Ten years ago, business technology was at the forefront of innovation and productivity. But there’s a fundamental shift underway: in the last few years, consumer technology has begun to outpace business technology. People have fallen in love with the simplicity and freedom of living in the cloud with the help of modern browsers and smartphones—and they want to bring that experience to the workplace.

This is where Google comes in. For the better part of the past decade, we’ve worked to extend our popular consumer products—everything from Gmail and Google Drive to Maps, Google+ and Search—to meet your business needs. It should be easy for you to work better together, from anywhere, with secure (and simple!) tools. Here’s a look back at some key highlights from 2012.

Work securely...
Keeping your information secure is one of our top priorities. To that end, domain administrators can now require their employees to use 2-step verification, an additional layer of security that reduces the chance of unauthorized account access. Your company can also use Google Apps Vault, a solution for managing and archiving critical information for legal and regulatory reasons. If your business operates outside the U.S., we now offer Model Contract Clauses as an additional way to comply with the European Commission’s Data Protection Directive. Finally, Google Apps received ISO 27001 certification, ensuring our systems meet one of the most widely, internationally accepted independent security standards.

… anytime, anywhere...
It should be easy to get work done – anytime, on any device, with anyone. With offline editing in Chrome, you can now create and edit Google documents and leave comments even when you don’t have an Internet connection. Any changes you make will be automatically synced when you get back online. When you’re travelling, you can also edit Google documents and spreadsheets using the Drive app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device. Just like on your computer, you’ll be able to see other people’s edits instantly as they’re made.

If your business has workers on the go, Google Maps Coordinate combines the power of Google’s mapping technologies with modern smartphones to help you improve communication with employees in the field. In addition, the Google Play Private Channel lets you distribute internal apps to your employees who use Android devices. The new Chromebooks and Chromeboxes we launched with our partners are secure and easy to manage, which makes them especially great devices for 1-to-1 programs in schools, additional laptops for office workers, or desktop units for multiple users in a call center. (And we’re honored that Inc. Magazine named the Chromebox one of the best business gadgets of 2012.)

...with simple tools...
We’ve also focused on making our products simpler and easier for you to use – both at home and at work. We introduced Google Drive as a single place for you to create, share, collaborate and keep all your work. You can now insert files (up to 10GB) from Drive directly into an email without leaving your Gmail inbox, and you can share work from Drive on Google+. You and up to 14 colleagues can join a Google+ hangout directly from a calendar entry or your email inbox. Once inside a hangout, you can open a Google Doc for everyone to see and work on simultaneously. And if your company uses Chrome along with Google Apps, you can now call or email us for help with Chrome.

With the Google Search Appliance 7.0, you can search for a document on your company’s intranet just as easily as you’d search for a holiday recipe on And if your business relies on geographic data—say, to map gas pipelines or help customers locate your store—you can use Google Maps and Earth Enterprise to visualize your data on the Google Maps interface you’re already familiar with.

...supported by partners and Google infrastructure
Whether it’s Apps for Business, Maps Coordinate, or just a Google search, most Google services you use are possible only because of the powerful and energy-efficient infrastructure we’ve built over the years. This year, we worked to bring you more direct access to this infrastructure to help run your businesses and applications in the cloud. Compute Engine lets your business run virtual machines in Google’s data centers and BigQuery helps you quickly analyze big sets of data to gain business insights. Google Cloud Platform also offers more European datacenter support and lower prices for Cloud Storage.

The new Google Cloud Platform Partner Program ensures that partners have the tools and training to help your business meet its IT needs. And the Google Enterprise Partner Search makes it easy for you to find one of our 6,000 Google Apps Resellers with the services you’re looking for – from setup and user training to email migration, management services and support.
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Work doesn’t always need to feel like work. Leaders in every industry—from retail, media and manufacturing to transportation, education and government—are adopting this notion, which we call “going Google.” Going Google means something different for everyone: starting a wine business with your two best friends, trying to build a bear-proof cooler, or keeping citizens safe. But we all have the common goal of bringing our organization into the future so we can work the way we live.


(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog.)

In 2007, 33-year-old Vuyile moved to Cape Town from rural South Africa in search of work. Unable to complete high school, he worked as a night shift security guard earning $500/month to support his family. During the rush hour commute from his home in Khayelitsha, Vuyile realized that he could earn extra income by selling prepaid mobile airtime vouchers to other commuters on the train.

In rural areas, it’s common to use prepaid vouchers to pay for basic services such as electricity, insurance and airtime for mobile phones. But it’s often difficult to distribute physical vouchers because of the risk of theft and fraud.

Nomanini, a startup based in South Africa, built a device that enables local entrepreneurs like Vuyile to sell prepaid mobile services in their communities. The Lula (which means “easy” in colloquial Zulu), is a portable voucher sales terminal that is used on-the-go by people ranging from taxi drivers to street vendors. It generates and prints codes which people purchase to add minutes to their mobile phones.

Today, Vuyile sells vouchers on the train for cash payment, and earns a commission weekly. Since he started using the Lula, he’s seen his monthly income increase by 20 percent.

Vuyile prints a voucher from his Lula

Nomanini founders Vahid and Ali Monadjem wanted to make mobile services widely available in areas where they had been inaccessible, or where—in a region where the average person makes less than $200/month—people simply couldn’t afford them. By creating a low-cost and easy-to-use product, Nomanini could enable entrepreneurs in Africa to go to deep rural areas and create businesses for themselves.

In order to build a scalable and reliable backend system to keep the Lula running, Nomanini chose to run on Google App Engine. Their development team doesn’t have to spend time setting up their own servers and can instead run on the same infrastructure that powers Google’s own applications. They can focus on building their backend systems and easily deploy code to Google’s data centers. When Vuyile makes a sale, he presses a few buttons, App Engine processes the request, and the voucher prints in seconds.

