(Cross-posted on the Gmail Blog.)

The great thing about web apps is that you can access all of your information on the go, and we’ve introduced ways to use Google Apps on a variety of devices like mobile phones and tablets. But it’s inevitable that you’ll occasionally find yourself in situations when you don’t have an internet connection, like planes, trains and carpools. When we announced Chromebooks at Google I/O 2011, we talked about bringing offline access to our web apps, and now we’re taking our first steps in that direction. Gmail offline will be available today, and offline for Google Calendar and Google Docs will be rolling out over the next week, starting today.

Gmail Offline is a Chrome Web Store app that’s intended for situations when you need to read, respond to, organize and archive email without an internet connection. This HTML5-powered app is based on the Gmail web app for tablets, which was built to function with or without web access. After you install the Gmail Offline app from the Chrome Web Store, you can continue using Gmail when you lose your connection by clicking the Gmail Offline icon on Chrome’s “new tab” page.

Google Calendar and Google Docs let you seamlessly transition between on- and offline modes. When you’re offline in Google Calendar, you can view events from your calendars and RSVP to appointments. With Google Docs you can view documents and spreadsheets when you don’t have a connection. Offline editing isn’t ready yet, but we know it’s important to many of you, and we’re working hard to make it a reality. To get started using Google Calendar or Google Docs offline, just click the gear icon at the top right corner of the web app and select the option for offline access.

IT administrators can deploy Chrome Web Store apps to users en masse by setting up organizational policies for Chrome.

Today’s world doesn’t slow down when you’re offline and it’s a great feeling to be productive from anywhere, on any device, at any time. We’re pushing the boundaries of modern browsers to make this possible, and while we hope that many users will already find today’s offline functionality useful, this is only the beginning. Support for offline document editing and customizing the amount of email to be synchronized will be coming in the future. We also look forward to making offline access more widely available when other browsers support advanced functionality (like background pages).


(Cross-posted on the Google Australia Blog)

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Ian Gardiner, CEO of Viocorp, a leading provider of digital broadcast video solutions in Asia Pacific. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Viocorp has provided digital broadcast video solutions to local and global corporations, governments, and media companies since 2002. The video webcasts we host, such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race or World Youth Day, often attract millions of viewers worldwide. We manage the back-end infrastructure to encode and deliver video of these events online, giving businesses an easy way to publish these digital media webcasts. Our customers don’t have to install anything on their end. They just buy a username and password and we deliver our services through the web browser.

Prior to Google Apps, we used a legacy on-premise solution to support our communication needs. Exchange had several shortcomings which became especially obvious as our business started to expand. Employees working from home and on the road had frequent problems with mobile email access and with synchronization of email across multiple devices. Our IT staff spent hundreds of hours each year managing and maintaining our email server when they could have been improving our video software solutions.

As a company that provides its services entirely online, we saw Google Apps for Business as a natural fit. Deployment was very easy and there were no major issues since Google Apps supports user choice, enabling us to have a gradual transition. Initially most of our users chose to maintain Microsoft Outlook as their email client, but today, given the option between Gmail or Microsoft Outlook, 90 percent of our employees choose Gmail.

We’ve also adopted Google Calendar to set up meetings and reserve shared resources such as conference rooms. Google Talk and Google Docs let us create, share, and collaborate faster than ever, moving projects forward as teams connected by real time information. Most importantly, Google Apps lets our employees work from anywhere with any smartphone or web-enabled tablet. When I’m in transit to client meetings, I can use my phone to email, chat, or even review my presentation in Google Docs. And every month we get new features that support innovation and efficiency within the company—at no extra cost.

Compared with our previous solution, managing Google Apps is incredibly easy. We think moving to Google Apps saves Viocorp well over 200 hours (approx. 5 weeks) of IT work annually, with no drawbacks in service or uptime. Although we definitely saved money by switching to Google Apps, the real value for us goes far beyond reduced costs. The question was, will Google Apps allow us to work more effectively? And when we ask our employees, the answer is “yes, without a doubt”.


Google and share a similar vision for cloud computing and we’ve teamed up over the years on a number of joint initiatives, including integrations between AdWords, Google Apps, Google App Engine and Salesforce offerings. This week, is hosting their Dreamforce cloud computing industry event, and we’re happy to be one of the sponsors.

If you’re going to be at Dreamforce this year, come get an update on Google’s products and cloud vision in one of our conference sessions.

And if you’re in the Bay Area during the conference (8/30 - 9/2), but haven’t yet registered for it, good news, the Dreamforce keynotes, super sessions and the expo sessions are now free, so consider registering and coming on by.

Google sessions to attend

Super Session: 3 Million Google Apps Customers: Strategies for Mobile & Social at Work
Date: Thur, 9/1, 2:45 - 3:45 pm
Location: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts - Novellus Theater
See Google products in action, including new mobile and social tools, and hear our customers share their successes and what they’ve learned during cloud adoption. If you're one of a lucky few, you may also walk away with a new Chromebook.

Keynote: Eric Schmidt
Date: Thur, 9/1, 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Marc Benioff will hold a fireside chat with Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, on topics ranging from the evolution of the social enterprise to technology policies necessary to stimulate economic growth.

Chromebooks for Business
Date: Wed, 8/31, 5:00 - 6:00 pm
Location: Moscone West - 3020
Hear how organizations are putting Chromebooks to use and see demos of new Chromebooks, included tools to manage Chromebooks across an organization, and features from our collaboration with Citrix.

Register for Google sessions on the Dreamforce agenda builder. Attendee login.


Come by booth #611 on the expo floor to try out our latest Chromebooks and ask questions of Google product specialists.

We hope to see you at Dreamforce!


