Files stored 100% on the web can be accessed from any computer or device and shared with co-workers with ease. Over the past year, many of you have been taking advantage of the ability to upload any file to Google Docs. With more files and a variety of file types in one place, organizing and quickly being able to find what you need becomes even more important. As a result, we’re happy to announce that, over the next couple of days, we’ll be rolling out a refresh to the documents list, aimed to make it easier to find, explore and share all your files. We’re also rolling out big improvements to our back-end systems to make your experience in the documents list faster and smoother.

Google Apps for Business customers who have the “Enable pre-release features” option selected in the control panel, and customers of all other editions will start seeing the new interface within a few days. Google Apps for Business customers without the “pre-release features” option selected won’t see this improvement for a few more weeks. More details can be found on the Google Docs blog.

Editor’s note: Continuing our Gaining Altitude series, we’ve invited guest blogger Marsha Egan, CEO of and an internationally recognized workplace productivity expert and speaker. Named one of Pennsylvania’s Top 50 Women in Business, her “12 Step Program for Curing Your Email E-ddiction” was featured in several publications and on ABC Nightly News and Fox News.

Overwhelmed by your inbox? There’s never been a better time to shift the way you think about your email -- this week is international "Clean Out Your Inbox Week."

It’s a fact: email isn’t going anywhere. And the number of email messages we receive will only grow. In 2010, there were 294 billion emails sent daily, up almost 50 billion from the previous year. With so many incoming messages, it has become a real challenge to avoid being distracted by the urge to view or work on new emails rather than working on truly important matters.

Despite all of the inbox management tools on the market today, and Google's Priority Inbox is definitely one of the best, many people still have the propensity to leave items in their inboxes as a way to remind them of upcoming tasks or just to keep them handy. This can be self-defeating behavior.

Maintaining a cluttered inbox is a productivity killer
Why? First, that cluttered inbox is a source of stress the minute you open your inbox. It essentially shows you everything you are not going to get done that day. Second, it is a source of distraction, because when people scroll up and down seeking tasks to select, they inevitably open the short easy ones, instead of focusing on the priority items.

Shift the way you view and use your inbox
Picture your email inbox as a Postal Service mailbox. The Postal Service delivers our mail to that mailbox, we pull the mail out of the mailbox, sort through it, throw half of it away, and put the rest in piles, most of which will be dealt with later. What we don't do, is put letters back into the mailbox, to be sorted through again tomorrow. Why not think of our email inboxes the same way?

Differentiate between working and sorting email
When people groan upon the suggestion of cleaning out their inboxes, my guess is that they are thinking they must work on or handle every item in it. When you go into your inbox with the mindset of sorting the messages -- not working them -- the task becomes much more tolerable and doable! It becomes a matter of dragging and dropping messages into folders to be handled later just as you do with your postal mail. In Gmail, you can create two labels: Action A, and Action B. A is for the important items, B for the less important. And once you’ve labeled a message, you can archive it and easily search for it later.

Setting reminders is the key
Every time you drag and drop a message into an action folder, or label it in Gmail, decide at that moment when you will view the item again to work on it. These reminders become a critical part of each day's daily planning, and relieve you from having to scroll up and down either your inbox or your action folder to decide what to work on next.

In Gmail, this is easy. Create a corresponding Task for each item you label, and assign it the date you plan to work it. These tips and more are included among the "12 Steps to Curing Your E-mail E-ddiction" contained in my book, "Inbox Detox and the Habit of E-mail Excellence" (available on our website or on Amazon,) and are further explained on our blog at

Why should you want a clean inbox?
Simple. An empty inbox is the result of managing email well. It doesn’t mean that you’ve worked every message, but it does mean that you have sorted every message into a folder or given it a label that allows you to retrieve it when the time comes. By sorting or labeling email to Action A or B and setting a task reminder for when you plan to return to it, you will go a long way towards managing your inbox, rather than having it manage you.

So, here’s to lookin’ at your (empty) inbox!

It’s been six months since we released Google Apps for Government. In that time, we’ve seen a steady stream of customers, both large and small, sign up for this new edition of Google Apps. From the U.S. General Services Administration and the State of Wyoming, to the City of Wooster, Ohio and Rockingham County, North Carolina ─ tens of thousands of government employees in 38 states plus the District of Columbia now benefit from our modern, reliable, and secure email and collaboration applications.

