The process of going Google doesn't end with making the decision to migrate to Google Apps. That's why our Google Apps Deployment team is here to ensure that the millions of Google Apps users – from large businesses and schools to small community organizations – have the resources they need to help get Google Apps up and running.

If your company, school, or organization has decided to "go Google," but isn't yet fully "gone," today's post on the Official Google Blog points to some resources from our deployment team and tells more about the tools and guides available to help along the way.

Posted by Miriam Schneider, Google Apps team

Google is honored to have been selected as a finalist in the 2010 SC Awards for outstanding achievement in IT security. Google Message Security, powered by Postini, was nominated for the Reader Trust award in the Best Managed Security Service category from more than 600 entries across 31 technology categories.

Widely respected in the industry for more than a decade, the annual SC Awards recognize the professionals, products, and companies providing security solutions that not only protect organizations today, but are also able to identify emerging threats as the landscape of online security evolves.

At Google, we're especially proud to be up for a Reader Trust award, since our focus is always on our users first. Voters from small, medium and large enterprises spanning all industries gave Google Message Security high marks on functionality, manageability, ease-of-use and scalability, as well as the customer service and support provided for it.

“Finalists in this year’s SC Awards including Google, represent a cross-section of the security industry’s best-in-class,” said SC Magazine Editor-in-Chief Illena Armstrong. “Our readers recognize that these companies are making today’s businesses more secure.”

Winners of this year’s SC Awards will be announced at the annual SC Magazine award dinner in San Francisco on Tuesday, March 2, 2010. To attend the SC Awards, please register here.

Google's Postini team would like to thank SC Magazine and the many readers who voted for Google Message Security. We'd also like to congratulate our fellow nominees and acknowledge their contributions to the field of online security.

Posted by Gopal Shah, Google Postini team

MWV (formerly MeadWestvaco), a global packaging company based in Glen Allen, Virginia, has migrated its 12,000 technology-enabled employees to Google Apps. A 165-year-old company with a diverse set of commercial and consumer solutions, MWV products are ubiquitous in everyday life – Mead Five-Star notebooks, coffee cups from your local barista, canned beverage FridgePak cases you see in your grocery store, collectors edition DVD cases, and fluid dispensers for luxury perfumes and lotions – among many others.

MWV has grown extensively through acquisitions, which left it with twelve siloed email systems, including multiple instances of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes across the globe.

MWV embarked on a journey to unite its global workforce on a single email platform. Critical to their "One MWV" initiative was to enable users in 34 countries and speaking a wide variety of languages to collaborate and easily communicate as one global team.

Mark Gulling, MWV's CIO, explains that "The shift to Google has enhanced our ability to effectively collaborate by simplifying our email infrastructure, and delivered a richer set of communication tools. Google provides not only a rich collaboration suite, but a constant stream of innovative, market-defining products that enhance and constantly evolve our user's working experience." Gulling reports a number of benefits since switching to Google:
  • Increased productivity. Users, from executives to individual contributors, have reported increases of over 30 minutes per day, thanks to powerful search capability and the organization features of Labels, Filters, and more.
  • Online information sharing. Users have rapidly adopted Google Sites to share information and media. Approximately 200 group, product, and project collaboration sites have been created since MWV switched to Google Apps.
  • Real-time communications. MWV has used Google Docs and video chat to help people stay in touch and collaborate in real time, avoiding unnecessary travel or videoconferencing costs.
  • Innovation. MWV's product sales team was able to quickly roll out a new quote management framework based on Google Forms and Google Docs with the help of Google Apps Script.
MWV's users are excited about the switch to Google and the new features available to them. As Mel Shaffer, VP of Global Service Delivery, says, "Moving to Google has givenMWV the ability to ride a wave of collaboration and technology features that would be difficult to duplicate in any other product."

Continuing, Shaffer adds, "Google's innovative product design and commitment to user experience translate into a feature-rich user experience that is unparalleled in the IT marketplace today. Additionally, Google's price point enables IT to reduce costs and minimize or eliminate capital investment – a true win for our enterprise and our users."

Join us in welcoming MWV to the growing ranks of businesses who have gone Google.

Posted by Colleen Horan, Google Enterprise team

Editor's Note: In October, the City of Los Angeles – the second largest city in the United States – decided to switch its email to Google, a decision supported in a unanimous vote by the Los Angeles City Council. We've invited Randi Levin, Chief Technology Officer for the City of Los Angeles and general manager of the city's Information Technology Agency, to provide more insight into the reasons behind this decision.

Los Angeles is going Google. After a rigorous evaluation process to select the best email solution for the city, Los Angeles recently decided to move all 30,000 city employees to Google Apps from our existing GroupWise email system.

City employees fulfill a range of important functions – from policing our streets to supplying water and power to city residents and businesses, and from operating our libraries to designing and building wastewater treatment plants and other public facilities. We want to provide all these employees with modern tools that help them do their jobs. Some of the benefits our employees will see from the suite of Google applications include:
  • Improved collaboration. Much of the city's work requires multiple people – even multiple departments – to work together. With instant messaging, video conferencing, and simultaneous review and editing of documents by multiple people, employees will have better tools to work together on projects.
  • Easier remote access. In a fast-paced city government, people often need access to work information when they're not at work. With Google, employees will be able to access their information from any computer with an internet connection, as well as from their mobile phones.
  • Expanded storage. With Google, we can provide employees 25x the email storage they have today, saving them from having to make difficult decisions about which emails to keep or delete.
In addition to empowering employees across the city, everyone will benefit from Google's security controls, which will provide a higher level of security for City data than exists with our current system.