Last month, 40,000 people bought airtime through the Lula, and Nomanini hopes to grow this number to 1 million per month next year. While platforms like App Engine are typically used to build web or smartphone apps, entrepreneurs like Vahid and Ali are finding innovative ways to leverage this technology by building their own devices and connecting them to App Engine. Vahid tells us: “We’re a uniquely born and bred African solution, and we have great potential to take this to the rest of Africa and wider emerging markets. We could not easily scale this fast without running on Google App Engine.”

To learn more about the technical implementation used by Nomanini, read their guest post on the Google App Engine blog.


Editors note: Today's guest blogger is Jeff Son, Strategy Manager at YG Entertainment, a record label and talent agency based in Seoul, South Korea.

YG Entertainment is a record label and talent agency based in Seoul, South Korea, specializing in R&B and hip hop music. We represent some of the biggest names in Korean music including BIGBANG, 2NE1, Lee Hi — and of course, rapper PSY, whose “Gangnam Style” recently became the most popular YouTube video of all time.

Over the last few years, we have been working hard to bring the best of K-Pop to the world. In the last two weeks alone, PSY has been busy touring the United States, 2NE1 have been touring South East Asia, and Big Bang has been touring Japan.

With artists all over the world and a third of our staff out of the country all the time, we need a communication system we can rely on. Prior to moving to Google Apps, our email system was run from a local Korean server. This was fine while we were in Korea, but was unreliable when working internationally. When looking for alternatives, we wanted mobility, speed and stability for teams and artists on the go. As a creative business using both Macintosh and Windows, we also wanted something which would be compatible with both operating systems.

Google Apps worked well with all these requirements. Since making the switch to Gmail in June this year we’ve noticed a big increase in email reliability. We’ve also found the mobile experience is much better. Staff use smartphones and tablets to access Gmail and Calendar and find it much more intuitive than our previous system. We also like that Google Apps is priced according to the number of accounts, not the amount of storage that you use, so we only pay for what we use.

As we continue to expand globally, nurturing Korean talent and bring stars like PSY onto the world stage, we’re confident knowing that Google Apps can scale with us.


Since the Quickoffice team joined Google a few months ago, we’ve been working to make it easier for you to work with your legacy Microsoft Office files -- both by converting them to Google documents and by editing them directly in Quickoffice.

Better conversion to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides
You’ve always had the option to convert documents from popular formats into Google Docs, where you can share and work together in real-time. In the past few months, we’ve incorporated Quickoffice conversion technology into this process so your Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint files look even better when you convert them to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, respectively.

Left: Old conversion of Excel to Google Sheets
Right: Improved conversion after integrating Quickoffice technology

Using Quickoffice to edit Office files on your iPad
Converting old files to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides is the easiest way to share and work together, but perhaps not everyone you work with has gone Google yet. To complement what you can do with Google documents, we’re also making it easier for you to make quick edits to Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint files without conversion. Starting today, the Quickoffice iPad app is available for free to all Apps for Business customers, and iPhone and Android versions are on the way. With the app, you can open and edit any Office files you’ve stored in Google Drive right from your iPad.

Whether you’re converting Office files to Google documents or you just need to make a couple quick edits without converting, it should be easy to get work done whenever you need to, on any device. Stay tuned for more document conversion and mobile editing improvements in 2013.


At Google, we’re always excited to see how educators around the world use technology to transform teaching practices and models. In Latin America, for example, thousands of schools and universities have already adopted Google Apps for Education to teach and collaborate in the cloud.

One such university in Latin America is Universidad Austral, a higher education institution in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2007, the University’s Law School migrated to Google Apps for Education so students could access course materials anytime and anywhere, whether in class, in the library or at home. Faculty members use Google Drive to distribute lesson materials and Google Calendar to keep students informed about any changes in the location, time and agenda of lectures. Also, all Law Degree students receive a tablet configured with their Google Apps account and syllabus, which reduces the use of photocopies, provides a digital repository of reference materials, enables mobility and encourages class participation during case study discussions.

After the Law School's positive experience with Google Apps for Education, the Education School at Universidad Austral also decided to go Google. Since migrating in 2011, the Education School has been using Google Sites to build course portals, which house lesson plans, resources, class calendars, videos and presentations. These course portals serve as virtual learning environments, which educators tailor with resources of the Web 2.0, like interactive gadgets embedded in Google Sites.

But Universidad Austral is just one example of how schools in Latin America are using Google Apps for Education. Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA) and Corporación Unificada Nacional (CUN) in Colombia, Instituto Lux in Mexico, and Universidade Federal de Pernambuco in Brazil also use Google Apps to integrate technology into the classroom.

We're inspired by educators around the world who are reinventing the way we teach and learn with the use of technology. This motivates us even more to continue working on our products to help educational institutions shape the future of education. Learn more about Google Apps for Education.


Since we launched Google Apps Vault, many businesses have adopted it to archive, retain and manage business critical information. Until now, Vault was available only to new and recent Google Apps customers. Starting today, Vault is available to existing Apps customers that purchased Google Apps online, directly from Google. Vault is also now available to Google Apps for Education customers.

Google Apps Vault helps protect organizations of all sizes from lawsuits by enabling organizations to find and preserve email messages that may be relevant to a particular lawsuit. That saves time, effort, and costs associated with responding to litigation or other investigations. Google Apps Vault can also help if an employee leaves abruptly and the organization needs to understand the status of the employee’s projects, Vault will help find the needed information. For educational institutions, Google Apps Vault can help in responding to open records requests.

Vault can be added to an existing Apps account for $5/user/month. If you purchased Google Apps online, directly from us, you can purchase Vault from your Apps Control Panel. If you are a Google Apps for Education customer interested in Vault you can contact us for more information.

For customers that purchased Google Apps from a reseller, prior to August 1st, 2012, we are working to enable Vault for online purchase through resellers and we’ll announce that when it’s ready.


Next February, approximately 1 million students from nearly 10,000 schools in the United States will participate in pilot tests developed by the American Institutes of Research (AIR) for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. We’re happy to share that AIR will now support Chromebooks as secure assessment devices to take these tests.

