Information overload is a reality of the modern workplace. The average corporate worker sends and receives more than 150 messages per day1, an email deluge of varying importance: key project updates from colleagues, requests from higher-ups, appointment reminders, and automated mail that’s often much less important. With so much information to process, simply figuring out what needs to be be read and what needs a reply takes up a lot of time. Today, we’re excited to introduce Priority Inbox Beta in Gmail, an experimental new way of reducing information overload.

Priority Inbox is a new view of your inbox that automatically helps you focus on your most important messages. Gmail has always kept spam messages out of your inbox, and now we’ve improved Gmail’s filter to help you see the emails that matter faster without requiring you to set up complex rules.

Here’s how it works: Priority Inbox splits your inbox into three sections: “Important and unread,” “Starred,” and “Everything else”:

Messages are automatically categorized as they arrive in your inbox. Gmail uses a variety of signals to predict which messages are important, including the people you email most and which messages you open and reply to (these are likely more important than the ones you skip over). And as you use Gmail, it will get better. You can improve the ranking in Priority Inbox by clicking the buttons at the top of the inbox to mark conversations as important or not important.

As a result, your inbox is better organized, and you can spend your time addressing your most important emails right away. When we tested Priority Inbox at Google, we found that people spent 6% less time on email after enabling this feature. This translates to a week’s worth of time saved each year for information workers who typically spend 13 hours per week on email today!2

Luke Leonhard, Web Services Manager for Brady Corporation, says “Like many of our users, I get over a hundred messages each day. Priority Inbox saves me time by displaying emails in order of importance, letting me process them more efficiently than before. The time I save can then be spent on new projects that add value to Brady rather than managing my inbox.”

Over the next week, we’ll be rolling out Priority Inbox settings to users in organizations with the “Enable pre-release features” option selected in the Google Apps control panel.

Helping users manage lots of information has always been a core goal of Gmail, and we’re excited to see how Priority Inbox helps users in organizations mitigate information overload and get to important messages faster.

1. “Email Statistics Report, 2009-2013”, The Radicati Group, Inc, 2009

2. “Hidden Costs of Information Work in the Enterprise Exposed in New IDC Progress Report”, IDC, 2009

Editors note: As part of our Going Google Everywhere series, today's guest blogger is Jen Grant, VP of Marketing at, a Palo Alto-based start-up that helps businesses collaborate, share, and manage all their content online. Learn more about other organizations that have gone Google on our community map.

When I joined a few years ago, we weren’t using a web-based email and calendaring solution, despite being "born in the cloud." At first I POP-ed my email into my personal Gmail (insert groans from IT here). But as the company grew from 40 to 100, it wasn't hard to convince our IT guru, Jeff, that a move to Google Apps would be best for productivity...and his sanity.

Today, we no longer use our in-house system that required a lot of maintenance and back-ups. Instead we’re heavy users of the Google Apps. We use Gmail, Google Talk and Google Calendar to keep track of our busy schedules and stake out precious conference rooms. And since we’ve grown pretty quickly, being able to collaborate on projects using Google Docs has helped us to work together across our larger teams. Plus, since the launch of the Google Apps Marketplace, the Box and Google Apps platforms are integrated, resulting in the seamless connection of Box's cloud content management solution with Google Apps. We like to think that the two services were a match made in heaven...or at least the clouds :) Check out our snazzy video about the integration.

The Box-Google Apps integration helps us work faster and more efficiently. Being able to collaborate across departments as we've grown has been essential. My favorite part is the ability to create a Google doc in a Box folder. I get the real-time collaboration of Google Docs and can also assign my CEO a task to approve the final version. Plus our security-sensitive VP of Tech Ops is happy because he can now report on who's got access to which files in Google Docs. And everyone can access and link to their Box files from Gmail. Peanut butter and chocolate.

Thanks to our move to Google Apps, I'm happy to report that as a service and company, Box operates fully in the cloud. Now that the Box team is hooked on Google Apps, none of us can imagine life without it.

Editor’s note: Over the past couple months, thousands of businesses have added their Gone Google story to our community map and even more have used the Go Google cloud calculator to test drive life in the cloud. To highlight some of these companies’ Gone Google stories, we decided to talk to Google Apps customers across the United States. Check back each week to see which state we visit next. To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map.

Two years ago, Patrick Benard and Sean Naughton completed their first handmade bicycle. Shortly after, they opened Bowery Lane Bicycles in Manhattan with a commitment to having a positive impact on the environment and the local community. Today, they continue to design bicycles for the urban cyclist, build them by hand in New York – in a local factory that uses solar panels to generate 30% of its power – and sell them from their showroom and at city cycling events. Even on the business side, the founders have taken a community approach, working only with local vendors and freelancers.

A year after Bowery Lane Bicycles opened, Michael Salvatore, chief officer of just about everything, was brought on board to help run the business. His first task was to get the company operating and communicating on a more professional level by implementing Google Apps so everyone had email addresses. From experience at previous companies, Michael knew that email addresses were only the beginning and started using Google Apps to improve other business processes. He shares with us how this was done.

“We rely on freelancers and friends located throughout the city to get projects done, and Google Docs makes this possible. Our friends have day jobs so being able to access everything online and collaborate with us in real-time, from anywhere, is not only convenient, it’s essential.

Google Calendar also helps us quickly spread the word among our friends about upcoming cycling and charity events where we’ll need staffing help. We keep a master calendar of all events and send out invites directly from Google Calendar. On the sales end, our showroom is viewed by appointment only, so we use a shared calendar for all of our scheduling.

To track inventory, I use Google forms. When a sale is made the model number of the bicycle purchased and other relevant information is inputted into a form. All the details are then populated directly into my spreadsheet and I can keep track of which bikes are low in inventory and when I need to order more. It’s simple but efficient.

With most of our business software needs taken care of, we can focus on our main goal – manufacturing the best bikes we can. Yes, we’re a small start-up, but we realized early on that successful companies need to be able to communicate quickly and keep track of their business as they expand. We can do just that, thanks to Google Apps.”