Google Apps will also help conserve resources in the city's Information & Technology Agency (ITA), which is responsible for researching, testing & implementing new technologies in ways that make Los Angeles a better place to live, work and play. Because the email and other applications are hosted and maintained by Google, ITA employees who previously were responsible for maintaining our email system can be freed up to work on projects that are central to making the city run.

By ITA estimates, Google Apps will save the city of Los Angeles millions of dollars by allowing us to shift resources currently dedicated to email to other purposes. For example, moving to Google will free up nearly 100 servers that were used for our existing email system, which will lower our electricity bills by almost $750,000 over five years. In short, this decision helps us to get the most out of the city's IT budget.

The decision to move to Google Apps was not taken lightly. The city issued a request for proposals and received 15 proposals, which were evaluated by city officials. The top four proposals were invited to give oral presentations, with CSC's proposal for Google Apps receiving the highest marks. This decision was reviewed and discussed by the Los Angeles City Council which, after a healthy debate, voted unanimously to move forward with Google Apps.

Learn more about this installation here:

Many other government agencies across California and around the country have already reached out to us to learn more. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, Los Angeles found Google's system availability of 99.9% and service levels for response in the event of an issue to be equivalent – if not better – to what we could provide ourselves. Together with the cost savings, it all adds up to a compelling argument for government agencies both small and large.

We still have work ahead of us, but we're excited to be moving forward with Google and CSC to bring state of the art email and collaboration tools to the employees of the City of Los Angeles.

Randi Levin, Chief Technology Officer, City of Los Angeles

Posted by Dan Israel, Google Enterprise team

Real-time information is becoming an increasingly important part of searching online – both for business and consumer search users. Yesterday we announced the launch of real-time results on, and today we're announcing that the Google Search Appliance (GSA) can show users tweets from Twitter next to their internal Search Appliance results.

Social information is important for businesses: employees searching for information needed to do their jobs benefit from real-time news too. They might be developing a new breakfast cereal, or designing a marketing plan for a clothing line, or writing strategy report for a political campaign. In all of these cases, understanding what is being said just as Twitter users are saying it can be invaluable.

Google’s focus is to provide the most relevant search results to users. In the case of the GSA, this means accessing information from multiple sources, aka universal search. To this end, we already offer a feature called Related Web Results, which allows employees to view results from alongside corporate search results.

Customers have told us that placing web results next to intranet ones often allows employees to think differently about a particular topic and approach it in new ways. By integrating enterprise search with more of the information that exists in the cloud, like tweets, employees can more easily leverage the wisdom of the crowd.

To turn the Twitter box on in GSA results, follow the instructions provided here. It should take no more than 15 minutes to get up and running. It can be enabled for only some users, all users, or set up so users can choose themselves whether they want to see the Twitter results by using a keyword trigger (like 'twitter'). Integration info and how-tos for this feature can be found here, and happy realtime reading.

Posted by Cyrus Mistry, Product Manager, Google Enterprise Search

Picture this: you're working on a new project with your team. You ask your IT admin to create a new group that includes all of your team members, keeping in mind that you must ask them to update the group every time people join or leave the group. Maybe you're even wishing that (a) you had a secure, central place to manage this group and communicate with it, and (b) you could easily search group archives for information somewhere other than your inbox.

That's when your admin gives you the good news: creating, managing and sharing with groups just got a whole lot easier. Today, Google Apps is giving business and school IT administrators the ability to let users create, manage and collaborate in groups without needing IT help. This launch is a major expansion to the mailing list functionality and content sharing we released earlier this year.

The following Google Groups features are now included in Google Apps Premier and Education Editions:
  • Fast set-up. Employees and students can now create collaborative groups instantly without burdening IT, and manage the group settings to fit their needs.
  • Searchable archives. Group discussions are archived by default, allowing users to easily search and view past and present discussions via the web.
  • Sharing with a group. Once a group is set up, employees and students can easily share a document, spreadsheet, presentation, shared folder, site, calendar, or video with that group. No need to type in individual email address manually, or remember who joined or left the group. Plus, the shared items will only be accessible by the appropriate people, even as people join and leave the group.
  • Reply on behalf of a group. In addition to communicating via email or the web interface, the new functionality lets group managers send a message on behalf of a group.
  • IT capabilities. IT administrators still manage if and how users can create groups from the administrative control panel.

Google Apps Premier and Education Edition administrators can now enable the new groups functionality from the control panel by enabling the "user-managed groups" service. You can read more about this announcement on the Official Google Blog. Google Groups will be rolling out to Google Apps Premier and Education Edition domains over the next day, so if you don't notice these features right now, you should see them soon.

We're always developing new features to help you get your job done faster and more efficiently with Google Apps. Stay tuned to this blog for the latest updates as new features continue to come your way, or subscribe to our Google Apps update feed and get the news as it happens.

Posted by Shimrit Ben-Yair, Product Manager

Finding your business information within Google Docs should be as easy as finding information on To meet that goal, over the next few days, we will be enabling new search features in Google Docs that provides better relevancy as well support for stemming and synonyms.

