Google Apps highlights – 12/16/2011

Monday, December 19, 2011 | 9:25 AM

(Cross posted from the Official Google Blog.)

This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label “Google Apps highlights" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

The elves got an early jump on the holidays this year by leaving us some surprises in Google Apps over the last few weeks. Sharing from Gmail got a whole lot easier, and Google Calendar can make better use of precious screen space. We also have 10 new Google Apps customer stories to share from the tens of thousands that have gone Google in recent weeks.

Gmail gets more social
Last week we sprinkled a touch of Google+ into Gmail, making it easier to connect and share with people from your inbox. You can add people to circles right from an email thread through Gmail’s people widget, share photo attachments with friends and family on Google+ without leaving Gmail, and view a filtered version of your inbox only showing messages from people in your circles. We also improved Gmail’s address book by incorporating contact information shared by your friends, family and colleagues in their Google+ profiles.


New features in the Gmail iOS app
Just yesterday we added several new improvements to the Gmail app for iOS 4+. Now you can set up a custom email signature for mobile messages, manage your vacation responder, and view nested labels from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. We also added scribbles, a fun way to spice up messages by adding a quick hand-drawn sketch. You can create scribbles using a range of colors, brush sizes, lines, erasers and spray paints from your touchscreen device.


More free calls right from Gmail
Last year we introduced free domestic calling in Gmail within the U.S. and Canada, and we’re extending this free service for the whole year of 2012. We’re happy to help you keep in touch with those special people in your life, for free.

Hide morning and night hours in Calendar
If you don’t often have appointments early in the morning or late at night, a new trick in Google Calendar might be useful. Now you can hide morning and night hours, leaving more screen real estate for the times of day when most of your events take place. Give it a try in Calendar Labs.


Who’s gone Google?
Businesses and schools are switching to Google Apps in droves these days. From tiny startups to large enterprises and nonprofits to college campuses, we love hearing the inspiring stories that our customers share. Here’s a new batch of stories for your reading pleasure: TripIt, IPSEN, Ebby Halliday, Ticket River, VigLink, HeyZap, The Great Books Foundation, Utah K-12 schools, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and UC Santa Cruz. Welcome one and all!

For more details and the latest news, check out the Google Apps Blog, and keep an eye out for this series here after the holidays. We launched more than 150 improvements go Google Apps in 2011, and we have a ton more in store for 2012!

New TalkBin improvements make it easier to connect with customers

Thursday, December 8, 2011 | 10:00 AM

Businesses interact with customers all the time, but it can be challenging to get honest and useful feedback that can help improve your business. TalkBin makes this easy by giving your customers a direct and convenient way to reach you via text message. No more clumsy comment cards and surveys; instead, customers can simply use their mobile phones to text you comments and feedback the same way they’d text a friend.

Today, we’re excited to announce three improvements that make it even easier to manage customer feedback.

1) Getting started tutorial

When you log in to TalkBin, you’ll be welcomed with a handy educational tutorial that explains all the most important features. This makes learning how to use TalkBin a cinch for you and your employees.


2) Updated dashboard

Based on your feedback, we updated the user interface with a fresh new design that helps you to manage all of your settings in one convenient place. For example, now your Account Settings are just one click away from Location and Billing Settings.


3) Custom sign builder

In-store signs are key to getting quality feedback from your customers. The new sign building feature help you make and print custom signs in just a few minutes.


To learn more about how TalkBin can help your business, check out these firsthand perspectives from Fraiche Yogurt and P. Terry’s Burger Stand.

Also, for the rest of the month, Google Small Business Blog readers can get TalkBin for just $5/month per location (discounted from the regular $25/month per location). Just enter promotion code BLOGSMB when you sign up at talkbin.com/signup/user/. This offer expires December 31, 2011.

Posted by Qasar Younis, Product Manager, TalkBin

Pedal to find your dream home with Google Maps

Monday, December 5, 2011 | 9:33 AM

(Cross-posted on the Lat Long Blog.)

