google Drive. On the contrary, it allows you to synchronize files and folders with any of these cloud services but doesn't provide its own online storage. QuickOffice Connect works not only on mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android) but also on the desktop (PC, Mac). But it also is not going to compete with Microsoft Office, editing documents on the desktop is supposed be done in Microsoft's programs. QuickOffice Connect also allows to set access rights to synced files. For example, if you sync a file with your partner, you can give him access to view, comment or edit it. The Professional version also includes version control. Unlike the older brother QuickOffice Pro, which works purely as an editor and doesn't synchronize files, QuickOffice Connect is distributed on a subscription basis. There is a free version that allows you to sync up to 5000 files (1 Gb) and 5 folders between two devices (per year). But it doesn't allow to edit files - only view them. This option can suit those who want to view on a smartphone the documents created on computer. The Premium version, which allows to edit documents on mobile devices and sync up to 125,000 files (25 GB) between 4 devices - costs $19.95 per year.
2012. Google launched Google Drive
After (just) six years after the first rumors appeared Google has launched the legendary file storage service Google Drive. And the first question is: why they created Google Drive as a separate service, when Google Docs is de-facto Google's online storage that can store any files? There is a couple of reasons. First, such file storage and sharing services (Dropbox and clones) is a very hot topic either in consumer or enterprise space. And the attention that Google can attract with the new app in this space is not a bad thing for the search giant. Second, Google Drive will serve as a file system not only for Google Docs, but also for other Google's services that operate files (GMail, Google +, Google Sites, Picasa ...). Like Dropbox or SkyDrive, Google Drive creates a folder on your computer and syncs files between this folder, online account and other devices where the client app is installed. Currently Google Drive provides client apps for Windows, Mac, Android. In a couple of weeks apps for iPhone and iPad will appear. You can manually set the files and folders that should be synced. There are some drawbacks in the service. For example, documents from Google Docs are not copied to the computer and can not be edited and viewed locally. The local folder displays only links to these documents on Google Docs and you can open them only in browser. But the good news is that in browser you can open about 30 types of documents, including even Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop files. And most important, the service can operate as a private (or enterprise) Youtube - you can upload and view any video files. Google Drive allows you to share files and folders with your colleagues and partners. You can give them access to view, comment or edit docs and files. Other benefits of Google Drive are - the version control system, which stores all file version for 30 days, OCR, powerful search. In addition, developers can build apps on top of Google Drive. Currently, several applications are already available, such as AutoCad WS (for opening AutoCAD files), Aviary (for image editing), Balsamiq Mockups (for drawing interfaces), DocuSign (for digital signature), etc. Currently, several applications are available, such as AutoCad WS to work with AutoCAD files, Aviary image editing, Balsamiq Mockups - drawing interface, DocuSign for EDS, etc. Google Drive offers free 5 GB space to each user (compare with DropBox 2 GB, SkyDrive 7 GB). If necessary, you can buy more disk space: from $ 2.49/mes for 25 GB. Google Drive will be immediately available to Google Apps users.
2012. Google Docs adds the world best spell-checker
Remember the recent Microsoft's comic video about Google Apps? One of the claims against Google's online office was its bad spell-checker. But probably Microsoft won't joke about it any more. Because Google has pulled out its secret weapon - the world's largest search database that contains more words than any dictionary. You certainly noticed that when you make a spelling error in a search query, Google automatically corrects it? Now the same technology will work in Google Docs. Unlike the traditional dictionary (in Word), Google's base is constantly updated - adds new words and contains not only words but also names and titles in any language. However, meanwhile the new spell-checker is deployed only for English language, but Google promises to add it to other languages soon.
2012. Would you buy Google Apps from Bruce Willis
We continue our series about how Microsoft doesn't like Google. At this time - the remake of the old TV series Moonlighting with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd, starring Google as Bruce Willis. It's not just funny movie about Google Apps, but also a good opportunity to practice your English (if you need). And we hope that Google will fire back with its own quirky advert.
2012. Google Docs for Android adds real-time collaborative editing
Google continues to improve its office suite and it's not trying to race with MS Office for the rich functionality, but improves what it does best - collaboration tools and mobile access. Today the new version of Google Docs for Android has appeared and it allows to collaboratively edit documents on smartphones and tablets in real-time. As usual, each user is assigned a certain color, so you can see who's editing text at the moment and where he is now. In addition, the new version improves the user interface features - zoom, copy/paste and adds new formatting tools: bold text, lists, font color. The good news is that all of these new features will work in older Android versions - up to version 2.1
2012. Video: Google Docs vs SkyDrive
Microsoft continues to troll Google services with funny videos. At this time, they take on Google Docs. According to the scenario a group of young co-workers wants to creat a document and starts working on it in Google Docs. Naive guys don't know that Google Docs are only suitable for simple tasks and drawing a planetary system in Google Docs - is impossible. But it's possible in Microsoft SkyDrive. Even not in the Skidrive itself (it also can't do such complicated formatting) but in the desktop MS Office, that can edit the document simultaneously with the online SkyDrive editor. Note that Microsoft has removed the title Windows Live Office, which was used from the start to refer the online office, and now is using SkyDrive (that formerly was used to refer only the file storage).