Sort by relevance. The first change is the addition of relevance ranking in Docs search results. Until now, when you searched for a document, spreadsheet, or presentation, results were sorted by "last modified" date.

Now, search in Google Docs will look at various "signals", including whether you've authored a document, whether they've been explicitly shared with you, and other factors to present the most relevant items at the top of your results list. This personalization improves search across shared files, and each user gets the results that are most relevant for them.

Adding to this personalized approach, we've also added a new menu on the right side of the toolbar to let you view, and fine-tune, your search results by "Relevance," "Starred," or "Last Modified" results.

Stemming and synonyms. Search in Google Docs now also includes automatic stemming and synonyms, so that your results are good even if your typing is off. If you search for "meeting note," results will include a few variations of those words, including "meeting notes" (which is what you probably meant to type).

Posted by Balazs Racz and Liviu Panait, Software Engineers, Google Apps Search

Editor’s note: Our guest blogger today is Matt Hough, Director of Global IT for Mattson Technology, a company that designs, manufactures, and markets semiconductor wafer processing equipment used in the fabrication of integrated circuits (NAND, RAM and LOGIC). Matt will be speaking on a live webcast this Thursday, December 10, at 2:00 p.m. EST / 11:00 a.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. GMT (registration will occur on a third party site).

Mattson’s headquarters are in Fremont, California, but we have offices in Germany, Canada, Korea and Taiwan. Our IT staff supports 600 users with a wide variety of needs, from engineers/designers, to sales, manufacturing and customer support in India.

We wanted to put more power in users' hands and, as an IT team, get away from administering basic functions so we could focus on the business and run a leaner operation. For email, we had Microsoft Exchange and we calculated it was costing us $172 per user per year. The speed internationallywasn’t that great because our Exchange servers were in Germany and people had to have VPN access.

We compared Google Apps Premier Edition to messaging solutions from Microsoft (too expensive) and Cisco (also out of our price range). Migration is a distant memory because it was relatively easy and required only a day of training.

Google Apps was a pleasant surprise, if you think about what you get for $50 per user per year ($4.17/month). The security is great and, in addition to email and calendaring, it also provides us with an online knowledge database created using Google Sites. Previously, our engineers and other groups put resolution documents or published articles on network file shares. Today, they use Google Sites to create websites by product to host documents related to new engineering releases and engineering problem-solving documents. We use this information in the field to quickly diagnose issues.

We went from silos of knowledge to a transparent online community that allows everyone to share and contribute information. As another example, we built a site to collaborate on customer issues that features video chat and shared documents. Now we can address customer issues more quickly.

Google Apps has changed the way we do business – we’re even looking to extend ERP to the web. We turned off four servers and we’re communicating better than ever before. We’re more organized. We don’t lose emails, and we no longer spend time looking for them. Google translates everything for us in all the languages we operate in, which is huge. The biggest benefit is that our productivity has increased because we're collaborating a lot better.

Our CEO and CFO love Google Apps. In fact, the CEO sent us an email saying, “I'm so glad you're moving our company forward,” and our CFO tells me all the time how much he appreciates easy access to what he needs from wherever he’s traveling. As an IT person, I feel proud. We have bragging rights now because we’ve implemented something that helps us work together better – while at the same time cutting our capital expenditures.

I will be speaking on a live webcast on Thursday. I invite you to join us with your questions.

Thursday, December 10, 2009
2:00 p.m. EST / 11:00 a.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. GMT
(note that you will be directed to a third party registration page)

Posted by Serena Satyasai, Google Apps team

Find customer stories and research product information on our resource sites for current users of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes/Domino.

Offline Gmail was one of the top requested features from businesses and schools considering Google Apps, and since launching this Labs feature almost a year ago, it's been been put through its paces, maturing along the way. We've made many improvements, including an option to choose which messages get downloaded for offline use and the ability to add message attachments while offline.

Today, Offline Gmail is graduating from Labs, becoming a core part of Gmail for everyone. You can turn it on and adjust your offline settings from the 'Offline' tab in Gmail 'Settings'.

Posted by Andy Palay, Software Engineer, Google Apps team

Editor's note: George Kroner is a Developer Relations Engineer for Blackboard, a company that focuses on transforming and improving the educational experience at over 5,000 institutions worldwide. Through the work of Blackboard’s community of over 1,000 educational tool developers, George sees many opportunities where Blackboard’s and Google’s open platforms can be paired together to provide better and more productive teaching and learning experiences.

Thanks to George for sharing these outlooks.

Technology has the potential to transform the educational experience and to connect students, instructors, and researchers in new ways. We think it's critical for schools and institutions to expose learners to these tools and practices to impart information literacy skills required to succeed in their careers – as students and beyond.

Sharing a strong belief in the power and possibility of open platforms, Google and Blackboard have recently teamed up to combine our platforms, and we wanted to share a few powerful examples of these integrations with you here.

Enhancing collaboration in the classroom.
Earlier this summer, Northwestern University took the lead on developing a way to facilitate classroom activities by letting instructors embed Google documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and calendars into Blackboard course sites. Individuals enrolled in Blackboard courses are automatically added as collaborators to these documents, and single sign-on capabilities allow documents to be accessed without logging in twice.