The features available in Google Maps are equally functional and fun. You can tour distant cities with Street View or map out a trip with multiple destinations using Custom Maps. Not only is Google Maps a great tool for everyday personal use, but it’s can also be used as a practical business tool. Such is the case for Matt Kolb, owner of Pedal to Properties.

Matt is an avid cyclist and a realtor based in Boulder, Colorado. In 2006, Matt decided to blend his hobby and career by founding his own real estate agency called Pedal to Properties. His company is built on the idea that by touring homes via bicycle, one can get a better sense of the local community and determine if a particular property is the right fit.


When Matt meets with clients, he locates various properties on Google Maps and creates a biking route of the houses they’ll visit that day, using Bicycling Directions as a guide. Home buyers are encouraged to interact with the map, using Street View to check out a property and its surrounding neighborhood, and using nearby search to take a look at local schools and businesses. Through this process Matt is able to narrow down viable homes for a specific buyer, making the experience enjoyable and time-efficient.

If you have interesting stories about how you use biking directions, Street View, or other Google Maps features to enhance your business, comment on our Google+ Page with #mygmapstory

Google Apps highlights – 11/18/2011

Friday, November 18, 2011 | 1:38 PM

Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog

This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label “Google Apps highlights" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.


The last few weeks have brought a fresh new look in Gmail, more mobile access options and simpler meeting scheduling tools. Millions of organizations using Google Apps can now use Google+ on their business and university accounts, and we launched a couple Apps-related Google+ Pages ourselves.

Gmail’s new look
Back in July we previewed Gmail’s new look, and a couple weeks ago we started letting people switch to the new design with one click. The refreshed interface makes it easier to follow conversations and spot the sender with profile pictures for each message. The new look also supports dynamic screen densities, so Gmail displays properly whether you’re viewing on a large desktop monitor or a smaller mobile screen. We also added a selection of beautiful HD themes to the existing gallery. Finally, we made it easier to perform advanced email searches using a panel of powerful search options that reveals with a single click.



Gmail app for iOS devices
This month we introduced the Gmail app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, complete with mobile alerts for new mail, a responsive touch screen interface and Gmail mainstays like fast search, conversation view and address auto-complete.




Suggested meeting times in Google Calendar
We’ve heard how frustrating it can be to spend 15 minutes finding a good time for people to convene for a 30 minute meeting, so we made it easier to find a good meeting time in Google Calendar. The suggested times feature automatically reviews the availability of meeting invitees, and proposes event times that work for the whole group.




Google+ for organizations using Google Apps
Businesses, schools and organizations with Google Apps can now use Google+. Employees and students can create profiles, +1 things they like on the web, share interesting content with their circles and have live multi-person video chats with classmates, colleagues and friends. Organizations can also create their Google+ Pages—an organization’s identity on Google+ for customers, students or fans. We’re using Google+ Pages ourselves, so take a look at the Gmail and Google Enterprise pages, and circle us if you’d like to stay in the loop.

24x7 telephone support and improved mobile device management
This week, we introduced a couple other new benefits for Google Apps customers. Organizations of all sizes around the world can now call our support hotline at any time for all core service issue. Also new this week, we improved our mobile device management capabilities with an interface for administrators to view and deny mobile devices connecting to Google Apps, granular mobile policy controls, and the ability to visualize mobile usage trends across the organization.




Who’s gone Google?
Organizations large and small continue to amass around Google Apps. We’re thrilled to welcome a whole host of new customers including the Trinity Mirror Group (Britain’s largest newspaper publisher), startups such as JobFlo and UserTesting, organizations including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and colleges like the University of Michigan and UT Austin. Welcome to all!

Get closer to your customers with Google+

Monday, November 7, 2011 | 10:04 AM

(Cross-posted on the Inside AdWords blog.)