2012. Google to set a new personal record: SaaS project for 110 thousand workplaces
While the deal between Google and General Motors is still unpublic, Google has officially signed another large Google Apps customer - the largest Spanish banking group BBVA. BBVA plans to implement Google Apps for 110 thousand employees in 26 countries up to the end of 2012. Thus, Google has updated its personal SaaS record (in terms of project volume). It's interesting that BBVA moves to Google Apps from Microsoft Exchange (so Office 365 loses again). Besides, this deal will be a huge step forward for Google and for the whole SaaS industry because it's the largest SaaS project in the banking sector. After all, we all know how carefully banks protect their commercial data. See also the Top 5 largest SaaS projects.
2012. Insync (Dropbox for Google Docs) becomes Free
The popular online file storage service DropBox - is in danger. And this danger comes from Google Docs. The fact that before now DropBox had one great advantage over Google Docs - it could synchronize files between online account and several computers. Now this opportunity has become available for the users of Google Docs / Google Apps, and for free. Actually you need only to pay for disk space (over 1GB), but it's much cheaper in Google Docs than in DropBox. And all this - thanks to the startup InSync. It becomes free and not due to business problems, but right after almost $1 million funding. InSync runs almost invisible - you just create a folder on your PC or Mac and it syncs with Google Docs account (watch the video). Google Apps users can create shared folders for the entire company.
2011. General Motors moves to Google Apps
According to the latest insider information, GM is already about to move from their current collaboration system Lotus Notes to Google Apps. It's about 100 thousand seats. At first this information appeared earlier this month - when the Wall Street Journal reported that Google and General Motors signed a preliminary agreement according to which GM will test Google Apps and Google has to meet some additional requirements. But GM haven't made the official statement yet. If all goes well, then Google will update its personal record on the SaaS project size. So far, the largest Google Apps customer is Valeo - 30 thousand users. And of course, it's a big victory for the SaaS market. But it's not clear yet what additional requirements GM presented to Google. Won't Google transform the service in favor of big business and make it less usable for small business?
2011. Google Presentations adds real-time collaboration
Google continues to compete with Zoho and SlideRocket for being the online presentations champion. Today Google rolled out completely new Google Presentations editor. It adds more than 60 new features, but the main one - is the ability to collaborate on a presentation in real-time. Everything is very similar to collaborative tools in Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets that appeared last year: in the right pane you can see who is currently working on the presentation, chat with them. And in the presentation view, you can see what objects the collaborators are currently editing (these object are highlighted with the corresponding colors). And with the help of Google+ Hangouts you can even video chat with colleagues while co-creating the presentation. In addition to collaborative tools, the new version features lots of new effects for decorating presentations: slide transitions, animations, the ability to draw figures and charts in presentations, links between slides. The new impressive editor is fully built on HTML / Ajax, but the viewer is still working on flash. And at the same time (while Google was rolling out the new presentations editor), Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco) said: "When it comes to applications in the cloud, most of the time we’re winning, winning, winning, winning at the expense of Google"
2011. Google Hangouts turned into full-featured web-conferencing tool
Lebanese developer's hack, which allowed text collaboration in Google+ Hangouts didn't remain a hack so long. Today's Google+ update has added much more new features to Hangouts. First, it's an opportunity to share your screen (Screen-sharing). Second, is the ability to collaboratively draw on a whiteboard. Third, is the ability to collaboratively edit Google Docs documents. Fourth, is the ability to create broadcasts for the unlimited number of viewers (the number of active participants is limited to 10). Fifth, Google Hangouts videochat now works on Android-smartphones. And finally, sixth, Google has opened the official API for Hangouts, so you don't need to hack it, as the Lebanese programmer in order to create your own application for Hangouts. By the way, the social network Google + is now open to all. Is your company ready for this?
2011. Google restores offline access to GMail, Calendar and Docs in Google Chrome
As you know, earlier GMail, Google Calendar and Google Docs supported offline mode in all browsers using Google Gears plug-in. But then Google decided to bet on HTML5 and abandoned its own proprietary plug-in. The Gears was quickly removed from the Chrome browser (in Firefox and IE it still works). And today Google developers were happy to announce that the offline mode for these apps in Chrome is back and it is implemented on HTML5. However, for an average user it will look no better than it was before: for offline access you still need to install an app (from the Chrome Web Store). In addition, the interface of the offline app is different from the usual web-based GMail interface. It looks lie GMail for iPad. Offline GMail app is already available. After installation it downloads your latest messages (about one week). You can't set the different period for now. Then messages will be synced between your computer and GMail server in the background and when the connection is lost, you can click on the GMail Offline icon and continue working with your inbox (search, read and write new messages.) Offline apps for Google Calendar and Google Docs will be available in a week. Offline calendar will allow to view events and RSVP to appointments. In Offline Docs you will be able to view documents and spreadsheets, the offline editing is not ready yet. In general, this is remarkable news only for Chromebook users, that still had no opportunity to work with these applications offline.
2011. Google Apps Mail gets read receipts
Google Apps for Business gets a new interesting feature - the read (i.e. open) notification. It works this way: you send a message and if you don't receive the reply for a long time, you can open the message and check whether the recepient has read it or not. The notification can be enabled by Google Apps account admin for all users and works only for internal communications (within the domain). Thus, you can make internal collaboration more strict and possibly more effective. Because employee, that sends an important task via email can control its reception and if necessary can call the recipient and ask to check the mail.