These federal, state, and local government organizations are moving to Google Apps for a number of reasons. By choosing what we call 100% web applications ─ meaning applications that are delivered over the Internet and accessed in a web browser ─ agencies get the latest in Google innovation without having to maintain or upgrade the technology themselves. This means government employees are always equipped with the latest tools to help them do their jobs.

Agencies also benefit from the extensive resources Google dedicates to maintaining data security. Protection of our customers’ data is our top priority. In fact, Google Apps continues to be the only web-based email and collaboration applications to achieve FISMA security certification from the U.S. government.

What’s more, Google Apps’ scalable, reliable infrastructure combined with features like powerful search are helping governments promote transparency, like this public records project recently established by New Mexico’s Attorney General using Google Sites. In Larimer County, Colorado, they’re using Google Groups to maintain the County Commissioners’ public record email. Learn more about Larimer County’s use of Google Apps in this video:

On top of all these other benefits, these agencies are saving taxpayers tens of millions of dollars by making the switch to Google Apps. We look forward to expanding those numbers in 2011, and welcoming many more government agencies to a 100% web world.

The education technology space has seen an explosion of new offerings in the past few years. What has been missing is a centralized platform for schools and universities to easily evaluate and utilize web apps. Today we are excited to launch an education category in the Google Apps Marketplace designed specifically to help schools and universities easily discover and deploy new web applications that integrate with their existing Google Apps accounts.

The new education category includes over 20 applications from 19 vendors ranging from learning management systems (LMS) to student tools and teaching aids – all of which integrate with Google Apps for Education. Each app can be accessed through single sign-on and the Google universal navigation bar and many offer deeper integrations that synchronize with Google Calendar and Documents.

This new education category will make it easier for schools to have more web apps at their fingertips, including popular existing apps such as Aviary, Grockit, and LearnBoost as well as the new apps launching today.

Learning Management
Now faculty can bring their classroom management to the cloud with apps such as:

Learning Aids
Teachers can help student learn more effectively with web-based learning aids like:

  • BrainPOP: an app that offers animated, curriculum-based content that enhances student learning in numerous ways, from illustrating complex concepts to reviewing before a test.
  • DreamBox: a tool that helps students learn math through interactive lessons and gives teachers reporting dashboards to monitor individual student progress.
  • And other teaching aids like Grockit, BuzzMath and LearnThatWord.

Student and Admin Tools
Administrators and students can tackle other education needs with even more tools:

Thousands of universities, colleges and K-12 schools around the world with over 10 million users already deploy Google Apps in their classrooms. The applications we're introducing today into the new Marketplace education category are just the beginning. We look forward to expanding and strengthening our offerings as we continue to add new education tools, including web applications by Blackboard, Knewton and the Khan Academy already on the way.

To learn more about the education category of the Apps Marketplace – and hear directly from the developers of these applications – register to attend live Google webinars and Q&A on Wednesday, February 2nd.

Manage your school in the cloud with the Google Apps Marketplace
Featuring classroom management tools Haiku and LearnBoost
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
10:00 a.m. PST / 1:00 p.m. EST
Register here

Help students learn more effectively with the Google Apps Marketplace
Featuring web-based learning tools Grockit, BrainPOP, and DreamBox
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
4:00 p.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. EST
Register here

Posted by Dennis Troper, Director of Product Management, Google Apps Marketplace

To remain competitive, businesses of all sizes need to grow and evolve quickly. Web based solutions such as Google Apps for Business offer unprecedented flexibility and deliver constant innovation, with new products and updates introduced instantly and seamlessly to all users.

That’s why Specsavers, the world’s largest privately owned chain of opticians, decided to switch to Google Apps for 2,500 employees worldwide.

The company’s CIO, John Lister, believed the service would best support Specsaver’s global expansion plans: “Over the last two years our company has experienced fantastic growth, opening more than 200 stores in different locations. Google Apps is an excellent set of tools for our email and collaboration requirements because of its capability, technology, and ease of management. Google Apps allows us to scale and deploy easily and quickly, without having to invest heavily in buying software and licenses we may not use. We are now also able to support mobile working by letting staff access mail, calendaring and sites from any Internet enabled device”,

Specsavers is currently rolling out Google Apps to head office staff in Australia and New Zealand. The roll out to the remaining head office, laboratory and manufacturing operations in the UK, Nordics and Netherlands will be completed in the first half of 2011.