Editorial note: Many of you have already verified your Place page via Google Places for business. We encourage you to continue maintaining the information in your Google Places account to help ensure that potential customers can find accurate information about your business on Google Maps and local search. You may also want to supplement your Google Places account with a Google+ Page for your business, which provides you with additional ways to engage and directly interact with customers using Google+. Currently, however, Google Places accounts and Google+ Pages must be managed separately. 

Since the initial launch of Google+ just a few months ago, we’ve welcomed over 40 million people and introduced more than 100 new features. For all these people, one important part is still missing - your business.

We want to help you make the same kinds of lasting connections with your customers online the way you can in real life. That’s why we are introducing Google+ Your Business, a collection of tools and products to help you get closer to your customers. At the heart of this is Google+ Pages, your business’s identity on Google+.



Google+ Pages: Have real conversations with the right people

To get your business on Google+, you first need to create a Google+ Page. On your page, you can post updates and news about your business, engage in conversations with your customers, send tailored messages to specific groups of people, and see how many +1’s you have across the web. Here are a few features of Google+ Pages that we think will help you build relationships:


Google+ Pages are at the heart of Google+ for Business

Hangouts

Sometimes you might want to chat with your customers face-to-face. For example, if you run a bookstore, you may want to invite an author to talk about her latest novel, or if you market a cosmetics line, beauty specialists might want to hold how-to sessions for makeup tips. Hangouts make this easy, by letting you have high-quality video chats with nine customers, with a single click. You can use Hangouts to get product feedback, help solve problems or simply get to know people better, all in real time.

Hangouts let you meet your customers, face to face

Circles

Circles allow you to group followers of your Page into smaller audiences. You can then share specific messages with specific groups. For example, you could create a Circle containing people who are your most loyal customers and offer them a special discount.

+1 button and Google+ badge: Inspire current customers to recommend new ones

Google+ Pages also help you deliver your great content to users in a way that’s easy to share with their friends. We introduced the +1 button as a way for your customers to recommend your business across the web - on Google search, in your ads, on sites across the web and on mobile devices. Now, your customers can +1 your Page, recommending your actual brand -- not just an individual ad or a site -- directly to their friends.

To help your customers find your page and start sharing, we have two buttons you can add to your site by visiting our Google+ badge configuration tool:

The Google+ icon is a small icon that directly links to your Page.



In the coming days, we’re introducing the Google+ badge, which lets people add your page to their circles, without leaving your site, to start getting updates from your business via Google+.



Make your +1’s count, improving the performance of your ads


Coming soon, we will also make it possible to link your Page to your AdWords campaigns for your site, so that all your +1s -- from your Page, your website, ads and search results -- will get tallied together and appear as a single total.
Your +1’s will be shown with your brand wherever it appears, including search, ads, Google+ and your website

Consumers will be able to see all the recommendations your business has received, whether they are looking at an ad, a search result or your page, meaning your +1’s will reach not only the 40 million users of Google+, but all the people who come to Google every day. In the coming days. you'll be able to link your page to your AdWords campaigns by following the instructions in the AdWords Help Center.

Or, if you're using AdWords Express from your Google Places account, you can link your ads to your Google+ Page by simply selecting the option to direct viewers of your ad to your Google+ Page, and entering the Google+ Page URL in the appropriate field.



You can link your Google+ Page to your AdWords account with Social Extensions. Social Extensions are available in the ad extensions tab in your AdWords account.