2011. Google Docs allows to preview archived docs
Perhaps this news won't make most readers very happy, but for editors of informational portals - it's a real holiday. Because every day they receive a lot of Emails with news from different vendors. And there are some PR-specialists, that not only sending news as attached word documents, but also pack them in archives. Reading these news is a pain. Now it will be much easier because Google Docs has added the opportunity to view archived documents without unpacking them. GMail users can open these archives directly from the email. Both Rar and Zip formats are supported.
2011. GMail gets instant search
Quite a strange idea - to make a search plug-in for GMail and Google Apps - i.e. the services of the Search Giant. Nevertheless, the startup CloudMagic had enough courage to make it. And they've created really useful thing. Most people would say that the search in GMail - is great enough, and even if this CloudMagic gives search-as-you-type results - it's not the reason to pay attention to it. But the search speed - is not the greatest feature of CloudMagic. First, it shows search results in a popup widget - on top of the main GMail interface. So if you writing an email and need to find some information in the previous messages or docs - you don't need to save the email to drafts, open the search page, then view the search results one by one, copy something and go back to the email. Now you can (without closing the message) quickly find and copy what you need in the popup widget. Second, unlike the native GMail search, CloudMagic can search in several Google accounts at once. For example, in your individual GMail account and your work Google Apps account. And it's no need to switch between them. In the settings you just enter your accounts, which should be indexed. And third, CloudMagic stores its search index on your computer, so you can search your Google Apps even offline! This is quite an easy way to backup your data stored in Google Apps for the case when you don't have an internet connection. Currently CloudMagic can search in GMail, Google Docs and Google Contacts. But the plans of this startup are much more ambitious. They want to make a universal search engine for all popular online services, including Hotmail, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, etc. Nevertheless, CloudMagic - is still a plugin. And it needs to be installed. For now it supports only Firefox and Chrome.
2011. Google Apps to reduce the free limit to 10 users
Starting from May 10 all companies registering free Google Apps accounts will be able to create only 10 users (instead of 50 users as before). For existing accounts the limit won't be reduced. So if you always wanted to start using Google Apps for your business, but never had enough time to start - now it's time to sit down and register an account for your company. It's interesting that Google has decided to implement such a significant reduction of the free limit immediately after the launch of Microsoft Office 365 - perhaps its main competitor. Apparently, the guys at Google have no fear at all. The paid version of Google Apps also has something new - the flexible billing option. Now companies can pay for Google Apps on a monthly basis ($5 / user per month) instead of payment for one year ($50 / user per year).
2011. Google Docs gets Comments 2.0
"Great documents come from great discussions" - this idea inspired Google developers and they have created the new cool commenting system. At the moment it's available in Google Docs, but we hope that soon it will appear also in other Google services (Sites, Groups, Reader, Buzz ...). We can't say that it is something revolutionary but the developers took the best from Facebook, Twitter, somewhere else and created quite nice and convenient commenting system. First of all, it can be used as a context chat - in the right column near the document. Comments appear in real time and can be used to communicate with colleagues while editing the document. But there is a problem with such a sidebar chat: the discussion can walk away from work or go the wrong way. In result, the entire right column is filled with usless information and the right discussion thread is lost. To solve this problem in the new Google-comments you can hide (resolve) the discussions that are no longer needed. Thus, in the sidebar users will see only useful and relevant messages. (The hidden branches can be displayed again in the full discussion view) The full discussion view is like Facebook. It's a tree view, but with only one sub-level. And if you want to reply to someone in a branch you can use @tags like in Twitter. When you mention @user in a message he will receive a notification email. And he can reply directly via email - the comment will appear automatically in the discussion.
2011. Google Apps gets scheduled updates
One of the SaaS advantages over in-house apps is that SaaS applications are updated by providers on their own and users don't have to bother about how to install patches or new versions. But such scheme has also an obvious drawback - update occurs when the provider decides, but not when the user wants. And if the user doesn't read provider's blog and ignores his emails with update announcements, these updates can happen very unexpectedly and disrupt the normal functioning of the company. Most SaaS providers that serve large companies (like Salesforce), prefer to do only 3-4 (major) updates per year. They call these update "new versions", announce them long before the release and make a show for their presentation. Another story with Google Apps which silently updates almost every week - that is Google's philosophy. But since Google Apps is already used by many large companies, Google has decided to find a compromise with these updates. From now Google Apps users can (in admin panel) select one of the options: Rapid Release or Scheduled Release. If the second option is selected, the new features will appear one time per week, and users will be provided with the new features list at least one week before their appearance. Thus they will have time to prepare, email to Google's support and accept the changes. Also, now the schedule of future updates is available on a special site with online calendar.
2011. Google Cloud Connect is available for all
Google Cloud Connect - the plug-in that allows to collaborate on a document in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, synchronizing changes via Google Docs, is now available to all comers. Recall, it appeared in November last year, but until now was available only in paid Google Apps accounts. Google Cloud Connect, of course, is free, because its main goal - is enticing users away from MS Office to Google Docs. But it allows to move in the opposite direction - to edit your documents stored in Google Docs using the MS Office editors. The video above shows how the plug-in works. Our review of the Google Cloud Connect - is here.