Collaborating with colleagues from various teams in different offices is a daily facet of my work. I am based in Zurich, Switzerland, and many of the people I interact with are in California, USA, which is nine hours behind. Oftentimes I find myself invited to attend meetings that happen late in my evening, which proves that coordinating across time zones can be a challenge.

At Google we want to help you maintain a healthy work/life balance, so today we’re launching a set of new features that will improve your experience whether you’re scheduling across time zones or just across the hall.

Setting Up Working Hours
For Google Apps users, the new ‘Working hours’ setting allows you to configure the hours that suit your schedule, as you can see in the screenshot below:

Users setting up an event will be able to see your working hours clearly marked in your calendar in the event creation page. They will also be warned if they schedule an event outside your working hours. For example, when someone in California is scheduling an appointment with me for 11am their time, they will see a warning like this:

Find a Time, Make it Recurring
The new "Find a Time" tab on the event scheduling page lets you view your coworkers’ schedules at-a-glance and choose the best time for a meeting. This is especially helpful for scheduling events with a large number of attendees, particularly if they are spread out geographically. Also in the event scheduling page, we’ve launched a simpler interface for setting recurring meetings with a small window that appears when you select the “Repeats” check box. For Google Apps customers with the administrative control panel option set to “enable new pre-release features” users will automatically see these new changes to the event editor.

We’ve also made a number of changes on the back-end that improve the performance, consistency, and extensibility of Calendar, which we’ve announced on our Gmail blog today. Enjoy your meetings, now with fewer time zone scheduling hassles!

Update (8/30): While rolling out the new calendar features last week we identified a potential issue that caused us to delay the update. We are working to launch these new feature to users on domains that do not utilize the Google Calendar Connector (GCC) service early this week and we are working on supporting GCC users in the near future.

Editor’s note: Today’s guest post comes from Chris Poe, Engineering Director at JibJab Media. is a digital entertainment studio that creates, produces and distributes humorous online content. From offbeat eCards to personalized videos and satirical viral videos, JibJab is on a mission to help more people share more laughs than any other company in the history of the world.

We could all use a good laugh from time to time. Which is why we’re thrilled to announce that, as of today, search on is powered by Google Site Search, making it even easier for our visitors to explore and find their favorite funny items:

In evaluating a website search engine, we chose Google Site Search for its ability to help users find the perfect eCard or video, fast, while allowing our developers to control the look and feel of the results. We also appreciated the fact that Google Site Search provided XML results for full customization of each search query, and gave us a hands-free search solution that requires little-to-no custom maintenance.

This, hopefully, will allow our visitors to find more of what they’re looking for on our site - good laughs!

Posted by: Rajat Mukherjee, Group Product Manager, Google Enterprise

The email inbox has become the hub for most people’s business day. With Gmail contextual gadgets, available in the Google Apps Marketplace, instead of having to open additional applications to take action or get more information, these applications intelligently bring what you need right into your inbox. Gmail contextual gadgets scan for triggers, such as names or purchase order numbers, within a message and present relevant actions in-line with the email. Attend our webinar on Sept 8th to learn more about this feature. Here are a few examples of the wide range of applications that offer Gmail contextual gadgets in the Marketplace.

Customer management (CRM) solutions are one of the most sought after applications in the Marketplace. The newly launched Solve360 contextual gadget demonstrates the advantages of having access to CRM information within a message. Alongside each Gmail message, Solve360’s gadget shows off a clean, at-a-glance view of everything your team knows about the person behind the message. Before taking further action, you can examine the customer’s previous interactions and special considerations. Advanced customer management is now no more complicated than a few extra clicks inside an email exchange with a client.

Video Demonstration

Tracking time can be quite cumbersome for employees and businesses, so Harvest has developed a web-based solution for managing your timesheets. With Harvest for Google Apps, entering time is as simple as filling out a timesheet right within Gmail. Harvest sends automatic reminder emails to employees to fill out relevant timesheets. With contextual gadgets, these emails display the recipient’s timesheet right below the body of the message so users can fill out and submit their timesheet without ever leaving their inbox. Bringing this crucial task right into your email takes out unnecessary steps and helps you save time and stay on track.

Video Demonstration

Smartsheet, a popular project management solution, offers integration across various Google Apps products. With their Gmail contextual gadget, any email that references a Smartsheet item allows task management right from your inbox. This functionality is interactive with your daily needs - as Smartsheet tracks project progress, if it detects a change in status based on your parameters, it will deliver an email to your inbox. Right from that email, you will be able to fully assess and edit each aspect of the project. The volatility of project management just got that much smoother.

Video Demonstration

Gist demonstrates how deeply rooted and useful social networks have become. This application delivers social media in a way that changes how you manage relationships. Gist removes the noise from individual email alerts, eliminates the hassle of going to multiple services for updates, and automates the delivery of the most important information about the contacts in your professional network. With their Gmail contextual gadget, you can better understand the context of each email without any extra work and better frame your actions. Valuable social information is available to you exactly where you need it - your inbox.

Video Demonstration

These are just four of the applications in the Google Apps Marketplace that have taken Gmail contextual gadgets to the next level. For more contextual gadgets, check out:

Remember to sign up for our webinar on Sept 8th to learn more about these great gadgets.

All about Gmail contextual gadgets: Learn how to access Line of Business data from your inbox
Wednesday, September 8th, 2010
11:00 a.m. PDT / 2:00 p.m. EDT
Register here

Google Sites makes creating a website as simple as editing a document. With dozens of site templates and new features like horizontal navigation or global footers, you can easily create a site for your team or project and share it with your colleagues, your entire organization, or the world.

We've also seen small and medium sized businesses use Google Sites as a fast and convenient way to build their official web site. Combined with Google Places, Google Sites is a great way for small businesses to start building their presence on the web. To learn more, see our blog post on the Google SMB Blog or go straight to the Getting Started Guide for Google Sites and Google Places.