A recent student newspaper article details how these new capabilities are being used in courses ranging from foreign language to world history enabling new models of academic collaboration and assessment. What Northwestern has accomplished exemplifies one of the best recent examples of tying together the unique capabilities of Google Apps for Education and Blackboard Learn.

Now, more than ten different institutions, Google, and Blackboard meet on bi-weekly calls to regularly discuss the future of the Bboogle project. Northwestern has also made this Blackboard plugin available through an open source educational tool community called OSCELOT for other clients to download and contribute back to.

Enabling coordinated collaboration. As part of a class project at Penn State University, a team of students examined ways to improve their online learning experience by integrating Blackboard with other systems. After some analysis, their top recommendation was to develop a solution that combined events from their multiple school-related and personal calendars into a single location.

By integrating with Google Calendar, they were able to create a Blackboard plugin that combines events from Google Calendar with academic course schedules, assignment due-dates, and group meeting times from Blackboard. Their plugin was also made available as an open source project at the end of the semester. More details, including user documentation, are available through OSCELOT at this link.

Connecting researchers where they teach. The London International Development Center was formed to connect researchers from the University of London's six Bloomsbury Colleges. Its mission is to find ways to solve complex problems relating to international development by bringing together scientists from interdisciplinary backgrounds. By creating a Google Spreadsheet that integrates behind the scenes with the familiar Blackboard user experience, the LIDC provided a way for researchers to search and connect with each other by name, college, and research interest.

Facilitating new ways to communicate. Google Wave represents a new way to approach group collaboration and communication, and thus the potential for impacting education using such a tool is significant. Imagine creating a course assignment within Blackboard that triggers a contextualized Wave of thought and conversation that can react to changes in course content within the LMS and relay thoughts and comments from subject matter experts around the world back into an assessable course discussion forum or blog.

Today we invite you to join a discussion of how you think Wave should be used to enhance educational experiences. Log into Wave and click this link to post your thoughts, then see your comments show up within the discussion forum in this Blackboard course.

The examples listed above are just the beginning of what's possible when combining the power of the Blackboard and Google platforms, and we salute the institutions that are on the cutting-edge, creating these integrations.

– George Kroner, Blackboard Developer Relations Engineer

Posted by Gabe Cohen, Google Apps Education Edition team

Editor's Note: Ming Yong is co-founder of Socialwok, a a feed-based group collaboration application for enterprises that integrates with Google Apps. With Socialwok, Google Apps users can create their own private social network to share Google Docs, Calendars and Spreadsheets in feeds for their domains. Ming and his team built Socialwok on Google App Engine for Java, Google Web Toolkit and Google GData APIs.

James Hollow is President of Alien-Eye, a rapidly growing creative marketing agency based in Tokyo and a Socialwok customer. Depending on the project, Alien-Eye works with a network of production partners outside the company and thus a lot of Alien-Eye projects depend on successful collaboration between different distributed small teams.

Thanks to Ming and James for sharing their story.

Ming Yong:
My colleagues and I are big fans of social networking sites and of Google Apps – we use the social feed to keep connected with all our friends around the world and Google Apps as our messaging and collaboration platform. However, we wanted to be able to share information across Google Apps in a more detailed way. So we created Socialwok ( to bring enterprise feed-based sharing to the Google Apps platform.

We launched Socialwok for Google Apps in September 2009 at
Techcrunch 50, where we won the Techcrunch demopit award. Since then, more than 4,000 organizations have signed up for Socialwok. We would like to share with you the story of one such organization, Alien-Eye.

Alien-Eye staff in Tokyo, using Socialwok

James Hollow:
Socialwok has really helped our teams collaborate on projects. Its feed-based group collaboration format is really intuitive, and is a great way to keep track of the conversations around any project or initiative. We create feeds to keep track of all our projects. Members of the Alien-Eye team working on different aspects of the project can post status updates on what they have done, share media files and different Google Apps like Google Docs and Google Calendar.

Given the large number of projects at Alien-Eye, we have many Google Docs as well as media files. Often, it can be very difficult to stay organized and get access to the necessary information. Socialwok's consolidated enterprise keyword search is incredibly handy; all the content on our Alien-Eye social network is indexed and the results are presented split by category. Socialwok even indexes across the different Google Apps file types like Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets and Google Presentations.

We also really like the mobility Socialwok affords us. Our strategists and producers spend a large portion of their time meeting our clients and partners in downtown Tokyo. With Socialwok's mobile web version, we have an intuitive interface to pick up project threads and feedback, and make decisions on the move. You just hop into the feed, post a comment, and the system syndicates it for you using email notifications and
Gmail instant messages.

This can save up to half a day on a single project timeline. Given the large number of projects that are running at Alien-Eye, we get significant productivity benefits from using Socialwok as our de facto project management system.

Socialwok also allows you to invite external collaborators to any feed. All communications on a project are then archived in a single location and can be referenced easily using keyword search or feed directory browsing. Some of our more progressive clients have already started using this functionality, with great results.

Ming Yong:
While Socialwok has become Alien-Eye's hub for internal communications and communication with some collaborators, most of their clients still have email-based work flows. The
Socialwok Gmail gadget integrates the Socialwok user's home feed into the Gmail interface. In addition, you can post to the project feed via keyword-based email addresses, and Socialwok will automatically post the message to the right place.

