Editor's note: This is our fifth and final post in a series celebrating National Small Business Week. Previous posts highlighted small businesses (Revenue Spark, Smart Furniture, and Free Range Studios) that have adopted Google Apps, and tips for using Gmail at work. Today, we’ll hear the story of one more entrepreneur and discuss how you can share your own.

Among many things, Vinny Lingham is an entrepreneur, CEO, search engine marketer, and recipient of numerous business related awards including the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader (2009), the Top ICT Young Entrepreneur in Africa (2006), and the Endeavor High Impact Entrepreneur (2006). Currently, Vinny is serving as the CEO of – a San Francisco based startup company that offers easy-to-use, browser based website creation software for over 3 million users worldwide.

Yola became a Google Apps customer as soon as it was formed more than 3 years ago. Today, with a distributed workforce of over 60 people globally, Yola is using Google Apps for everything from email to document collaboration resulting in tremendous savings and increased productivity.

According to Vinny, “The founders of Yola knew the company’s potential and wanted a scalable and cost effective solution that could grow with their business. Google Apps made it easy to be up and running within minutes and was a fast and low-maintenance solution that fit the needs of a growing company.”

Vinny and his team at Yola are among millions of entrepreneurs and small businesses that are having a positive impact on our economy; this week we celebrated their contributions. In addition to Vinny, we selected a few other organizations, shared their stories, and showcased ways that they take advantage of Google Apps. Now it’s your turn.

Learn how to share your story by visiting the AdWords Blog where you can find tools that teams at Google created to help small businesses succeed. Included are steps on how to create a “Search Story” that walks through your journey as a small business, then share it with us and the world. We’re looking forward to seeing what you create!

Posted by Michelle Lisowski, the Google Apps team

Editor's Note:This is the fourth post in a series celebrating National Small Business Week. Previous posts highlighted small businesses (Revenue Spark and Smart Furniture) that have adopted Google Apps and tips for using Gmail at work. Today, we’ll look at how Google Docs is helping a small business manage its extensive project portfolio and internal operations.

Free Range Studios is a creative agency that has helped hundreds of progressive organizations communicate their messages around social change. If you ask the team, divided between offices in Washington, D.C. and Berkeley, California, Free Range is “Creativity with a Conscience.” This applies to the types of stories they tell and how they tell them, whether it’s through an eco-friendly print ad or a web movie.

At any given time, Free Range is managing projects for multiple non-profits and socially responsible companies. For a small business to create at this scale, collaboration is key. Google Docs is helping Free Range be more nimble, work more efficiently, and remove location barriers.

Free Range switched to Google Apps in 2007; at about the same time, they began to change their approach to staffing projects from office-based to project-based. A single project can now have contributors from either office, in addition to freelancers or clients who can potentially be located anywhere. With real-time collaboration in Google Docs, all these groups can contribute to an idea as though they’re working side-by-side.

Google Docs is also improving office efficiency. Pete Hamm, Operations Manager, decided to use online forms, created in Google Spreadsheets, to manage tedious tasks that would otherwise take valuable time away from projects. For example, when submitting vacation requests, employees can now fill out a form that automatically populates into a spreadsheet where Pete can take action immediately.

According to Pete Hamm, “Google Docs makes spreadsheets, presentations, and word processing an afterthought - which is what good business tools are supposed to do. Just like email and smart phones, Google Docs facilitates collaboration, instead of hindering it, allowing us to focus on our mission.”

Posted by Michelle Lisowski, the Google Apps team

Editor's note: This is the third post in a series to celebrate National Small Business Week. Previous posts highlighted two businesses (Revenue Spark and Smart Furniture) that have adopted Google Apps to help run IT more efficiently. We’ll now turn to ways that individual tools within the Google Apps suite are being used by small businesses everywhere.

Many businesses that use Gmail tell us it has fundamentally changed the way they manage email and communicate on a daily basis. They’re not alone ‒ since Gmail launched 6 years ago, it has become one of the most popular email applications in the world. However, we find that even avid Gmail users may not know about all the rich features and functionality that can help them work smarter.

To get every business up to speed, we posted some tips on today’s Gmail Blog for getting the most out of Gmail at work. Take a look, try them out, and feel free to share them with your colleagues.

Posted by Michelle Lisowski, the Google Apps team

Businesses and schools are moving to Google Apps in droves, and they're able to switch more seamlessly with the help of tools to move old email, contacts and calendar data from legacy solutions to Google’s cloud. We have administrator-managed migration utilities for Microsoft® Exchange and Lotus Notes®, and today we're making it a lot easier for many end-users to move their old data themselves if their administrators aren’t planning server-side data migrations.

Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Outlook® is a new end-user tool that moves email, calendar and contact data from Outlook® profiles, PST files and Exchange accounts to Google Apps. With this new tool, migrations are:

  • Easy: a simple three step migration process is all it takes
  • Fast: migrate thousands of emails, calendar events and contacts per hour
  • Painless: users can continue to use Microsoft Outlook® until the migration is finished, and migrate in phases if that’s more convenient

    Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Outlook® works with Microsoft Outlook® 2003 and 2007, on-premise and hosted Exchange, as well as legacy PST files saved on users’ machines, and it's available at no additional cost to Google Apps Premier and Education Edition customers.

    If you're still running on-premises Exchange or hosted Exchange, we invite you to learn more about switching to Google Apps.

  • Posted:
    The Google Enterprise team is excited to be taking part in this week's Gov 2.0 Expo in Washington, DC. From today through Thursday, the Gov 2.0 Expo brings together government and industry leaders from across the nation to discuss transformative technologies that can help support the mission of governments everywhere.