2011. Google will examine Google Apps professionals online
Google announced the Google Apps Certification Program today. What is the certification value? It is recommended that a candidate have a minimum of 3-6 years of professional IT experience, and complete at least 3 Google Apps for Business deployments, have an experience with the use of Google Apps Directory Sync and server side migration tools. But the other thing - is more interesting: the certification exam is conducted via Internet. For this purpose Google uses the special online testing service Kryterion On-Line Proctoring. In addition to online tests, video and web conferencing tools, this service also provides trained proctors, that detect any unusual behavior from test takers: all unusual eye movements, removing oneself from the field of vision and making atypical noises are all noted and a behavior alert is sent to the test taker. To participate in the exam a candidate need to buy a special webcam recommended Kryterion. The exam costs $100 and is currently available only in English. Other languages will appear later.
2011. SMS authentication in Google Apps is available for all
Two-factor authentication, which has been available for users of paid Google Apps account since September 2010 is now available in all free GMail and Google Apps accounts. Recall that unlike the usual authorization the two-factor authentication includes the second step - entering the secret code received via SMS or generated by mobile application (for Android, iPhone or BlackBerry). This authentication method is often used in online payment systems and Internet banking services, because it ensures a high level of security. If you are working on one computer you won't enter the code very often because authorization will be done automatically. So you won't feel any inconvenience, but will considerably improve your data security. You can activate the two-factor authentication on this page.
2011. Google Docs gets new interface and new competitor - LotusLive Symphony
Unlike the Google Wave team, nobody disturbs Google Docs developers, so they continue to add useful and not useful features to the suite. This time they changed the Google Docs interface in order to help users more easily manage lists of documents. They added a right pane with preview of the selected document and relevant information about it: history, versions and users who have access to it. The new Google Docs homepage now shows the most frequently used documents (an extension of the GMail Priority Inbox idea). The list of documents can be filtered by file type or you can show only images / videos (they are be displayed as thumbnails). For images the new slideshow-viewer has been added: The most interesting new feature - Collections. Google has found a new way to decide the eternal dispute between fans of folders and tags - invented a new concept - "collections." Google Docs developers say that these collections combine the advantages of tags and folders. You can add a document to different collections and store collections hierarchically, just like folders ... So, instead of clear-for-all folders they have introduced absolutely unclear collections. After the reasonable initiative to bring Google Docs to familiar MS Office interface, this step looks very strange. Here is the old interface with folders: While Google experimenting with the Docs interface, IBM has also decided to enter the online office market. The company has introduced the online version of its office suite Lotus Symphony, that will join the SaaS collaboration portal LotusLive. LotusLive Symphony will include word processor, spreadsheets, presentations, and provide real-time document collaboration features. It is expected that the service will become available in the second half of 2011. So, very soon, enterprises will have a wide choice of online office suites: - Google Docs - Zoho Docs - Microsoft Office Web Apps - Oracle Cloud Office - LotusLive Symphony
2011. Google Docs gets video player
Online video is becoming the main format for training, promotional materials, as well as for the social content, important for team-building (e.g. corporate party videos). That is why providing shared access to video content in the intranet is an important task. Previously, only paid Google Apps users could use the service Google Video as an intranet video gallery. From now all Google Apps and Google Docs users will be able to share video in the intranet, because Google Docs gets youtube-like embedded video player. As you know, since the previous year it's possible to upload any file type (including video clips) to Google Docs. So now, these videos can be also viewed online instead of downloading and viewing on the desktop. The list of supported file formats can be found here. The max video file size is 1GB - the same as max storage limit in free Google Docs account. Probably, Google hopes that with this new tool users will much quicker reach the free storage limit and move to the paid accounts.
2010. Google gets inside MS Office
Google continues to use the fact that the main competitor of the new MS Office 2010 is not Google Docs but Office 2007/2003. "Why should I pay some hundreds of dollars for the new Office 2010?" - user thinking. "First, it has more beautiful buttons. Second, you can sync with online Office Web Apps" - says Microsoft. "Hey, you don't need to update! " - Google enters the conversation - "Now you can sync between Office 2003/2007 and Google Docs in real time." Today Google has introduced Cloud Connect - the plug-in that allows to open documents, spreadsheets and presentations from Google Docs in MS Office applications, edit them and save back. Moreover, multiple people can edit the same document simultaneously and Google will keep track of the versions and conflict resolution. Cloud Connect is a remake of DocVerse that was bought by Google in March this year. DocVerse was originally designed for collaborative editing in MS Office and used Google Docs account as a synchronization point. Google added to it the ability to edit documents in Google Docs. This means that several people can collaborate on a document either in desktop Office, or in browser, or on a mobile device (Android, iPhone, Windows Phone). At the moment, Cloud Connect is available only to paid Google Apps users, but soon will be available for all and for free. And it is not surprising, because it's the best weapon for Google in the fight against MS Office. Cloud Connect duplicates the functionality of another well-known plug-in OffiSync (which costs $ 30). Apparently, the OffiSync business has come to the end.