Editors note: This post is part of a series that explores the top ten reasons why customers trust Google with their business data. A complete top ten list can be found here.

One of the myths surrounding cloud computing is that you lose control of your data when it’s stored in the cloud. In fact, the opposite is true. When information is stored in Google Apps, administrators have access to management tools that give them the visibility and control they need without having to manage IT infrastructure. The Google Apps control panel offers a host of management tools, and over the past year alone we’ve added capabilities that let administrators manage multiple domains, configure specific administrative roles, and set user policies, to name a few (a complete list is here).

Starting today, the Google Apps control panel will also provide access to an audit log which permits an administrator to view details of administrative changes that have been made to their Google Apps domain. Some examples are:
  • Changes made to users, aliases and organizations
  • Changes made to various application settings in Gmail, Google Docs
  • Changes made to mobile settings
  • Changes in delegated administration

To save administrators time and make it easier for them to find reports, we’ve also moved the reporting section (including the audit log) to the top-level of the Control Panel. This section is now immediately visible within the Control Panel.

Debbie Farley, a Business Analyst with Caraustar, Inc. comments: “The Admin Audit capability provides our company with insight into key administrative tasks such as who is creating users and changing passwords. We also appreciate the new location of the Reports tab. It makes it easy to get to the audit log.”

David Cifuentes with added, “With the Admin Audit feature we were able to gain visibility into changes that are taking place in the admin panel of our Google Apps domain, in a very easy and informative way. It even displays the changes that have happened months ago, letting us filter by action, date and administrator. The ability to export the information in a file was also helpful, in order for us to analyze the data deeper outside the panel.”

These reports are available today to users of Google Apps for Business, Education and Government. Together with other Google Apps APIs these tools give administrators the visibility and control they need to effectively manage their Google Apps instances.


Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Ed Nettles, Vice President and Director of IT for Lamar Advertising. Founded in 1902, Lamar Advertising operates over 150 outdoor advertising companies and 63 transit companies, reaching driving audiences. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

In 1902, when Charles Lamar and J.M. Coe decided to dissolve their business partnership, a coin toss was used to divide their assets: the Pensacola Opera House and the Pensacola Advertising Company, the small poster company created to promote the Opera House. Mr. Lamar lost the toss and was left with the less-lucrative poster company. A few years later the Opera house burned down, but that little poster company has grown into Lamar Advertising, one of the largest advertising companies in the U.S.

Prior to Google Apps, we were using Microsoft® Outlook for employees in the field, and Microsoft® Exchange for the employees in our corporate office. With this setup we were constantly facing three problems: data vulnerability, lack of reliable mobile access, and a constant need for IT maintenance.

We had employees saving Microsoft Outlook data in multiple locations, making us vulnerable to data loss and discovery requests that we couldn’t comply with. Microsoft Exchange limited our employees’ ability to get their information when out of the office. Employee smartphones couldn’t sync with calendars or contacts and while employees could get new messages on their phones, they couldn’t see emails older than a few days. We felt like once our employees walked away from the office, they walked away from their work. Even in the office, our email lacked stability so the IT department was constantly dealing with issues. We needed one centralized way of storing and managing our data so that we could provide a better service to our users, provide the business with better security and let our IT department get out of the business of managing email.

We considered upgrading to the latest version of Exchange, but the benefits of the cloud - access from anywhere, increased storage, better security- were too important to ignore. Once we decided that we were going to move to the cloud, Google Apps was the clear choice. Google Apps was affordable and many employees were already familiar with Gmail. Because Google Apps is web-based employees can work and easily collaborate anywhere, any time, making us much more productive.

Cloud Sherpas, the Google Apps reseller we’ve worked with, has been extremely helpful, deploying Google Apps to over 2,400 email users without any major hitches. We now have over 4 terabytes of data in Google Apps. That would have been too resource and cost intensive to build and maintain on our own. With Google Apps, we know our data is safe in the cloud we don’t have to continue to build out our IT infrastructure as we grow.

We’re just getting started with Google Apps, but already employees have started embracing the benefits of its collaborative features; we’ve already seen over 10,000 Google spreadsheets created in just a few months. With so many of our employees working in remote offices and on the road, the ability to access their information anywhere has greatly improved productivity. We know that this is just the beginning and we’re looking forward to seeing the impact Google Apps can have across the business.


Over three million businesses have moved to Google Apps, and several factors have driven this transition. While improved productivity and cost savings have long been at the top of the list, more and more customers are choosing Apps for its security and reliability benefits. Our pure and proven cloud is designed to protect our users’ data and deliver reliability at levels that are very difficult or impossible for many organizations to achieve on their own. Even on-premises, so called “private cloud” and hybrid technologies are challenged to deliver the data protection and reliability that comes with Google Apps.

Here are the top 10 data protection and reliability advantages that we hear about most frequently from customers (in no particular order):

1. Powerful administration tools give you control of your data
When business data is stored in Google Apps, administrators have powerful tools to help them manage things like users, documents and services. Reports also provide visibility into how the applications are being used and what data is in them so that administrators have the control they need without having to maintain the infrastructure.

2. Pure and proven cloud architecture
Our datacenter server infrastructure is specifically designed and built for our applications and does not include unnecessary hardware or software code such as peripheral ports or device drivers. This reduces the number of potential vulnerabilities that could be targeted.

3. Patch management
Downloading, testing and deploying patches has become a significant pain for many IT departments. Google Apps reduces this pain because there are no servers for customers to patch. We manage the servers and take care of all updates.