    We're particularly excited that Dave Girouard, president of Google Enterprise, and Randi Levin, the Chief Technology Officer for the City of Los Angeles, will be sharing the stage for this event’s keynote. Titled "Cloud Computing Services: Finding a Solution for Over Budget, Understaffed Agencies,” this conversation, moderated by conference chair Tim O'Reilly, will explore Los Angeles’ decision to move to the cloud and adopt Google Apps – and what’s happened since.

    If you’ll be at Gov 2.0, watch for Dave and Randi on the main stage at 8:50 a.m. EDT. Afterwards, stop by the Google booth to learn more about how Google Apps is helping government agencies of all sizes provide secure, modern collaboration tools to their employees, while at the same time allowing them to realize significant cost savings.

    If you can't be at Gov 2.0 in person, we invite you to tune in live to Dave and Randi's presentation on the Gov 2.0 site (note: online registration required). Watch this space for more about Google Apps and the work we're doing with our government customers.

    Posted by Dan Israel, Public Sector Marketing Manager, Google Enterprise

    Editor's Note: This is the second post in a series celebrating National Small Business Week. Our first post highlighted an entrepreneur who has founded two companies and is a strong believer in the power of Google Apps. Today we’ll meet another entrepreneur that is an avid supporter of the benefits of cloud computing.

    Steve Messere is an entrepreneur and businessman who has added to the growing count of small businesses that are helping move America forward. Aside from running his own company, Steve is actively involved in promoting "sustainable capitalism" as a new form of profit-seeking business, combining traditional shareholder value with a “cradle-to-cradle” approach to environment impact, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

    When Steve founded Revenue Spark – a business that helps green technology companies to take their product to market – he already saw the value of cloud computing. He knew that it was the technology needed to propel his own business forward, and adopted Google Apps from the onset.

    For Steve, “anytime, anywhere” access is critical, and this requires business tools that are platform independent and available through a browser on either laptop or mobile devices. With Google Apps, Steve and his employees can be productive no matter where they are – at home, on the road, or in the office.

    Steve’s plan is to use cloud-based tools like Google Apps to achieve a virtual status – one that allows him to recruit talent from across the country and grow faster than he could if he had to acquire physical space in the real world. He’s already off and running.

    Revenue Spark is adding clients and new employees around the US and is on its first tour of Europe, looking to bring clients online with its service. Steve is also planning to open an office in New Zealand that will rely entirely on cloud computing as a vital connection to other Revenue Spark teams and shared information tools.

    In Steve’s words, "Cloud computing not only makes it possible for Revenue Spark to enable our teams to be the 'best at their best' but it fits our company's overall global mission of being a leader in sustainable business practices."

    Posted by Michelle Lisowski, the Google Apps team

    Editor’s Note: Rob Salvatore is CEO of Tongal, a cloud-based entertainment company. Tongal facilitates creativity in the cloud by crowdsourcing video content through Internet-based collaborations. The company marries its professional network of content creators to businesses that need video content. Tongal’s focus is on video advertising, music video, instructional video, and brand integrated short films. Customers include the New York Knicks and

    Our business is built on collaboration, and we wouldn’t be able to do this without the power of cloud computing. On average, each project at Tongal involves more than twenty separate contributors.

    Thanks to Google Apps and SlideRocket – an integrated presentation app available on the Google Apps Marketplace – we’re no longer prisoners of desktop software and we're able to easily work across time zones and oceans.

    Efficient & effective communications
    For months we struggled with effective ways to share our high-definition video content. We’re dealing with very large files and it’s critical for us to exhibit and present our work online, not to mention the need to maintain the integrity and quality of the video. The combination of Google and SlideRocket made it possible for both us and our community to create, manage and share video files with a few simple clicks.
    • When users submit video content to a Tongal collaboration, Google converts it ad hoc. So, we're free of heavy conversion software licensing agreements and only pay for what we use, when we use it.
    • After the Tongal community and platform complete the video product, SlideRocket helps us show it off. We can easily embed the finished video product into our presentations without worrying about diminished video quality or file size.

    SlideRocket has eliminated the need for us to burn videos and presentations to disks in order to send our content to customers and prospects. Plus, SlideRocket’s platform generates unique URLs for each presentation that we can immediately send to prospects via email without worrying about file size.

    100% accurate, integrated information
    Another benefit of working in the cloud is that we've linked our Google Docs and information from Google Analytics directly into our presentations, ensuring our slides are accurate and up-to-date every time the presentation is viewed. When we make a change to our Google Spreadsheet, that change is immediately reflected in our SlideRocket presentation. This saves us a lot of “busy work” updating our marketing presentations. As a start-up, every employee and each hour is important, and any application that saves us time and effort is invaluable.

    Insight and analytics lead to shorter sales cycles
    Not only did SlideRocket solve our technical issues, it also brought insight and intelligence about our customer’s behavior through the statistics and analytics that we would not be able to get with any other application. This has significantly shortened our sales cycle, and help us target our efforts.

    For example, if one potential customer spends a lot of time on a slide about cost, we know that might be an issue for them. If another spends time on a slide that showcases a particular video, we know that their interest is truly piqued. If they spend no time at all – well, we can take a hint...

    The viewership statistics and analytics that SlideRocket provides for each presentation have a direct effect on the success of our business. We’re gaining valuable insight into our customers’ experience with the content we’ve developed. Not to mention the fact that we can secure our presentations with password protection, especially if we’re dealing with sensitive content. SlideRocket is the only presentation solution out there that offers this kind of intelligence and control.