2010. Google added 60 more services to Google Apps
As promised, Google has added the consumer services (that were previously only available for individual users) to the Google Apps suite. Last week they added Google Voice (for US and Canada users only) and today - allowed to add any of 60 Google services. Account administrator can select which services to add and which - not. Moreover, the administrator can define which users or groups will have access to each service. For example, for marketing staff he can add Adwords (for advertising), Google Analytics (for monitoring site stats), Blogger and YouTube (for corporate blog and video blog), and for IT professionals - Google App Engine (for developing business applications). Also potentially useful for business may be Google Reader (as an enterprise RSS reader) and Picasa (for intranet galleries). The opportunity to add new services is also available in the free version of Google Apps.
2010. Edit your Google Docs on the go
Google continues to prove all that mobile web-applications can work as good as mobile native apps. After the great mobile web-version of GMail, the company has updated the mobile web-version of Google Docs and added the ability to edit documents on the go. Previously it was possible only view docs on mobile devices and only a few mobile browsers allowed basic editing of Google Spreadsheets. From now you can create and edit spreadsheets and text documents on iPhone/iPad (version 3.0+) and Android (2.2+). And Android users can even enter text by voice (English only). The text input in the mobile version also supports English only. Other languages will be added later. Interesting that the mobile editing comes to Google Docs shortly after the release of Windows Phone 7, which supports editing of doc, xls, ppt documents. And, unlike Google Docs, on Windows Phone you can work with documents offline. However, the advantage of Google Docs - as usual - is collaboration. The changes added from the mobile device almost in real time become visible to other users working with the same document.
2010. New interactive charts in Google Docs
Google has demonstrated one more time that web applications can have as rich interface as desktop apps. The new chart editor in Google Docs (more precisely, in Google Spreadsheets) surpassed not only the similar tool in Zoho Sheet and Excel Web App, but also in the desktop editor Excel 2010. First, there is a new scalable timeline (like in Google Finance) which allows to zoom a certain time period on the chart. Second, now it's possible to create dynamic charts in the player (with the Play button and the slider), which allows to monitor chart changes over time. These interactive charts can be inserted on public sites and visitors can play with them rather than look at a static images. Of course, the data in the published chart is automatically updated when you change the values in the original spreadsheet.
2010. Google offers to login via SMS, Zoho - via OneLogin, Apple - via facial recognition
Today, Google has significantly improved Google Apps security by implementing two-factor authentication. If an account administrator activates this feature, users after entering Google Apps login / password will need to enter a secret code that will be sent to them via SMS, or generated by mobile application or dictated via phone call. Thus, even if somebody steals your Google login and password - he won't be able to use them without your phone. Such security scheme is used in many online banking and online payment systems. At the moment the new feature is available in Google Apps Premiere Edition. Soon it will appear in free Google Apps accounts, as well as in personal GMail-accounts. Unlike Google, Zoho decided not to invent the bicycle itself, but integrated with the authorization service OneLogin, which we have already reviewed. This service allows to provide all employees with a single point of authentication for all business apps and supports different authentication technologies, including sending code via SMS. And Apple believes that all of these logins, passwords, and SMS confirmations - are so old. Today we have found that Apple has acquired Swedish company Polar Rose, which develops mobile applications for facial recognition. One of them - Recognizr - allows you to login to web services by simply taking picture of your face with the smartphone.
2010. Online Office Search: Google vs Zoho
At last Google (aka Search giant) has decided to make the search in Google Apps more convenient. We can't say that until now it was bad, but if you wanted to find an email - you had to open GMail, if you wanted to find a document - you opened Google Docs, etc. Thus, to get a full view about any client or task you had to collect data from various sources. Now GMail has added a new feature called Google Apps Search that allows to the search for documents from Google Docs and pages from Google Sites right inside your inbox (you can activate this feature in the GMail Labs). Unfortunately, this search does not include results from Google Calendar and Google Notebook. Unlike Google, Zoho was more fundamental in online office search. Early this summer it released Zoho Search, which is a separate service (like google.com) that can search in all major Zoho apps. As you can see, Zoho prefers to create new services, and Google is positioning GMail, as the primary user interface for all Google Apps applications.
2010. Google discontinues Google Wave development
Today, Google has announced that it stops further development of its revolutionary collaboration service Google Wave. The official reason - "service has not seen the user adoption we would have liked". Two months ago Google Wave was opened to public and included into Google Apps, but apparently, not too many people gave it a second chance after not successful beta-testing. Google Wave will continue to exist, but in the future it may be closed - i.e. the service will be in the same state, as Google Notebook (although still with new user registration). For those who use the service, Google plans to open source the code of the main modules (so that they could restore the basic functionality on its own servers) and provide tools for migrating data from Google Wave. And now about why this occurred with the service that was supposed to change the world: Google Wave was designed as an Email alternative. Instead of sending messages overloaded with quotations back and forth, all communication in Google Wave are structured on the single page. Excellent idea. But, unfortunately, the developers did not stop at this simple-and-brilliant idea, but decided to create a super-platform-for-everything at once. We have already mentioned that the main problem of Google Wave - is complexity. People do not understand how to use it and why they need it at all. But not so long ago EMail also was complex and unclear for most people. So Google Wave team failed to gradually engage users and developers in the new technology but scared them with something confusing. And the other side of the coin is that the more complex system is - the more people support and develop it, the more bugs appear, the more computing resources are required for it's operation. Taking into account that Google Wave - is absolutely free product, we can imagine, how much money it costs to Google. But why Google wouldn't correct the mistakes and wait until the new technology will be adopted by the public? The idea of the service is still excellent and the company has enough money to wait. But the reason is that Google is now developing another ambitious project - the social network to compete Facebook. And the company decided to move Google Wave team to this project, becuase they have a unique experience in the social communication technologies. Thus, Google Wave is just a victim of circumstances (and the bad management).