4. Strong authentication
Google Apps includes 2-step verification for all user accounts - at no additional charge. Businesses and organizations can easily deploy an extra layer of protection for their user accounts using devices they already have. This makes strong authentication available to many organizations that did not have it before. Google Apps also integrates with existing Single Sign On (SSO) mechanisms via open standards.

5. Disaster recovery
Google Apps offers robust disaster recovery capabilities which are commonly measured by Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). RTO measures how long before users can access systems in the event of a failure and RPO measures how much of a gap there is in the data when it is restored. Google Apps is designed with RTO and RPO goals of zero. Emails, documents and data are saved every few seconds and replicated in multiple data centers. This means that if one of our data centers becomes unavailable, we seamlessly switch the user to another data center and because it has been replicated there is no loss of data and users can continue working uninterrupted.

6. Third party verifications
Google Apps and our data centers are SSAE 16 Type II audited and have achieved the U.S. Federal Government’s FISMA certification. SSAE 16 is an auditing standard where a third party auditor evaluates the controls in place for numerous areas including physical and logical security, privacy, incident response and more. The Federal Information Security Management Act or FISMA is the law defining security requirements that must be met by all US Federal government information systems. While FISMA certification is required for U.S. Government agencies, it is also a strong validation in the private sector of the technologies and processes we use to protect the data in Google Apps.

7. Information security expertise
We employ an information security team of over 250 people with a wealth of expertise not found in most organizations. Many have advanced degrees and are thought leaders in information security. The security team regularly publishes research and contributes open source tools to the security community. They monitor our global network of datacenters and applications 24x7x365.25 (they don’t rest on leap years).

8. Secure connections for users
We automatically encrypt browser sessions for Google Apps users without the need for VPN’s or other potentially costly and cumbersome infrastructure. This helps protect your data as it travels between users’ browsers and our data centers.

9. High availability
Google Apps has zero maintenance windows or planned downtime. While we offer a 99.9% uptime SLA, Gmail exceeded this guarantee in 2010 and achieved 99.984% uptime. We did this while delivering more than 30 new features and adding tens of millions of users. The status of Google Apps is visible to administrators and users on our publicly available status dashboard.

10. Reduced risk of data breach
Google Apps allows users to work securely on their data wherever they are, using a wide range of devices. The data is stored centrally in Google’s cloud which greatly reduces the need for users to take their data with them using USB drives or similar devices, which can be easily lost or stolen. This can help reduce the risk of a data breach, something that is on the mind of many organizations these days.

Over three million businesses trust Google to protect the data they store in Google Apps and make it reliably accessible. Over the next few weeks we’re going to dive deeper into each one of these areas to provide more details why Google Apps customers trust us with their business data.


As summer vacation ends and students prepare for the year ahead, we want to share stories from the first three schools to hit the ground running with Chromebooks for Education. Chromebooks decrease wait times in the classroom with a super-fast bootup, protect against viruses with enhanced security, and regular updates from Google mean that Chromebooks actually get better over time, saving thousands of dollars on maintenance and software upgrades. We asked these three schools to share their stories about how they plan to use Chromebooks this year to make the collaborative classroom a reality.

Chromebooks in the classroom
Contributed by Peter Iles, principal, 7th & 8th grade teacher, and tech lead, Grace Lutheran School, Oshkosh, Wis.

As a small private school in central Wisconsin, Grace Lutheran has not always had the funds to provide students with access to modern technology. Our computer lab was at least seven years old but our budgets were limited, so we had a severe need for low-cost, updated technology. To be honest, we were failing our students in being capable and current with technology and trends.

This summer, we considered three options: a complete PC refresh, Windows loaner laptops, or a set of Chromebooks. The first two choices would cost tens of thousands up front not including additional license fees and time I don’t have to maintain a Windows server environment. Chromebooks were the obvious economical choice, but they also made the most sense from an instructional perspective since we use Google Apps for Education, which is well integrated with Chromebooks. In my English class, students do peer reviews in real-time in Google Docs and with Google Maps and Earth we can do real-world math problems, which is far more tangible than working out of a text book.

In all, 17 Chromebooks will be shared in a classroom throughout the day among 5th through 8th grade students. I’m also actively using the Chromebook web-based management console, which allows me to whitelist certain extensions and pre-install education applications on each student's machine. The web changes the way students interact. And really, we have to change the way we teach. Chromebooks open up the whole world of knowledge - and that is one of the best gifts any teacher can give a student.

Chromebooks as a 1:1 device for sixth graders
Contributed by Tina Heizman, Director of Information Technology, Merton Community School District, Merton, Wis.

I really believe in the power of technology to enhance learning. When our 110 sixth graders return to school in September, they will each receive their own Chromebook to keep and use until they graduate from eighth grade. They will be able to take them home and use the 3G capabilities if needed. With the implementation of the Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education, our goal is to increase critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity among students.

When we learned that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction was finalizing their statewide agreement for Google Apps for Education, Chromebooks seemed like a perfect addition. Giving students Chromebooks will keep them productive and allow my department to focus on helping students and staff, instead of dealing with hardware issues. Three years ago we gave each student in 5th through 8th grades a netbook, but login times have slowed significantly and hardware fails. Students become impatient and prefer to use their cell phones, which we’d like them to avoid for network security reasons. With the Chromebooks’ 8-second boot-up time and an 8-hour battery students can access the information they need, when they need it, and work a whole school day on a single charge.

I used to spend my summer imaging new computers, but using the web-based management console to deploy web apps across all 110 Chromebooks took me less than one hour. My vision is to have the devices be part of the natural classroom environment, available when needed, so learning can be the focus. Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education can do that for us.

Chromebooks on PC carts and in the library
Contributed by Ced Paine, Director of Technology, The Fessenden School, West Newton, Mass.

