Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Combined inboxes, smarter search and more with the new Gmail app for Android

Posted: 30 Mar 2015 02:11 PM PDT
A new version of the Gmail app for Android is now available on Google Play. New features include:
§ All your inboxes in one place―view all your mail at once, regardless of whether it’s from your work or personal accounts, using the new “All Inboxes” option. This way you can read and respond to all your messages without having to hop between accounts.
§ Conversation View―if you’ve set up separate inboxes in Gmail for your Yahoo, Outlook.com and other IMAP/POP accounts, messages in these accounts will appear neatly stacked as one conversation, just like your Gmail messages.
§ Smarter Search―searching in the Gmail app for Android now comes with better auto-complete, so you can find what you need even faster.
§ Other helpful features―larger attachment previews to help you see what’s inside, the ability to save to Drive with a single tap, and new animations that make opening and closing conversations more smooth.

Note: The search auto-complete feature is not available for Google Apps for Government customers

Google+ Photos coming to Google Drive

Posted: 30 Mar 2015 02:42 PM PDT
Google Drive allows you to store and access your files anywhere—on the web, on your hard drive, or on the go. We’re now making it easier to store and organize your photos and videos in Google Drive as well.

Moving forward, people using Google+ Photos will see their photos and videos automatically in Google Drive. They will appear in a new menu item called Google Photos, and can be shared, moved, and renamed like any other Drive file:

This feature will start rolling out for consumers today in Drive for Android, iOS and the web, and will roll out gradually to Apps customers in the coming weeks. A notification in Drive will give people the option to add a Google Photos folder to My Drive, allowing them to manage their photos and videos alongside other types of files if they so choose. Existing Google+ Photos users will notice their photos and videos available in Drive in the coming weeks.

Note: photos and videos backed up to Drive via Auto Backup will not count towards storage quota, but Apps users may want to review their Google+ Photos Auto Backup settings to avoid inadvertent syncing to their corporate Drive account.

See the Help Center for more information on organizing, syncing and deletion options.

Release track:
Rapid release (gradual rollout) starting in the coming weeks, with Scheduled release to follow two weeks after rollout to Rapid. See the release calendar for specific dates as they are available.

Conditional formatting improvements in Google Sheets

Posted: 30 Mar 2015 02:58 PM PDT
People using Google Sheets will now have more powerful conditional formatting options. This launch will add the following features:
§ Ability to add gradient conditional formatting rules (e.g. green -> orange, where the lowest numbers are shaded green and the highest are shaded orange, with gradient shades in between)
§ More style choices like bolding, striking through, and italicizing text based on conditional formatting rules
§ A new look for the conditional formatting editing pane
§ Import/export of color scale conditional formatting


Conditional formatting can be added by highlighting the relevant cells and selecting Format > Conditional formatting from the menus.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Google Calendar app for iPhone

Posted: 10 Mar 2015 10:55 AM PDT
Last year we brought you the new Google Calendar app for Android, built to save you time and help you make the most of every day. Today, we’re bringing the new Google Calendar to iPhone:

Just like on Android, you’ll get the following features:
§ Assists, which make suggestions that save you time creating events.
§ Schedule View, which makes your calendar easy to scan and lovely to look at. 

Plus, Google Calendar for iPhone works with any calendars you've already set up on your phone.

The Calendar app for iPhone is available now in the App Store.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

Greater mail flow transparency with email alerts

Posted: 10 Mar 2015 02:46 PM PDT
Sending and receiving emails is something we all do many times a day, and it nearly always works flawlessly. When something does go wrong, however, it’s not always clear that there is even a problem and, once identified, it can be very difficult to determine the problem’s root cause.

With today’s launch, we’re adding greater transparency for Google Apps admins into any mail flow issues that arise with Email alerts. These alerts can be managed by admins in the Admin console and will trigger email notifications to super admins (or other designated recipients) around the following potential mail failures (see Help Center for more details):
§ Exchange journaling failure
§ Smarthost failure
§ TLS failure

Mail flow notifications can be managed in the Admin console under the Reports > Manage Alerts > Email section.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Share extensions, actionable notifications and more added to Gmail iOS app

Posted: 05 Mar 2015 12:06 PM PST
A new version of the Gmail iOS app is now available in the App Store. New features include:
§ Email files from other apps - Attach photos, links, and documents directly to a Gmail message from iPhoto, Chrome, and other apps.
§ Easily open attachments - With the new attachment viewer you can now open files of any kind directly into the app of your choosing.
§ Take quick actions on notifications - Decide whether you want to reply to or archive new messages straight from your lock or notifications screen without having to open the app:
Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

Improved bulk operations, PDF viewer and more for the Google Drive Android app

Posted: 05 Mar 2015 12:25 PM PST
A new version of the Google Drive Android app is coming to Google Play. New features include:
§ Improved bulk operations like moving, starring, pinning and downloading multiple files at once by long pressing (see below)
§ PDF viewer improvements
§ Performance and design improvements