Editor’s note: Over the past couple of months, thousands of businesses have added their Gone Google story to our community map and even more have used the Go Google cloud calculator to test drive life in the cloud. To highlight some of these companies’ Gone Google stories, we decided to talk to Google Apps customers across the United States. Check back each week to see which state we visit next. To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map.

This week we’ll hear from Sarah Leah Gootnick, founder of Secretary in Israel, based in New Jersey and Israel. Secretary in Israel and Virtual Assistant Israel match college-educated, American virtual assistants living in Israel with business owners from across the United States and abroad.

"The idea for Secretary in Israel came about when an entrepreneurial friend of mine in San Francisco told me how overwhelmed he was with all the administrative work for his IT business. He struggled to find a talented assistant within his price range locally. I introduced him to my friend who had just moved from the US to Israel. Not long after, he called to tell me that she was the best assistant he had had in years, and he encouraged me to start a business to provide this same service to other entrepreneurs.

As a result of his encouragement, we started Secretary in Israel approximately two and half years ago. At the time, we were in an unusual situation: our virtual assistants, all of whom are American college graduates, were living in Israel, and our client base of successful entrepreneurs were spread throughout the United States and abroad (including the UK, Australia, and Thailand). With our team located thousands of miles from our clients, we were, as you might say, “geographically challenged”.

However, with the help of Google Apps, geographical distance became irrelevant. Our virtual assistants all use Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar, which enable us to work with our clients and seamlessly integrate into their businesses as if we were sitting in the rooms next to them.

One particular benefit that our virtual assistants and clients love is the ability to edit docs and spreadsheets simultaneously. Gone are the days of worrying about who has the right version of a document and whether the hours of changes you’ve just made were put into the right version or not. With Apps, the document or spreadsheet is always current, and our team and clients can rest assured that important edits were entered in the right version.

Google Apps also allows our virtual assistants to work so seamlessly with their clients and their clients’ business associates that most people don’t realize our assistants aren’t in the same office. One of our clients told us that when people finally do meet him at his office, they often ask, “Where’s Hilary? She was so lovely on the phone. I’d like to meet her!” It’s at that point that he says with a smile, “Oh. She’s not here at the moment. She’s in Israel!”

Because of the collaborative focus of Google Apps, we’re able to run a business that provides a great service to successful entrepreneurs in the United States and abroad as well as career opportunities for professional, Americans in Israel."

Editor’s note: Over the past couple months, thousands of businesses have added their Gone Google story to our community map and even more have used the Go Google cloud calculator to test drive life in the cloud. To highlight some of these companies’ Gone Google stories, we decided to talk to Google Apps customers across the United States. Check back each week to see which state we visit next. To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map.

In Massachusetts, we find Sean Leach, Systems Architect for EPS Communications — a strategic marketing firm near Boston. With experienced staff, EPS marries multiple disciplines to offer client services including direct response media, interactive development, design, and custom content and publishing. EPS is so excited to have gone Google that Sean created the picture below showing each of his co-workers, and shared the story of why the company switched to Google Apps.

“In late 2007 we made the switch from a traditional email POP server and a ‘whatever you can find’ calendar and docs solution to Google Apps. We haven't looked back since.

Within Google Apps, we mainly use Gmail, Calendar, and Docs. Because of the tight integration between the three services, as well as the ‘it just works’ nature of the products, we've definitely had a marked increase in productivity and user happiness. No more POP server being down, no more having to try and track down an email or document. It's all there in the cloud, all the time, and easy to find because of Google search.

By using Google Docs, we’ve been able to help keep our projects on track and our teams working more efficiently. Everything starts as a Google document, often with multiple team members working on one at the same time. We can see who’s in the document and what changes are being made in real time. It’s collaboration at its best. We’re also able to organize and manage complex projects that have a lot of different stakeholders, like website redesigns. Our team will use a spreadsheet to list out which components of the website need to be updated, the corresponding owner, and the status of the updates.

Our other favorite part of Google Apps is that everything is accessible from any computer or mobile phone with a web browser, no matter where our jobs take us. Our employees can be just as productive outside the office as they can inside it. That is a big deal for a small company. It allows us to be both flexible and productive. It's something we truly can't live without.

If you haven't tried Google Apps, you really owe it to yourself (and your company) to give it a shot. It's wonderful.”

Editor’s note: Today’s guest writer is Timothy Moore, Website Manager for Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). Here he discusses how they use Google Maps API Premier v3 to power searches and biking directions on BART serves the San Francisco Bay Area covering 4 counties, 43 stations, 104 miles (167 km) of track, and has an average weekday ridership of 335,000 passengers. It is the 5th busiest heavy rail rapid transit system in the U.S.

Recently the BART website ( launched some cool new trip planning services, including bicycle directions and station area points of interest, using the Google Maps API. The BART QuickPlanner is one of the most popular features on our website. If you live in the Bay Area, chances are you’ve used it. The QuickPlanner has traditionally offered a mix of BART trip plans, directions for walking and driving to the station, connecting transit information, carbon savings and more.

We're always looking for ways to improve the QuickPlanner, so when Google Maps started offering bicycle directions we were green with envy. Our latest research shows that only 4% of BART customers ride a bicycle from their home to a station. With ongoing cuts to connecting transit services and many BART station parking lots filled to the brim, adding bicycling directions to the QuickPlanner will help us promote the option to more than a million website visitors every month.

Frankly we've struggled with the integration of other mapping products into our custom-built BART scheduling application; weak documentation, limited real-world examples, and cumbersome programming requirements. Developing with the Google Maps API was a whole different world. As our lead programmer, Robert Falconer, noted, "It was easy to learn and quick to implement. And the ability to use free-form input terms for addresses, locations and points of interest was a major plus.”

If you've ever had to trap address or landmark input errors you know what he’s talking about. For example, if a user enters in “Frrey Blding” to the QuickPlanner, Google's geocoding service can recognize the user's intent and return the proper term "Ferry Building" with the correct corresponding address. All of this is done seamlessly behind the scenes so that all user sees is the address they are looking for when their trip is mapped out.