Fessenden is an independent K-9 school with hundreds of students. My five-member IT team has their hands full with six laptop carts, a computer-stocked library and two busy computer labs. When Chromebooks were announced, I thought “this is perfect, this is what we need.” Keeping desktop software up to date is a bear. Fessenden can now be considered cutting edge and technology-forward.

This year Fessenden will add two carts full of Chromebooks that teachers can reserve using Google Calendar for their lessons. As for the students, they are learning to create and collaborate in new, exciting ways. Chromebooks and the web are what I consider the holy grail of educational tools. Kids don’t think of it as using technology; Google Docs is just a blank screen to start creating. Add in the ability to chat with a peer or their teacher while doing their homework presentation in a different town and the results are just amazing to watch unfold.

In addition to the Chromebook carts, students can borrow a Chromebook from the school library. Eventually, we would like all students in 5th through 9th grades to have their own Chromebook. I’m blown away by the creative ways students and teachers use web technology. There’s one project where throughout the year each group rewrites one chapter of a book using Google Docs. At the end, the entire class has re-written the book in their own words. The web allows the students to be the teachers.

How could you use Chromebooks in your school? Learn more about Chromebooks for Education on our website, or register to join our webinar on Tuesday, August 29 at 11:00 a.m. PDT.


In the last few years, cloud computing has become a prominent part of many companies' IT strategies. But the rise of cloud computing has brought with it certain misconceptions about what the cloud actually is and the ways it can impact (or not) a company's operations. Cutting through the myths and understanding the truth is essential for making smart decisions about whether, when, and how your company should move to the cloud. And since Google Apps was born in the cloud, we know firsthand the perceived challenges and true benefits of cloud computing.

We invite you to join us for a webinar in which we’ll discuss Google Apps for Business and address a number of topics that are often misunderstood with respect to cloud computing, including:
  • Privacy and data security in the cloud
  • How administrative controls work in the cloud
  • How cloud computing improves daily work processes
  • The differences between cloud computing and remote access
  • How to access data stored in the cloud (hint: a web browser may not be necessary)
What: Google Apps demo and explanation of common cloud computing misconceptions
When: Thursday, August 25th, 2011 at 12pm EDT / 9am PDT
Who: Blaise Pabon and Denise Ching, Google Apps team

Register here today. We hope to see you there!

Update Sept 14: Video of webinar


Over the last few weeks, we’ve covered some of the ways that Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Sites have really improved over time, and in this final installment, we’re shifting our focus to how the administrative capabilities in Google Apps have grown up, too. We’re always looking to streamline how administrators can foster better teamwork, easier mobile access and a more secure environment through easy-to-use management tools.

We hope you’ll discover a few admin capabilities here that you weren’t familiar with before, or just haven’t used in some time. If you’d like to hear more about these developments for administrators, please join our webinar on September 1st (details below).

Designed for Teams
Google Apps is designed with the idea that working together should be easier, faster and more fun than working alone. Google Apps makes this simple for administrators by letting users handle many routine tasks without IT support, and by including collaborative capabilities that you’d need to purchase and manage separately with other solutions.
  • Google Sites lets employees set up private, secure workspaces ranging from team sites and project portals to intranets and status dashboards, all without burdening IT for setup help. End-users can initiate a site quickly, and don’t need any special programming skills to collaborate together on a great site.
  • User-managed groups also facilitate teamwork and take the burden off of IT. Teams can self-assemble and manage their own workgroups and mailing list aliases, so administrators don’t need to constantly keep these lists up to date.
  • Google Apps also makes it painless for organizations to have private template galleries for team-oriented sites, documents, spreadsheets, drawings and presentations. Administrators don’t need to hassle with setting up special template repositories, because they’re built right into Google Apps.
  • Likewise, administrators don’t need to manage servers and complex file share systems to let employees upload and distribute documents, spreadsheets, presentations and other kinds of files. Google Docs handles this without customers needing any special infrastructure on site.
  • PC-to-PC voice and video chat also comes standard with Google Apps. Instead of needing to purchase, install and manage special software and server infrastructure, these real-time communication channels are part of Gmail, and accessible from the browser.
  • Users can also make calls from Gmail to mobile and landline phones without businesses having to manage any specialized telephony technology.
  • Form and survey capabilities are also packaged with Google Apps as part of Google Docs, so it’s easy for users to collect structured responses from colleagues and external audiences, and you don’t have to license surveying software from another provider.
  • Another powerful collaboration technology included with Google Apps without any additional administrative complexity is translation functionality. Instant translation works in documents, spreadsheets and sites, and Gmail can even translate multilingual IM conversations in real-time between dozens of languages.
  • Want to provide multi-person collaboration in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint without upgrading to Office and SharePoint 2010? Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office is a lightweight Office plugin that lets people work together simultaneously in these applications, without the hassles of collaborating over attachments.
  • Administrators also have the ability to fine-tune user collaboration capabilities across Google Apps. Admins can provide different applications for different groups of users, set permissions for who can email outsiders, and enforce sharing controls in documents and sites to limit information sharing beyond the organization.
  • More complex organizations with users at multiple domains can still work like a cohesive unit with multi-domain management. This feature lets people all across your organization share information seamlessly together without the traditional barriers that domain boundaries can create.
  • Finally, our 100% web applications allow administrators to see a snapshot of how their users are working together with these tools, through an intuitive collaboration dashboard integrated into the administrative control panel. You can see stats like the number of active documents, the average number of people documents are shared with and more.