2010. Google enabled instant switching between accounts
As you know, Google services are popular both for business and for personal use. That is why, many users often have a need to switch from working to personal account (for example, to check mail). This required multiple logout/login procedures. But now this process will be much more easier - Google is rolling out multi-account sign-in that allows to switch between accounts using the top menu. You can activate this feature and add accounts on this page. However, switching between accounts will work not for all services - only for GMail, Google Calendar, Google Reader, Google Sites, Google Voice, App Engine and Google Code. In addition, those who activate multi-account sign-in - would have to to give up the offline features in Gmail and Calendar. Recall that soon another related problem will be solved soon - some personal services (Google Reader, Blogger, Youtube ...) will become available in Google Apps accounts.
2010. Google develops a new office document format?
Nothing can be hidden from inquisitive blogger eyes. In the Google Docs tutorial video, that Google employee published on YouTube, the new item in the "Create document" menu has been noticed. The new format is called Punch. One meaning of this word is a drink produced by mixing strong liquor or wine, fruit juice and spices. Thus, we can assume that the new format allows to create mixed documents which combine text, spreadsheets, forms and media content. Obviously, these documents are designed primarily for real-time collaboration, rather than for publishing or sending by email.
2010. Google Docs gets OCR and Google Chrome - PDF reader
Google adds new office tools for working with documents. First is text recognition (OCR) in Google Docs - it can recognize text on images and PDF-files. Besides English, it supports French, Italian, German, Spanish. Second is the plug-in for viewing PDF files in the Google Chrome browser (you can add it on the page chrome: / / plugins). Thus, Google consistently continues its friendship with Adobe (after adding the default Flash support in Chrome).
2010. QuickOffice and Documents To Go allow to edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the iPad
When the iPad appeared earlier this early, one of the major problems the business users faced was that the tablet didn't allowed to work normally with office documents - Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The Apple's own mobile office suite iWork only allows to view MS Office documents on the iPad and doesn't allow to edit them. But now this drawback is fixed. The most popular mobile office suites QuickOffice and Documents To Go almost simultaneously launched the versions for the iPad. Both solutions are paid: Documents To Go costs $10 for the standard version and $15 - for the premium (it includes additional cloud file storage) and Quickoffice - $10. Both packages allow basic editing of Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on the tablet. QuickOffice doesn't provide the cloud-sync option, but it works more stable.
2010. QuickOffice for Android launches
Finally, the most popular mobile office suite QuickOffice launches for the Android platform. So far it worked on iPhone, Symbian, Palm and Blackberry. The trial-version of the Quickoffice for Android enables to view documents in the formats of MS Office 97-2008 (DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX) and the paid version (which costs $14) allows to edit them with basic tools. There's even a decent PDF viewer in it. QuickOffice for Android can connect to online file storage services: Dropbox, Google Docs, Box.net and MobileMe, so you can save files to the cloud. The owners of Android 2.0 and 2.1 devices can also use the multi-touch document zoom.
2010. GMail and Google Buzz as developer platforms
In addition to the business version of GAE and cloud storage GS, at the I/O conference Google introduced for developers the new APIs for GMail and Google Buzz. New GMail API allows developers to embed applications directly to emails (as gadgets). These gadgets are currently only available for GMail in Google Apps, and may be added by account administrator from Google Apps Marketplace. For example, Gist and Xobni gadgets display person social information at the bottom of email (as they do it in MS Outlook and Lotus Notes). The Manymoon gadget allows to quickly create a task or project from the email. Taking into account that virtually all enterprise collaborative and social tools use email for notifications, we can expect an avalanche of new GMail gadgets, as well as increasing popularity of this email service in the enterprise segment. The micro-blogging service Google Buzz, which will soon also join the Google Apps, has also got the API. First of all it will allow to communicate in Buzz using different third-party clients: web applications (like Socialwok and Meebo), desktop clients (like TweetDeck) and mobile clients (like Seesmic).
2010. Google Wave joined Google Apps
Pretty silently (not like when beta testing was started) the revolutionary service Google Wave has been opened to a public and added to the business suite of Google Apps. Interest towards Google Wave has been reducing since the release of this service (about a year ago). The primary reason for this is its complexity compared to the direct competitor - E-mail. Besides Google Wave appeared to be buggy during testing and scared even geeks. However, now Lars Rasmussen, the Wave project manager, argues that Google Wave is ready for high load and performs fast enough. In addition, developers have simplified adding comments and search for new changes in wave. They also have corrected the lack of integration with email - you can now set the email-notifications about changes in waves (although you can't add comments in the opposite direction - from the email). In order to satisfy enterprise users Google Wave improved the access control system. In particular, it added the opportunity to invite users only for viewing wave. This is especially valuable for creating public waves, which can now be inserted into your site. In addition, it added the opportunity to restore deleted content in the PlayBack tool (formerly invited wave participants could delete something permanently). Being not only a collaboration tool, but also a platform, Google Wave gradually accumulates extensions (robots and gadgets). Gadgets - are applications that you can insert into waves and robots - are wave participants, which automate various operations. In March the Extension Gallery appeared in the left menu. But we can not say that there already a lot of extensions. The most interesting so far - are Unaware (project management), Video Chat Experience (video chat) and Ribbit Conference Gadget (conferencing). For developers the advanced API was introduced. It allows to develop robots that can create new waves and update them using data from external sources. In addition, soon the new API will allow to create own lightweight Google Wave clients, which will "communicate" with the service through the wave federation protocol. This protocol is already supported by Novell Pulse, SAP SteamWork and Salesforce.