    Posted by Chris Kelly, the Google Apps Partner team

    Editor's note: This is the latest in a series of posts on new apps in the Google Apps Marketplace – things that have caught our eye here at Google. We’ll do this every few weeks or as we see things that we'd like to share. Look for the label "marketplace highlights" and subscribe to the series if you'd like to stay tuned.

    Businesses that use Google Apps not only get access to Google's applications, they also get easy access to some of the best business apps on the web through the Google Apps Marketplace. These Marketplace apps are easy to try and buy, and integrate with Google Apps "out of the box," making it even easier for businesses to run more of their systems in the cloud.

    You can learn more about the Marketplace and watch a short video on how it works here. - Simple bill management is used by thousands of businesses to automate bill management. Simply upload bills, route for approval, schedule and pay, and sync with your accounting system.
    • Eliminate paper filing and storage
    • Automate approval process
    • Pay anyone electronically
    Syncplicity – Easy sync, backup, share and file management

    Syncplicity’s unique Google Apps synchronization means users now have the choice to create and edit their files in desktop apps and then open that same file in Google Docs seamlessly.
    • Sync your desktop directly with Google Docs
    • Continue to create and edit files on your desktop
    • Offline access, backup, and sync for Google Docs
    TextFlow – Powerful track changes for Google Docs

    TextFlowintegrates with Google Docs to offer a powerful alternative to Microsoft Word(tm) "track changes," document comparison, and review functions.
    • See what changes have been made by whom
    • Visualize the full revision history of a document
    • Decide which changes to accept or reject
    Mavenlink – Project collaboration for consultants

    Mavenlink manages project communications, documents, budgets, and payments between independent professionals and their clients.
    • Keep all team members and your clients in the loop
    • Get paid for your work with controls over budgeting and overages
    • Email digests keep everyone working together, with minimum noise
    Gist Gadget – Rich profiles for your email contacts in Gmail

    The Gist Gadget automatically pulls together information for anyone in the “From” or “CC” fields in Gmail and places a profile at the bottom of an opened email.
    • See contact information and updates
    • Request profiles to build a direct connection
    • Search across all your contacts
    Posted by Scott McMullan, Google Apps Partner Lead, Google Enterprise

    We’ve seen quite a few state and local governments make the switch to Google Apps in recent months. Cities from Orlando to Los Angeles, state agencies in Kansas and New Mexico, and an ever-increasing number of counties across the country have all gone Google. These agencies have found making the move to Google a great way to cut costs ⚊ a top priority in these days of budget shortfalls ⚊ and to gain capabilities like seamless collaboration, “anywhere” access, and other benefits of cloud computing.

    We were curious to find out what people across the country think about their local government’s adoption of new technologies, so we asked the Clarus Research Group, a non-partisan survey research firm based in DC, to poll 1,000 U.S. voters nationally to get their opinion on government technology issues.

    The results are out today, and they show that 92% of U.S. voters believe “public agencies should make better use of new technologies to cut government spending and improve efficiency.”

    That’s certainly how we feel here at Google, and we’re glad that a clear majority of polled voters also appreciate the need to invest in 21st century technology in the public sector.

    The results also show people think email is a great place to start. When given a list of different technologies that could make a difference, three-quarters of those polled thought that “quicker and more efficient email systems” would make government workers more productive. Google email is fast and reliable ⚊ providing 99.9% uptime, and access from any computer or mobile device to allow government employees to be productive anytime, anywhere.

    Government employees everywhere are getting more efficiency for less money with Google Apps. Bigger email inboxes and collaboration tools like video chat and shared documents are just a few of the tools within Apps that can make public employees more productive and collaborative.

    Government IT staffs benefit from Google’s expert security team and processes, best-in-class disaster recovery at no additional cost, and a dramatic reduction in time and dollars spent maintaining and patching software & hardware. That is time and money that can be dedicated to more strategic priorities.

    If you work for a local government agency, we’d like to hear from you. If you’re an interested citizen who’s part of the 92%, then ask your elected officials to take a serious look at new ways of computing that can cut costs while increasing capabilities. You can even point them to this website. You’ll be doing your part to equip your local officials with better tools to do their jobs, while saving (your) taxpayer dollars. It’s a win-win.

    Posted by Dan Israel, Public Sector Marketing Manager, Google Enterprise

    This week we’re joining others throughout the country to celebrate National Small Business Week, declared by the President of the United States to recognize the impact of small businesses on America’s economic well-being.

    We hear great stories every day about how Google Apps is helping small businesses compete and grow. So, to honor the millions of small businesses across America, we’re kicking off a week-long blog series to share their stories. We’ll highlight some of the outstanding entrepreneurs and small businesses that we’ve worked with over the past few years, how Google Apps has helped them grow, and examples of ways small businesses are using tools in the Google Apps suite.

    To start, we’d like to share a story showcasing Stephen Culp, Founder and Chairman of Smart Furniture and CEO of Delegator. Read Stephen's post on the Official Google Blog to see how his business is using Google Apps – and stay tuned for more small business news throughout the week.

    Posted by Michelle Lisowski, the Google Apps team

    Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is notable technology expert and futurist Geoffrey Moore. He is an author, consultant, and venture capital partner, with a background in English literature. He is the author of Crossing the Chasm, Inside the Tornado, The Gorilla Game (with co-authors Tom Kippola and Paul Johnson), and most recently Living on the Fault Line, which deals with a set of management or investor challenges posed by fast-changing, technology-enabled markets.