To try out Socialwok, go to and log in using your Google Apps or Google account info.

Posted by Chris Kelly,
Google Apps Developer Marketing team

Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is John Buckholz, VP of Information Technology for LCC International, Inc., a global wireless engineering company with 1,200 employees in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Following eight years as a management consultant with Accenture, John has since led the IT groups at three global companies. John has managed Lotus cc:Mail, IBM Notes/Domino, and Microsoft Exchange systems during his career, but his most recent choice for messaging and collaboration is Google Apps.

John will be speaking on a live webcast this Thursday at 2:00 p.m. EST / 11:00 a.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. GMT.

LCC International designs, builds, operates, and maintains wireless networks throughout the world. We have a diverse user base, including field technicians who collect statistics on cell phone signals, radio frequency engineers who use applications specific to our industry, and administrative staff who support the business operations. We operate in more than 20 countries throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. With standard workweeks varying by country, along with the various time zones across the globe, our workforce operates around the clock, 365 days a year – which means a lot of coordination to keep everyone in sync.

For email, we had most recently been using Microsoft Exchange. Prior to that, we had IBM Notes/Domino and before that, Lotus cc:Mail. The company intranet was based on Microsoft SharePoint. These on-premise solutions required a fair amount of ongoing support and maintenance. We had a total of 10 IT people supporting all of our systems, and we frequently found ourselves addressing issues on weekends, especially early on Saturday mornings as our colleagues in some countries were starting their workweek. We were stretched too thin with covering all of these products around the clock. It felt like firefighting a lot of the time.

We wanted a solution that would lower our overall costs and free up IT time. At the same time, we knew that we couldn't afford to have downtime. We initially wondered if Google Apps was enterprise-ready. Then we attended
a webcast featuring Genentech, and we thought to ourselves, “If Google Apps are good enough for Genentech, it’s good enough for us.”

We conducted a pilot, and, to our surprise, everything was silent. We thought no one was using the Apps. But it turns out that people were doing fine and accessing Google’s training materials on their own when they had questions.

That’s when we decided to move into the cloud in earnest. We’ve been on Google Apps for one year now, after what I would say was a fairly easy transition with a little help from
SADA Systems, a Google Apps partner. We now have good email service, including reliable access for mobile users. We collaborate on documents using Google Docs.

And we converted the company intranet from SharePoint to Google Sites. We took the least experienced person on our IT staff and asked him to try converting the intranet to Google Sites. He really amazed us. With no formal training, he just built the whole thing. It’s a testament to how easy Google Apps is to learn and use.

With Google Apps, we are now saving 60% over other alternatives, and my team no longer spends their weekends monitoring system uptime and addressing email issues. Most importantly, IT has been able to shift resources to more mission-critical initiatives. We now have a smaller IT team and a much less complex environment. A few short years ago, we were slaying dragons day and night. Now, we can all get down to supporting the business in more strategic ways.

I’d be delighted to share my insights and top three reasons to consider making a move to Google Apps. Please join us for “
LCC International on three reasons to consider Google Apps.

Join us for this LIVE Event on:
Thursday, December 3, 2009
2:00 p.m. EST / 11:00 a.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. GMT

Posted by Serena Satyasai, the Google Apps team

Find customer stories and research product information on our resource sites for current users of
Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes/Domino.

UPDATE 12/02/09: Our apologies for the faulty link in the first reference to this webinar. We've corrected it and are sharing the direct link here: We're sorry for the confusion.

Google Apps is helping millions of companies save money, but more importantly, Google Apps helps businesses move beyond the slow, multi-year innovation cycle typical of legacy technologies. We’ve released over 100 significant improvements and updates over the last year, and businesses automatically have access to these updates without having to manage complex and costly upgrades.

Last week I hosted a webcast titled Google Apps Premier Edition Innovation – Year in Review to spotlight the most important improvements we’ve made recently. You can watch the replay below or see it on YouTube.

Innovation happening across the web is rapidly translating into better business email tools, more efficient collaboration choices for coworkers, and more secure, higher reliability technology for companies. We’re excited about what’s in store for Google Apps, and to keep up with future developments, you can subscribe to the Google Apps Updates RSS feed, or sign up for email alerts.

When we launched the Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry® Enterprise Server in August, we focused on addressing the needs of companies operating their own BlackBerry Enterprise Servers, typically supporting a couple hundred BlackBerry smartphone users per server.

Of course, companies of all sizes are adopting Google Apps, and their needs for supporting BlackBerry smartphones are as diverse as their businesses. So today we're making it easier for companies large and small to manage their BlackBerry smartphones and save money.

With Google Apps Connector for BES version 1.5, large businesses can now support 500 BlackBerry devices per server, double the previous capacity. This lets them serve more users with fewer servers.

Small businesses get more flexibility too. The Apps Connector now supports BlackBerry Professional Software, which is designed for up to 30 BlackBerry smartphones. We've also made it possible for a single BlackBerry Enterprise Server to serve users across multiple companies, enabling low-cost hosting services to be offered by hosting partners.

Stay tuned for more announcements from partners offering hosting services for Google Apps customers with BlackBerry smartphones. In the meantime, we're going to continue to make it easier for you to manage mobile devices of all types with Google Apps.

