5th of 5: More Ways to Collaborate in Google Apps

Hangouts Icon
Google Apps is designed for secure sharing and collaborations.  Many users, however, still rely on the back-and-forth of email to get their work done.  Here is the 5th of 5 other ways to collaborate in Google Apps.

Use Google Drive with Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is more than a basic, HD quality, audio and video conferencing system. Hangouts let you conduct one-to-one and group video and chat sessions from your desk, laptop, tablet, or smart phone.

Some project managers  have team members join a Hangout, mute themselves to work independently, and unmute when they need to integrate with team members.

Install the Google Drive script for Google Hangouts and team members can review, edit, and discuss documents during the video meeting.

Enable your team to do more with Google Apps and get more done.  They will thank you!  Contact us to learn about self-paced, live, and custom training options.

4th of 5: More Ways to Collaborate in Google Apps

Google Apps is designed for secure sharing and collaborations.  Many users, however, still rely on the back-and-forth of email to get their work done.  Here is the 4th of 5 other ways to collaborate in Google Apps.

Comments and Real-Time Chats in Google Docs

You already know that, with permission, colleagues can view and edit shared documents together in real-time.  They can also engage in real-time chat from directly within the document windows.  Instead of calling a meeting, or setting up a conference call or hangout, team members can ask questions, suggest edits, and provide feedback immediately while working on the document.

If team members are working on the document at different times, they can highlight text and add a comment.  Visible in the margin, fellow collaborators are notified by email of the comments and receive a link that opens the document at the comment.  Comments can be directed to specific team members and team members can respond to directed requests by replying to the email.

Once a comment thread is finished, or the issue resolved, mark the comment as “resolved”. While the comment disappears from view, comments remain part of the document history and can be recalled should questions arise down the road.

Helping users get the most out of Google Apps is one of the reasons we offer a range of training and professional development services.  Contact us if you want to learn more.


3rd of 5: More Ways to Collaborate in Google Apps

google drive
Google Apps is designed for secure sharing and collaborations.  Many users, however, still rely on the back-and-forth of email to get their work done.  Here is the 3rd of 5 other ways to collaborate in Google Apps.

Shared Folders in Drive

Instead of sharing individual files with users or groups, create a project folder and share the folder with the team.  When you share a folder, all work uploaded to the folder or created within the folder, the file automatically is assigned the same sharing settings as the folder.

Project managers can still set permission levels based on need — view, comment, or edit — and you can override the inherited permissions for individual files and for sub folders as needed.

Training users to find and enter a project folder before working on the project is an easy tip that saves time and effort.

If you want to help your team get more from Google Apps, Contact us about our training options.

2nd of 5: More Ways to Collaborate in Google Apps

Google Apps is designed for secure sharing and collaborations.  Many users, however, still rely on the back-and-forth of email to get their work done.  Here is the 2nd of 5 other ways to collaborate in Google Apps.

Collaborate via Calendar

Google Calendar is good for more than just setting appointments.  Create a calendar for a project and share it with team members.  You can now track meetings, events, and project deadlines.   Adding member names to entries helps track responsibility and expectations; color coding helps flag priorities.

Team members can also create a task list on the side of the calendar.  Members can check-off completed tasks, making it easy for teammates and project leaders to get a sense of project status at-a-glance.

Need a way to track issues that come up each day?  Have team members add issues as “all day” events, colored in red.  Fellow team members can see critical issues at a glance, each time they check the calendar.

Helping your team understand and use Calendar in more advanced ways can improve team productivity.  Both of our self-paced Google Apps training solutions step people through the process.  Contact us to learn more about Boost eLearning and Synergyse.


1st of 5: More Ways to Collaborate in Google Apps

Google Apps is designed for secure sharing and collaborations.  Many users, however, still rely on the back-and-forth of email to get their work done.  Here is the 1st of 5 other ways to collaborate in Google Apps.

Use Google Groups for your Group

Google Groups is designed to facilitate discussions among its members.  Create a group for your project team and your team members can read and respond to threaded discussions on the group’s home page, as well as by email.   Once created, you can subscribe or invite members to join (or require members to subscribe themselves).  And, you can invite and include project team members from outside your organizations.

Team members can post questions, ideas, issues, and get a quick response from teammates.  And, all project discussions are organized in a single location.

Groups also let you manage distribution lists and security.  Invite a group to an event using Calendar, and all members get the invite.  Share a document of folder on Drive with the group, and all members get access.

Since members can elect to be notified of every message immediately, or via daily and/or volume-based digests, individuals can still manage their inboxes as well.

Helping team members learn how to best use groups to collaborate is easy, as “Google Groups Training” is included in the Google Apps Training service from Boost eLearning. Contact us to learn more.




Economy is Ripe for Cloud Computing

A recent article in the New York Times reported that in the current economy, businesses are spending capital rather than hiring additional employees.  As reported in the article, the Commerce Department noted that

“The equipment and software category alone grew at an annual rate of 21.9 percent, the fastest pace in 12 years.”