Again, using the Google Maps API, we’re able to provide more information about points of interest near BART stations, including directions. If you visit the neighborhood map section you can now use freeform search for station area destinations, and we’re no longer limiting you to searches based on standard address formats or a preset pull down menu. We also use the Google Maps API for services like “Find Closest Station” and for the map images presented on our station landing pages.

Overall this was a really fun project for us. I hope our use of the Google Maps API on will encourage more bicycling to BART and I also hope people will use it to discover all of the awesome things that BART station area neighborhoods have to offer.

Posted by Carlos Cuesta, Google Earth and Maps Team

Google’s multi-tenant infrastructure allows us to launch new features to our customers seamlessly, and with over 50 launches in first half of this year alone, the pace of innovation in Google Apps continues to accelerate.

Today we keep up the innovation with several new updates in Google Sites and Google Docs. We’ve improved Google Sites with several highly-requested features including horizontal navigation, global footers, and a new section for deleted items.

Horizontal navigation enables site owners to easily add links across the top of their sites.

Site owners can also add a global footer that displays across all pages on a site, and we added a new section for deleted items in sites, making it easier to get to deleted pages and attachments.

We’ve also added quick links to open Google Docs that are embedded in a site, making it easier for collaborators to open embedded documents.

For more information on these new features in Google Sites, check out the Google Docs blog.

In addition to these updates to Google Sites, this week we also launched several improvements in Google Docs:
  • Typing links just got a little faster in Google documents. Now when you type something that we recognize as a web address, it will automatically become a link.
  • We’ve also added a few more page sizes for your documents. So if you’ve been craving an Executive sized page (7.25” x 10.5”), you’re in luck. For more information on autolinks and page sizes, head to the Google Docs blog.

  • Correct spelling is an essential part of document creation, and to that end we’ve added spellcheck to Google spreadsheets. For more information on spelling checker in spreadsheets, visit the Google Docs blog.

As with all updates on Google Apps, users can get new features just by refreshing their browsers, and improvements roll out to customers with no need for administrators to manage patches or install software.

Stay tuned for more updates to Google Docs and Google Sites.

Editor's Note: We are pleased to welcome guest bloggers Todd Jackson, Director of Information Services and CIO, and Bryan Mundy, Network Operations Manager, for the City of Westerville, Ohio – a city that has recently Gone Google. Westerville is nationally recognized as one of "America's Best Places to Live" by Money Magazine. The city features over 46 parks, a community recreation center, and 26 miles of leisure paths for residents, visitors, and businesses. Now one of America's best places to live has an email system to match – Google Apps. Mundy and Jackson use Google Apps to support nearly 500 users. Westerville has also invested in fiber infrastructure (52 linear miles) as well as a community data center/carrier neutral hotel that will serve as a launch pad for local businesses and community partners who need access to cloud-based technology to grow.

Please join Todd & Bryan for a live webcast on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. EDT / 11:00 a.m. PDT / 6:00 p.m. GMT. Register today.

The City of Westerville has a workforce of about 500 people who rely heavily on email. For many users, email is mission-critical. Police officers, for example, need to send reports by email 24 hours a day. Until recently, we relied on Novell GroupWise, and despite the fact that we were on the latest version, we were suffering constant outages. At last count, we had over 100 known issues, and it was taking its toll. As an IT team, we worked late nights and holidays. We were chasing issues versus adding value.

Adding to the challenge, we were having trouble scaling email. Users were unhappy because they couldn't effectively store important email due to limited inbox quotas.

We also have users on Windows, Mac and Linux – and we want to support them all equally well. Besides reducing IT complexity (and allowing us to have holidays off), we wanted to drive innovation by providing services like document sharing, mobile access, SMS functionality, and the ability for our users to build their own intranet sites. Finally, by freeing up our time from minding servers, we could dedicate time and resources to new projects and drive innovation within the community.

When we decided that GroupWise was no longer feasible for our city, we conducted a comprehensive evaluation that included the top hosted solutions, including Microsoft's hosted BPOS. We came away impressed with Google Apps' value and features. Google's solution was platform-agnostic, so we could easily support users on a variety of platforms. It was also less costly and came with capabilities like document sharing and Google Sites for building intranets. We felt that we could accomplish more with Google Apps for less money.

Our migration of all city departments – which included bringing over every single email, as well as calendar events and contacts – took just six weeks. We didn't lose data and we never had a major issue.

Our move into the cloud has freed IT staff time to focus on projects that provide more value to the city, departments, and the residents. We now have time to invest in new IT initiatives to help us grow our economic base. For example, we are working to build a newly-approved community data center – or 'community cloud' as we call it – which will provide access to services for small and medium business owners that typically only larger corporations enjoy. As far as we know, it is the first community data center in the country.

Today, IT makes jokes internally about how hard we work to "release new features." With Google Apps, we've received a constant stream of innovations that our users love and has allowed us to finally enjoy late nights at home.

Gmail makes it easy to find emails really fast with Google-powered search for your inbox. This works well when you know you’re looking for an email, but if you have information in documents and sites too, you may have to search several places with the same query to find what you’re looking for.

Today we’re making it easier to search across more of your data with the new “Apps Search” lab in Gmail. Once the lab is enabled, the “Search Mail” button in Gmail will say “Search Mail and Docs” instead. When you run a search in Gmail, your search results will include matching documents and sites in addition to results from your email.

We also offer “Did you mean?” suggestions when it looks like you’ve misspelled a word:

This is a Labs launch, so to get started, click ‘Settings’ within Gmail, then the ‘Labs’ tab, and enable ‘Apps Search’. Standard Edition users can follow these instructions immediately, while Premier and Education Edition users will first need their domain administrators to enable Gmail Labs from the Google Apps control panel. For more information on Gmail labs for Google Apps, see the Help Center.