This development follows our earlier announcement that the PARCC and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia, as part of the U.S Department of Education Race to the Top initiative, verified that Chromebooks meet hardware and operating system requirements for online student assessments in the 2014-2015 school year.

An increasing number of schools are finding Chromebooks to be cost-effective and secure devices to administer testing. According to John Jesse, Director of Assessments at Utah Department of Education, several schools in Utah used Chromebooks to securely administer their summative online state assessments this past spring.

New features and web apps
The Chromebook management console—like Chrome OS—is constantly getting better. The newest features help make Chromebooks more secure as assessment kiosks. With the latest OS release you can disable external storage (e.g., USB flash drives), screenshots, audio output sources (e.g., speakers), and audio capture sources (e.g., microphones).

Likewise, we’re adding more educational apps to the Chrome Web Store all the time. New apps available include OER Commons and CK12 for curated web content, Agilix Buzz for customized learning paths and the Hapara Teacher Dashboard for effortless maintenance of a classroom’s Google Apps activity.

We’re excited by how educators continue to find new ways to use the web and discover web resources to help them teach and engage with students. We look forward to sharing more of your stories in the new year.


Earlier this year, we announced our plan to offer model contract clauses as an additional means of compliance with the European Commission’s Data Protection Directive for Google Apps customers who operate within Europe.

Today, we’re pleased to announce that model contract clauses are now available for customer sign-up via the Google Apps control panel.

Google is committed to helping users of Google Apps meet their compliance needs. In addition to Safe Harbor and our ISO 27001 certification, model contract clauses will provide customers with additional compliance options and furnish European businesses and organizations with information they need to trust Google Apps.


Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Kurt Metzger, Project Manager within the Swiss railway SBB Infrastructure division. His team needed a geo-information system for documenting and monitoring the internal GSM-R platform to visualize infrastructure data in 3-D.

In a single year, 357 million travelers catch their trains at more than 800 train stations run by the SBB, the largest travel and transportation company in Switzerland. To make sure that our travelers reach their destinations safely and on time, a major part of our strategy is the digital Global System of Mobile Communication-Rail platform (GSM-R). This technology covers all mobile voice and data services for rail communication. But to control the functionality of such a mobile communication system, we need technical configuration information and infrastructure data, which can best be visualized using a geographic information system (GIS) like Google Earth Enterprise.

The GIS solutions we used previously had one critical disadvantage: they didn’t support 3-D components, so any attempt to visualize the data was unsatisfactory and only two-dimensional. For example, we could not represent radio antenna geometries such as height, elevation and mast lengths. We needed a solution that would allow a high quality 3-D visualization that was clear to understand and easy to use for everyone.

We found Google Earth Enterprise to meet these requirements, and we’re using it as part of our solution for documenting and monitoring SBB’s own GSM-R network. For example, Google Earth Enterprise draws specific parameters from our existing database, generates geographical 3-D objects dynamically, and visualizes them on the Google Earth Globe. Google Earth Enterprise also simplifies our interdepartmental cooperation and our reporting to supervisory authorities. As it is intuitive to use, it provides us with valuable support in the areas of network operation and optimization, rollouts and general network upgrades.

Using Google Earth, our team can literally fly over the GSM-R infrastructure as if we’re in a plane. Thanks to this, I have the ability to observe each GSM-R location’s masts and antenna systems from every perspective. Because this is all done remotely from my computer, I don’t have to set up a security measure in advance – like closing the tracks – as is usual in the railway business.

We at SBB are more than happy with our choice to adopt Google Earth Enterprise. Over the long term, we are seeing a considerable savings in time and are able to significantly improve the quality of our data and thus our decisions, too.


(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog.)

For many students and teachers, the hassles of traditional computing often prevent them from making the most of technology in the classroom. Schools that have adopted Chromebooks, however, have been able to bring the web’s vast educational resources—whether it’s conducting real-time research or collaborating on group projects—right into the classroom. Chromebooks are fast, easily sharable, and require almost no maintenance. Today more than 1,000 schools have adopted Chromebooks in classrooms, including some school districts like Richland School District Two (S.C.), Leyden High School District (Ill.), and Council Bluffs Community School District (Iowa) who have deployed Chromebooks to tens of thousands of students.

To help budget-strapped classrooms across the country, we’re working with, an online charity that connects donors directly to public school classroom needs. For the holiday season, teachers can request the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook—the most widely deployed Chromebook in schools—at a special, discounted price of $99 including hardware, management and support.

If you’re a full-time public school teacher in the U.S., visit and follow the instructions to take advantage of this opportunity by December 21, 2012. Your request will be posted on where anyone can make a donation to support your classroom. When you reach your funding goal, you’ll receive your Chromebooks from Lakeshore Learning,’s exclusive fulfillment partner for this program.

If you’re not a teacher, please share this opportunity with the teachers who have made a difference in your life! Or if you’re interested in supporting a classroom directly, read through the list of Chromebook projects and donate what you can. Be sure to check back often for new projects.

Thank you for your support in giving the gift of hassle-free technology to teachers and students. Working together, we can ensure “The virus ate my homework” is never uttered in a classroom again, and we can help classrooms get off to a strong start in the New Year!

Happy holidays.


Google Apps started with the simple idea that Gmail could help businesses and schools work better together without the hassles of managing software and servers. As we grew from a handful of customers to a few hundred, we expanded to offer a premium business version of Google Apps. Fast forward to today and Google Apps is used by millions of businesses. We’ve also added versions for governments, universities and schools.

When we launched the premium business version we kept our free, basic version as well. Both businesses and individuals signed up for this version, but time has shown that in practice, the experience isn't quite right for either group. Businesses quickly outgrow the basic version and want things like 24/7 customer support and larger inboxes. Similarly, consumers often have to wait to get new features while we make them business-ready.

With this in mind, we’ve decided to make things very straightforward. Starting today for all new customers:
  • Individuals wishing to use Google’s web apps like Gmail and Google Drive should create a free personal Google Account, which provides a seamless experience across all of our web services on any device.
  • For Businesses, instead of two versions, there will be one. Companies of all sizes will sign up for our premium version, Google Apps for Business, which includes 24/7 phone support for any issue, a 25GB inbox, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee with no scheduled downtime. Pricing is still $50 per user, per year.