    Geoffrey is a frequent contributor to business periodicals and a speaker at industry conferences. He is also a venture partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures, providing strategy advice and consulting services across MDV's entire portfolio of early-stage investments.
    Please join Geoffrey this week at a live webcast this Thursday, May 27, at 2:00 p.m. EDT, 12:00 noon CDT, or 11:00 a.m. PDT. Register today.

    Tectonic shifts are occurring in today’s enterprise IT environment, powered by mega-forces such as globalization and commoditization—and also driven by consumer technologies like social networking, video, and mobile devices. In enterprise IT, static databases and servers no longer suffice, and it really makes no sense to build another data center.

    So what’s next? How do you thrive in the brave new world of enterprise IT?

    Many enterprises are holding their own by consolidating, virtualizing, and attempting to do more with less. But over the next few years, enterprise IT will have to adapt more dramatically, and do so quickly and nimbly. Whether dealing with huge volumes of transactions in a business-to-consumer environment or handling lower-volume, more complex operations in a business-to-business situation, enterprise IT professionals must understand that consumer technologies are now in the driver’s seat.

    Fortunately, there are many insights and tools you can use to guide your infrastructure in the right direction. By making shifts in your IT strategies, you have the opportunity to increase profit margins while providing advanced services and systems that are truly user-centric, beneficial to the business and more secure than ever.

    Join me in a lively discussion to share insights and actionable tips about how to turn your IT challenges into competitive advantages and thrive in an era of disruptive yet ultimately beneficial technology change.

    Geoffrey Moore

    Geoffrey Moore on the New Face of Enterprise IT
    Thursday, May 27, 2010
    11:00 a.m. PDT / 2:00 p.m. EDT / 6:00 p.m. GMT

    Posted by Serena Satyasai, the Google Apps team

    Do you have an informative and fun Google Apps story to share? Please submit it here.

    Customers often tell us how much their users love Google Maps. They love the friendly blue of the oceans, the easy-to-read labels of cities, and the solid yellow of the roads. But maybe you’re a rebel – someone who wants the roads to look YOUR way. Or perhaps your corporate branding clashes with the standard version of cities and streets. You’d love to change the colors on the map, or adjust the details your customers see.

    If that’s you, we have good news. With today’s launch of Maps API Premier Styled Maps, you’ll be able to do all of that and more. An easy-to-customize hierarchical structure lets you easily turn on and off the transit stations, change the colors of the maps to match your corporate identity, work with details, and more. Enjoy!

    Click here to learn more about using Maps API Premier.

    Daniel Chu, Product Manager, Google Enterprise Maps/Earth

    Businesses rely on Google’s accurate routing engine to bring customers from their homes to company stores, from company headquarters to customer sites, and more. This is important on any platform, including mobile devices, and within increasingly-complex uses of map data.

    But sometimes, technology has gotten in the way of the right user experience. No more. With today’s announcement, Google is delivering the most requested Maps API feature: a Directions web service. This new addition lets you couple the Static Maps API with the Directions API, letting users both visualize and get route directions through a simple HTTP interface.

    Driving, walking, and biking directions are all included so regardless of your mode of transport, Google Maps API Premier has you covered!

    Look for another blog post tomorrow with more exciting launches at Google I/O. Click here to learn more about using Maps API Premier.

    Posted by Daniel Chu, Product Manager, Google Enterprise Maps/Earth

    One of our most popular feature requests has been to add autocompletion of queries to Google Site Search. In recent months, many top websites have begun to provide search suggestions as you type, an innovative feature users are coming to expect as part of a quality search experience. Today, we announced at Google I/O that you can now enable query autocompletions for your search engine. is one of the first Google Site Search customers to implement autocompletions on their website. By doing so, they have provided an easy way for Travelocity users to explore and discover new destinations by suggesting the most popular queries based on the first few letters the user inputs.

    To turn this feature on, please check the "Enable autocompletions" option in the Basics tab of your search engine. It may take several hours to start seeing autocompletions once you enabled them in the control panel.

    For more information about how to turn on autocompletions for your Google Site Search engine, see our autocompletions Help Page.

    Autocompletion is compatible with other new Google Site Search features including themes and mobile search capabilities – which can significantly enhance your users’ mobile experience. As with all Google Site Search features, every new development is rolled out free of charge for all customers.

    You can learn more about these and other exciting new features by joining an upcoming webinar:

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010
    10:00 a.m. PDT, 1:00 p.m. EDT, GMT 06:00

    Posted by Clay Maffett, Enterprise Search team

    Google Apps is built for the web, with open standards and APIs that enable our customers to extend and integrate Google’s expanding suite of web-based applications with other services – whether those services are offered by software vendors through the Google Apps Marketplace or built by their own IT departments. Today, we’re excited about two important developments: Google App Engine for Business now enables customers to deploy their own internal apps on Google’s cloud infrastructure, and our collaboration with VMware on cloud portability gives enterprises the ability to build apps using familiar tools and deploy them to their cloud of choice or to on-premise infrastructure.

    With Google App Engine for Business, companies can build and host applications on Google’s scalable cloud infrastructure. New enterprise-level capabilities include centralized administration, premium developer support, a 99.9% uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA), simple and predictable monthly pricing, and – coming later this year – access to premium features like cloud-based SQL and SSL. Read our post on the Google Code blog to learn more and sign-up for a preview.

    To make it easier for businesses to build cloud-based apps and to give them more deployment choices, we're working with VMware, an industry leader in virtualization. Businesses can now build applications in a familiar development environment that they can easily deploy to Google App Engine, a VMware environment (in-house vSphere infrastructure, a choice of vCloud hosting partners, or VMforce), or other infrastructure such as Amazon EC2. This development environment also allows developers to more easily create data presentation widgets that run on all devices, from phones to tablets to desktops.