Bringing Google+ to the rest of Google

Our ultimate vision for Google+ is to transform the overall Google experience-- weaving identity and sharing into all of our products. Beginning today, we’re rolling out a new experimental feature, Direct Connect -- an easy way for your customers to find your Google+ Page on Google search. For eligible pages, when someone searches for your business with the ‘+’ sign before it Direct Connect will send them directly to your page. For example, try searching for ‘+YouTube’ on Google. Users will also be prompted to automatically add Pages they find through Direct Connect to their circles. Direct Connect will not work for everyone.
Direct Connect suggestions start populating as you type on Google.com

Just the beginning

We wanted to help you get your business on Google+ as soon as possible, so we’re opening the field trial for Google+ Pages to everyone today. Creating a Google+ Page only takes a few minutes. To get started, you’ll need a personal Google+ profile. If you don’t have a Google account, it’s very quick and easy to join. And if you are looking for inspiration, check out some of the companies that are already starting to set up their Pages:
Partner LogosBurberryHMMacysPepsiABC NewsAmazonAssassins_CreedATTBreaking_NewsOrangeDC_ComicsDellNBC_NewsGol_Linhas_aerasKiaLOrealMarvelNYTimesPiagetShadyTmobileToyotaUniqloVirgin

To learn more about how Google+ works for your business, check out the Google+ Your Business site. We’re just getting started and have many more features in the coming weeks and months. To keep up to date on the latest news and tips, add the Google+ Your Business page to your circles. If you have ideas on how we can improve Google+ for your business, we’d love to hear them.

Posted by Dennis Troper, Product Management Director, Google+ Pages

Introducing the Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner Program: Connecting you with partners to help maximize your AdWords campaigns

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 | 9:00 AM

As a small business, we know you spend a lot of valuable time trying to reach more customers. Many of our advertisers build and create successful AdWords campaigns on their own, and others prefer to work with partners to get their Google advertising up and running. We think it’s important to provide you with the options that work best for your business, which is why we’re excited to announce a partnership program dedicated to helping small- and medium-sized businesses reach new customers with Google AdWords.

The Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner Program (PSP) connects Google’s trusted and experienced partners with businesses to create, manage, and optimize AdWords campaigns that help you reach more customers and make the most of your advertising budget.

Premier SMB Partners bring to the table years of industry knowledge and meet Google’s highest standards for qualification, training, and customer service. Teaming up with a PSP gives you a marketing and search engine advisor who can take the guesswork out of online advertising, to save you time and resources so you can focus on running and growing your business.

Check out the video below to see how a Google AdWords customer named A&D Automatic Gate & Access has worked with a Premier SMB Partner to find new customers with their Google AdWords campaigns.

To learn more about working with a Premier SMB Partner, visit our website, www.google.com/ads/premiersmbpartner/.

Posted by Todd Rowe, Director of Global Channel Sales

Small business and the power of video, announcing “My Business Story” by Google and American Express

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 | 1:20 PM

(Cross-posted on the Inside AdWords Blog)

Let’s say you’re a custom sneaker maker. Or you run a yoga retreat center. Or maybe you even sell vegan Vietnamese out of a gourmet food truck. Your business has its own unique story to tell. If you had the chance to show the world what your business is all about - from its founding roots to the ways it changes your customers’ lives, would you take it?

Today you have that chance. We’re pleased to be presenting “My Business Story®” alongside American Express. “My Business Story” is a program for small businesses to tell their stories through video, leading up to the second annual “Small Business Saturday”, a day set aside to encourage communities to spend and support local businesses by shopping small.

And since Google research has shown that companies who use video can expect better customer engagement and retention, we are launching a new video tool so that small business owners can create personalized, professional-quality videos about their business.

Once you’ve got your video crafted, business owners are invited to submit it to the contest for an opportunity to appear in the YouTube homepage ad on Friday, November 25th, which is viewed by an estimated 22 million people in the United States every day. Thirty-six small businesses will be featured in the ad and will receive an online ad campaign worth $5,000 from Google and American Express. All submissions will be viewed and judged by an independent panel of experts. The deadline for contest entry is Tuesday, November 15, but entry is not required to use the My Business Story editing tool.

Happy editing! We’re eager to see what you come up with.