Ancoris, a UK based Google Enterprise Reseller and specialist provider of cloud computing and enterprise security solutions, assisted Specsavers with its evaluation of Google Apps versus Microsoft Exchange and helped the company make the switch. As cloud computing has become mainstream and the demand for Google Apps accelerates, working with professional and skilled partners continues to be key to growth.

In November, we kicked off a series of biweekly webinars aimed at helping educators learn ways to use Google Apps in the classroom. These sessions, taught by Google Apps for Education Certified Trainers, have received a great response and we've decided to hold them more frequently – you can now tune in every Tuesday at 4:30PM PT/7:30PM ET to hear tips and techniques for using Google Apps for Education.

Register to attend one of the upcoming webinars in the series today and on the following Tuesdays:
Archived recordings from past Google Apps for Education webinars can also be found in our resource center.

Editor's note: We're excited that beginning today Google Apps for Business is available through Verizon. We've asked Monte Beck, Vice President of Small Business Marketing for Verizon, to share more details.

At Verizon we make it easy for companies to get online and be productive in the office or while on the move. We do this by offering business owners a bundled solution of essential services to fit their particular needs.

Beginning today, our small- and medium-sized business customers will also be able to access the same applications that come with Google Apps for Business: Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Video, and more.

Most of Verizon’s service offerings are in the cloud and delivered to any business connected to the Internet with a click of the mouse. So it makes sense for us to offer Google Apps for Verizon to allow businesses to communicate and collaborate in the office or on the go.

Google Apps for Verizon – with three free user accounts – is available to business customers that subscribe to a bundle consisting of Verizon Internet service and either Verizon voice or TV service or both. Customers have the option to buy additional accounts. Also included is a domain name free for one year (i.e.

Other small business essentials provided in Verizon’s bundled solutions include an easy do-it-yourself “kit” to develop your business’ professional website, Internet security, online backup, and more. Most importantly, we offer WiFi access – a necessity today to quickly respond to customers and access programs and files while out of the office.

Verizon’s business bundled solutions are available in parts of 12 states (CA, CT, DE, FL, MD, MA, NJ, NY, PA, RI, TX, and VA) and Washington, D.C.

To better help and inform small businesses, my team also developed the Verizon Small Business Center, a one-stop online portal with free resources, industry news, expert advice delivered through free webinars, networking opportunities, discounts, and much more. In combining these free resources with cloud products and services, we’re helping small businesses gain a competitive edge. Even the smallest companies now have access to technology that’s being used by larger businesses at minimal cost.

Google Apps for Verizon helps Verizon’s business customers harness the power of the web in new and exciting ways.

Posted by Monte Beck, Vice President of Small Business Marketing, Verizon

The speed of innovation on the web is amazing, and Google’s Chrome and Apps products capitalize on this speed to bring new productivity and security benefits to businesses. Join us for a live webcast where you’ll hear directly from Google’s Chrome Product Managers Glenn Wilson and Cyrus Mistry on how Chrome and Chrome OS are innovating for Apps for Business. You’ll learn about the latest features and business customer experiences. Plus, a live Q&A will follow the discussion.

When: January 25th - 10 am PST, 1 pm EST, 6pm GMT
Who: Google Chrome Product Managers Glenn Wilson and Cyrus Mistry
Register now

Google Chrome, whose users have tripled in the past year to 120 million, has new IT administrator controls to easily configure and deploy the browser on Windows, Mac, and Linux according to business requirements. Chrome OS is a new operating system that is built and optimized for the web to make computers faster, much simpler and fundamentally more secure.

We hope you'll join us!

People expect email to be as reliable as their phone's dial tone, and our goal is to deliver that kind of always-on availability with our applications. It's been a couple years since we blogged about the reliability of Gmail, so we thought we'd share some changes to our Google Apps service level agreement (SLA) and some new data.

Strengthening our SLA
We're pleased to make a couple changes that improve our SLA for our customers. Unlike most providers, we don't plan for our users to be down, even when we're upgrading our services or maintaining our systems. For that reason, we're removing the SLA clause that allows for scheduled downtime. Going forward, all downtime will be counted and applied towards the customer's SLA. We are the first major cloud provider to eliminate maintenance windows from their service level agreement.

We're also amending our SLA so that any intermittent downtime is counted. Previously, a period of less than ten minutes was not included. We believe any instance that causes our users to experience downtime should be avoided -- period.

