Recent Google Sites Upgrades, Part 2

As part of the recent upgrades to Google Sites, Google added the following capabilities:

  • The editing toolbar has been updated to more closely resemble Google Docs.
  • The rendering infrastructure has been modified to improve performance.
  • Related Colors and Fonts settings have been grouped. A “From theme” option to each variable to make it easier to revert to a previous theme.
  • Sidebar gadgets and page canvas gadgets can now be independently styled via colors and fonts.
  • Users can now configure a “site language” which allows for a uniform language experience for site viewers.

Click Here to learn more …

Recent Google Sites Upgrades, Part 1

Google Sites provide a convenient means of collaboration within your company or securely with others. Recent upgrades improve the look and feel of sites and the user experience.

Navigation Widget Updates

  • Organize the navigation widget into a hierarchical tree structure
  • Highlight the current page
  • Subgroup pages into categories

Site Settings

  • Site settings area uses vertical navigation for a cleaner look and feel
  • You can no configure a “site language”

Click Here to learn more …

Google Announces ChromeOS: Is it a game changer?

Google’s announcement of ChromeOS has sparked widely varying opinions on the Internet.

On its own, ChromeOS is an open source operating system targeting netbooks and desktop PCs. Google’s intent is to support cloud computing — internal or external. At this level, ChromeOS is certainly a threat to the Linux versions in that space. While an open source project, ChromeOS has the financial backing of a major player that can push development of device drivers and core functionality.

Given Microsoft’s absence from the netbook market and ownership of business desktops, the threat to Microsoft is indirect. Will businesses migrate to OpenOffice? Will they run “office in the cloud”?

If you combine ChromeOS with Wave, however, the story changes. While most of the world focused on Wave’s user interface, I find Google’s stated intention of letting customers run federated servers in-house most fascinating. Wave is a private-cloud platform. Combine federated Wave servers with ChromeOS and you have the potential for an ecosystem.

ChromeOS on the desktop connecting to in-house, shared, and public Wave servers as well as other cloud computing services. Google has the potential to fundamentally change the way businesses compute.

Updates to Google Forms Improves Information Gathering Tools

With the ability to embed Google Forms on web pages and within emails, they are a powerful tool for gathering information. Recent upgrades are addressing some of the limitations of the tool.

  • Section headers can be added to give longer forms more structure.
  • The editor supports fixed-width
  • The ability to edit multiple forms at once
  • A new HTML structure is more suited for skinning and Javascript applications
  • Forms will display in the user’s localized language

Solve Feature Enhances Google Spreadsheets

If you work with linear equations, check out the new Solve feature in Google Spreadsheets. While it does not yet support equations containing formulas, the feature enhances the complexity of information analysis available in Spreadsheets.

Click here to learn how to use Solve.

Domain-Level Templates in Google Apps

Last fall, Google released a public template gallery for Google Apps. Last week, Google released template galleries for domains using Google Apps Premier and Education Editions.

Now, any user in the domain can submit a template to be shared with all other domain users. Templates exist for Docs, Spreadsheets, Forms, and Presentations.

This feature should improve your ability to standardize the look and feel of corporate documents.

Click Here to learn more …

Backup Axiom #1 – Recovery is Hard

In his IT Project Failures blog, Michael Krigsman bemoans his “Failing with Online Backup” in his effort to backup 350 GB using two popular consumer online backup services (. While many of the comments teased him with “you get what you pay for” taunts, the real issue is …

Backup Axiom #1: Backups are Easy; Recovery is Hard;

In his search for a cheap answer, he neglected to consider is upload speed, the size and nature of his data, the retention points and period, the restore methods of the services, and the likely nature of his restores.

While in the comments he states he is fine with an long initial seed, selecting a service with an offline method of seeding would have avoided the bandwidth and connectivity failures he experienced. And while his intent was to be able to recovery individual files, should he need to restore 20GB, 50GB, or more of his data, he would have been more than frustrated in the process and speed.

Anybody can provide cheap, secure, off-site backup storage. The key is selecting a service that meets your reliability and recovery needs.

Click Here for more …

New Label Features in Gmail Add Flexibility

Last week, the Gmail Team announced three new features related to labels within Gmail. As you may know, Labels are a way to organize and search messages. While they can be used like folders in most email systems, Gmail allows you to apply multiple emails to messages for more intuitive management.

The new features are:

  • New Location: Labels are not located above the Chat box
  • Hide & Show: You can now decide which of your labels you want to see by default, letting you keep often-used labels visible with all labels one-click away
  • Drag & Drop Messages: Drag messages into a label will label and archive the message in one step

  • Drag & Drop Messages: You can drag a label onto selected messages

Click here for details …

Google Contact Updates

Last week, Google added a series of improvements to Google Contacts, primarily targeting business customers.

In addition to additional fields and improvements to the Contacts interface in Gmail and the Contacts screen, Google added new APIs that let administrators add fields and share contacts within the domain.

Click Here to learn more …

Tiny URLs: Convenient, Cool, and Risky

URL shortening, through services such as and, are a convenient way to get shorten URLs so they fit within emails, tweets, and other postings. The convenience, however, does come with risks.

In the CNET Article, URL shortening is hot–but look before you leap, Stephen Shankland identifies some of the risks and offers great advice about picking a service.