Posted by Marisa Currie, Product Marketing Manager

Google Apps highlights – 10/22/2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011 | 3:42 PM

This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label “Google Apps highlights" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

In the spirit of helping people work better together, over the last few weeks we made big improvements to Google presentations, introduced a version of Google Docs optimized for Android tablets, and enabled more dynamic content in Google Sites. We also celebrated the fact that Silicon Valley has gone Google!

Google presentations reloaded
On Tuesday we launched a completely rebuilt version of our web-based presentations application, so you can build more beautiful presentations together with colleagues and classmates. Google presentations now lets you make great-looking slides with animated builds, advanced slide transitions and better support for drawings, tables and themes. Plus, we made it easier to create presentations with others, without the hassles of attachments. Your whole team can work together in the same version of a presentation at the same time, and you can see who’s doing what, chat with others, and see a full revision history at any moment in time.




Google Docs on Android tablets
We’ve made it faster and easier to work with Google Docs on Android tablets with a new version of the Android application that takes full advantage of larger screen real estate. The three-panel view lets you browse filters and collections, see your document list and view file thumbnails and details simultaneously. You can get the Google Docs Android app for free from the Android Market.




Charts in Google Sites
Charts are often created in spreadsheets, but sometimes you want charts to appear in other places, like your team or project sites. In Google Sites, now you can select “Chart” from the “Insert” menu, and navigate to the Google Spreadsheet where your chart or data is located. You can also choose to have your site’s chart update in real-time when someone updates the underlying spreadsheet.





New look for Google Docs and Sites
We started rolling out a new look in Google Docs a couple months ago, and now this new design is available throughout all our collaboration tools. In addition to a cleaner, simpler design, we’ve made it more clear when your files are being auto-saved and added new icons to help you see at-a-glance who your docs are shared with. You can also customize the overall “density” of screen information, a great feature if you want to fit more onto a smaller display.





Who’s gone Google?
Successful small businesses tend to stay laser-focused on improving their core businesses, without getting distracted by peripheral activities that don’t make them more competitive. For example, most small businesses don’t want to spend time or money developing in-house expertise to run email and other IT systems. Case in point: 97 percent of Business Insider’s “Silicon Valley Startups to Watch” use Google Apps.

More than 5,000 businesses and thousands of other organizations start using Google Apps every single day, and more of our customers have shared their stories recently so you can hear why. A warm welcome goes out to Philz Coffee, Mid-Atlantic Door Group, Bradford & Barthel, LLP and the City of Mesquite, Nevada.

I hope these product updates and customer stories help you and your organization get even more from Google Apps. For more details and the latest news, check out the Google Apps Blog.

Small businesses in NYC help fight breast cancer with Pink Pin

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 | 9:40 AM

This October and November, Google and Susan G. Komen for the Cure are taking the fight against breast cancer to New York City with the Pink Pin initiative. The Pink Pin initiative is a way for businesses to support the fight against breast cancer by encouraging consumers to donate to the search for a cure.

Physical businesses who register at PinkPin.com will be marked with a Pink Pin on our map. Customers who visit these businesses will be able to donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure at stores via mobile phones. The more customers businesses reach, the more of an impact Pink Pin will have—and the closer we’ll be to a cure. We’re also encouraging businesses and consumers to inspire others by sharing their stories about the cause online at www.pinkpin.com. Our goal is to raise hope, raise spirits and raise more than $100,000 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

So get involved, get on the map, share your stories and be a part of Pink Pin. With the support of small businesses like yours, Google and Susan G. Komen for the Cure can help take breast cancer off the map.

Faster updates to local business listings

Thursday, October 13, 2011 | 3:02 PM

(Cross-posted on the Lat Long Blog.)

Our goal to create a digital representation of the real world doesn’t just mean a birds’ eye view through Google Earth, or a street-level view through Google Maps. It means providing a local view as well, and tools like Google Places help people across the globe learn about and connect with the places and businesses in their immediate areas.