Gmail: 99.984%
In 2010, Gmail was available 99.984 percent of the time, for both business and consumer users. 99.984 percent translates to seven minutes of downtime per month over the last year. That seven-minute average represents the accumulation of small delays of a few seconds, and most people experienced no issues at all. For those few who were disrupted for a longer period of time, we're very sorry, and Google Apps for Business customers received compensation where appropriate. We're particularly pleased with this level of reliability since it was accomplished without any planned downtime while launching 30 new features and adding tens of millions of active users.

Seven minutes of downtime compares very favorably with on-premises email, which is subject to much higher rates of interruption that hurt employee productivity. The latest research from the Radicati Group found that on-premises email averaged 3.8 hours of downtime per month. In comparison to Radicati's metrics for on-premises email, our calculations suggest that Gmail is 32 times more reliable than the average email system, and 46 times more available than Microsoft Exchange®.1

Fortunately Microsoft Exchange® customers can still benefit from the reliability of Gmail with Google Message Continuity. Comparable data for Microsoft BPOS® is unavailable, though their service notifications show 113 incidents in 2010: 74 unplanned outages, and 33 days with planned downtime.

Email is much more complex than your home phone, so making it as reliable as the dial tone is no mean feat. Despite our best efforts, we will have outages in the future. But we're proud of our track record so far and we're working hard to make it even better. Every time you reach for your phone you expect it to work. And we believe that is a worthwhile benchmark.

1. The Radicati Group, 2010. "Corporate IT Survey – Messaging & Collaboration, 2010-2011"

Update: clarification added to fifth paragraph.

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

As we work our way into the new year, we recognize that tax season can be very difficult for businesses. Face this tax season with ease and confidence by attending a live webinar and Q&A on using integrated finance apps from the Google Apps Marketplace - featuring Shoeboxed, Harvest, and Outright.

   Using applications from the Google Apps Marketplace to conquer tax season
   Wednesday, January 26, 2011
   11:00 a.m. PST / 2:00 p.m. EST
   Register here

With dozens of Marketplace accounting and finance apps, you can customize solutions to your business’s specific needs. Each application integrates with Google Apps and provides single sign-on convenience and access through the Google universal navigation bar.

For example, here’s one way your business might cut down the work of tax season this year by using Marketplace apps to organize financial documents, streamline invoicing, and aggregate accounting information.

Digitize your important documents
If you’ve been putting off the tedious task of organizing your receipts, Shoeboxed can help. Send your receipts to them inside a provided postage-paid envelope and within a few days, Shoeboxed will transform your paper clutter into a secure, searchable, IRS-accepted online database. Shoeboxed also offers a variety of export options and integrates with various tax applications. By using Shoeboxed now, you can get your receipts in order before the April 15th tax deadline.

Simplify invoicing and billing to easily monitor cash flow
It’s also easy to seamlessly manage your accounts payables and receivables with the Apps Marketplace. For example, Harvest helps you create and track invoices and set up retainers for clients and projects. Other features such as multi-currency support, automated reminders and online payment help you get paid faster. Harvest also offers a contextual gadget in Gmail to streamline invoicing activities.

Prepare your finances for tax time
When it comes to aggregating your financials to prep for tax time, there are several options, including Outright. Outright automates the accounting process, provides key financial reports and tracks where your money is going by integrating with Google Apps, Shoeboxed, Harvest, your bank account and other sources. At tax time, Outright calculates any estimated taxes you owe and pre-populates your annual tax form, the IRS Schedule C. It also provides helpful alerts that integrate into your Google Calendar to keep you apprised of upcoming deadlines.

In addition to Shoeboxed, Harvest and Outright, the Apps Marketplace offers your business many other applications that can satisfy your accounting and finance needs.

Zoho Invoice

Yendo Accounts
Rhino Accouting


Expense Reporting
Concur Breeze
Yendo Expenses

Try out these apps Google Apps Marketplace and make this tax season a breeze.

Posted by Harrison Shih, Product Marketing, Google Apps Marketplace

If your company runs an ecommerce website, you’re probably taking a well deserved break with the end of the holiday rush. But as we move into a new year, it’s also a great time to start thinking about how to give your customers an even better online shopping experience.