When we look  at the stats and trends, we see businesses moving forward with project that have been put on hold.  And, we question whether or not this is a wise move.  Is moving forward with a project that’s been on hold for 12 to 24 months still the best way to go? In many cases, the answer is “No!”.

Many businesses are facing upgrades to core systems and infrastructure — desktop operating systems, office productivity tools, email servers — and are looking to finally move forward implementing collaboration systems.  Much of this demand is driven by aging hardware and software that is reaching end of life and vendor support.

Before moving forward with existing plans, businesses would do well to reassess their planned directions.  The past 24 months has seen a dramatic improvement and expansion of cloud-based services.  During that time, for example, Google has added over 200 major features to the Google Apps Premier Edition suite of services.  And, the rate of innovation and adoption for cloud computing solutions continues to accelerate.

If businesses do not take a fresh look, they stand to miss the improved integration between Google Apps and Windows desktops — Outlook and MS Office; support for enterprise features such as delegation of email and calendars and mobile device management tools; and improve security and management tools.

In short, what was leading edge is quickly moving mainstream.  Reactivating projects without reassessing options means potentially missing better solutions and lowering costs.  And, wouldn’t most businesses rather spend money on people and projects with greater returns than on their infrastructure and email?

If your business would benefit from a free email and collaboration assessment, please let us know.

OffiSync Intro and Training

See the features of OffiSync Premium first-hand.  Learn how to use OffiSync to save, share, and collaborate using Google Docs and Google Site from a toolbar within Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.

When:  Friday 11/13/2009 — 1:00 PM ET

Click Here to Register

Click Here to Learn More

OffiSync works with

  • MS Office 2003, 2007, and 201o
  • Google Apps Premier, Education, and Standard Editions
  • Google Site and Google Docs

Horizon Info Services Named Exclusive North American Distributor for OffiSync

WESTBOROUGH, MA – November 12, 2009 – Building on its growth as a Google Apps Authorized Reseller, Horizon Info Services ( announced its selection as the exclusive North American distributor for OffiSync (  OffiSync is an add-on for Microsoft Office lets users save, share, and collaborate using Google Apps from menus and toolbars within Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  OffiSync also includes content and image search features.

“The launch of OffiSync is another turning point in the evolution of Google Apps as a business computing platform,” notes Allen Falcon, CEO of Horizon.  “OffiSync lets businesses and individuals continue to use their current desktop productivity tools and Google’s innovative cloud-based applications — either as a migration path or as part of a long-term strategy.”

Users are more comfortable changing email software since many already use more than one email program – at work and personally.  Many users are not as comfortable changing word processing and spreadsheet applications.  OffiSync solves this problem.

In a recent interview with eWeek, Matt Glotzbach, Google Enterprise Product Management Director noted that “…it’s a great set of functionality and helps a business or enterprise bridge that experience gap between users that want to work in native Office apps and those users who want to work in the cloud.”

Horizon is actively signing up resellers throughout North America.  In addition to the community of Google Apps Authorized Resellers, Horizon sees strong interest from consulting companies and IT firms that help companies deploy and use Google Apps.  It is a win-win solution.  Customers benefit from easier migrations and better integration; resellers gain from accelerated sales and an incremental recurring revenue stream.

OffiSync is designed to work seamlessly with all versions of Google Apps used by companies, educational institutions, non-profits, and individuals.  Oudi Antebi, Founder and CEO of OffiSync adds that “We created a solution that works with all current versions of Microsoft Office and every version of Google Apps – Premium, Standard, and Education, as well as individual Google Doc and Google Site accounts.”

OffiSync is available as an annual subscription starting at $12 per year per user or under a traditional perpetual license starting at $30 per user.  Both licenses include support; the subscription includes enhancements, upgrades, and future releases.

About Horizon Info Services

Horizon Info Services is offers industry-leading technology services to small businesses at affordable prices, specializing in solutions for businesses and non-profits with 1 to 500 employees.  Based outside of Boston Massachusetts, Horizon is an Authorized Reseller of Google Apps and Google Postini Services and offers a range of online backup solutions.

About OffiSync Corp

OffiSync enhances the way information workers use productivity applications by bringing together their familiar desktop environment with innovative cloud computing services.  OffiSync extends the way users use desktop software and allows them to store their files on Google Apps for better collaboration and accessibility, as well as integrates with web and image search that make it easy to bring content from the web right into document and presentations.  OffiSync is an independent, privately held company headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

OffiSync Launches

If you follow our blog posts, you have heard us mention OffiSync.

OffiSync is an add-on for MS Office that lets user save,  share and collaborate via Google Docs and Google Sites from within Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

OffiSync lets users keep working with their familiar office suite applications while taking advantage of the collaboration features of Google Apps (all versions).  The add-on also minimizes user concerns about functional differences with Google Documents, Spreadsheets, and Presentations.

Learn more here.