Please note this change has no impact on our existing customers, including those using the free version. And as before, Google Apps for Education will be available as a free service for schools and universities. Also, as the first cloud productivity suite with FISMA certification, we’ll continue to offer Google Apps for Government for $50 per user, per year.

With focus we’ll be able to do even more for our business customers. We’re excited about the opportunity to push Google Apps further so our customers can do what matters most to them–whether that’s scooping ice cream, changing the face of healthcare or contributing to lifelong learning.


Editors note:Today’s guest blogger is Rick Hinrichs from the Red Cross - San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter. We recently sat down with him to discuss how his organization stays coordinated during disasters using Google Earth and Maps. To learn more, watch this video.

In the event of a natural disaster or unexpected emergency, a quick and effective response can mean the difference between life and death. We at the Red Cross can always be counted on to assist on the front lines of these disasters and emergencies.

When the 2007 wildfires struck Southern California, 500,000 people were told to evacuate their homes in 30 minutes, but our San Diego command center wasn't fully staffed until four hours later. We scrambled to collect information and plan a strategy over the phone and through email. It was clear we needed a more efficient solution for better situational awareness and a common operating picture for the Red Cross command center, our volunteers and the citizens we serve.

In response, our San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter of the Red Cross implemented a new response system built on Google Earth and Maps. Our map has dozens of data layers that can be used in a disaster situation to display, in real-time, everything from the location of our volunteers to shelters, food trucks, and medical supplies. This map can also be easily shared with other emergency management agencies outside of Southern California.

Now, volunteers and the public can pull up the Red Cross’ web-based emergency response map on their smartphones or tablets while out in the field. They can see safe routes to travel, hospital locations and other places to access resources during a disaster. Google Earth and Maps require no additional training; our volunteers already know how to use them.

Our chapter responds to a disaster once every 28 hours or so, from house fires and SWAT incidents to search and rescue operations. By mapping these locations on Google Earth and Maps, we can see where our assets are, determine where the most incidents occur, and better target our outreach and effectiveness.

The bottom line: the Red Cross is committed to protecting property and lives, and Google Earth and Maps help us do a much better job.


The National Archives and Record Administration preserves a broad range of this country’s most important historical documents, ranging from the Emancipation Proclamation to maps of the Louisiana Purchase to Thomas Edison’s patent applications. Together with Google reseller Unisys, the Archives will move its 4,500 employees and contractors to Google Apps for Government in 2013.

Known as the nation’s record keeper, the Archives protects and provides public access to more than 10 billion pages of textual records, in addition to maps, photographs, videos and more than 133 terabytes of electronic records. The National Archives Building in Washington, DC gives visitors the opportunity to come face-to-face with significant documents in United States history, such as the Declaration of Independence. The Archives also manages Presidential libraries across the country for every president dating back to Herbert Hoover.

Memorandum of a fee paid by Thomas Edison for a patent on "Electric Lamps."
(image courtesy of the National Archives)

The Archives joins a growing list of federal agencies including the General Services Administration, NOAA and Idaho National Laboratory who have chosen Google and Unisys to provide their employees with cloud-based email and collaboration tools.

Google Apps will improve the ability of Archives employees in 44 locations nationwide to collaborate with one another, as well as with their customers and partners outside the agency. Archives employees across the nation will also get anytime, anywhere access to their data. What’s more, the FISMA-certified Google tools will keep the Archives’ data safe while also providing a reliable system with built-in failover and disaster recovery.


Whether your business is building a solution to map gas pipelines or developing an easier way for people to locate your store, incorporating Google Maps into an application or website can help your customers get the information they need. As part of our ongoing effort to build the most comprehensive and accurate maps of the ever-changing world, today we’re releasing updated maps for 10 countries and regions in Europe.

New maps are available in Andorra, Bulgaria, Estonia, Gibraltar, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. Today’s launch includes updates to core map elements like roads and addresses in each of these locations, but that’s not all: we’ve also added important new details like walking paths, ferry lines, building outlines, park boundaries, university campuses and more.

We believe that this combination of new and updated data provides a richer and more realistic Google Maps experience for both consumers and enterprise users. With up-to-date data and maps features, your business can rely on the Google Maps API to enhance your custom mapping applications. Learn more about the Google Maps API for Business.


Editors note: Our guest blogger this week is Jim Nielsen, Manager of Enterprise Technology Architecture and Planning for Shaw Industries, a 25,000 employee company headquartered in northwest Georgia. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Shaw Industries was founded in 1946 as a small area rug company, and over the last 66 years we've grown to become the world's largest carpet manufacturer, with 25,000 employees across 200 locations worldwide. During my 15 years at Shaw, I've watched the organization grow, but our collaboration capabilities began to lag behind the needs of our global manufacturing company. We found challenges in scalability and stability in our previous email solution. Support resources were also an issue, as we required a team of three full-time employees just to keep our email up-and-running.

In 2012, we made the move to Google Apps for Business, after proving in pilot programs that it would provide the integrated tools to help our dispersed global teams work together more effectively, would meet the requirements of uptime and ease of provisioning our IT team wanted, and accommodate the security requirements we were looking for.

Prior to moving the entire company to Google Apps, we used Microsoft® Office, which did not meet the collaboration needs of a global manufacturer. We’d end up with 15 different versions of a document attached to who knows how many different emails. As an example, the marketing team wanted a way to easily share files and work together on copy for our website and ads with our agencies. With Google Drive and Google Docs, multiple team members could work on content, and you could actually see it evolve in a very short period of time from a concept to a script for a TV commercial, all in the same shared document.

True collaboration and access from anywhere was something our employees were demanding with more frequency. We knew we needed to extract ourselves from our current email environment. When I did a cost and benefit analysis, it was clear we needed to move to the cloud. We discovered that Microsoft Office 365 would cost about 13 times more for us than Google Apps. In March, with the help of our Google Apps Reseller, Cloud Sherpas, we implemented Google Apps for more than 10,000 of our associates who use email.