Editor’s note: Over the past couple months, thousands of businesses have added their Gone Google story to our community map and even more have used the Go Google cloud calculator to test drive life in the cloud. To highlight some of these companies’ Gone Google stories, we decided to talk to Google Apps customers across the United States. Check back each week to see which state we visit next. To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map.

This week we’re traveling to Eugene, Oregon to hear from Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss. Luna and Larry Kaplowitz began making Coconut Bliss non-dairy, organic ice cream to provide a healthier alternative to typical ice cream loaded with processed sugar and saturated fat. Coconut Bliss is a local favorite in Oregon and the word is spreading as many more find their “bliss.” Kiley Gwyn, Online Community Manager at Coconut Bliss, tells us about going Google.

“Going Google was an easy choice for us to make at Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss. We're a small company with no IT person on staff, and we were looking for an easy solution to email, shared calendars, an internal wiki, and document sharing. As we are a growing business with employees often on the road it was important to us that we have secure, easy access to everything no matter where we might be. I was already a Gmail convert and knew that the suite of Google Apps would be perfect for our needs.

Google Apps has allowed us to expand our productivity and creativity in ways I couldn't have imagined when we first signed up. Sometimes it’s just the simple things that are better with Google Apps. For example, when I was sick at home recently, I didn’t have to cancel a critical marketing meeting. We just turned on the video chat and pointed the camera at the white board so I could work with my team without sharing my cold. Google Apps helps keep us connected and makes working together simple.

The Google Earth Enterprise team has long focused on bringing the innovative features of Google Earth and Maps to businesses, enabling them to create their own mapping applications from their existing data archives. Over the years we’ve released new features that have expanded the options for rapid, secure dissemination of geospatial data with Google Earth Enterprise (GEE), and with today’s release of GEE 4.0, we’re happy to announce support for two more important capabilities: mobile-based access to GEE systems, and Google Earth Enterprise Portable Solution. We’re also excited to let you know about the latest versions of the Google Earth Enterprise Client and Plug-in.

Mobile Access to your Globes

In February we released a native Google Earth client for Android
to the Android Market. With GEE 4.0, the Android Google Earth client has been updated to support direct connections to customers’ globes, which permits their end-users to view their organization’s 3D globe, including all imagery, terrain, and vector layers, with support for custom vector search.

Google Earth Enterprise Un-Plugged

Some of you might have heard during a recent Directions Media Webinar that many of our GEE customers need to provide their end users with access to geospatial data for situational awareness, even when those users are in environments with limited or no Internet connectivity. To support this, GEE 4.0 introduces a new feature that permits authenticated end users to extract portions of a published GEE globe -- including all imagery, terrain, vectors, KMLs, and search -- and serve the data locally from their own laptops or other storage devices using a native, cross-platform, light-weight Portable Earth System.

Check out this video to see how the portable capability works.

Google Earth Enterprise Client 5.2
GEE 4.0 also has full support for the new Google Earth 5.2 client, with its many great new features, such as elevation profiles, native MGRS support, client-side data regionation, and the new embedded web-browser.

Google Earth Plug-in Updates
In addition to performance improvements, the latest release of the Google Earth Plugin includes support for historical imagery databases and the ability to connect to multiple globes simultaneously.

Existing customers can find GEE 4.0 upgrade information by logging into the Google Enterprise Support Portal.

Posted by Dylan Lorimer, Google Earth and Maps Product Manager

Editor’s note: Toyota Motor Europe, based in Brussels, provides central content, websites and applications to all of Toyota’s country sites in Europe. Thirty-six of Toyota’s European country sites are built and hosted at Toyota Motor Europe. Manuel von Rahden, marketing manager for e-services, and Michaël Notté, IT project leader, explain how Google Maps API Premier allows the marketing team to define the direction of the website and allows the developers to easily implement the website design.

At the end of 2009, Toyota Motor Europe decided to create a pilot website which would be entirely optimized for mobile devices. The goal was to create a full mobile version of our website instead of a scaled down, simplified version of the current website. Location-based services are one of the great advantages of the mobile internet, so on top of a fully database driven car configurator, we planned a Google Maps API Premier based “Dealer Finder” for the mobile site. The pilot site went live on time, and all of the main site Dealer Finder applications were migrated to Google Maps successfully.

We decided to use Google Maps on both main and mobile sites for many reasons:

* Our website visitors are already familiar with Google Maps and were very comfortable with using it
* One major goal of the redesign was to increase location-based information on our website
* The Google Maps API is open, allowing us to easily customize the application when creating international websites
* Version 3 of Google Maps API Premier is especially suited to be used for mobile sites and desktop web alike

The mobile website was tested in a usability lab with very good results. We also received very positive comments on the advanced features such as the car configurator and Google Maps based Dealer Finder.

The technical point of view
The goal of the project was to provide a flexible dealer locator solution that would fully integrate with our existing back-end services and CMS. Flexibility was crucial as the service had to be reusable with minimal efforts on both Toyota websites and Lexus websites across 26 markets. Even if we made the functionality quite generic, we always have one or two markets that come with very particular requirements. On top of that, we had to implement Google Maps API in our application and roll it out across Europe in very tight time frame and a strict deadline which we could not miss.

But we made it, thanks to the several advantages that the new Google Maps API v3 provides. Also, the fact that the Google service is available in all the languages we needed saved us considerable translation work. In particular, Google Maps API Version 3 provided us with some great features:

* More object-oriented which means a nicer & more efficient code, but more importantly it made easier to integrate it with our current code.
* Fully optimized for mobile: we were working on our first mobile site at the same time and we wanted to provide our dealer search service on this new platform. Response time of the Google API is very good and it works very smoothly on mobile. By using v3, we were able to implement it very quickly in our mobile site with minimum efforts as the same back-end is used for both platforms.

Google Maps API v3 was definitely a good choice; it is very easy to use for basic functionality, and yet offers all the flexibility and features to implement complex and advanced functionality. It is highly customizable and it gives us full control on our solution. This looks very promising for the future evolution of our application and for new services. And to quote our developer, “It was fun to do this project!”