We’re also looking forward to an exciting 2011 and to kick things off, we’re heading to New York next week to be part of the National Retail Federation's BIG Show. Visit us at Booth #3239 from January 10-13 where you’ll be able to speak with the Google Commerce Search and Google Product Search teams, and learn how our commerce offerings can help bring visitors to your site, optimize their experience, and convert them into loyal customers.

On Monday, join our afternoon session where we discuss ‘In Stock Nearby: The Next Step in Shopping’. Paul Lee, Senior Product Manager, will set out how to serve today’s cross-channel shopper, regardless of platform or location.

On Tuesday morning, don’t miss our session on ‘Search Insights’, where Nitin Mangtani, Group Product Manager on Google Commerce Search, will explain how increasingly sophisticated online shoppers are driving innovations in search.

We’re looking forward to a ‘big’ few days and hope to see you in New York next week.

Editor's note: We're thrilled to share stories from the people and organizations that use Google Apps to explore, discover and push the boundaries. These businesses truly embody the freedom enabled by the cloud.

Our third Apps Adventure profiles Traffic Konzept + Film GmbH, a Berlin-based multimedia studio that supported polar explorer Børge Ousland in a record-setting expedition to document climate change in the Arctic. Assisting Traffic was post-production house Magna Mana.

As a multimedia studio, nothing gets us more excited than a project that demands film and interactivity to take an audience inside a story. When the story is about a world record Arctic voyage, and a close-up look at global warming, our passion goes totally off the scale.

In 2009, Traffic began working with Norwegian polar explorer Børge Ousland to support an expedition planned for Summer 2010. His goal was to be the first to sail through both Passages of the North Pole in a single voyage, and the first to circumnavigate the Arctic in a single season. A feat explorers have tried and failed to do for 500 years.

Now global warming has melted the polar ice caps to such an extent that an expedition is possible. Børge’s intent wasn’t just to set a record, but provide a visual example of climate change that could reach out and motivate people. To accomplish this, our shared vision was to use film and multimedia to bring the world on the voyage as it was happening. A multimedia event that would use adventure as a draw to education and action.

On June 23rd, Børge and veteran sailor Thorleif Thorleifsson set out from Oslo on a small 31-foot trimaran. On board were several film and still cameras, a laptop, and an Inmarsat satellite uplink. Power came solely from a generator connected to a wind vane.

For nearly four months, the team battled raging storms, maze-like ice fields, lethal shallows and sub-zero temps. Because their small boat had no ice breaking gear, any collision or scrape could have been fatal. Long stops also weren’t possible, because they had to stick to a tight schedule to make it through before winter trapped them in the Passages.

Throughout the journey, Børge was able to communicate and correspond online via regular blog posts, YouTube films, Flickr galleries, and e-mail. The boat was also outfitted with a special tracker, so everyone could follow the voyage in real time via Google Maps.

Behind the scenes, Traffic used Google Apps as our project hub — creating a 24/7 connection between us, the expedition and media partners and sponsors around the world. We worked on pre-production planning in real-time with Docs, updated and shared schedules via Calendar, and the whole team could get a snapshot of the latest content and news via our Google Site. Gmail was the email backbone of the project. Using Google Apps saved an incredible amount of time, and because everything was in the cloud, everyone had access on the fly. Even from the Arctic.

For me, the greatest feeling was being right there with a camera crew — on an Oslo fjord — when the expedition began its final leg home in October. After watching the journey online for months, I was so touched to share the last mile with them in person. Being part of their team is an inspiration to us, and in the months ahead, we’ll continue to explore how multimedia can bring their story of climate awareness to new audiences.

Google has been an early and consistent supporter of email authentication technologies, which help ensure senders are who they say they are, and in turn help to curb spam. Since we launched Gmail in 2004, we have supported email-signing standards such as DomainKeys and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) to help validate outbound mail with digital signatures. On the inbound side, to help our users identify email from verified senders, in 2008 we worked with eBay and PayPal to authenticate their mail with DKIM and block all unsigned messages purportedly from those companies destined for Gmail users.

But the spam and phishing epidemics aren’t letting up – every day Gmail filters out billions of unwanted messages from our users’ inboxes – so we’ve been focused on creating helpful tools and working with the email industry to bring solutions that will help our customers. Email authentication is an important mechanism to verify senders’ identities, giving users a tool to recognize potential spam messages. In addition, many mail systems can display whether a received message is DKIM-verified, which helps spam filters verify and assess the overall reputation of the sender’s domain: messages from untrusted senders are treated more skeptically than those from good senders.