Posted by Zhengping Zuo, Software Engineer and Darrell Kuhn, Site Reliability Engineer

Thousands of administrators visit the Google Apps Help Forum every day in need of advice and technical knowledge. The heart and soul of this community are known as the Google Apps Power Posters: LMckin51, Jim McNelis, jlee, ScienceMan, Benjamin, FrankM, Ingraye, Anurag Bhatia, DLW, and Amit.

These superstars volunteer their valuable time freely to provide their expertise and share their knowledge of Google Apps with users on the Help Forum.

The Power Posters come from diverse backgrounds: we have an environmental engineer, a college freshman, and a website administrator who helps out at his local church, but they all share the same passion for the product and zeal to help users:

"For all of the time I have invested in helping others on the forums, the knowledge and friendships that have come from these experiences have been more rewarding than I would have ever imagined." - Jim McNelis

"I first visited the Help Group to learn how to setup something (I no longer remember what). I found my answer almost immediately. Just as important, I found other users with questions I could answer. After that first 'thank you' from a fellow user, I was hooked." - DLW

"I love it when as all the gears snap into place and things just start to work. Almost like magic." - Ingraye

On the first anniversary of the Google Apps Help Forum, we would like to take this opportunity to show our appreciation for their efforts. Between them they have answered more than 25,000 posts since it launched in November 2008 - a mammoth achievement.

The entire Google Apps community thanks our Power Posters for their hard work, dedication and passion!

We'd also like to dedicate this post to the late techlover, who was a constant inspiration to our Power Posters and is still sorely missed.

Posted by Jolly Ngemu and Anjoli Podder
, Google Apps Advisors team

Editor's note: Please welcome today’s guest blogger, Michael Rodger, Director of Digital Innovation for Delta Hotels and Resorts. Mike oversees technology strategy, development and operations and is based in Toronto, Canada.

Delta boasts a diversified portfolio of 44 city center, airport and resort properties, and employs more than 7,000 people. The company is at the forefront of cloud computing, not only for email and collaboration, but also for building social networks that encourage employee collaboration.

Mike will be telling more about Delta's transition at a
live webcast this Thursday, November 19, 2009, 2:00 p.m. EST / 11:00 a.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. GMT.

At Delta Hotels and Resorts, we continually look for ways to enhance the relationships we have built with our guests, colleagues, and owners. As a people-centric organization, we have a vibrant colleague community which is empowered to deliver honest and genuine service on a daily basis. One of our technology goals is to provide innovative ways in which our employees can strengthen the Delta community.

Our talented and hard-working colleagues are, undoubtedly, the difference-maker for our brand. Collectively, the spirit, creativity and passion for service that personify our staff enables Delta Hotels and Resorts to rank as one of Canada's top employers and maintain one of the lowest employee turnover rates in the hotel industry. Within our culture, we affectionately comment that our colleagues have "Delta in their DNA."

To support our colleagues and optimize the way in which they work, our IT department develops ideas that improve collaboration and push the boundaries of technology. One recent implementation involved the wholesale replacement of a static and outdated Intranet platform with an engaging employee social networking site. The general idea was that our colleagues would embrace a user-generated content platform that truly permits information sharing across the hotel and the entire company. The results have been staggeringly successful! So much so that our IT team is now developing enhancements which are intended to take the platform to even greater heights.

Delta Hotels and Resorts decision to embrace Google Apps is another example of our commitment to improving collaboration and breaking down conventional technology bottlenecks. The pain points of conventional, on-premise solutions include desktop software licensing, private wide area networks, and never-ending storage requirements.

Conventional solutions are simply too expensive and too rigid to support progressive organizations such as Delta. From a cost perspective alone, the move to Google has cost us 75% less than a comparable on-premise messaging and calendaring solution.

While the switch to Google has created new opportunities for colleagues, it has also enabled IT to remove bottlenecks on technology processes and resources. Extensible storage, message archiving and built-in disaster recovery are three basic examples of situations where Delta Hotels and Resorts has saved significant sums of money by choosing a cloud-based solution to replace an on-site headache.

You can see more in our video, here:

To date, Delta Hotels and Resorts has provided Google Apps accounts to more than 4,000 colleagues across 44 hotels. One out of two staff has a Google Apps account and we're striving to improve that ratio. In order to reach staff who may not otherwise touch a computer on a day-to-day basis (e.g. doormen, housekeepers, banquet servers and others), we've deployed Apple iMacs across all employee cafeterias. In addition, we've developed programs which encourage our staff to connect from home computers, smartphones or any browser with an Internet connection.

We are proud of our decision to embrace the cloud and implement Google Apps. I am delighted to share some of the insights we’ve gained from our move and supporting a multilingual workforce, during a live webcast, "From Microsoft Exchange 2007 to Google Apps: The Delta Hotels and Resorts Story."

Join us for this LIVE Event on:

Thursday, November 19, 2009
2:00 p.m. EST / 11:00 a.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. GMT
(please note that you will be registering on the webinar host's site)

Posted by Serena Satyasai, the Google Apps team

Find customer stories and research product information on our resource sites for current users of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes/Domino.

Nearly two years ago, we launched Google Sites to make it easier, faster and more affordable for employees to create and collaborate in rich, dynamic sites, even without any technical background. We’re seeing companies large and small gravitate to Google Sites, shifting away from legacy on-premises workspace solutions.