It turns out that collaboration doesn’t just benefit the marketing department. We have an elaborate budget process inside IT that we were able to move to Google Sheets. Now our master spreadsheet can be instantly updated in real time, shaving about two months, or 50 percent of time spent, off the budgeting process. We’ve also started to use Hangouts for a lot of our meetings. In fact, we’ve started holding our staff meetings via hangout, even though the team is only 20 minutes apart. Hangouts have allowed us to be more focused, trimming the hour long meeting to 30 minutes.

One responsibility in my job is to find ways to help our teams be more productive. That can be challenging in a manufacturing company where the majority of users aren’t necessarily tech savvy, but with Google Apps that doesn’t matter because the products are intuitive. They are now able to do things themselves, and we have wanted to allow them to be self-sufficient for a long time. After just a few months of using Google Apps, I’m inspired by the way our teams are working together and finding faster, easier ways to work.


The Google Play Store is the place to find Android apps like the Google+ app, the Google Drive app and hundreds of thousands more. Today we’re expanding the Google Play Store for our Google Apps customers to help you distribute internal apps to your employees through the Google Play Private Channel.

Whether you’ve built a custom expense reporting app for employees or a conference room finder, the Google Play Private Channel is designed to make your organization’s internal apps quick and easy for employees to find. Once your company has loaded these internal apps using the Google Play Developer Console, users just need to log in with their company email address to browse the Private Channel and download apps.

These changes make it easier than ever to get the internal Android apps your company develops into employees’ hands. If you’re a Google Apps for Business, Education or Government customer you can learn more about how to create your organization’s own Google Play Private Channel in our Help Center.


(Cross-posted from Gmail blog.)

Six months ago, our team set out to completely rebuild the Gmail app for iPhone and iPad to give you you a faster, sleeker, and easier experience on iOS. The result? Version 2.0. With version 2.0 of the app, you'll get a totally new look and feel, plus a bunch of improvements like profile pictures in messages, numerous new animations from swivels to transitions and infinite scrolling in the message lists.

The app adds many new time-saving features like being able to RSVP to Google Calendar invites as well as +1 and comment on Google+ posts directly from the app.

Last, but certainly not least, we've added a feature many of you have been waiting for: multiple account support. You can now login to up to five Google Accounts from the menu and switch between them with a couple taps.

You can download the app right now from the App Store. We're excited to hear what you think!


Google Maps Coordinate makes it easy to manage mobile teams more efficiently. To help businesses get started with Maps Coordinate, we’re introducing an online store where businesses can enroll in a 30 day trial or contact sales for more information.

Maps Coordinate combines the power of Google’s mapping technologies with modern smartphones to help organizations improve communication with employees in the field. Employees can download the mobile app on their phone to share real-time location data and any information they need to record about a particular job. Meanwhile, dispatchers in a central office can use the web app to see the locations of the employees in the field, create new jobs at specific locations, and assign new jobs to nearby individuals or teams.

Visit our online store to start using Maps Coordinate today.


Editors note: Today we welcome guest blogger Jeremy Ward, Senior President for IT at Kempinski Hotels. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

At Kempinksi Hotels, we believe we are personally responsible for creating rich and meaningful experiences for each of our guests. As Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group, it’s important to us that we provide perfection for our guests, whether that’s planning their wedding or just making sure they’re comfortable in a city they’re visiting for the first time.

As we began planning our five year strategy in 2010, we recognized the need to free operational resources from IT and find ways to work together across 70 hotels in 30 countries to continue providing best-in-class guest experiences. We found that moving to the cloud would allow us to reduce the overall cost of ownership and IT administration at each individual hotel so they could focus on driving efficiencies out of applications instead of just maintaining them. Quickly moving all of our properties to the cloud became a key part of our broader business strategy.

After considering cloud email platforms from Microsoft and Lotus, we found Google Apps to be the most mature solution and would allow us to collaborate easily across hotels and offices around the world. With the help of Google Apps Reseller, Cloud Technology Solutions (CTS), we transferred existing messages, appointments and contacts from GroupWise to Google Apps using their CloudMigrator multi-platform migration suite.

Now that we’ve fully migrated our 5,000 employees, we feel like we have an email platform that allows us to easily scale our business across each location, adding and removing users in a matter of minutes. We’re excited about being on a platform that continues to innovate and release features like instant translation in Gmail, Google+ Hangouts in Gmail, and document storage and collaboration using Google Drive. Moving to Google Apps was key to reducing the overall cost of ownership and cost of administration to the hotels, but we believe that the true benefits will come from the creative ways our employees use these tools to work together and provide an even better experience for our guests in the coming years.


(Cross-posted to Google Developers Blog)

Earlier this week, we announced a collection of improvements across Google Cloud Platform including 36 new Compute Engine instances, Durable Reduced Availability (DRA) storage, Object Versioning, and European datacenter support. We also announced that we are reducing the price of standard Google Cloud Storage by over 20%.  

We are committed to delivering the best value in the marketplace to businesses and developers looking to operate in the cloud.  That’s why today we are reducing the price of Google Cloud Storage by an additional 10%, resulting in a total price reduction of over 30%.  This price reduction applies to all Cloud Storage regions and the new DRA Storage.

Find out more about the new Cloud Storage pricing and sign up now to get started.


(Cross-posted on the Drive Blog.)

With the holidays fast approaching, life speeds up and work can’t always wait.

While on the move, you can now edit Google Sheets on your mobile device, just like you can with Google Docs. From the Drive app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device, you can create a new spreadsheet or edit an existing one. You can switch fonts, resize columns, sort data, and more. And just like on your computer, you’ll be able to see other people’s edits instantly as they’re made.

Beyond spreadsheets, you may notice a few other tweaks to the Drive app, including better text formatting when you copy and paste in a Google document. And if you’re using an Android device, you can now edit text within tables in documents and add a shortcut on the homescreen of your device to any specific file in Drive.