Today, we mark another notch in the spam-fighting belt: we’re making it possible for all Google Apps customers to sign their outgoing messages with DKIM, so their sent mail is less likely to get caught up in recipients’ spam filters. Google Apps is the first major email platform – including on-premises providers – to offer simple DKIM signing at no extra cost. Once again, the power of the cloud has made it possible for us to bring this feature to millions of customers quickly and affordably.

“We help the most-phished brands on the Internet manage their mail authentication programs, and the Google Apps solution is the simplest that we've encountered. Configuring DKIM for in-house systems requires plug-ins or additional gateway servers, making a company's mail environment more complex and difficult to manage. As a Google Apps customer, this feature took us only a few clicks in the control panel and an update of our DNS," said Kelly Wanser, CEO of eCert, an industry leader in providing critical protection against email fraud.

Starting today, all Google Apps administrators can enable DKIM signing in the “Advanced Tools” tab of the control panel. As more email providers around the world support DKIM signing, spam fighters will have an even more reliable signal to separate unwanted mail from good mail. We’re pleased to let millions more organizations use DKIM with this improvement.

Editor’s note: Over 3 million businesses have adopted Google Apps. Today we’ll hear from Justin Ziegler, CIO of To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map or test drive life in the cloud with the Go Google cloud calculator. is one of France’s leading online shopping destinations, connecting over 13 million buyers and sellers in Europe. As a company, we are in constant evolution, both in terms of adapting to the fast paced, and highly competitive industry that e-commerce has become and accommodating our ever-growing number of employees. In terms of technical resources, this represents a regular growth in costs -- each extra work station requiring new software licenses and additional storage.

With this in mind, we decided to examine the market in order to look for a solution that could adapt to our needs and would achieve the following goals:

- Maintain our budget while sustaining a high level of security and performance
- Reduce the number of in-house servers
- Focus resources on core business issues
- Implement new, collaborative tools for all users
- Set-up a platform that enables seamless access to information anywhere

After reviewing all of our options, we decided that Google Apps for Business met all of our needs. Our Network System & Security Engineer Damien Gilloz can now dedicate 100% of his time to making sure that is running smoothly. According to Mr. Gilloz, “It was a no-brainer; we used to have two in-house e-mail servers that needed constant maintenance and now we have none, because everything is stored on Google’s servers. This means that I can now concentrate on my core job.”

The benefits of Google Apps were immediate and had a very positive impact on all of our teams. Julian Buhagiar, Account Manager for believes that Google’s mobile apps and Google Calender have considerably increased the efficiency of the Sales team: “Since the launch of our UK site in 2008, I often travel abroad to find new business prospects or attend conventions, and I must say that Google’s mobile apps allow us to be a lot more reactive and efficient. You finish your meeting, send an email report back to head office in Paris, and organise the next one according to everybody's availability -- all from your mobile phone.”

The transfer of existing email accounts to Gmail was successfully carried out and 200 employees quickly came to appreciate the possibilities offered by this new system. The simplicity of Google Calendar, the fluidity of the exchanges enabled by Google Docs, and the accessibility from mobile platforms has dramatically increased team productivity.

Posted by Justin Ziegler, CIO

While most organizations using Google Apps provide unrestricted email access to their users, some schools and businesses need to maintain a safer and more secure environment by allowing certain users to only send and receive email within the organization. This "walled garden" approach has been a popular feature request for K-12 schools looking to provide additional safeguards for student email. It can also help businesses where the email access of particular contractors and other groups should be limited.

Today, Google Apps administrators can create policies specifying who their users can communicate with over email, and administrators can tailor these policies for different groups of users. For example, school faculty and staff can have unrestricted email access while students have the freedom to send and receive emails within the school community but are protected from unwanted email interactions with outsiders.

"Using these new controls finally gives us the ability to provide email to our 40,000 high school students. We are confident that this will help protect our children from inappropriate communications and excited about new class activities and collaboration that email will bring. Not all kids are comfortable speaking up in class and this gives many of them another avenue to approach their teachers," said Laurie Tranmer, Email Services Manager at Prince George's County Public Schools.

This feature will be rolling out over the next couple of days to Google Apps for Business, Education and Government customers. Administrators can configure their policies in the “Advanced Tools” section of the control panel.