Our customers really tell the story best. Ron Brister, Senior Manager of Worldwide IT Operations for Serena Software, says, “We’re moving our project workspace collaboration to Google Sites because it requires less expertise and administration than Microsoft SharePoint, and it’s easier for employees to use. Better ease-of-use directly translates into more fluid information-sharing, which helps our teams move faster and cross-pollinate good ideas.”

Luke Leonhard, Web Services Manager for Brady Corporation adds, “Google Sites is a very efficient way for our teams to aggregate and share information together. With our old IBM Lotus Quickr solution, it took seven clicks and three page refreshes for employees to publish new information internally. Google Sites makes it just two clicks. Because Sites makes it so easy, coworkers are sharing information more freely than ever before.”

Bill Behrman, Stanford University Associate Consultant Professor adds, “Typically, public information officers create press releases and other content in Word documents, email these to their Web people, and wait for the Web folks to update the website. With Google Sites, the Santa Clara Public Health Department public information officers were able to directly and instantly publish and update content on the web. This brings critical information to local residents without delay, and government agencies don't need to worry about their servers being overwhelmed with website traffic.”

Today, we’re helping companies move to Google Sites even more quickly with templates for sites like employee intranets, project tracking sites, team sites, employee profile pages and more. Templates give you a head-start with page layouts, navigation links, embedded gadgets, content, themes and other site attributes. Employees can submit their own templates to a private gallery for colleagues to use, so the gallery will become even more useful over time.

Example template: employee intranet site

If your business is ready to move beyond traditional collaboration hardware and software, learn more about Google Apps (which includes Google Sites). You can try Premier Edition free for 30 days, or contact our corporate sales team to begin exploring a larger deployment.

We also invite you to join us on Thursday, November 19th at 10:00 a.m. PST (1:00 p.m. EST) for a web seminar on Google Sites. You'll learn how your business can efficiently collaborate with Google Sites, including how to use the new site templates features. Register here.

Posted by Anil Sabharwal, Product Manager, Google Apps team

According to the newly-released 2009 Campus Computing survey statistics, 44% of colleges and universities have converted to a hosted student email solution, while another 37% are currently evaluating the move. Of those that have migrated, over half — 56% precisely — are going Google.

Since this time last year we have seen lots of exciting growth for Google Apps Education Edition. We've rolled out more than 100 new features, launched free Google Message Security for K-12 schools, integrated with other learning services such as Blackboard and Moodle, and have reached well over six million students and faculty – a 400% increase since this time last year.

The Google Apps for Education team celebrated these big changes with Apps customers – including students – and conference attendees last week at EDUCAUSE, an important annual gathering for higher ed IT. Here are a few photos:

Read more about EDUCAUSE and our exciting year of change, and be sure to visit to learn more about how your school can go Google.

Posted by Miriam Schneider,
Google Apps Education Edition team

It's not often in life that we can get more for less. But that's just what cloud computing is offering cash-strapped governments across the country: an opportunity to upgrade their dated infrastructure to state of the art, and save money in the process.

That was the appeal of Google Apps to Conrad Cross, the CIO for the City of Orlando. Conrad is leading the migration of all 3,000 city employees from Lotus Notes/Domino to Google Apps, including the Police and Fire departments. Facing software license renewals, major upgrade costs, and a 12% reduction in staff, it was the right time for the City to consider other options. For half the cost of the alternative, Orlando is jumping onto Google's innovation curve and freeing up IT resources to focus on more important efforts. "The time was right," said Cross. "I'm delivering a better service with less resources, and that gets me ahead of the game." Just down Interstate-95, the 11th largest school district in the US, Palm Beach County, is also moving its more than 200,000 students, staff and other users to Apps.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office has a similar story. Its 120 attorneys and 200 full-time employees use Google Apps for email, archiving, and document management. After moving from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps, the employees no longer need to delete mail or worry about backing up sensitive information. The data's instantly available whenever they want it and they're more productive.

Fast growing cities like Canton, Georgia are also benefiting from the cloud. Strained by escalating spam and endless server maintenance, Camille Wehs, the city's only IT staffer, moved all 165 employees to Apps. With additional reliability, disaster recovery, flexibility and anywhere access to information, she sleeps better for it.

Most recently, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to move its 30,000 employees to Apps. If you're also interested in getting more for less, please join us for a live webcast this Thursday featuring James Ferreira, CIO for the New Mexico State Attorney General’s Office.

Join us for this LIVE Event on:
Thursday, November 12, 2009
2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM PT / 7:00 PM GMT

Already a Google Apps customer? Submit a form to share your story.

Posted by Michael Lock, Director, Americas Sales & Operations, Google Enterprise

Editor's Note: Please welcome our guest blogger, James Ferreira, Chief Information Officer for the Office of the New Mexico Attorney General. He provides IT services to the largest law office in the state. James Ferreira has the privilege of serving the New Mexico public as Attorney General Gary King's CIO. Mr. Ferreira is tasked with the responsibility of facilitating the communication between the public and nearly 200 office staff, including attorneys. Additionally, Mr. Ferreira has served as a member on many committees including the NM Information and Technology committee, NM Technical Counsel, Department of Information and Technology Project Review Committee and the Conference of Western Attorneys General WAGGY committee.

Please join us for a live webcast on
Thursday, November 12, 2009 2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM PT / 7:00 PM GMT where James will be on hand to answer your questions about his office's switch to Google Apps from Microsoft Exchange (3rd party registration required).