Productive Anywhere
Gone are the days where supporting a new mobile platform or operating system requires a heroic effort.  With Google Apps, users just access their work from any modern browser or major mobile operating system.  We also provide administrators with tools to secure and manage mobile devices at no additional cost.
  • 100% web-based applications mean that users can access their email, calendars, documents and other applications right from their browsers, on any operating system.  This makes it much easier for administrators to support a heterogeneous OS environment without leaving any users behind.
  • Android natively supports Google Apps through a comprehensive suite of mobile apps built right into the mobile platform.  For iOS devices and Windows Mobile, Google Sync enables synchronization of email, contacts and calendar.   BlackBerry sync is also available through Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server.
  • To help administrators manage and secure a diverse fleet of company- and user-owned mobile devices, our mobile device management tool allows administrators to enforce mobile password requirements, remotely lock devices, and even wipe devices over the air.  Employees can also access self-service tools, like the ability to view the location of a lost phone.

Simple & Affordable
Deploying and managing Google Apps should be as easy as using Google Apps, so we’ve added tools to help businesses get started quickly, integrate with existing systems and customize the experience to their needs.
  • It all begins with a free 30-day trial that takes just a few minutes to start, and you don’t even need to put down your credit card.  If you like what you see, Google Apps for Business is a simple $5 per user per month or $50 per year. 
  • Once you begin your trial, the interactive setup wizard will guide you the process, from creating user accounts to managing mobile devices.
  • For organizations that already have IT systems in place, Google Apps plays nice with other systems through tools like Directory Sync, which can automatically provision Google Apps accounts, groups, shared contacts and more, all based on your existing user directory.
  • Some organizations deploy Google Apps to make a fresh start, while others want to bring along data from old systems to Google’s cloud.  With migration tools for Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange, and many other platforms, you can go with either transition approach.
  • You also have choice when it comes to the pace of innovation that’s right for your business.  With our new release process, you can join the Rapid Release track to get new features as quickly as possible -- often several times per week -- or choose the Scheduled Release track for a bit more time to digest changes before they roll out to users.
  • Flexibility also comes in the form of customizable administrative roles.  Delegated administration lets you assign full or partial administration rights to other users or groups, making it a snap to give teams like help desk staff the right privileges to do their jobs effectively and safely.
  • The possibilities for adding custom functionality to Google Apps are also endless.  You can select from dozens of additional Google applications, layer on integrated 3rd-party applications from the Google Apps Marketplace, write your own custom interactions between applications with Google Apps Script, or tap into a full spectrum of management and application APIs.
  • These same APIs power another essential tool: the ability to take your data and move to a different provider if we ever stop meeting your needs.  Our Data Liberation effort includes a comprehensive set of tools to help you get your information out of Google’s cloud should the need arise.

Pure & Proven Cloud
Google Apps for Business not only has an uptime guarantee, but we also provide transparency by offering a publicly available status dashboard.  In addition to our reliability efforts, we also provide administrators with options to help keep their data more safe and secure.
  • Our 99.9% uptime SLA guarantees reliable access to Google Apps, and our commitment doesn’t have any exceptions for planned maintenance.  This is because our systems are designed to handle updates without interruptions for customers.
  • Our publicly available status dashboard offers transparency about the health of our systems, and 24x7 phone and online support is there when you need it.
  • Google goes to extensive lengths to protect the customer information in our data centers, including extensive personnel background checks, security-focused processes, advanced technology, and around-the-clock physical protection.
  • Google Apps has completed a SAS 70 Type II audit, a SSAE-16 audit, and has achieved the U.S. Federal goverment’s FISMA certification.
  • With default https connections, your users’ information is encrypted as it travels from your web browser to our servers.  This helps protect your data by making it unreadable to others sharing your network.
  • Google Apps accounts can be further secured with 2-step verification, which requires users to sign in with something they know (their password) and something they have (their mobile phone).  With verification codes available via SMS, even basic mobile phones can serve as powerful authentication devices.
  • Account access can also be fortified with custom password strength requirements that administrators can tailor, and the ability to put Google Apps behind your own single sign-on infrastructure.

Customers tell us they love rapid, continuous innovation in our applications, but we’re just as focused on making the administrative experience faster, easier and more powerful over time.  I hope you found a few new management capabilities here that will make Google Apps even more useful at your organization.  Join us for a free webinar on September 1st if you’re interested in learning more about many of these improvements.

A look back as we move ahead: Google Apps management capabilities
Thursday, September 1st, 2011
9:00 a.m. PDT / 12:00 p.m. EDT


In Rockingham County, North Carolina, the IT department supports 500 employees who for the past several years had used three different client applications for email. The county switched to Google Apps for Government earlier this year to simplify its operations and improve collaboration among employees.

Join us for a live webinar on Wednesday, August 24 to hear from David Whicker, IT Director for Rockingham County, about the County’s experience with Google Apps, including:
  • How Rockingham County standardized on one easy-to-maintain hosted application suite, saving the County IT department precious resources
  • How Google Apps for Government boosted employee collaboration and productivity
  • How the County deployed Google’s cloud solution easily and quickly

Live Webinar: Rockingham County empowers employees with Google Apps
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
1:00 - 2:00 pm EDT
Register here.


In our continuous drive to make it easier for Google Apps administrators to create, manage and secure their users and data, we’ve introduced a number of features over time in the Google Apps for Business administrative control panel, such as the delegated administration, multi-domain support and fine-grained user policy management, just to name a few. These features have been well-received by the administrator community and we’ve seen healthy adoption among Google Apps for Business customers where these capabilities are helpful.

Starting today, millions of organizations using our free Google Apps service can begin taking advantage of these capabilities and many more as well. Now all Google Apps administrators can use advanced control panel features to manage users and customize the security policies for their organizations, regardless of which version of Google Apps they’re using.