Whether it’s 2013 budget planning or your company’s holiday gift list, the Drive app on your mobile device makes it easy to get things done wherever you are.

Get the Google Drive app today from the Apple App Store and Google Play.


Today, we're improving the Google Apps administrator control panel for international and multi-lingual administrators. Now, the control panel will always be displayed in the user’s preferred language.

New administrator settings for Google+, displayed in Japanese

Previously, administrators had to choose between viewing the administrator control panel in English to receive the very latest features or wait until new features had been translated into their preferred language. Now, the administrator control panel makes new features available in all supported languages at the same time.

This change is rolling out to customers over the course of the day.


(Cross-posted from the Gmail blog.)

Since Google Drive launched in April, millions of people have started using Drive to keep, create and share files. Starting today, it’s even easier to share with others: you can insert files from Drive directly into an email without leaving your Gmail.

Have you ever tried to attach a file to an email only to find out it's too large to send? Now with Drive, you can insert files up to 10GB -- 400 times larger than what you can send as a traditional attachment. Also, because you’re sending a file stored in the cloud, all your recipients will have access to the same, most-up-to-date version.

Like a smart assistant, Gmail will also double-check that your recipients all have access to any files you’re sending. This works like Gmail’s forgotten attachment detector: whenever you send a file from Drive that isn’t shared with everyone, you’ll be prompted with the option to change the file’s sharing settings without leaving your email. It’ll even work with Drive links pasted directly into emails.

So whether it’s photos from your recent camping trip, video footage from your brother’s wedding, or a presentation to your boss, all your stuff is easy to find and easy to share with Drive and Gmail. To get started, just click on the Drive icon while you're composing a message. Note that this feature is rolling out over the next few days and is only available with Gmail's new compose experience, so you'll need to opt-in if you haven't already.


Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Raden Arief Setiawan, Head of Information and Technology Assessment and Development at Brawijaya University in Indonesia.

The world has been paying more attention to Indonesia these days to see how the world's fourth most populous nation moves into the digital century. While we're excited about our progress so far, there is still much work to do. Being a member of the G20, Indonesia has lots to offer the global economy in terms of both growing markets and a young workforce. This puts particular pressure on national universities to better prepare the next generation of leaders to enter the competitive worlds of science and business.

Despite the advances of information technology, many state universities face challenges in getting the latest systems in place. Despite having an internal email system for all its faculty and students, Brawijaya University faced numerous challenges of maintaining the infrastructure. The email system, along with server hardware, consumed a significant portion of the IT budget, and managing the email system alone took hundreds of man-hours.

Students and faculty members had to be resourceful, at times sharing single email accounts to transfer files and download the latest class notes. This was far from an ideal solution, but a solution nevertheless, considering the situation.

Now, with the help of the free and cloud-based Google Apps for Education system, 45,000 Brawijaya students and teachers have access to a whole new way of doing things: an updated, secure email system bearing the proud institution’s name; collaboration tools in the form of Google Docs and Groups, as well as access to the world wide web from various access points around the campus. For the administrators, Google Apps for Education was an easy choice due to the system’s openness, ease of access, and the way it can be connected to existing systems without having to buy new licenses and hardware.

We are proud to join other educational institutions around the world by fully embracing technology to change the way our university community will communicate, collaborate and learn. This will help develop a culture that simulates the ever-competitive global working environment, providing the nation’s best minds for the future.


(Cross-posted on the Google Developers Blog.)

We're constantly making updates to our Google Cloud Platform products—Google App Engine, Cloud Storage, Big Query, Compute Engine and others—based on user feedback and to improve the overall experience. For example, two weeks ago we introduced a major update to Google Cloud SQL providing faster performance, larger databases (100GB), an EU zone, and a no-cost trial. But, we know there is more to do. Today, we’re continuing to improve the platform with new storage and compute capabilities, significantly lower prices, and more European Datacenter support.

Lower storage prices and new Durable Reduced Availability (DRA) Storage
To give you more flexibility in your storage options and prices, we’re reducing the price of standard Google Cloud Storage by over 20% and introducing a limited preview of Durable Reduced Availability (DRA) storage. DRA storage lowers prices by trading off some data availability while maintaining the same latency performance and durability as standard Google Cloud Storage. DRA can be used for things like batch compute jobs that can easily be rescheduled or for data back-up where quick access to your data is important. DRA achieves cost savings by keeping fewer redundant replicas of data. Unlike other reduced redundancy cloud storage offerings, DRA is implemented in a manner that maintains data durability so you don't have to worry about losing your data in the cloud.

And, to automatically keep a history of old versions of your data, we’re introducing Object Versioning. You can also use it to help protect against deleting or overwriting your data by mistake or due to an application error.

More European Datacenter support
We are continuing to roll out our European Datacenter support. Now, customers using Google App Engine, Google Cloud Storage, Google Cloud SQL and (soon) Google Compute Engine can deploy their applications, data and virtual machines to European Datacenters. This helps bring your solutions even closer to your customers for faster performance and enables international redundancy.

36 New Compute Engine instance types and overall reduced prices
Earlier this year we introduced a Limited Preview of Google Compute Engine with four standard instance types. Today, we are announcing 36 additional instance types and are reducing the price of our original 4 standard instances by about 5% for those currently in our preview. In the coming weeks, the following will be available:

  • High Memory Instance - High performance instances tailored for applications that demand large amounts of memory.
  • High CPU Instance - Reduced cost option when applications don’t require as much memory.
  • Diskless Configurations - Lower cost options for applications that do not require ephemeral disk and can exclusively utilize persistent disk.

We are also introducing Persistent Disk Snapshotting which makes it simple to instantly create a backup of your disk, move it around Google datacenters, and use the snapshot to start up a new VM.

We want to thank you, the community of developers and businesses who are pushing the platform into new areas and building innovative applications. We look forward to seeing where you take it next. Find out more about the new Cloud Storage pricing and Compute Engine instances. Sign up now and get started today.


