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Top 6 Google Apps Features Released in the Last 6 Months

BetterCloud Monitor

March 5, 2012

4 minute read

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Perhaps one of the greatest benefits to switching to Google Apps is the constant addition of new product features. Google is known not only for its great innovation, but the pace at which such innovation is conducted. The rapidity of feature releases for Google Apps can sometimes cause users to overlook new add-ons. Today, we’re taking a look back at the biggest and best additions to Google Apps over the last six months.

Offline Gmail

The first iteration of offline access for Gmail was released in 2009 and required the outdated and clunky Google Gears plugin. Thankfully, Google relaunched offline Gmail in 2011 as a slick HTML5-based app, easily accessed and installed through the Chrome Web Store. The app, which allows users to read, respond to, search and archive mail, mimics the popular Gmail tablet interface. Since the offline Gmail app syncs seamlessly with your inbox while you’re working online and stores messages on your local computer, you can later access your mail from anywhere (looks like your boss’ dreams have come true)!

New Look

By now, we’ve all made (or been forced to make) the switch to Gmail’s ‘new look.’ Nobody likes change, but we’re loving the new features of Gmail, docs, calendars and contacts. One of our favorite features includes dynamic scrolling, which allows you to scroll through one particular element of Gmail without affecting the appearance of other components. Additional features include an enhanced search box, high definition themes, the ability to resize chat and label boxes and inbox auto-resize, which automatically adjusts your inbox to fit the size window you’re working in. For a video description of the new features, check out the Official Gmail Blog.

Mobile Device Management

Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets continue to make work more accessible outside the office, but this trend is often concerning to IT administrators, who worry about device and data security. Admins can rest easy with Google’s new mobile device management tools for Google Apps for Business, Government and Education customers.  The new tools give more insight into and control over Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices used to access secure data. The tools, easily accessed from the control panel, provide an overview of the mobile devices syncing with Google Apps and allow administrators to revoke access to individual devices as needed. Additional features include password requirements and roaming sync preferences controlled on a per user group basis.

Comments-only Access in Docs

Want to know what co-workers think of a certain project, without giving them the ability to actually make changes? Google released their solution this past September with comment-only access in docs (also recently extended to presentations). To turn on comment-only sharing access, click the share button in your doc, add a user and select the “Can comment” option in the drop-down menu.

Page Level Permissions in Sites

When Google Sites first launched, it gave users access to an easy-to-use website creation tool. But since then, users have being making exceedingly complex and content-rich sites, often containing sensitive information. This past August, Google gave site creators the ability to manage sharing capabilities on a page-by-page level.  The new page-level permissions give site owners the ability to share and grant certain permissions to several different users. For example, you can grant your team one set of permissions, your boss another and keep other pages private, all within one site. To access the new permissions, click the “More” tab within the site, then choose “Sharing and Permissions.”

Google+ for All Google Apps Accounts

Over the past year, Google+ has been a highly debated topic. However, it cannot be denied that Google+ offers many helpful features for the business user. Your employer may not care for “Facebooking” at work, but Google+ can actually enhance your day-to-day productivity by allowing you to segment friends into custom circles like “Clients,” “Partners,” and “Co-workers,” and the social networking site allows you to follow relevant company and brand pages, share relevant news and stay up to date with your company and field. Our favorite Google+ feature is Google Hangouts, which allows you to easily jump into a video conference and share your screen with just a couple clicks.

The above features are just a small sample of the 100+ features Google releases for Apps each year. As more and more organizations “go Google,” you can expect to see even more innovative features released in 2012.

What new Google Apps functionalities would you like to see over the next year? Let us know in the comments section!