To check out an example of Toyota Europe’s Website using Google Maps API Premier version 3, visit

Posted by Natasha Wyatt, Google Earth and Maps team

Editor's note: Continuing our “Going Google Everywhere” series, we’ve invited Luke Hagenbach, from HÔM Real Estate Group, who specializes in the representation of professional athletes and celebrities in California’s coastal Orange County, and was the project lead on their deployment. HÔM Real Estate Group is a high-end real estate brokerage that facilitates the acquisition and sale of some of the region’s most sought-after properties. Watch the video HOM created below. Learn more about other organizations that have gone Google on our community map.

HÔM has been growing quickly since opening our doors a few years ago, opening two new offices last year. Despite the economic downturn, HÔM has been focused on innovation and growth. When we decided to take a hard look at our email and calendar system, we focused on providing our users with better communication and collaboration tools that allowed them the flexibility they need to be successful in this industry.

A key to growth in the real estate industry is the ability to easily communicate within the company and with clients, and to always have up to the minute information. With many of our real estate agents in the field more than the office, it’s essential that they be able to access their email, calendar, contacts and documents from any computer or mobile device. Real estate agents also regularly deal with large email attachments containing property photographs, contract documents, and marketing collateral proofs, so it didn’t take long for users to fill up their 500MB inbox limit. With most of our agents prominently displaying their email addresses on several websites, spam was also a problem. The IT department used to spend a lot of time dealing with spam issues and asking users to reduce their mailbox size.

Prior to switching to Google Apps, we had been using Microsoft Exchange Server with Outlook Web Access, and also had a subset of users on Outlook and Entourage. After switching to Google Apps, spam and storage issues have become a thing of the past. Plus, since Google Apps is in the cloud, users have the power of choice. They no longer have to lug around a specific laptop. And, Google Apps has the interoperability to provide a smooth experience for users who choose to use other applications.

Switching to Google Apps was an easy adjustment for our employees. Gmail makes sense right “out of the box” and is great for users who just want to get in and get things done. We also chose to enable Labs and it’s been a huge hit. Some of the company favorites are “Got the wrong Bob”, “Undo Send”, and “Canned Responses”.

While cutting costs wasn’t our first priority, outsourcing our servers and maintenance of those servers to Google allowed us to save tens of thousands of dollars on future costs, and benefit from their 99.9% guaranteed up-time. An added plus that we didn’t realize going into this decision, was that our IT department would now have more time to focus on strategic activities that improve our competitive advantage, rather than on infrastructure commodities.

Migrating to Google Apps was straightforward. There was no software to install and no hardware to deal with. We started with a small pilot group of users until we felt comfortable in the new ecosystem. With the help of our Google Apps reseller, Dito, we migrated everyone over just a short time later. They provided webinar and in-person training to our users that really helped us get off to a good start. Also, Google’s own deployment site has a wealth of resources that we have used for ongoing training and support. We have only been deployed a few months and Google has already added dozens of improvements and new features, without us having to do anything to install them. If we were still on Exchange, we could be waiting a long time for an upgrade.

For a growing company with agents always on the go, there is no better option for us than Google Apps. We’re happy to say HÔM Real Estate Group has gone Google.

Customers moving to Google Apps are migrating email, calendar and contacts data from several different legacy systems, and many are doing so from mixed sources including data stored on end user machines and company servers. With this in mind, we’re constantly trying to make it really easy, fast and painless for you to migrate data in each of these scenarios.

We launched Google Apps Migration for Microsoft® Exchange last March to help Microsoft Exchange administrators perform centrally-managed migrations from Exchange servers. In May we announced Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Outlook, which allows end-users to move their data from PST files and Outlook profiles. Customers are also migrating from other systems such as Novell® GroupWise®, hosted Exchange and sometimes even from previous Gmail accounts. We are happy to announce that we are extending support for these migrations going forward with the introduction of new features to Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange:

  • IMAP support – Administrators can use the tool’s new IMAP capabilities to migrate email from systems like Novell Groupwise to Google Apps, or even migrate data between Google Apps accounts.
  • PST support – Administrators can migrate PST files on behalf of users in their domain once they have aggregated users' data files in one location.
  • Better support for hosted Exchange – Administrators can now migrate data from hosted Exchange by running the migration tool on local servers, without requiring the Exchange hosting partner to run any special software on their end.

    Check out the on-demand webcast to learn more about these new features, best practices, and more.

  • Posted:
    As your business grows, so does the complexity of managing projects, securing data, tracking resource usage, and communicating with coworkers. Today, we are excited to announce nine new installable apps in the Google Apps Marketplace that can help ensure that your business growth doesn't outpace your technological capabilities. So instead of patching servers and updating desktop-based software today, check out some of our more than 150 installable web apps available to Google Apps users. All of these installable apps offer single sign-on functionality so your users can start using them conveniently right from the universal navigation bar in Google Apps. Some have additional integrations with Gmail, Calendar, Docs and other apps, which makes these Marketplace apps more powerful than comparable stand-alone offerings.

    Google Apps Premier, Education and Standard Edition administrators can install Marketplace applications in a few simple steps -- watch this video to see how it works.