If your company uses our free Google Apps service and requires additional business-critical features such as 24x7 support, 25GB mailboxes, enhanced functionality like email routing, or advanced reporting or migration tools, you can try a 30-day upgrade to Google Apps for Business for free.


Today’s Official Google Blog post highlights the vital role that Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) continue to play in the development of the African-American community, and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to ensuring these schools have the tools and resources they need to continue to blaze new trails and empower their students. As a recent grad from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T), I found the relationship between Google and HBCUs to be especially meaningful.

As with all schools, Google provides HBCUs with free and powerful tools for teaching and learning that help students, staff and faculty be more efficient, productive and collaborative on campus. At last week’s HBCU Summit, it was exciting to see nine more HBCUs join the Google Apps for Education family—in addition to the other 13 HBCUs that are already using Apps on campus—including my own alma mater.

As last year’s president of the Student Government Association of NC A&T, I remember countless conversations with students about how they wanted to see a better email system. The students wanted more up-to-date and user-friendly features to help them work and communicate better with fellow students and faculty. When I sat with campus administrators to present the idea of upgrading to Google Apps for Education, I never realized how simple the task could actually be.

I’m proud to see my alma mater on the cutting edge of innovation as they move to Google Apps for Education. Making the switch to Google Apps will give the A&T community the convenience and mobility that it desires. Barbara Ellis, Vice Chancellor of Information Technology says, “At NC A&T, we are always looking for opportunities to enhance services to our students. Google Apps for Education brings our email implementation into the forefront and allows us to embrace a technology platform that is relevant to our student population. Our relationship with Google is one that we can continue to build on.”

I am elated to be a part of a company that gives back to universities like my alma mater, and I’m honored to be a graduate of an HBCU gone Google. I know firsthand that everyone at North Carolina A&T State University—the faculty, staff, administration, student body and alumni—welcomes progress, change and innovation. Today, we proudly welcome Google!

The NC A&T team with Googlers at the HBCU Summit

Eric Zhang, Software Engineer

(Cross-posted from the Google Docs Blog.)

Today we’re introducing page-level permissions, a new feature that will allow you to control who can view and edit your Google Site on a page by page basis.

Using page-level permissions, you can make some pages private for certain users while keeping other pages public for everyone to see. For instance, let’s say you have a Google Site that you’ve shared with your team and your manager. You can allow your team to see one set of pages, let your manager edit another set of pages, and keep yet another set of pages private for only you.

Only site owners have the ability to enable this feature, which is turned off by default for new and existing sites. To turn on page-level permissions, go to More Actions > Sharing and Permissions.

From there, click Enable page-level permissions. Then, in the dialog box, click Turn on page-level permissions.

Once page-level permissions is enabled, you’ll have three options to choose from:
  • allow a page to inherit all of your site-level permissions
  • elect to include future site-level changes to a page
  • prevent a page from inheriting any future changes made at the site-level

Using page-level permissions should give you greater control over who can edit and access your Google site. To learn more about setting page-level permissions, take a look at our getting started guide. Let us know what you think in our support forums.

Posted by David Watson, Executive Project Sponsor for for The City of Calgary.

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is David Watson, executive project sponsor for for The City of Calgary. He sponsored a sweeping program to bring greater efficiencies to operations and provide enhanced and broader services to citizens. At its heart is a new search-centric website launched today, and powered by the Google Search Appliance.

Many municipalities today are under increasing pressure to reduce overhead while providing a wide array of services to citizens. In The City of Calgary, we looked to the Internet to enable us to provide enhanced citizen services as efficiently as possible. Our research showed several interesting facts:
- Over 93% of Calgarians use the Internet.
- Only 18% of traffic came directly to our home page - 55% of people came from search engines, primarily Google.
- Citizens want to interact with us online, instead of spending time on the phone or in-person - 60% noted better convenience, such as not having to drive to a city facility. Others noted speed and 24/7 availability.
- More than 40% of Calgary citizens said they wanted more services online.

Our public-facing web presence, which has 16,000 pages of content, across 28 business units, with a wide variety of applications, functionality, documents and information for our citizens, handled 9 million visits in 2010. The major drawback was that the information was difficult to find.

Forty-seven percent of Calgary citizens surveyed reported that the incumbent search engine on did not work well. It required knowledge of city acronyms and terminology, something many citizens, understandably, don’t possess. Our content and our site was cluttered, out-of-date, and difficult to weed through. We struggled with maintenance as individual business units continued to add to our already packed site.

In response, we formed the Web Leadership and Renewal Program in 2007. Among the chief goals was to provide citizens with easy-to-use search and better access to city programs and services. This led us to create an entirely new, search-centric site which was first concepted and tested in November 2009, and finally launched today.

The Google Search Appliance (GSA) is the cornerstone of this new site and our efforts to improve access to services and programs and increase government efficiency. It is linked to a content management system, ESRI for interactive mapping, and to websites such as to provide a holistic, integrated search experience.

Now, citizens can search for everything from YouTube videos on saving water to animal services and permit information, and they can easily serve themselves by finding answers to everyday questions. is just as easy and effective as searching on The search-based concept lets Calgarians type in common keywords or phrases to find what they need, without specific knowledge of city acronyms or terminology.

We can conserve phone and in-person resources for more complex requests and apply valuable government resources more strategically. Citizens benefit from the convenience of finding most of what they need online. They can avoid unnecessary driving and parking fees and have 24/7 access.

Certain search features of the GSA were very important to us. Topping the list were best bets, synonyms, and spelling correction. Related searches and content rating were also vital, as well as the ability to easily promote the relevance of a search result based on its popularity. The Google Search Appliance provided all of these capabilities, plus it had a reputation for being very easy to install and maintain.

