Tag Archives: Google Docs

Introducing Google Drive… yes, really

Just like the Loch Ness Monster, you may have heard the rumors about Google Drive. It turns out, one of the two actually does exist.

Today, we’re introducing Google Drive—a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you’re working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé or tracking a budget with roommates, you can do it in Drive. You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond.

With Google Drive, you can:

  • Create and collaborate. Google Docs is built right into Google Drive, so you can work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once you choose to share content with others, you can add and reply to comments on anything (PDF, image, video file, etc.) and receive notifications when other people comment on shared items.
  • Store everything safely and access it anywhere (especially while on the go). All your stuff is just… there. You can access your stuff from anywhere—on the web, in your home, at the office, while running errands and from all of your devices. You can install Drive on your Mac or PC and can download the Drive app to your Android phone or tablet. We’re also working hard on a Drive app for your iOS devices. And regardless of platform, blind users can access Drive with a screen reader.
  • Search everything. Search by keyword and filter by file type, owner and more. Drive can even recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Let’s say you upload a scanned image of an old newspaper clipping. You can search for a word from the text of the actual article. We also use image recognition so that if you drag and drop photos from your Grand Canyon trip into Drive, you can later search for [grand canyon] and photos of its gorges should pop up. This technology is still in its early stages, and we expect it to get better over time.

You can get started with 5GB of storage for free—that’s enough to store the high-res photos of your trip to the Mt. Everest, scanned copies of your grandparents’ love letters or a career’s worth of business proposals, and still have space for the novel you’re working on. You can choose to upgrade to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even 1TB for $49.99/month. When you upgrade to a paid account, your Gmail account storage will also expand to 25GB.

Drive is built to work seamlessly with your overall Google experience. You can attach photos from Drive to posts in Google+, and soon you’ll be able to attach stuff from Drive directly to emails in Gmail. Drive is also an open platform, so we’re working with many third-party developers so you can do things like send faxes, edit videos and create website mockups directly from Drive. To install these apps, visit the Chrome Web Store—and look out for even more useful apps in the future.

This is just the beginning for Google Drive; there’s a lot more to come.

Get started with Drive today at drive.google.com/start—and keep looking for Nessie…

Understanding accessibility at CSUN 2012

This week we’re attending the 27th annual CSUN International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference. As the Internet evolves, screen readers, browsers and other tools for accessibility need to grow to meet the complexity of the modern web. Conferences like CSUN are an opportunity to check in with web users with disabilities: not just to share our progress in making online technologies accessible, but to also discuss improvements for the future.

Who are these users? In August, we conducted a survey with the American Council of the Blind, to find out more about how people with sight impairment use the web. We received nearly 1,000 responses from people who are blind or visually impaired, from a wide range of professions in 57 countries: teachers, software developers, social workers, writers, psychologists, musicians and students. The results paint a picture of why it is critical to improve the accessibility of web applications. Of the respondents:

*Almost 90 percent reported regularly using the web to keep in touch with friends and family
*Over half use a smartphone, and over half own more than one computer
*Over two-thirds of respondents said they use social media
*Over 50 percent have completed a baccalaureate degree, and of those, 30 percent have gone on to to postgraduate studies at the masters’ or Ph.D. level
*Of those who are currently students, over 70 percent have their assistive technology provided for by their school
*However, for those who have left school and are of working age, 46 percent are unemployed

Better web accessibility has the potential to increase educational and employment opportunities, provide social cohesion and enable independence for the people with disabilities. We imagine a future for the web where the most visually complex applications can be rendered flawlessly to screen readers and other assistive devices that don’t rely on sight, using technologies that work seamlessly on browsers and smartphones.


[click here for audio description]

Since we last attended CSUN, we’ve made several improvements to the accessibility of our products:

*ChromeVox (in beta) provides a screen reader that’s built for the web, right inside Chrome.
*We’ve improved accessibility for Google Docs, Sites and Calendar, including keyboard shortcuts and better support in modern screen readers
*Android 4.0 introduces touch exploration and out-of-box accessibility activation
*We’ve also expanded caption support on YouTube—improving access to broadcast and direct-to-web videos for people who are deaf or hard of hearing

If you’re attending CSUN 2012, we hope you’ll come up and say hello at one of our talks on the accessibility of our products, including the use of video in Google+ and Docs and accessibility on Android devices. And Friday we’ll host a Q&A Fireside chat with Google product teams. You can also try some of these improvements out at our two hands-on demo sessions on Thursday, in the Connaught breakout room:

*10am to 12pm—Chromebooks and new features in Google Apps
*1pm to 3pm—Android 4.0 Galaxy Nexus phones

If you’re not attending CSUN 2012, we’d love to hear your thoughts on accessibility in our web forum.

Collaborate and edit anywhere with the updated Google Docs for Android

As I was sitting on the ferry commuting to Google’s Sydney office this morning, two thoughts occurred to me. First, Australia is beautiful. If you’ve never been here, you really should visit. And second, it’s amazing how productive I can be with just my Android phone and an Internet connection. I was responding to email, reading news articles and editing documents—just like I do at the office. Only the view was better!

We want to give everyone the chance to be productive no matter where they are, so today we’re releasing a new update to the Google Docs app for Android. We’ve brought the collaborative experience from Google Docs on the desktop to your Android device. You’ll see updates in real time as others type on their computers, tablets and phones, and you can just tap the document to join in.