Editors note: Today we welcome guest blogger Reginaldo Barbosa, Manager of Acquisitions, Telecom and Technology for Leroy Merlin in Brazil. You may remember our guest blog post by Luis Herrero, CIO of Leroy Merlin, Spain in February. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

We expanded Leroy Merlin - the French home improvement and gardening store - to Brazil in 1998 and have grown to more than 26 stores and over 6,000 employees throughout the country. For the past three years, we’ve actually been the leading construction materials retailer in Brazil. To be successful in the retail industry, it’s important that our employees are able to work together across our corporate and store locations to provide the best experience for our customers.

As our business grew in Brazil, we found ourselves faced with a number of IT challenges. One of our biggest obstacles was communicating between our locations in Brazil and our headquarters in France. We found that our calendar system was so unreliable that our own directors would use their personal Google Calendars to share events with one another. With a growing retail business - regularly opening new stores and traveling between different locations - we knew we needed an IT platform with more flexibility, mobility, and reliability if we wanted to keep our employees and customers happy.

That’s why we moved our 2,100 IT users to Google Apps for Business last year. With Google Apps, our team is now able to work together easily and much more efficiently, while providing a much better experience for our customers. When a customer wants to know if an item is in stock, our sales rep can immediately chat with our logistics team using Google Talk and verify the inventory in real time. We can also now share calendars across our stores and with headquarters in France, which allow us to better manage our promotions and events, and helps us to always know what’s happening across the Atlantic.

Google Apps for Business not only helped us streamline our business, but the costs savings have been substantial. We’ve been able to cancel our antispam and antivirus contacts saving us $25,000 per year and Google+ Hangouts have saved us from having to make a $100,000 investment in videoconferencing technology. On top of that, we ended up saving $200,000 in infrastructure and maintenance costs that we would’ve spent setting up users on our old IT system last year.

It’s clear that Google Apps for Business was the right choice for us: in a recent company survey, our employees gave Google Apps a 95 percent satisfaction rating. It’s so rewarding for me to know that these tools are helping us provide a better experience for our customers and our employees.


Like Google Apps, we think Google+ can help colleagues collaborate more easily and get things done. Google+ Hangouts in particular make it easy to hold face-to-face meetings with others from any device with a camera and an internet connection. Starting this week, you’ll be able to invite up to 15 people to a hangout, compared to the previous 10-person limit.

It’s still simple to get the most out of your hangouts: schedule a hangout in a calendar entry, join a hangout directly from Gmail and open a Google doc inside a hangout so everyone can write or edit together.

Finally, more schools will be able to use Google+. Until now, Google+ has only been available to verified higher education institutions. Now, any school using Google Apps for Education can enable Google+ and access the same features that businesses and government can.

These new features will be rolling out to Apps for Business, Education and Government customers over the next few days.


In case you haven’t noticed them already, here are a handful of small updates that will make it easier to find, organize, and view files on Drive.
  • Search by person: Can't remember the name of a file but know who shared it with you? Now Drive search auto-completes people’s names, making it easier to find the stuff you’re looking for.

  • View Google Earth map files: You can now open, preview, and interact with Google Earth files (.kml and .kmz) right inside Google Drive on the web.
  • Drag and drop folders in Chrome: If you’re using Chrome, you can drag and drop entire folders from your desktop to Drive on the web (at
  • Search includes items in your trash: Sometimes files you are looking for accidentally end up in your trash, so now search results include files there too.
  • Create new folders while organizing files: Now when you select files in your Drive list, in addition to adding them to an existing folder, you can add directly to a new folder.

We’ve also added some tools to make it easier for Google Apps administrators to manage Drive for their domain.
  • Remotely install Drive on Windows computers: Remotely install Drive on many Windows machines at once using the Drive .MSI Installer for Windows.
  • License Manager API: If you have hundreds or thousands of people using Google Drive at your domain, use this API to streamline and automate your storage management tasks.
  • Bulk upload and assign storage: Add all users at once by uploading one CSV file for easily scalable license assignment.

  • Search for users: Assign or change storage for a particular user by searching for their name.


Editors note:Today’s guest blogger is Brian Kissel, Business CIO of Juniper Networks, a global producer of digital network solutions and services. Brian’s team is leading a project to improve the findability of useful information for employees across the company, using the Google Search Appliance 7.0.

At Juniper, our ability to manage and access knowledge directly impacts our ability to innovate and deliver value to our customers. However, as at most enterprises, this “corporate knowledge” is contained in various places across the company.

For instance, in a single customer support call, our team might need to consult and filter through more than four different applications to see if similar issues had been solved before, or look for an existing fix. Doing this one by one using the default search tool within these systems was a real time-waster. It also meant we could overlook some of the information needed to make better decisions. And in the meantime, our customer is waiting!

To solve this problem, we recently started using the Google Search Appliance (GSA) across these systems. With the GSA, it was pretty straightforward to provide a single, unified search box, similar to a “ for our business.” As with, we no longer have to ask the question of “which site might have this,” or correlate different ideas from different systems. Google made it possible to connect to our various sources, all while preserving the end-user security we apply to our different content.

Using GSA means one source of truth, delivering highly relevant search results. With our previous solution, employees wouldn’t find what they were looking for, or would have to look through multiple pages before finding it. With the GSA, people find what they are looking for on the first page without having to click back.

This has reduced turnaround time in solving customer problems and improved the level of our service. This saves direct costs, but, more importantly, leads to happier customers. For engineering, it means faster access to relevant information such as technical specification documents, product plans, and customer cases, which helps them design and build innovative products and solutions, better and faster.

Compared to traditional enterprise search solutions, GSA requires less human intervention for configuration, management and optimization, and we estimate that our labor costs have been reduced by approximately 25% as a result. Overall, by deploying Google Search internally, not only have we seen a tremendous boost in employee productivity, but we’ve managed to delight our employees by delivering a search experience that they are familiar with in their personal lives and also scales to the Enterprise.


Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Eric Rosenzweig, CIO of Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. Watch to the webinar recording to hear them discuss why the time was right to switch to Google Apps and how the change benefited their business.