    By enabling portability between on-premise and multiple cloud environments – including enterprise-ready App Engine for Business – we’re giving our customers more flexibility and making it easier for them to move to the cloud.

    Posted by Matthew Glotzbach, Director of Product Management, Google Enterprise

    Google is making familiar tools like email and office applications much more collaborative than traditional software, but with Google Wave, we started with a blank slate to try new approaches to teamwork without the constraints of existing applications. Today – one year after first introducing Wave – we’re extending Google Wave (Labs) to businesses, schools and organizations to let more people try this tool and to learn how we can improve the Google Apps suite.

    Since we began previewing Google Wave last fall, we’ve consistently heard that Wave shines in small group settings where teams need to discuss and debate as they create content together, like developing an engineering project plan, creating a trip itinerary or building an event invitation list. For example, you can learn how teams at Deloitte use Google Wave to build consensus around technical design documents and other content.

    Google Wave has a few characteristics making it uniquely-equipped for these kinds of discussion-heavy, collaborative tasks:

  • Discussion in context with your content – When you have a question or suggestion about something you see in a wave, you can have a conversation right in the wave with other participants. When you reach consensus, you can clean up your wave by finalizing the content and removing the completed discussion.

  • Logical information structure – You can respond anywhere within a wave, not just at the very end, so you end up with an organized record that follows the flow of the conversation.

  • Revision playback – Wave preserves a timeline of how a wave evolved, so when someone adds you to an existing wave, you can play back the history to see how it evolved to its current state. Playback lets you see content in its logical and chronological context.

  • Extensions – Extensions bring rich, dynamic functionality into waves. Google provides a number of useful extensions (like voting gadgets and maps) but there's an ever-growing library of extensions created by third-party developers. Organizations can even create extensions tailored to their own needs.

    Next time you need to create consensus among a small team as you create content together, consider test driving Google Wave. Starting today, Google Apps administrators have the option to let their users try Google Wave. In the administrative control panel, click 'Add more services', then click 'Add it now' to enable Google Wave.

    To learn more about how your organization might find Google Wave useful, we invite you to join our webcast on Wednesday, May 26th at 9:00 am PDT. The Wave team will be on hand to share real world use case from businesses and other organizations, and to answer your questions. Register for the webcast

  • Posted:
    I’m delighted to announce the launch of Google Maps API Premier v3 today, which includes the functionality you’ve put to use in v2 plus new features that Premier partners have requested, including:
    • Support for mobile browsers such as Android and iPhone
    • Optimized routing
    • Support for custom Street View imagery
    Support for mobile browsers
    We started last year completely rebuilding the Maps API in order to dramatically increase performance, especially on mobile browsers. With the proliferation of mobile platforms and operating systems, it’s become more complicated to build web applications and sites that are relatively browser/OS agnostic. Yet the pressure to have apps and sites work on mobile has only grown stronger. Development teams have needed expertise in Java, Objective C, and other languages, and have often needed to retrofit existing code to new standards. No more! With Maps API Premier v3, the same JavaScript that works in Chrome, Firefox, and IE now works in the Android mobile browser and the iPhone mobile browser.

    Optimized Routing
    With the boom in geolocation and asset and fleet tracking, it’s clear that knowing the optimal route – right now – can make a huge difference in your business’ costs. Now you can take advantage of Google’s always up-to-date map data to find the best routes. Google Maps API Premier now can optimize the waypoints to give you the fastest route, saving you miles, wear and tear, and fuel. This is an easy way to move beyond distance matrices – and to stay a bit greener, too.

    Custom Street View Imagery
    Street View, one of the most popular and distinctive features of Google Maps, has long been useful for our Maps API Premier customers and partners, giving users the detail and feel of a location that no other type of imagery can. Now Maps API Premier customers can use their own imagery, whether it’s of their hotel rooms, houses for sale, or ski slopes, giving users this helpful perspective even in places beyond the Google Maps Street View car or trike routes.

    Look for another blog post tomorrow with more exciting launches at Google I/O for Maps API Premier. Click here to learn more about using Maps API Premier.

    Posted by Daniel Chu, Product Manager, Google Enterprise Maps/Earth

    Since launching the Google Apps Marketplace in March, Google Apps administrators have deployed integrated third party apps to more than one million users, and today we're excited to build on this momentum with the launch of a new Gmail API that lets Marketplace apps present relevant information to users right in Gmail, when they’re reading a message.

    Contextual gadgets in Gmail – like YouTube, Google Docs and Picasa previews – intelligently display relevant information from other systems as you read your email, so you can be more efficient without leaving your inbox.

    Starting today, third party developers can build Gmail contextual gadgets and distribute them in the Google Apps Marketplace. These gadgets can display information from social networks, business services, web applications and other systems, and users can interact with that data right within Gmail. Contextual gadgets are yet another example how the power of the web can outpace traditional business technology.

    Several new contextual gadget integrations for Gmail are available to Google Apps customers in the Apps Marketplace today:
    • AwayFind lets you mark certain contacts or message topics as ‘Urgent’ and then alerts you via phone, SMS or IM when relevant messages arrive.
    • Kwaga displays social network profiles and lists recent email exchanges with people you correspond with.
    • Gist brings together information from across the web about people you’re corresponding with, providing rich person and company profiles, news and updates.
    • Pixetell detects email links to video messages created with Pixetell’s video software and lets you preview, comment on, and share those videos without leaving your inbox.
    • Smartsheet lets you access and update entries in Smartsheet’s sales pipeline and project management tool.
    • Xobni, Rapportive, Manymoon, Newmind Group, and BillFLO have also launched their own contextual gadget integrations.
    Like any other application in the Google Apps Marketplace, a Google Apps domain administrator can install a contextual gadget from the Marketplace with just a few clicks. Both before and during the install process, administrators can review the portions of an email the gadget will have access to, and can revoke that permission at any time from their control panel. For more information on the Google Apps marketplace, watch the overview video.