We use a variety of authoritative sources to give users relevant local information about places that might interest them, including data from partners, users, and directly from business owners who verify their organic listings via Google Places for business. In addition, we always want to know about changes to a business that should be reflected on our local search products. That’s why we have the “Report a problem” tool on Google Maps, and also enable users to click on the "Edit this place” link at the top of the Place page to provide updates to a business listing.



And while some business owners may have previously verified their organic listing to ensure that their company information was correct at that particular moment in time, we recognize that amidst all the work that goes into running a successful enterprise, remembering to update their Google Places account may not always be top of mind. Oftentimes, a neighborhood local or a loyal customer is eager to help their favorite business update its online presence when it moves into a bigger space across the street, or extends its hours for the summer season.

That’s why today, we’re introducing a new process that helps streamline the way updates are made to potentially outdated or incorrect business listings. Previously, verified business listings would always reflect the information provided by its owner - even if we received data about an updated name, address, or hours of operation. But now, if a user provides new information about a business they know -- or if our system identifies information from another source on the web that may be more recent than the data the business owner provided via Google Places --  the organic listing will automatically be updated and the business owner will be sent an email notification about the change. Without requiring any effort on the part of the business owner, we’ll take measures to keep their listing up-to-date if our system determines that the edit is accurate. Of course, if the business owner disagrees or has even more recent information, they can always directly log in to their Google Places account and make further edits.

Online ads from business owners using our AdWords or AdWords Express programs will not be affected by these automatic updates. Ads will continue to display the business information the owner has provided in Google Places.

We hope these new features help users find the most accurate local information available, and make it even easier for business owners to manage their online presence. If you’re a business owner with additional questions about your specific listing, please consult the Google Places for business Help Center or visit our user support forum.

Posted by Lior Ron, Google Places Product Manager

Introducing a new support feature for Google Places for business

Monday, October 3, 2011 | 10:28 AM

We want to make it easy for you to get found on Google. The best way to do that is to add your business information to Google Places for business to make sure all your information is up to date.

But sometimes, you need a little help along the way to ensure that you can be found on Google. And lately, we’ve been hearing from many of you that you’d like a little more of this kind of help. That’s why we’re excited to share a recent change to our Help Center.

Now when you visit the Help Center homepage, you’ll notice a new section called “Fix a problem.” Click the problem that applies to you. We’ll walk you through some questions to help you get to the bottom of the issue, giving you tips to help resolve any issues you experience. And sometimes, if you still need additional help, you can send us a note. Fill out the contact form, hit submit, and someone from our team will get back to you soon.

Here’s a video to help you get started, featuring Derek, a member of our Google Places team:



Posted by Joel Headley, Consumer Operations

Google Apps highlights – 9/23/2011

Friday, September 23, 2011 | 5:27 PM

This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label “Google Apps highlights" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

It’s back-to-school season, and we’ve made Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar and Sites easier to use and more powerful for students and non-students alike—including some important accessibility improvements to help blind users be productive in our apps.

Multiple sign-in and other new preferences in Gmail for mobile
On Wednesday, we added some helpful new features for people who use Gmail on a mobile browser. You can now sign in to more than one Gmail account at a time, and toggle between them easily from the account switcher menu at the bottom of the mobile inbox. This can be a good time saver if you have multiple accounts or share a mobile device with family members. Gmail for mobile also now enables you to set up mobile-specific email signatures and create vacation responders right from your phone to let people know when you won't be available by email.




Calling credit auto-recharge
Now you can automatically add international calling credits for phone calls in Gmail when your balance gets low. Just visit the "Billing" area of the Google Voice settings page and click "Add credit" to put your account on cruise control.




Allow people to comment but not edit in documents
Sometimes, you might find yourself in situations when you’d like to share a document for feedback, but don’t want to make the document's content fully editable. The comment-only level of access launched last week is a nice option for these scenarios. You can let others discuss and add their thoughts to your document—without allowing them to change your work. You can allow document comments from specific individuals or groups, from anyone belonging your organization or from the general public.