Citizens are rapidly adopting search now. Early metrics show that only 4% of visits to the old used the internal search engine. In comparison, 65% of visitors to the new used the the GSA, and the search results page is the second most visited page after the home page.

Ultimately, our job is to provide city services as efficiently as possible. We strive to do more with less. By making the right content easy to retrieve, citizens get the convenience they seek—and we can reduce unnecessary overhead and increase the value and variety of our services and programs.


On July 20th we held our second annual Google Enterprise Day in Tokyo, Japan. Despite typhoon warnings, we had 1,577 attendees, over twice the number of attendees as last year’s event. The packed agenda consisted of 35 speakers across 20 sessions, including Google Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, COO of SoftBank Telecom, Ken Miyauchi, and Yasuki Sato from Toda Corporation.

Google Enterprise Day was an opportunity for Google to share with Japanese business leaders our vision for a 100% web world, where business applications are delivered via a web browser, enabling improved reliability and productivity with access from anywhere, at any time. This was a particularly important topic following the devastating effects of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan earlier this year. Business continuity and disaster management have become real concerns in the last few months for businesses in Japan. Well known construction company, Toda Corporation, shared why they moved to Google Apps after losing access to their on-premise servers and business applications during the tsunami. Moving to a 100% web-based platform meant that Toda Corporation could be up and running quickly, with no time spent installing hardware or software.

Several new Google Apps customers announced that they had gone Google at the event, including SoftBank Group, Nortiz, Casio, and Mitsui Soko. Casio’s CIO, Atsushi Yazawa, shared his decision to move to Google Apps. “In deciding to move to Google Apps, speed of innovation was a big factor. Google Apps constantly provides new features and products with a great level of service and reliability. Google Apps also allowed us to decrease our total cost of ownership while diverting our IT professionals from repetitive maintenence tasks to more business-centric work that adds value to the organization.”

Ken Miyauchi, COO of SoftBank Telecom, SoftBank Mobile and SoftBank BB spoke about its successful deployment of 26,000 employees across the business to Google Apps. SoftBank spoke about some of the benefits they’ve started to see from this switch – a reduction in servers and the costs and resources to maintain them, more efficient email with much bigger storage limits, better access to email and documents from mobile devices, and greater creativity resulting from better collaboration across departments and teams.

Sota Umezu, Manager of Sales Strategy in the Sales Promotion Division at SoftBank says, “Google Apps has changed the way we do business. For example, when gathering information from employees, we used to email attachments to each employee, ask them to fill in their information, and manually aggregate their input in numerous attachments back into a master copy of the file. With Google Docs employees all update the same document, making a 6 hour process a 30 minute process. The ability to access data from anywhere and collaborate in real time has greatly improved productivity,”

We really enjoyed hosting such innovative business leaders at this year’s Enterprise Day. If you’d like to see some of the presentations from this event, you can watch the videos on YouTube.


One of the best things about Chromebooks is that they improve over time with frequent automatic updates. Over the last few months we’ve gotten great feedback from many of our Chromebooks for Business and Education customers, and we’re excited that this week’s latest stable release of Chrome OS includes their top feature requests: VPN and secure Wi-Fi (802.1x) support, and access to virtualized applications.

With VPN support, users can remotely access their private school or business network from a Chromebook so they can use important internal systems while taking advantage of the Chromebook’s portability.

Secure WiFi (802.1X) support lets organizations protect their wireless network and systems by requiring authentication credentials in order for a Chromebook to connect to the network.

Finally, while most new applications will be built for the web, we recognize that some users need to access desktop applications.1 With the technology preview release of Citrix Receiver for Chrome OS, Citrix customers can now access virtualized versions of their desktop applications, like Adobe Photoshop, using a Chromebook.

Also in this week's release, Chromebooks resume even more quickly – 32% faster in most cases. And users can save paper by using Google Cloud Print’s Print to Docs feature. We’re excited for feedback, and to get the latest features, fixes, and improvements, all users need to do is open their Chromebooks!

If you’re interested to learn how Chromebooks can help your school or business, contact our team.

1. IDC, 2010. “Worldwide Software as a Service 2010–2014 Forecast: Software Will Never Be the Same.”


Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Nathanael Andrico, CIO for Cox Schepp Construction, a leading provider of construction services in the southeastern region of the United States. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

At Cox Schepp, we focus on completing our clients’ construction projects in the most cost-effective way possible. We’re based out of Charlotte, North Carolina with offices in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida with 150 employees across the region. Our team is spread out across our offices and we work on projects in the field as far west as Texas. Streamlining our operations and minimizing costs across offices is a priority for us so that we can spend more time focusing on our clients.

Prior to Google Apps, we were using Microsoft Exchange 2007. As our business expanded, we found that we were pouring a lot of time into keeping all of our offices and mobile teams up and running on the server. When we began evaluating cloud service providers, we were primarily concerned with finding an archiving solution for our growing business.

The cost of maintaining an Exchange server was growing as we wanted greater redundancy across our records. We had gotten to the point where we had to impose 4 gigabyte and then eventually 2 gigabyte limits for everyone’s Exchange inboxes. This proved to be burdensome very quickly as our project managers often send large image files back and forth containing everything from architects’ plans to photos of a job’s progress.

Cox Schepp switched to Google Apps approximately one year ago. We purchased both Google Apps and Postini Archiving and Discovery. We chose Google Apps because we saw its potential to streamline our operations and solve our email archiving challenges at a competitive price point. We wanted a turn-key experience, so we worked with the implementation partner Dito who was able to quickly and easily bring us on board. We also decided to take advantage of the Apps platform’s extensibility and integrated CloudLock from the Google Apps Marketplace as an additional layer of compliance and security features.

