Google Releases the Google Apps Connector for Blackberry Enterprise Server

After an extended period in Beta testing, Google has released its connector for Blackberry Enterprise Server.

  • Messages sent to your Gmail inbox are pushed to your BlackBerry within 60 seconds.
  • Emails read/deleted on your BlackBerry are marked as read/deleted in Gmail, and vice-versa.
  • Emails archived/starred on your BlackBerry are archived/starred in Gmail, and vice-versa.
  • BlackBerry folders are synchronized with labels in Gmail.
  • You can search for contact information of coworkers from the global address list on your BlackBerry.
  • Contacts in Gmail are automatically synchronized with your BlackBerry address book.
  • You can view your Google Calendar schedule with the native BlackBerry application, with one-way synchronization from Google Calendar to your BlackBerry device.
  • Administrators can use the management and security tools that are part of BlackBerry Enterprise Server.
There is One Caveat:
  • Two-way calendar sync with the ability to accept, decline and schedule meetings from your BlackBerry device is not available with this release but we are working on it.
Contact us for more information.

Themes for Google Forms adds Color and Style

Quick and simple, Google has added about 70 themes for Forms that add some color and character to your information gathering efforts.

Click here to learn more

Better User Admin for Google Apps

Back in April, Google released Google Apps Directory Sync, a tool that lets Google Apps administrators add, remove, and change Google Apps accounts automatically as changes are made to the directory service on the local network. The tool works with Microsoft Active Directory and Lotus Domino.

A few weeks ago, Google release a significant upgrade that includes:
  • The ability to synchronize non-employees (i.e. contacts) kept in the central directory.
  • Inclusion of more fields from contact records, including email addresses, phone numbers, etc.
The addition of these features enhances and further simplifies administration of Google Apps in a managed network environment.

Google Spreadsheet gets several new usability features

Over the past few weeks, Google Spreadsheets have seen a number of important new features, all of which improve its usability and, with some features, compatibility with Microsoft Excel.

  • From within spreadsheets, you can now attach the spreadsheet to an email via the Share menu.
  • You can now use SUM() and SUMPRODUCT() functions in addition to linear equations with the Solve Tool
  • When you export spreadsheets to .XLS format, images are now included in the data.

An Interesting Discussion about Exchange vs Google Apps

Back in May, I posted Google Apps vs Exchange Part I that included a link to a comparison presentation. There have been some recent comments and an interesting discussion about the post and the presentation.

To save you searching back in time, you can click here to see the original post and the comments.

As always, your thoughts are welcome.

Snap to Grid is Snappy Feature

One of my biggest frustrations with Google Presentations has been the inability to easily align text and images.
With the addition of “snap to grid”, this problem is solved. You can now use the Alt, Ctrl, and Shift keys to fine tune object and text placement.

[ALT] while dragging turns off the grid and gives you smooth drag (use [OPTION] on a mac)
[SHIFT] while dragging enables vertical and horizontal dragging guides
[SHIFT] while moving an object with arrow keys enables 1 pixel nudge
[SHIFT] while resizing preserves the aspect ratio of the object
[CTRL] while moving leaves the original object and drops a duplicate in the new location

Click here to learn more

Google Adds Scripts to Spreadsheets

Google Spreadsheets now include the ability to use Google Script, a means for running server-side Java script. Already available for Google Sites, the addition of Google Script in Spreadsheets gives you the ability to automate complex or repetitive actions.

Click here to learn more or to read the overview.

Cost Savings versus Sustainability?

A recent article in Mass High Tech lamented that “Company cost savings still trump cleantech, alternative energy“.

The assumption that cleantech and cost savings are mutually exclusive, however, is flawed.

Cloud computing lowers carbon footprint and, in most cases, offers significant cost savings. Furthermore, cloud-based solutions shift IT spending from capital expenditures to operating expense.

To see how cloud based solutions, such as Google Apps, compare with in-house solutions, such as Exchange, click here and here.

As Microsoft Competes with Google, Old Habits Die Hard

A recent blog entry at points out a disturbing practice: Microsoft is tainting Bing’s search results with pro-Microsoft results. If Microsoft is rigging search results, what traps will they place in other online products?

Microsoft Readies Office in the Cloud

In a move that indicates Microsoft is looking to battle Google Apps in the cloud, Microsoft is now the owner of the domain (click here).

But, if Microsoft is going to going to compete, they will need to move away from the perpetual license business model. Some cannibalization of software sales will be inevitable as customers move to the cloud. Currently, however, Microsoft acknowledges that even the paid web version of Office 2010 will require a locally installed copy of all features to be operational.

In comparison, Google Apps stands-alone but has the ability to integrate with locally installed MS Office and Open Office software. So long as the local-copy is optional, Google Apps will have the advantage.