    Complex projects and tasks have a potential to grow out of control and lose focus, so we’ve included a series of project, communication, time, and task-specific management apps in this App Tuesday launch.
    • DeskAway is a simple, yet powerful web-based project collaboration tool that streamlines the way you and your team work by giving you an accurate view of project progress and tackling some common problems that occur when multiple people are collaborating.
    • Acunote is an online project management software. It helps you manage projects, products and requirements, track progress, realistically predict completion dates and analyze company productivity.
    • RescueTime is an automatic time and attention tracker that helps teams work smarter. It is widely used by a range of companies and now has user and team sync for Google Apps accounts, plus a real time stats gadget in Gmail.
    • ToBeeDo is an online task management service. The familiar, fast and intuitive interface helps you to organize your workflow and it doesn’t require any setup.
    • Ketera is a network that simultaneously offers savings for business buyers and online sales opportunities for B2B suppliers to help members discover new trading partners and market insights, aiding in billions of dollars in transactions every year.
    Your business also requires additional apps to help manage its growing mounds of internal and external information. These applications can help streamline this process:
    • FormLizard is for when you need paperwork completed properly. You and your customers can complete forms, contracts, and more online, giving you complete, accurate, legible, and professional paperwork every time.
    • LumoFlow provides social collaboration workspaces for enterprises to manage projects, share documents and keep teams in sync. It also helps connect global business operations and manage joint projects with partners and customers.
    • MangoSpring Collaboration Suite seamlessly integrates all the MangoApps to provide next generation collaboration experience. Each MangoApp solves an important part of the business workflow.
    • Backupify provides secure, scalable, and automatic backup for your Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Contacts, and Sites. You can securely access and manage archives of backups from any web browser.

    We encourage you to explore some of these great new apps in the Marketplace. Join us next Wednesday when we hold a live webinar to discuss with a few of the app creators on maximizing your productivity with these apps.

    Webinar: Increase productivity with new Google Apps Marketplace Apps
    Wednesday, August 18, 2010
    11:00 a.m. PDT / 2:00 p.m. EDT
    Register here

    If you've #gonegoogle and tried the #appsmarketplace, let other users know what you recommend via Twitter or submit your suggestion for additional apps.

    On Thursday, August 12th, the Google Enterprise team will be participating in the inaugural Cybersecurity Summit at the CompTIA Breakaway 2010 Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The summit brings together leaders from the IT industry and government to discuss how to work together to mitigate the frequency and impact of cyber threats in the private and public sectors. Google will be participating in the panel discussion “Security in the Cloud” at 11 AM CDT.

    If you'll be at the conference, please join us for the panel discussion to hear about Google’s cloud security efforts. Additionally, you can find lots of information about the security of our solutions for enterprises here.

    Posted by Adam Swidler, Sr. Manager – Google Enterprise

    Editor's note: Following up on our recent announcement of Google Apps for Government, a new edition of Google Apps for our government customers, we invited Jim Dodd, Information Systems Manager for the City of Wooster, Ohio, to share Wooster’s story. Jim is a Northeast Ohio native who joined the city’s Information Technology Division in 2006 and has been an active I.T. professional since 1995.

    Wooster, Ohio is a cozy community of approximately 26,000 people nestled in the center of Wayne County, home to some of the finest farmland in the state. If you draw a line from Columbus to Cleveland, Wooster is located close to the middle. “Multi-faceted” is an apt description of Wooster. It's a small town where people know their neighbors, and still greet strangers passing by on the sidewalk. The presence of The College of Wooster brings cultural opportunities -- like the Ohio Light Opera and Wooster Symphony Orchestra -- that a town of Wooster's size might not ordinarily possess. Wooster is blessed with a diverse economy that features notable manufacturing, education, transportation, technology, and healthcare companies.

    The current administration of the city government stresses the imperative of maintaining the high level of services our citizens enjoy, while using current resource levels more effectively. Google Apps has provided us with the rare opportunity to expand the communications tools available to city government personnel without requiring major new funding and infrastructure.

    Scalability, reliability, and usability are the reasons the City of Wooster switched to Google Apps. Google has built a dispersed, secure infrastructure that offers a level of availability and a scale of resources that we could never begin to match internally. For example, offering 25 gigabytes of email storage per user was never a realistic option for us. Integration of Google's search technology into Google Apps creates great efficiencies in data retrieval. And to top it all off, all of this is accessible from any device with a web browser, wherever city employees' jobs may take them.

    Wooster switched to Google Apps from Microsoft Exchange in September 2009. We started with a ten-user pilot in June 2009, and then made the switch for all 207 city employees. For the first six months, we focused on acclimating our staff to using the web browser as their primary tool for messaging and calendar, as well as raising awareness of the different features available in those two components. Reactions to the changes ran the gamut: some enthusiastically embraced the new platform and immediately began exploring its potential; others didn't have a strong opinion as long as they could read their email; and some preferred the old messaging system. Recently, we introduced the option of using Microsoft Outlook (with Google Apps Sync) instead of a web browser for those few people who absolutely prefer Outlook. Chat was a new addition to our communication tools and was instantly embraced by our personnel as a means of communication.

    Starting in January 2010, we began a concerted effort to expose our staff to the features of Google Docs, Groups, and Sites. For instance, our Parks and Recreation department uses Google Docs to share rosters and schedules with coaches and players involved in city sports leagues, providing for streamlined updates and easy access for both staff and participants. Our training coordinator offers on-site as well as classroom sessions exploring the features of Google Apps. We've also been sending out short "Didja Know" communications several times a month to highlight new or particularly useful features.

    Several city departments have begun experimenting with Google Sites to create websites that will be linked to as part of our intranet. The Police Department created an extensive website that even features various training videos, which will be shared and included in the city's official website. The Information Technology Department uses a Google Site as a technical reference wiki, compiling How-Tos, troubleshooting, notes, and other relevant information on the City's computing systems.

    Earlier this year, Wooster became a trusted tester for Google Apps for Government. Having an edition for the use of only government customers provides us with added assurance that the data used in serving our citizens is well-protected. Google Apps receiving FISMA certification demonstrates Google's commitment to maintaining top-of-the-line data safeguards. For the City of Wooster, Google Apps for Government is a welcome enhancement to an already compelling product that adds increased value to our efforts to serve the citizens of our fair city.

    Posted by Dan Israel, Google Apps for Government team

    I'm a big fan of Google forms because they allow me to quickly gather information from many people without clogging up my inbox. Whether it's a quick poll to a handful of coworkers or an in-depth company-wide survey, forms allow me to efficiently collect, organize, and store structured data without disrupting my email experience. Unless, of course, a user makes a mistake or changes his mind after submitting his response form. Those of you who regularly use online surveys know what happens next: emails begin to appear in your inbox asking you to manually update responses, defeating your attempts at efficiency. I’m happy to announce new functionality in Google forms available to businesses, schools, and organizations using Google Apps that solves this problem by allowing users to edit their own responses.

