What's New with Google Apps: Summer 2013 Recap

The hot summer days of 2013 are a thing of the past, but the updates and enhancements to Google Apps are not just mere memories. As we approach the harvest season in Fall, let’s recap on the bountiful goods offered to us in Google Apps! Many exciting features were introduced in the last couple months, so in this blog post we will highlight a few updates and releases that became available to Google Apps users.

Here are some of the features released this Summer. See below to learn more about each one.

Drive storage shared with Gmail

In May 2013, Google announced rollout of an update to storage in Google Mail and Google Drive. Users received 30 GB of shared storage to use between Gmail and Drive, as well as with Google+ photos that are larger than 2048px. Previously, Google Apps users had 25 GB of storage for messages and attachments in Gmail, and 5 GB of storage for non-Google document types in Google Drive. Users now have the freedom to use the unified storage as needed between these applications.

Gmail Inbox Tabs

In May 2013, Google announced that a great solution for overflowing and cluttered inboxes was coming our way. Inbox tabs are perfect for categorizing your emails into sections, thus keeping distractions to a minimum as deals, social media updates, group messages and confirmations infiltrate your inbox. To learn more about this great feature, check out our post on Gmail Inbox Tabs and Category Labels.

Comment on uploaded files in Drive

Here at Dito, we love the ability to collaborate together on edits to documents in Google Drive. Adding comments to Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drawings is extremely helpful for providing direction, advice and suggestions throughout a document. Also, Google Drive is convenient for storing, viewing and sharing files in non-Google formats, such as PDFs, Microsoft Office files and images. You cannot make edits to these files in Google Drive, however, in June 2013, users were given the ability to add comments to these non-Google document types from the Google Drive viewer.

Print forms in fillable format

There are a ton of ways Google Forms can help you when there’s a need for collecting data inside or outside your organization and receiving responses in real-time. In June 2013, users were given the option to print Forms and have the questions formatted in a way that makes it convenient for others to fill in their responses on paper. Just create your form and click print when you want to collect responses on a hard copy of your Google Form. For help with creating and formatting your Google Forms, check out our post on How to get the most out of the new Google Forms.

Improved Sites customization functionality

In June 2013, users noticed reorganized settings for Google Sites. Making edits to your sites’ themes, colors and fonts became easier with toolbars for different elements of your site. Also, you will no longer experience limitations for text size in the horizontal navigation interface, where you can make changes to your navigation bar and choose pages to display horizontally across your site page.

Quick Action RSVP button for calendar events

The quick action RSVP button added to the subject line of calendar invitations in Gmail helps you save time and be more productive. The feature rolled out in July and allows you to respond Yes, No or Maybe directly for your inbox, without even opening the invitation. For more details on this this feature, check out our post on Using the new RSVP Feature.

Gmail full screen option

The full screen compose experience rolled out in July and August and provides users more options when it comes to composing, replying or forwarding messages. The default view for new messages is a small window popped into the bottom, right corner of your browser, however, clicking on the double-arrow icon at the top of the compose window will switch the view to full-screen.
Tip: If you want to make full-screen your default view, click on the More Options down arrow in the bottom, right corner of your compose window and choose Default to full-screen.

Email alerts for admins

In August 2013, Google Apps Admins were given the opportunity to become more proactive and receive email notifications of events like suspicious login attempts, service setting changes, user status changes and more. Admin email alerts can be turned on from the Reports control in the Google Apps Admin Console and help to increase transparency when multiple administrators can make changes that affect your domain. Also, admins can quickly take corrective action as soon as events like suspicious login activity or unapproved changes to service/user settings occur. For more information on Admin email alerts, check out our previous post, Five Useful Email Alerts for proactive Google Apps Admins.

Vault partial domain licensing

In late-July 2013, Google Apps Vault licensing became available to purchase for individual users, organizational units or for your entire domain. Google Apps Vault, which is used to manage, archive and preserve data in Google Apps, could previously only be purchased for an entire domain. Vault can be purchased in conjunction with Google Apps, or can be added to existing Apps accounts for $5 per user/month. Visit Google’s support page on Full-domain or partial-domain licensing for more information.

GADS Release 3.2.1

In July 2013, a new version of Google Apps Directory Sync was released. Additions to GADS 3.2.1 include the “Group Name” exclusion in Exclusion Rule Settings for configuring GADS to not sync certain groups, and a “Resource Type” option in Calendar Resource Attributes to sync custom resource types from an LDAP directory to Google Apps. Check out Google’s admin support page for GADS to view a full list of what’s new and what’s fixed in GADS Release 3.2.1.

To stay updated of the newest features in Google Apps, check out the Google Apps Release Calendar. You can even add the Release Calendar to your personal calendar, or subscribe to the Google Apps update blogs to receive this information via email or RSS feed. If you have questions regarding the topics covered in this post, feel free to leave a comment below.

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