    To learn more about the new contextual gadget applications available in Gmail, head to the Google Apps Marketplace and browse for apps that have ‘Mail Integration’.

    Google Apps Script is a powerful way to automate business processes ranging from expense approvals to time-sheet tracking to ticket management and order fulfillment. Scripts are an efficient way for customers to add custom functionality beyond Google’s expanding suite of web-based applications. Today we’re launching improvements to Google Apps Script which make it even more versatile than before:
    • Data interoperability through JDBC (Java Database Connectivity): Now Google Apps Script can connect to any MySQL database, including business databases running on servers behind firewalls.
    • Custom user interfaces for scripts: Google Apps Premier Edition users can now script graphical interface elements and menus. For example, a company could power an internal application for purchasing office supplies. Users could shop via a customized menu interface, and the script could email the employee’s selections to their manager for purchasing approval before routing the order to fulfillment team.
    • Standalone invocation of scripts: It’s now possible to call a script from any website, so you’re able to build web pages where users can submit entries that will be collected in a Google spreadsheet.
    • More integrations with other Google properties: New integrations with Google Docs and Google Maps add the ability to create and modify files in the Google Documents List and retrieve directions from Google Maps.
    Businesses large and small are already simplifying their IT environments with the power of Google Apps Script. Stephanie Anthony, IT Tools Architect at Motorola Mobile Devices, says the company is, “saving $1,000,000 per year by using Google Apps Script to replace our IT portfolio and resource management solution.”

    To help you get started with scripts, we put together a new set of script templates with pre-built functionality. One of our favorites is the Map Mail Merge script. Let’s say you need to send conference invitations to 100 email recipients in your team’s database. Generating and sending custom invitations can be tedious, but Google Apps Script automates the process, including individualized door-to-door driving directions.

    Stay tuned for more updates to Google Apps Script. Until then, start scripting and let us know what you come up with!


    Editor's Note:
    Sunir Shah is Chief Handshaker with FreshBooks, the leader in online billing and bookkeeping. Available in the Google Apps Marketplace, FreshBooks is an essential tool helping small and medium-sized companies manage their needs 100% online, providing invoicing, estimates, time tracking, reporting and other business functions.

    Roy Potterill and Natasha Taljaard are two of the lead creative wizards at Inner City Ink, a Johannesburg-based print shop producing high-quality screen printing and merchandise, including T-shirts, caps, stickers, posters, buttons, flyers, hoodies and just about anything else you can print on. Inner City Ink take pride in being able to print pretty much anything their clients want on whatever they want, supplying creatives, retail clothing labels, the music industry, event companies and more.

    Sunir Shah: Running a business is hard enough; people shouldn't have to deal with complex systems to do their billing and bookkeeping. That's why we built FreshBooks – to help small businesses and teams everywhere get paid, painlessly, so they can focus on what they love to do.

    Right from the start, FreshBooks has always been a cloud-based app and we're big believers in the value of the cloud for small businesses. Having all your business data available online, from anywhere, is a huge thing for small teams.

    The Google Apps Marketplace is a great step forward in our view – it helps millions of businesses find new online tools, and provides a simple way to connect all these tools together. We're really happy to have been part of the Google Apps Marketplace from the beginning and we've already heard from customers like Inner City Ink about how it's making a real difference in their business.

    Roy Potteril: We've got a reputation at Inner City Ink for innovation and doing things differently that extends beyond the originality of our design and printing work all the to how way we work with clients.

    We've been in growth mode for a while, but with the World Cup coming up this summer, and word getting out about our work, our business just exploded. Suddenly, we've got t-shirt and custom printing orders coming out our ears. Before we found Freshbooks, we were always scrambling under pressure and bound to one PC at the office, with stacks of paperwork lying everywhere. With the sudden increase in work it was bedlam.

    Natasha Taljaard: We were taking orders and handling all the print jobs we could during the day, then plowing through quotes and invoices every night, or whenever we could get to the office. As an on-the-go group, living on our cellphones, being tied to the one PC in the office we used to write up quotes and bills was killing us. Freshbooks was our ticket out of the madness.

    RP: I've been pushing for ways to scale our business and help us work better for a while. Web technology is the key to transforming a business like this. I was already a Google Apps convert – doing everything I could through Gmail, Google Talk and their other web apps. The access anywhere model just makes sense with the way my life works. When I found out about FreshBooks through the Google Apps Marketplace, it seemed like a no-brainer.

    Now the whole team can quickly get into any info we need, wherever we are, and we're not worrying about seeing the most up-to-date version of a quote. Better still, we don't have piles of paperwork all lying around everywhere and we look way more professional when we can produce that all-important first quote in next to no time.

    With everything in the cloud, we're doing 100% more quotes a day. In the first two months of using Freshbooks we had an increase in turnover of over 30% per month. We're now able to cut out 50% of the workload because of the speed at which we can do quotes and invoices.

    At the same time, we’re able to finish our work a lot quicker, and spend more time on follow-ups and marketing. We're always on the same page and connected, so we have more time to spend on the important things – talking to clients and selling, not spending the day stuck behind the computer.

    NT: One of our biggest corporate clients was so impressed with this whole setup, their financial manager called in his associates to come and check out the way we're working. That makes us look great. You might not think web technology could have such a big impact on an old-school business like screen-printing, but we're only just scratching the surface here - this is going to be huge.