2010. Google Apps to add blogs, RSS and galleries
As you know, Google Apps contains only those applications that are useful for collaboration. And because of this, Google Apps users have a problem with accessing other Google services - they constantly need to switch between accounts. Especially it looks stupid if company is using Blogger for corporate blog, YouTube for corporate video-channel, running ad campaigns in Adwords, hosting corporate galleries in Picasa, or its employees are using Google Reader as an enterprise RSS client. According to the post in the Google Enterprise Blog, this summer most Google services will become available in Google Apps. It remains only to solve the issue with IT administrators that want to control and monitor these new services.
2010. OffiSync adds almost-real-time collaborative editing between MS Office and Google Docs
OffiSync - is a plug-in for MS Office editors, which allows you to save Office documents in your Google Docs account, and open them from it. I.e. the idea of the service - to combine the advanced functionality to MS Office with collaboration features in Google Docs. Since our last review, OffiSync added integration with Google Sites (i.e. documents from MS Office can be saved as attachments to a selected pages in Google Sites and opened from there). And yesterday the most interesting feature was unveiled - the ability to simultaneously edit document, while working in any version of MS Office (2003, 2007, 2010) or online Google Docs editor. Of course, it's not so cool, like in the new version of Google Docs, but it unites the users of both solutions. It works this way: say, two users open the same document from Google Docs (or Google Sites) in their MS Office editors. When one user changes something and presses the Save button, the second one receives notification about the changes in the document. He can preview the new version of the document, and if everything is ok - update his local version. This collaborative feature is only available in the paid OffiSync version, which costs $30.
2010. Google Apps making Microsoft nervous
Recently, Google released the next anti-microsoft tool - Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange, the plugin which allows you to easily move mail, calendars and contacts from Exchange to Google Apps. Last year they released the utility that syncs Outlook with Google Apps, but now you can import data directly from the Exchange server. Previously, Microsoft just ignored such events, or commented that Google Apps - is just a toy that no serious company will use. But Google's constant pressure is making them nervous. Microsoft recently launched the channel on Youtube, which contains videos explaining why MS Office products are better than Google's. For example, here's the video Exchange vs GMail: But Microsoft did not take into account the fact that Google updates its services faster than they create videos. Therefore, some features such as remote data wipe, the office reservation issue, clipboard, offline file access in Google Docs - were already implemented in Google Apps. Other issues can be implemented in the near future. As a result, this marketing campaign only shows that Microsoft is really afraid of Google Apps.
2010. Harmony - a lot of pleasure for Outlook and Google Docs users
Harmony, the new plug-in for MS Outlook by Mainsoft gave us a lot of positive emotions, which we want to share. First, is its video presentation, which is really cool. Secondly, Harmony - is really useful tool that allows to access and collaborate with documents stored in Google Docs or MS Sharepoint, without leaving MS Outlook. In particular, you can open and edit office documents directly in Outlook, search in docs content and share documents with co-workers instead of sending them back and forth. And it's not necessary that your co-workers have this plug-in installed and have Google Docs account - they just click the link in the email and the document will be shared to them automatically (for viewing or editing). Besides, the plug-in is absolutely free and the Mainsoft CEO, Yaacov Cohen, sais that it will remain free forever. The future versions that will include functionality that IT departments want (granular control, permissioning, central admin etc) will potentially be paid. But it seems the company has a good chance to sell the startup to Microsoft or Google.
2010. Google Apps Marketplace - the online app store for Google Apps
As expected, Google has launched the online store Google Apps Marketplace, which allows developers to easily access the Google Apps userbase, which counts 25 million users. More than 50 providers already used this opportunity - now the Google Apps users (directly in the control panel) can add Atlassian Jira bug tracker, DimDim web conferencing, Freshbooks online accounting, Box.net intranet, Manymoon project management, SlideRocket presentations, etc. There you can find even such heavyweights as NetSuite and SuccessFactors. We also note the presence of Zoho apps - Google has once again demonstrated its loyalty towards the competitor. All applications in the store provide single sign-on with Google Apps through the open protocol OAuth. This means that users can switch from one application to another without having to enter login. For ease navigation, a link to the connected application appears in the top panel of Google Apps: And, of course, the icon of the connected application will be available for the account administrator in Control Panel: Thanks to Google Apps API, the connected applications can attach documents from Google Docs to its objects, automatically create events in Google Calendar, messages in GTalk, insert their own widgets in GMail emails, etc. Of course, this is not that high level of integration that exists in the Force.com and Intuit Partner Program, but nevertheless, Google Apps is now can be considered as a Platform. To get into Google Apps Marketplace, the application must go through moderation. In addition, the developer must pay $ 100 for inclusion in the application directory. Later this year the store will integrate single billing and collect 20% of revenue generated, by whatever method vendors choose — freemium, monthly, use-based or user-based. For now vendors will have to handle their own billing.