With 129 restaurants in 15 states, Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. has grown quickly since we acquired the first two Souplantation restaurants in 1983. Since then, over 300 million guests have experienced the all-you-care-to-eat dining experience at our restaurants, jam packed with fresh, high quality ingredients.

Early in 2012, we found that the upkeep of our email system & servers was becoming unsustainable. It slowed down collaboration and execution of plans across the business. After evaluating various solutions, switching to Google Apps with the help of SADA Systems was a ‘no brainer’.

Introducing shared Google Calendars and Google Docs simplified day-to-day tasks. Before the move to Google Apps, branch auditing, a quality control process, was a particular pain point for us. Auditors would share branch videos with 18 general and district managers via email. Managers often missed key details in the ensuing email correspondence and ended up with many duplicate copies of important documents. Now, the videos are added to a shared Google spreadsheet, on which each branch has its own tab. Analysis & actions items are captured on one live, master document, erasing information duplication and ensuring that important insights are not missed. The new auditing process requires 80% less time on this team’s part to effectively manage.

Our marketing team has also seen the benefits of real-time collaboration. The process to launch new marketing endeavors, such as coupon schemes across multiple locations, has been streamlined. In the past, problems with in-store coupons were surfaced via phone or email, on or after the launch date. Now, prior to a campaign launch, each restaurant receives a Google Form containing test codes. They use the form to report whether the codes are scanning correctly. If they aren’t, they can open the response spreadsheet to see who’s fixing the issue and when it’s expected to be fixed. This allows for speedy troubleshooting that leads to a much better customer experience.

For me, the most important thing about these examples is the lack of IT involvement. The switch to the cloud has empowered Garden Fresh employees to share information & collaborate in ways that suit them, placing very little strain on IT resources. My team now has the time to focus on projects that will move the business forward as a whole, which is exactly as it should be.


Since we launched Google Apps Vault, many businesses have adopted it to archive, retain and manage business critical information. Starting today, Vault is available for Google Apps for Government customers. Federal, state and local agencies in the United States can now purchase Vault to help meet their compliance needs.

Google Apps Vault helps protect organizations of all sizes from legal and compliance risks through advanced message archiving, retention and eDiscovery capabilities. It provides the ability to quickly search, identify, preserve and export information in response to litigation, investigation, compliance audits, or Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Vault helps organizations cull through their data and find messages relevant to such requests, reducing the associated time, effort, and costs.

Google Apps Vault can also be used to address knowledge management needs. It enables authorized users to search, manage, and review data. For example, if an employee leaves abruptly and the organization needs to understand the status of the employee’s projects, Vault will help find the needed information. Customers using Vault can ensure that data with critical business information are preserved and can be reviewed.

Vault built on the same infrastructure as Google Apps and recently completed an SSAE 16 / ISAE 3402 Type II SOC 2 audit. Visit our Google Apps for Government page where you can find more details as well as contact our sales team.


(Cross-posted on Google Developers Blog)

You want your applications to be fast, even with millions of users. Anytime your user tries to retrieve information from the app or update settings, it should happen instantly. For the best performance, you need faster, larger databases - especially if you have a growing user base to serve.

Google App Engine is designed to scale. And now Google Cloud SQL—a MySQL database that lives in Google’s cloud—has new features to meet the demand for faster access to more data. With today’s updates, you can now work with bigger, faster MySQL databases in the cloud:

  • More Storage: We’re increasing the available storage on Cloud SQL to 100GB – ten times more than what used to be available.
  • Faster Reads: We’re increasing the maximum size of instances to 16GB RAM, a 4 times increase in the amount of data you can cache.
  • Faster Writes: We’re adding functionality for optional asynchronous replication, which gives the write performance of a non-replicated database, but the availability of a replicated one.
  • EU datacenter availability: Now you can choose to store your data and run your Cloud SQL database instance in either our US or EU data centers.
  • Integration with Google Apps Script: We’re making it quick and easy for businesses using Google Apps to use Cloud SQL. Publish and share data with Google Sheets, add data to Google Sites pages or create simple Google Forms without worrying about hosting or configuring servers. 

Introducing a new trial offer 

Many of you have requested a trial offer to test out Cloud SQL. Today, we’re introducing a 6- month trial offer at no charge, effective until June 1, 2013. This will include one Cloud SQL instance with 0.5 GB of storage. Sign up now and get started on Cloud SQL at no cost.


Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Joe AbiDaoud, CIO of Hudbay Minerals, a publicly traded Canadian mining company headquartered in Toronto. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Since 1927, Hudbay Minerals has focused on discovering and producing base and precious metals. From exploration projects in North and South America and our current operations in Canada, our 2,000 employees depend on technology to work together and make sure our efforts are coordinated across regions. To do this, we really needed a platform that allowed us to easily collaborate, work remotely using our mobile devices, and communicate across teams in different regions and different languages.

We had been using Microsoft® Office for years, with several Microsoft® Exchange servers across the company, but it became increasingly difficult for our IT team to stay up and running with the uptick in support calls due to a dated system. After exploring various options at different price points, we knew we wanted to move to a cloud-based solution to work more efficiently and provide a scalable and reliable solution.

We invited Google reseller, Sheepdog, to conduct a two-day Google Apps for Business workshop for a small group of employees from various levels and departments within the company. During the workshop, employees evaluated Google Apps against our “success criteria,” which included ease of use, efficiency, functionality, speed and cost. We quickly realized that Google Apps was a good fit for our geographically dispersed company and in July we started moving more than 1,000 employees to Google Apps.

Our IT support calls for email plummeted overnight, demonstrating just how easy it is to use Google Apps. For a global company, being able to instantly translate messages in Gmail and use Google+ Hangouts to meet “in person” made the language and geographical barriers easier to overcome. We’ve also estimated that by going Google we will reduce our costs over the long term when compared to the cost of upgrading and maintaining our old infrastructure. As a public company, we’re thrilled with the savings and new ways of working that we discovered by moving to the cloud.