    I had this dream of being able to enjoy a glass of wine on the stoep of a farm on the West Coast, while still being plugged into what's going on back in Johannesburg. I think she's still a bit stunned that she can do exactly that now that I've set her up with FreshBooks and Google Apps.

    Posted by Chris Kelly, Google Apps Marketplace team

    As we announced in February, next week we’ll be traveling to Washington D.C. to participate in America’s Small Business Summit, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. On Tuesday, May 18, Google is hosting a breakout session where we’ll continue the discussion we kicked off this week on the ChamberPost blog. We'll also talk about the technology trends that are impacting today’s small business.

    Joining us will be a panel of Google Apps customers, including one Google Apps Authorized Reseller, who will share their experiences about how they’ve put the power of the web to work for their business. You’ll hear directly from:
    The full Summit agenda is packed with valuable perspectives and interesting discussion topics to help support your business. We hope you’ll join us – and if you do, please stop by our booth and say hello.

    P.S. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is offering a special one-day rate to attend the event. Check it out.

    Posted by Shaluinn Fullove, Google Apps team

    Lotus Notes customers love Google Apps because they get many of Notes’ best features – like document libraries and scripting – in addition to a 99.9% uptime guarantee, 25GB of email storage, and substantial cost savings. Today, we’re making it even easier for Lotus Notes customers to try Google Apps with Google Calendar Connector for Lotus Notes.

    This calendar connector allows businesses to switch to Google Apps department by department, by making calendaring work more seamlessly between Notes and Google Apps. Google Apps users in your organization can look up free/busy info for coworkers still on Lotus Notes, and vice versa.

    In addition, we’ve made it easier to go Google with several improvements to Google Apps Migration for Lotus Notes. Some of the updates include:

  • Support for multi-domain management across all APIs
  • Migration of Domino Directory data, including groups
  • Enhanced user provisioning that can automatically generate Google Apps passwords when accounts are created
  • New domain-wide and user-level options to manage spam folders and archive labels

    If you have a legacy Lotus Notes footprint, we invite you to learn more about Google Calendar Connector for Lotus Notes.

  • Posted:
    On Tuesday I shared some some thoughts on the choices businesses have as you consider upgrading Microsoft Office. This decision goes far beyond traditional productivity applications though; a new generation of workplace tools that reflect the collaborative nature of today’s work environment are becoming more essential to employees. Instant messaging accelerates information sharing between coworkers. Video chat lets people around the world meet face-to-face. Video and image sharing is becoming a critical form of communication. Companies develop passionate communities around blogs and other social media. Customers learn about businesses through online maps and search engine marketing.

    Today’s workers need tools to facilitate all these activities, and traditional productivity software comes up short, even after “major” upgrades. Last week we announced that we’re working to make Blogger, Picasa Web Albums, Google Reader, iGoogle and many more Google services available soon to Google Apps customers. What will customers need to do to access all this new functionality? Simply refresh the browser. No 64-bit servers to purchase, no complex software prerequisites (28 of them for SharePoint 2010 alone!), no backup systems to install, no VPN connectivity issues to worry about. It’s an upgrade that will truly change the workplace.

    By no means do we think that Google could possibly develop all the functionality that any employee might need, but at the same time, there’s real value in services that all connect to a common backbone for core systems like contacts, presence and user authentication. Businesses need specialized accounting tools, CRM systems, marketing automation capabilities, project management tools and much more. Through the Apps Marketplace and our developer tools, customers can integrate 3rd party cloud services with Google Apps and enhancements they develop themselves. The possibilities are limitless.

    This new approach – the integrated combination of Google Apps, a broad array of other Google services, and complementary functionality built by developers and partners – will give your employees the tools they need to be productive in the modern workplace. I invite you to learn more about Google Apps and to start a conversation with our team about providing your employees with the best tools for their jobs.

    Editor’s Note: Ed Laczynski is Founder and CTO of LTech, a member of the Google Authorized Reseller Program. We asked Ed to share his experiences and successes with program and why he believes that the cloud is where companies need to be.

    In 2005, LTech was a local systems integrator and development shop with a focus on Microsoft solutions. Satisfied with the Microsoft technology platform at the time but crowded out by a sea of competition and frustrated by a lack of innovation, we were introduced to Google through a Google Search Appliance integration for a customer.

    We learned about Google Apps and started working with the platform in 2007 to provide deployment and migration services for clients. So when the Google Apps Reseller Program was announced in 2009, LTech already had an experienced team in place and a Single Sign-On product developed specifically for Google Apps customers.

    The Microsoft Partner Program was and is a great program for developers in terms of providing SDKs and IDEs, but it was difficult to navigate and even more difficult for us to get support and build a true partnership. The Google Enterprise Program however, was easy to navigate and make connections. I am sure being early to the program helped, but Google gave us the support and confidence we needed to invest and build a successful reselling business. Google provided detailed training which allowed our technicians and developers to learn the platform and build out our delivery teams.

    By mid-2008, we decided to stop actively offering Microsoft-based collaboration solutions to customers. This was a big move for us, and a bit scary, but the Microsoft platform wasn’t evolving at the pace our customers demanded. The Microsoft Partner Program didn’t foster the same type of opportunity as Google for a start-up company like ours. Our Google Apps business was taking off and we haven’t looked back. We have grown to a multi-million dollar business with dozens of cloud technologists and a national footprint, helping to pave the way for business adoption of cloud.