After deploying Google Apps, we wanted to make sure all of our offices were readily equipped to take advantage of all the useful product features. Since there’s only one of me and multiple offices, we appointed some deputies among different teams to serve as local gurus to help their colleagues learn more about how to use Apps.

Google Sites has been the breakaway hit across the company since we started using Google Apps. It’s been a really useful way to share information and manage projects. People also really enjoy using video chat, which was something we didn’t anticipate when selecting Apps. It’s been great to see that Apps has not only delivered a strong email platform with a great archiving solution, but has also helped us collaborate more effectively in ways we didn’t initially foresee.

Moving from an onsite solution to Google Apps has solved our email archiving challenges, reduced our overhead IT costs and enabled seamless project collaboration. This change has allowed us to spend less time devoted to building IT infrastructure and more time devoted to building our clients’ designs.


Editors note:Today’s guest blogger is Michael O’Brien, CIO for Journal Communications, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based media company with operations in publishing, radio and television broadcasting, interactive media and printing services. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Journal Communications owns and operates 33 radio stations, 13 television stations in 12 states, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper, and several community newspapers and publications in the Midwest. For the past several years, our IT infrastructure for those media stations and papers has been completely separate. We had 17 implementations and multiple versions of Microsoft® Exchange and SharePoint with multiple servers for each location, most of which were not backed up or redundant. The company managed for years without significant problems, until our second largest market, Las Vegas, had a catastrophic hardware crash - just weeks after we officially decided to move to Google Apps. Email, calendar and contacts were not recoverable for many. Some employees had been with the company for 15 years or longer and they lost everything. Now the future of using a redundant, web-based solution really hit home with the company leadership.

When I joined Journal Communications in May 2010, my first priority was to bring multiple IT divisions together and have them start working more collaboratively. We had 18 months left on our Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft, but we realized that if we really wanted to reach this collaborative goal, it would be very expensive and hard to do with the existing portfolio of Microsoft products. Prior to Journal Communications, I had been a CIO at a start up, and one of the decisions I made early on was not to have anything brick and mortar if we could avoid it. I came to Journal Communications and saw all this legacy hardware and software, and knew we needed to build a future business model based on cloud computing.

Despite the existing contract with Microsoft, we decided to move to Google Apps. As we all know, email and calendar have evolved from nice-to-have tools to mission-critical business applications, and everything Google has come out with so far, simply just works - the Google tool set sells itself. Google Apps make the business environment more productive and more cost effective. Instead of IT being seen as a cost center, we’ve really taken the boundaries out of a static IT organization and started to make decisions that provide current and future business value. Until we transition completely, we still have hundreds of servers surrounding MS Exchange and SharePoint, and they just need to go away. My goal is to end up with a media based company that is as much in the cloud as possible, this includes our Publishing ERP system. We are also evaluating the idea of going cloud with phones. Portions of the IT team now use Google Voice and calls through Gmail. Imagine a department and then large portions of an organization with no desktop phones - Journal Communications does.

We’re rolling out Google Apps to over 2,700 Journal Communications employees and will be done by Q1 2012. We realize that this is a significant business change, but even some people who were originally skeptical are getting on board. This is just the beginning of moving to a more digital, cloud based world where we can work together across offices, know that our data is stored in the cloud and accessible from anywhere with any device, and start to move our business systems out of our brick and mortar data centers. We’re entering a new age at Journal Communications. We’re not your grandmother’s newspaper, nor your grandfather’s TV or radio station.


One of the ways our customers can be are assured their data is protected is through third-party audits and certifications. Since 2008, Google Apps has successfully undergone annual SAS 70 Type II audits. This year the SAS70 Type II audit has evolved into the SSAE 16 Type II attestation and its international counterpart, ISAE 3402 Type II. We’re happy to announce that Google is one of the first major cloud providers to be certified for compliance to these new audit standards.

Over the past few weeks, Google has successfully completed the audit process for the SSAE 16 and ISAE 3402 standards for Google Apps and Postini services. In addition, we expanded the audits to include Google App Engine, Google Apps Script, and Google Storage for Developers. Together with the SAS 70 Type II (covering dates prior to June 15th, 2011), these third party audits provide additional assurance to customers that their data is well protected.

Third party audits are only part of the security and compliance benefits of Google Apps and Google App Engine products. We protect our Apps customers’ data by employing some of the foremost security experts, by executing rigorous safety processes, and by implementing cutting-edge technology. These protections are highlighted in our security white paper and data center video tour. For more information visit our Google Apps Trust page.

We take extensive measures to protect our users’ data and we are constantly innovating to develop new features and capabilities in these areas.


(Cross-posted from the Gmail Blog.)

When we check our email, many of us rely on the message snippets to figure out which emails to open first. We've been listening to your feedback though, and we know that sometimes, you want more than snippets. This is why I’m happy to announce that you can now preview messages in your inbox using a new feature in Gmail Labs called Preview Pane. It’s probably a very familiar layout to those of you who have used Gmail on a tablet device. We also think it’s going to work especially well if you have a larger resolution screen.

Click the image above to see a larger version.

After you enable Preview Pane from the Labs tab in Gmail Settings you’ll see a toggle button in the top right corner of your message list, which lets you switch between preview and list views.

For those of you who have more vertical space you can also move the preview pane below your message list. You can enable this using the dropdown arrow next to the toggle button:

By default there is a 3-second delay in marking a conversation as read after previewing it. If that doesn’t feel natural to you, you can change the timing in the General tab of settings:

If you’d like to remove the new layout, simply return to Gmail Settings and disable the lab. Finally, don’t forget to let us know what you think about the latest addition to Gmail Labs.