Format painter, Fusion Tables, drag & drop images and vertical cell merge
Comment-only access isn't all that we've added to Google Docs over the last few weeks. Other notable improvements include a text format painter in documents, which is a fast way to copy and paste font, size, color and other text styling. Spreadsheets now support vertically merged cells (in addition to horizontal merges). In drawings, you can drag images from your desktop to the drawing canvas, then continue editing your graphic. We also added Fusion Tables as a new document type in the documents list. Fusion Tables are a powerful way to gather, visualize and collaborate on large data sets that might be unwieldy in a typical spreadsheet.




Fusion Table data visualized on an interactive map


Accessibility improvements in Google Calendar, Docs and Sites
We think technology can do a better job getting out of people’s way and helping you be more productive with less complexity and fewer frustrations. In this spirit, we’ve recently made a series of improvements to make our applications more accessible to blind users. We have more work to do, but Google Calendar, Docs and Sites now offer better support for screen readers and improved keyboard shortcuts. We hope these changes make our applications more useful to all users.

Who’s gone Google?
Organizations are moving to Google Apps for a diverse set of reasons—including cost savings, streamlined teamwork and better mobile access. We’ve even started hearing from schools and businesses who have made the switch to reduce their impact on the environment. No two organizations choose Google Apps for the exact same reasons, but in total, the momentum of Google Apps keeps growing.

We recently shared the news that 61 of the top 100 universities ranked by U.S. News and World Report have gone Google. On the business side, there are now more than 4 million companies using Google Apps, and businesses are joining at a rate of over 5,000 per day. In all, there are more than 40 million users that regularly use Google Apps in their organizations.

I hope these product updates and customer stories help you and your organization get even more from Google Apps. For more details and the latest news, check out the Google Apps Blog.

Ask us your Google Places for business questions

Thursday, September 8, 2011 | 10:51 AM

A little more than a year ago, we collected your questions and feedback on Google Places for business via a Google Moderator page. You sent us some great feedback, and we had a blast responding! Check out our video responses here on YouTube, covering things like features of a listing, Report a problem and ranking.

It's important to us to continue hearing your great feedback — and we suspect you've had a lot of questions and ideas throughout the past year — so let's fire up another Moderator page. Starting today and for the next two weeks, you can submit your questions and ideas, as well as vote up other submissions from users. We'll answer some of the more popular questions directly on the page and post a new video or two to the Google Places YouTube channel.

Start sharing your ideas right now, and stay tuned to us here on the Small Business Blog to see a roundup of responses.

Posted by Vanessa Schneider, Google Maps and Places community manager

Inc. Magazine and Google want to hear your online success story

Friday, September 2, 2011 | 2:10 PM

In my role at Google, I am constantly impressed by the innovative and entrepreneurial ways that small business owners take their ideas or passions, and turn them into thriving businesses. One of my favorite business success stories is of a small boutique in New York City called Loopy Mango. For over a year, their storefront was covered by a scaffolding due to delays in renovation of the building next door. To overcome this challenge, they relied on online advertising to find customers and share what their unique lifestyle boutique had to offer.



Does your business have a unique online marketing story? In partnership with Inc. Magazine, we're now asking businesses across the country to share with us how they've used online marketing tools to improve their business. The three most impactful stories will receive tickets to the Inc. 5000 conference in the Washington, D.C. metro-area on September 22-24, 2011.

Inc. Magazine is taking submissions here. Please share your story with us by September 7, 2011 for a chance to win. Winners will be notified via email by September 10, 2011. Also, visit Google@Inc on Inc.com to learn more tips and tools from experts about how to grow your business online.

Posted by Ria Tobaccowala, Small Business Marketing Team


Better control in Google Sites with page-level permissions

Thursday, August 18, 2011 | 1:23 PM

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.

Eric Zhang, Software Engineer