2010. Google Apps are ready for the next earthquake
Recently the planet has become a dangerous place. Haiti, Chile, Turkey. Where will be the next earthquake? What will you do if the roof fall on your server (or data center) and all your business data will be lost? Apparently, Google decided to benefit on this situation and published the post that talks about how Google Apps protect business data from disasters. To ensure the security of user data in Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Calendar, Google Talk and Google Video it's beeing synchronized in real time between the two remote data centers. If suddenly one of these data centers will be destroyed, the data will be immediately replicated to the third data center and so on. This technology is used in the large companies, but, for example, real-time synchronization of 25Gb Mailbox costs them $150-500. And Google offers this service for free, despite the fact that the service is used by 2 million companies with 20 million active users.
2009. Google acquires DocVerse for MS Office integration
Just after EtherPad acquisition, Google buys another startup that works with office documents - DocVerse. This is a plug-in for MS Office applications, that allows to collaboratively edit documents in real time. DocVerse was created by former Microsoft employees. Whether users are working on a document online or offline, DocVerse will track, manages and sync all changes to merge them into one updated version of the document. You can communicate with other users via an IM feature within the plug-in as well. Why Google may need DocVerse? First reason - is to enable full compatibility with MS Office formats for Google Docs, and maybe even to add an option to collaboratively edit documents in Google Docs and MS Office. Second reason - is to use DocVerse technologies to build a desktop client for Google Wave. The purchase price is supposed to be around $25 million.
2009. Hacker team will help to push Google Apps
Google opened a new front in the war for business users. At that time Google pushes the idea that companies appreciate openness of business applications, i.e. the possibility to import/export their data to/from these apps. At the same time the leading business software vendors (IBM, Microsoft) use to lock user data and don't provide easy tools to export it in the needed format. The new Google's project Data Liberation Front contains information about how to export data from Google applications. For example it gives guidelines of how to use GMail over POP3 and IMAP protocols, or how to export Google Calendar in ICAL format. When introducing the project in the company blog, Google representative gave some details of the nearest liberation efforts: Google Sites export to HTML, and bulk Google Docs export to OpenOffice and MS Office formats. But the Data Liberation Front team will not only "liberate" the data stored inside Google applications. Their mission - is also to liberate data that is (still) stored in the competitive systems. For example, recently Google introduced tools that enable to import data from Hotmail, Yahoo, MS Exchange, Lotus Domino. So the Google developers will "crack" the third-party applications to help users move their data to Google Apps.
2009. How to develop custom applications for Google Apps?
2008. Control Basecamp From iGoogle with the Periscope Gadget
Managing an online office or virtual team can be tough work. We've written extensively about such topics and have recommended the best software for virtual project management. If your team uses the popular project management service Basecamp, then you could be in for a real treat today with the addition of the Periscope Gadget to the iGoogle directory. The Periscope Gadget allows users to control multiple Basecamp accounts from their iGoogle homepage. The gadget provides access to Basecamp activity and allows users to add and manage time entries, download files, and more. The design for the Periscope Gadget is simple and effective, with hover-over link effects to keep the interface as simple as possible without leaving out important details. On the downside, the gadget does not allow you to leave comments on an entry nor add/complete "to-do" items. It has been noted that the team behind Periscope is working hard to bring these features to users. The gadget is accessible from iGoogle, Windows desktops with Google Gadgets installed, and the iPhone for easy on-the-go access.
2006. Google Apps for Your Domain gets customizable start page
Google just put a new feature in its Google Apps for Your Domain suite of services: a "start page" iGoogle. This is a new corporate version of Google's existing personal start page, for people inside a company using Google"s apps for e-mail and calendaring. The differences between the standard Google start page and this product are that administrators can design the page, can lock down all or part of it, and can give it a custom URL. Setting up a company intranet page is certainly easy with this tool, but Google"s business services are still a bit light. Google hasn"t yet integrated Google Docs and Spreadsheets into Google Apps for Your Domain, for example. Google does have all the pieces (including a recently acquired wiki service, a blogging platform, and more) to build a killer small business service. If Google takes the small business market seriously, we should see more activity on this service, and soon. Otherwise, Microsoft"s Office Live and Intel"s SuiteTwo may grab a lot of the business customers Google is trying to woo.
2006. Google Spreadsheets Goes Live
Google just posted a tour of Google Spreadsheets, their new Excel rival. They’re also inviting users to test the service on a first-come-first-served basis. It looks blissfully simple, and includes live chat, multi-user editing and import/export functionality. In short: an impressive product. This is probably a mixed blessing for the online spreadsheet startups - while no-one wants to compete with Google, this move will likely lead to some acquisitions. Among the contenders: Numbler, JotSpot Tracker, NumSum, DabbleDB, TracksLife, ZohoSheet, EditGrid, WikiCalc and iRows. JotSpot is the hot-ticket here - between (unfounded?) acquisition rumors and a partnership with Salesforce, they’re getting a lot of ink.