We also updated the interface to make it easier to work with your documents on the go. For example, you can pinch to zoom and focus on a specific paragraph or see the whole document at a glance. We also added rich text formatting so you can do things like create a quick bullet list, add color to your documents, or just bold something important. Watch the new Google Docs app in action:

If you want to hear about the latest Docs news or send us feedback on the new app, visit Google Docs on Google+.

Gotta run—I’ve got another ferry to catch!

Google Apps highlights – 10/22/2011

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.

A fresh start for Google presentations

A year and a half ago, we released completely new document, spreadsheet and drawing editors. Google Docs has been picking up speed ever since with more than 60 new features and millions of new users. Today we’re rounding out the suite by previewing a new version of presentations with faster collaboration and more features.

A collaborative approach
Presentations are made to be shared—whether it’s presenting your thesis to your professors or inspiring colleagues at a conference. And the best presentations are made together, collaborating with others to build a compelling story that captivates your audience. Creating presentations together is easy because you can:

  • See exactly what others are working on with colorful presence markers
  • Edit with your team members simultaneously from different locations
  • Use revision history to see who made changes or to revert to earlier versions
  • Say hello, start a conversation or share new ideas using built-in chat


More than 50 new features
In the new presentations, we’ve added many of your most requested features, including:

  • Transitions to move between slides with simple fades or spicier 3D effects
  • Animations to add emphasis or to make your slides more playful
  • New themes to create beautiful presentations with distinct visual styles
  • Drawings to build new designs, layouts, and flowcharts within a presentation
  • Rich tables with merged cells and more options for adding style to your data

What’s next
We’re gradually rolling out the new presentations. To get an early start, click on the gear icon in your document list, and select Document settings. Then, from the editing tab, check the box to “Create new presentations using the latest version of the presentation editor.”

Many of the new features were built using technologies that are only available in modern browsers. If you’re using an older browser you’ll be able to view, but not edit, the new presentations.

With today’s launch, the Google Docs suite is now built on a single, solid foundation. Now that the groundwork is in place, you can expect more useful and collaborative features, delivered faster than ever before.

Google Apps highlights – 9/23/2011

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.

Enhanced accessibility in Docs, Sites and Calendar

This fall, as classrooms fill with the hustle and bustle of a new semester, more students than ever will use Google Apps to take quizzes, write essays and talk to classmates. Yet blind students (like blind people of all ages) face a unique set of challenges on the web. Members of the blind community rely on screen readers to tell them verbally what appears on the screen. They also use keyboard shortcuts to do things that would otherwise be accomplished with a mouse, such as opening a file or highlighting text.

Over the past few months, we’ve worked closely with advocacy organizations for the blind to improve our products with more accessibility enhancements. While our work isn’t done, we’ve now significantly improved keyboard shortcuts and support for screen readers in several Google applications, including Google Docs, Google Sites and Google Calendar. Business, government and education customers can also learn more about these updates on the Enterprise blog.

In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll continue to improve our products for blind users. We believe that people who depend on assistive technologies deserve as rich and as productive an experience on the web as sighted users, and we’re working to help that become a reality.

For more information on these accessibility changes, using Google products with screen readers, how to send us feedback and how to track our progress, visit google.com/accessibility.

Google Apps highlights – 9/2/2011

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.

Over the last few weeks, we added a few frequently-requested improvements to Google Apps, including offline access in Gmail, Calendar and Docs, page numbering in documents, and page-level permissions in Google Sites. If you’ve been waiting for these features, please give them a try!

Work offline in Gmail, Calendar and Docs
You can connect to the Internet in more and more places now, but you probably occasionally find yourself in situations when you can’t use web apps because of spotty connectivity. Now you can stay productive even without a connection in Gmail, Calendar and Docs on Chrome, thanks to new offline capabilities for each of these applications.

Free calls home for overseas U.S. Military personnel
On Tuesday, Gmail also added the ability for all U.S. Military personnel with valid .mil email addresses to call the United States for free. We appreciate the hardships our troops face, and we hope to make staying in touch with friends and family a little easier for them while they’re deployed.

Page numbers in Google Docs
A while back we added page headers and footers in Google Docs, and now you can add automatic page numbers at the top or bottom of your pages. We’ve heard from plenty of students and teachers who asked for this feature, so we’re glad to be making Google Docs just a little bit better for them.

Page-level permissions in Google Sites
Sometimes project sites are most useful when the whole team can access everything in the site, but there are other situations—like when you’re sharing a site with a client—when you might not want everyone to have full access. That’s where page-level permissions come in handy. It’s a simple way to specify who can see each page in your Google Sites.

Administrative audit history
Another useful feature that we added for organizations this week is administrative change reporting. This new area of the control panel lets admins see a record of administrative changes that have been made to their Google Apps setup, including changes to user accounts, application settings, mobile settings and administrative delegation.

Who’s gone Google?
More than 4 million businesses are using Google Apps now, and the wave of organizations switching over continues to accelerate. Yesterday at Dreamforce, Eric Schmidt shared a couple new details about the growing momentum in this area, including the fact that more than 5,000 businesses sign up each day, and that there are more than 40 million total active users in organizations using Google Apps.

To get a flavor of how organizations are putting Google Apps to work, Viocorp, North Carolina A&T State University and Lamar Advertising shared their stories over the last few weeks.