    The Cloud Transition Opportunity
    We are investing in the cloud because it is the future of business technology. This is one of those rare transitional moments in technology – near unlimited computing power is being made available to both experts and non-experts alike. Whole technology ecosystems and industries will be transformed by it. Just look at what leaders like Google, Amazon, and Salesforce have accomplished in a few short years – and the investments they've made.

    Source: LTech 2010

    At LTech, we’re seeing certain industries adopt Google Apps faster than others. We are responding to this by developing vertically focused solutions. For example, our Google Apps for Real Estate program bundles Google Apps, Agent Website Templates, and calendar sharing.

    Why are these businesses adopting Google Apps? It’s widely known that Google Apps is more cost effective compared to on-premise software, our customers are also taking advantage of the rapid innovation pace for productivity gains and business transformation.

    Google Apps isn't just email. Products like Google Sites and Google Docs can deliver spontaneous collaboration capabilities for employees that were never connected before. For example, the new Google Docs interface takes real time collaboration to the next level by allowing you to see other people’s changes character-by-character as they type. No need to send attachments back and forth, and it is web-standards and mobile friendly. That sort of innovation is key to enterprise adoption of cloud platforms.

    The Google Apps Partner Program
    While I can't reveal exact numbers, the positive growth of Google Apps sales in our business is exciting and keeping us charged up about the opportunity ahead as a leading Google Apps Reseller and Google Enterprise Partner.

    Source: LTech 2010

    The Google Authorized Reseller Program has helped us grow from a small systems integrator to a leader in cloud products and services. We've built a great relationship with Google that is mutually beneficial, and we get support when and where we need it. In particular, the Google Apps developer relations team at Google has been instrumental in helping us to build enterprise quality products like Power Panel for Google Apps and Single Sign On. The documentation and API support available is fantastic, and the community and ecosystem around the Google Apps suite is strong.

    Ed Laczynski
    Founder and CTO, LTech

    Posted by Pat Spears, Google Apps Reseller Team


    This week Microsoft will take its Office 2010 suite out of beta. If you’re considering upgrading Office with Office, we’d encourage you to consider an alternative: upgrading Office with Google Docs. If you choose this path, upgrade means what it’s supposed to mean: effortless, affordable, and delivering a remarkable increase in employee productivity. This is a refreshing alternative to the expensive and laborious upgrades to which IT professionals have become accustomed.

    Google Docs has been providing rich real-time collaboration to millions of users for nearly four years. It lets employees edit and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in the browser from anywhere in the world. We recently made tremendous strides in improving Google Docs formatting, speed and functionality, and a growing number of companies are now using it as their primary productivity software.

    Of course, you probably already own Office 2003 or 2007 (or maybe Office 2000?), and there’s no need to uninstall them. Fortunately, Google Docs also makes Office 2003 and 2007 better. For example, you can store any file – including Microsoft Office documents – in Google’s cloud and share them in their original format (protected, naturally by Google’s synchronous replication across datacenters). Plus, in the coming months, Google will enable real-time collaboration directly in Office 2003 and 2007, as you can see here.

    Google Docs represents a real alternative for companies: a chance to get the collaboration features you need today and end the endless cycle of “upgrades”. For more information on the choices available to you, check out the summary below. But don’t take our word for it – you can try Google Docs and the rest of the Google Apps suite for free. The only thing you have to lose is a server or two.

    For further information on Microsoft's offerings and requirements, please reference the Microsoft TechNet articles on SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010.


    Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Silicon Valley veteran Andy Bechtolsheim. While at Stanford University, Bechtolsheim devised a powerful computer (which he called a workstation) because he was tired of waiting for computer time on the central university system. Vinod Khosla and Scott McNealy approached him to market his invention and start Sun – derived from “Stanford University Network.” Sun Microsystems quickly became a success, with a market capitalization by 2003 of $11.5 billion. Today, Andy is Chairman of Arista Networks, a company that delivers networking solutions for large data centers and high-performance computing environments.

    Andy will be speaking on a live webcast this Thursday, May 13, at 11:00 a.m. PDT, where he will also field questions from the audience.

    If you are an entrepreneur or you are part of a growing start-up, then you're no doubt laser-focused on developing and marketing something game-changing. From experience, I know that you can’t afford to siphon off resources toward anything that’s not core to the business.

    When we founded Arista Networks, we did not really want to buy our own servers for internal IT tasks such as hosting email. And we didn’t want to worry about data back-ups or remote access. We initially used a small, hosted email provider, but something went wrong every week. More than two years ago, we switched to Google Apps for all of our communication needs, and we have not had any problems since.

    Our experience with Google Apps is very good. Email works great --- in particular the search function plus the integrated chat, and there is no SPAM. We get back-ups and world-wide remote access managed by Google. Document sharing is very useful. Basically everything just works as you would expect, and we don't have to worry about anything. We don't need a system administrator, even with a headcount of more than a hundred people.

    My advice to every start-up is to use Google Apps. It saves you from having huge headaches, it is very inexpensive, and just a better system. We also use some other cloud services such as for customer relationship management, Netsuite for our database and Amazon to host our website. Cloud computing works great for us. I would never buy another server to bring these functions in-house.

    I would be happy to relay my experiences with Google Apps here at Arista and share three tips with you on:

    • How to use cloud computing to focus on your core competency
    • Ways to help employees increase productivity in a rapid growth environment
    • How to recharge your business approach through constant innovations in Google Apps

    Please join us for this LIVE event:

    May 13, 2010
    11:00 a.m. PDT / 2:00 p.m. EDT / 6:00 p.m. GMT

    Posted by Serena Satyasai, the Google Apps team

    Do you have an informative and fun Google Apps story to share? Please submit it here.