Attorneys rely heavily on documents like pleadings, deposition transcripts, exhibits, briefs and other legal materials. In the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, we have 120 attorneys and 200 full-time employees whose jobs revolve around documents. And it's not just the attorneys. Imagine the news releases, media advisories, scripts and other materials that our communications department has to produce.

We essentially use email as our day-to-day file and case management system, so it is mission-critical. Our previous Microsoft Exchange email solution was falling short – especially regarding the need to safeguard and backup sensitive emails. We looked at moving to a clustered system of in-house email servers for failovers, but we calculated the cost at $300,000, not including continual upgrades.

We began searching for something with ample inbox storage, easy backup and data redundancy and perhaps most importantly, a system that offered high security and reliability. Google Apps Premier Edition emerged as the clear alternative. To put it in perspective, Google Apps and Gmail can support any attorney over the course of a whole career, storing and backing up every email he or she ever sends. Google Apps Premier Edition also passed muster with well-known third-party security auditing organizations.

The move to Google Apps took minimal time and effort, and our users now appreciate the reliability and large storage quotas of their new email system. We have realized many additional cost savings. For instance, we have created a prototype Google Docs archiving solution, using the Documents API. In addition, a few years ago, the department paid more than $50,000 for replication software to store data from a SAN to a disaster recovery site. It didn't work very well – but is no longer required with Google Apps. We also spend less time and money on licensing. In the past, I often joked that we needed to check if we needed a license for the license with our former software vendor. With Google Apps, we get the whole deal up front.

Google Apps Premier Edition was a good fit for the Attorney General's Office. It provides secure, available, and searchable access to documents and emails, while reducing costs and lessening workloads for our busy IT staff. It has reduced the "paper chase" across the board, from attorneys to our busy communications staff. I hope you can join me on a live webcast this Thursday where I'll take your questions about "going Google."

Microsoft Exchange or Google Apps? One Government Agency Goes Google
Thursday, November 12, 2009

2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM PT / 7:00 PM GMT

Posted by Serena Satyasai, Google Apps team

Find customer stories and research product information on our resource sites for current users of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes/Domino.

As we approach the holidays, retailers are gearing up for the seasonal shopping traffic. While they can't, of course, control overall consumer spending, they can control the experience they provide to consumers – both in their brick-and-mortar stores and online.

To help accomplish this, today we're announcing a new product, Google Commerce Search, to power e-commerce and search for online stores.

In the online shopping world, search quality is a big factor in converting browsers to buyers, and in keeping customers happy. In fact, 43% of visitors to online retail sites say the very first thing they do is type the product name or product category into the search box (MarketingSherpa).

While most of the top retailers have a search engine on their websites, the speed and accuracy of search results can make a real difference in visitor engagement and conversion rates. Visitors spend an average of only 8 seconds before deciding whether or not to remain on a website (MarketingSherpa
), so fast, accurate results can make a big difference in conversion.

That's why we're prioritizing speed and search quality for online stores with Google Commerce Search (GCS). GCS is a hosted, cloud-based offering that brings the relevancy, speed, and Google ease-of-use to e-commerce sites. Learn more here:

GCS also has a bunch of user-friendly features that make shopping on online stores easier, and search results more refined and accurate. Some of those features are:
  • speed GCS leverages Google's ultra fast platform, because it's hosted, providing sub-second response times to users.
  • Google quality and ranking GCS analyzes every item in the data feed using proprietary signals to determine its optimal placement in the result set, for more accurate query results for shoppers.
  • parametric search and sortingGCS allows users to refine or sort results by category, price, brand, or other attribute; this is fully-functional parametric search for e-stores.
  • product boost and promotions – Retailers can boost the relevance of certain items, or highlight specific products during a sale, and cross-sell related products.
  • spell check, stemming and synonyms – By leveraging the larger Google search engine, GCS can include these advanced search and synonym options, so the shopping experience is smoother for customers – even customers who mistype.
  • fast deployment and scale – Since this is a cloud-based offering, GCS can be deployed in days and, because it's hosted on the Google platform, retailers can scale to meet their higher-demand periods like the holidays without worrying about slowdowns or spikes.
The hosted factor is a key feature in making GCS easy for administrators to use. Because there's no hardware (or software, servers, operating systems, cables, or any other equipment), admins can upload product information to Google Merchant Center and provide a few extra customization parameters – and Google Commerce Search utilizes that product feed to power their website store search.

Retailers can use the same feed to submit their products for indexing in Google Product Search
as well, cutting down on time and tech costs.

With GCS, any e-commerce website can provide visitors with an improved shopping experience. That improvement can drive higher visitor-to-buyer conversion rates. While the conversion rates of most retailers is around 3% (Forrester), the best-performing sites have been able to achieve much higher conversion rates – even reaching double digits. For the top online retailers, improving the conversion rate from 3% to even 4% might actually mean improving online sales by 33% – a jump that can represent millions of extra dollars each month.

GCS frees online stores to do what they do best – create the product and promotional mix that their visitors need – and leaves Google to do what we do best: search. This helps retailers improve conversions and drive the sales that matter this holiday season – and, in fact, all year 'round.

Learn more about GCS at

Posted by Anna Bishop and Eric Larson, Google enterprise search team