    Now, when you create a form, you will see the option to allow users to edit responses.

    Users choosing to edit submitted responses will see their previous answers and be able to make edits, which will automatically be reflected in your spreadsheet and in the summary of responses.

    Whether you're ordering T-shirts for your team or planning a company-wide off-site, you no longer need to deal with shirt size or RSVP change requests in your inbox. By making it easy for users to edit their own responses, you can enhance the accuracy of your results while eliminating the need for manual updates.

    Users can edit their responses from the link in the form submission confirmation page or from the email confirmation, if one is sent. For more information, please see our Help Center documentation.

    Update 10/12: We've found a bug that affects the "Edit your response" feature in Google Forms, so we'll be turning it off until it's fixed. Sorry for any inconvenience, we'll keep you posted.

    Today we’re happy to announce that The Maryland Education Enterprise Consortium (MEEC) will make Google Apps for Education available to 1.4 million students in the state. MEEC is comprised of the University System of Maryland, Maryland Higher Education Commission and Maryland Department of Education, and provides software resources and services to its 194 members across the state. This includes all 24 public K-12 districts, libraries and all public and private higher education institutions.

    Maryland joins the ranks of Oregon, Colorado and Iowa, who each enabled their educational institutions to “go Google” under one statewide agreement. And more than 8 million other students, staff and faculty across the globe actively use our free messaging and collaboration suite.

    In addition to Google Apps, this agreement also enables MEEC member institutions—for example University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)—to license Google Postini Services such as Google Message Security, for use with the existing email infrastructure to enhance Spam filtering and email security for students, faculty and staff.

    According to Assistant Vice President of IT at UMBC, Mike Carlin, students were overwhelmingly in favor of Google and vocal about their preference when it came to email since it “works exceptionally well with their mobile lifestyle.”

    Posted by Miriam Schneider, Apps for Education Team

    Editor’s Note: We invited Kyle Swafford, Director of IT Services for Bergelectric, to share the story of Bergelectric’s evaluation of Google Apps and Microsoft BPOS-S and their subsequent migration from Novell Groupwise to Google Apps using Google Apps Authorized Reseller SADA Systems, Inc.

    Since our founding in 1946, Bergelectric Corporation has provided electrical contracting on thousands of construction projects for clients such as Phoenix International Raceway, the FBI, the University of Southern California, and Ritz Carlton Hotels. Bergelectric has more than 1,300 field employees and over 400 office professionals coast to coast.

    Our company had been a Novell Groupwise shop for many years, and IT staff had begun to feel increasing frustration with the platform due to its stagnancy. They were forced to dedicate substantial time and resources to maintaining servers across many sites nationwide. And we had to enforce email storage quotas of 100MB, though this amount of storage was often inadequate for users. Collaboration possibilities were practically nonexistent. In short, this aging environment wasn’t keeping pace with Bergelectric and this created a significant challenge for the organization.

    The choice to move to a hosted e-mail service was discussed passionately at every level of the company and marked a significant departure from the costly, and dated, infrastructure constraints of our on-premise system. After we made the decision to move to a hosted provider, we spent a considerable amount of time comparing offerings, including Microsoft BPOS-S and Google Apps. Initially we found Microsoft BPOS-S an attractive option, but as we delved deeper into the contract and piloted a production environment deployment we found the BPOS-S solution came up short - even with the significant concessions Microsoft made in order to be competitive with Google. For example, we were put off by the fact that we would have to go through a third party company for email archiving and retention. We soon came to the realization that we would have to invest significant additional time and money into BPOS in order to meet our initial expectations of migrating to the cloud.

    We decided to revisit Google Apps. For email archiving and retention, Google Message Discovery was easier to use, significantly cheaper, better integrated into the entire email migration process, and offered more features than the third party options available with BPOS. Once more, through the course of our lengthy evaluation, Google continued to update Apps’ functionality to incorporate virtually all of the features that we had valued in Microsoft’s offering. After updates such as Google Calendar Sync, which syncs events between Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook Calendar, and the ability to delegate calendar management to an administrative assistant, we had reached the tipping point where users adamant about using Outlook became confident in the capabilities of the Google Apps suite.

    Following a rapid response by a combined team from Google and Google Apps Authorized Reseller, SADA Systems, Inc., Bergelectric quickly made plans to “Go Google.” Key components of the deployment included user synchronization between Active Directory and Google Apps, single sign-on to Apps using Active Directory credentials, migration of all data from Groupwise to Google (including historical email, contacts and calendar items), Google Apps integration with BlackBerry Enterprise Server, implementation of the Google Message Discovery product for mail archiving and discovery, and a complete training and change management effort to ensure the smoothest possible transition and high user adoption rates.

    Our migration off the Groupwise platform has allowed the IT staff to focus its resources on more strategic, business-driven initiatives in the online space. The IT team has regained precious time previously spent patching and keeping the e-mail servers running and are now able to focus on things like business continuity and compliance. Employees have a generous 25 GB of e-mail storage and the ability access e-mail and collaboration tools from our many offices and remote project sites, whether it’s via a desktop, laptop or mobile device.

    We were impressed by Google’s commitment to making it easy and simple for long-term on-premise users to migrate to the cloud. And Google’s data liberation policy gave us peace of mind that, if we ever wanted to move platforms, we’d be able to readily do so. Once more, their commitment to open standards and APIs allow us to access our own data and customize our implementation in ways that we never thought possible. As our business needs evolve, we can find additional apps in the Google Apps Marketplace or we can easily build our own on Google App Engine.

    Overall, our employees have been extremely happy with the move to Google Apps. IT is relieved to finally have true redundancy, painless scalability and better control, all while no longer needing to maintain remote servers and tape backups. Management is pleased with the cost savings and vastly improved service offerings.

    Posted by Kevin Gough, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Google Enterprise