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release (gradual rollout)

New versions of the Google Docs editor iOS apps

Posted: 05 Mar 2015 02:23 PM PST
New versions of the Google Docs editor iOS apps are now available in the App Store. New features include:
§ Ability to make a copy of documents, spreadsheets and presentations 
§ Accessibility improvements in the Sheets app
§ Performance improvements in all apps

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

Easier guest access to Hangouts video calls on the Hangouts Android app and Chromebox for Meetings devices

Posted: 05 Mar 2015 05:07 PM PST
Last year, we announced a new feature for Hangouts on the web allowing Google Apps customers to share links to Hangouts video calls so that external meeting guests may request to join if not explicitly invited. We recently announced this functionality for iOS as well.

Today, we’re announcing that this functionality has been added to the Hangouts Android app and to Chromebox for Meetings devices.

The latest release of the Hangouts Android app now allows external guests using the app to join Hangouts video calls from their mobile device with a meeting link provided by the organizer. Video calls that are shared with the link require someone in the Apps domain of the Hangout video call to accept those requesting access on the web.

Chromebox for Meetings devices
People can now use their Chromebox for Meetings devices to both request to join Hangouts video calls as a guest using a link, and accept requests from guests wishing to join using a link.

To join a Hangouts video call from your Chromebox for Meetings device, enter the domain in which the meeting is hosted followed by a ‘/’ and the meeting name (e.g. altostrat.com/meeting-name). As before, if the meeting is hosted in your organization, the domain name is not necessary. To see and accept or reject a request from outside your organization, the meeting must be in ‘shared with the link’ mode.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release (gradual rollout)

New Birthday settings for Calendar web

Posted: 05 Mar 2015 05:15 PM PST
As mentioned in the announcement of the new version of the Google Calendar app for Android last week, we’ve launched new Birthday calendar settings for Calendar web this week:
§ Birthday calendar can be hidden from 'My Calendars' 
§ Control whether birthdays from Google+ are shown

Release track:
Rapid release and scheduled release

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Day in the Life of 6th Grade Language Arts (Week of 2/23/15)

This week, 6th grade IRLA students at Grover Middle School are studying literature by reading and discussing a variety of short stories and novels.

One of the short stories that some of the 6th graders are reading is “Stray” by Cynthia Rylant. Students are reading this story closely to evaluate the main characteristics of the protagonist in order to develop a claim about the character.  Using evidence from the text, students develop support for their arguments.

As students gather their notes, they are given a choice to do so on paper or digitally on the PDF shared by the teacher using an app called DocHub.  Some students choose to take notes on their Chromebooks and some choose to do so on paper.  While the students work, the teacher walks around the room conferencing with students individually and making announcements for the benefit of all. This work of close reading in order to develop an argument is preparing the students for their upcoming literary essay work.  

Reading short stories and working in small groups, students are practicing the skill of identifying evidence from the text to support the claims they make about the stories. The teacher conferences with small groups and individual students and coaches them to read the story again and “lift a line out of the story” thats supports their ideas. 

The teacher also helps students by pairing them up to work together based on their progress so far.  While working in the groups, the students benefit from resources provided by the teacher with some transitional phrases and other thought stems to help them talk about the stories they read.

The students are identifying areas of the text that support their ideas and then expanding on them in their own words to explain why the text supports their ideas.  Their notes contain both direct passages from the text as well as the ideas from the text put into their own words.

This unit of understanding and employing the foundations and conventions of talking and writing about literature also gives students the opportunity to
revisit the work they have done earlier in the year with plot and theme.  

Students read the short story “Stray” and analyze the various parts of the story’s plot such as the rising action and the climax of the story.  From there, students work in small groups to investigate the theme of the story. The students refer to materials provided by the teacher and shared with them in their Google Drive as they discuss the story.  

As they develop ideas about what the theme of the story might be, they go back to the story to look for support.  Students use both paper and their Chromebooks to record notes.  The teacher circulates around the room and visits with each group, coaching their discussions.

Drafting an essay on with the Chromebooks makes it possible to organize ideas by color much easier than drafting on paper. To help students organize and understand the components of their literary essay, the teachers have shared out a color-coded template through Google Drive.  This template models the use of a different color for supporting details, text support, explanation of support, closing sentences, and so on.  The students remarked that it is helpful for them to see each part of the essay in a different color because it helps them see what they still need to work on in their draft.  

As the students work independently on their drafts, they use other resources provided to them by the teachers as well as some resources they find on their own. Several students paused to look up words in an online dictionary or the thesaurus app to help strengthen the vocabulary they use in their essays.  The teachers walk around the room to conference with individual students.  They can quickly assess the progress each student is making by looking for the different colors in the students’ drafts.


During a read aloud of Gordon Korman’s novel, Ungifted, students analyze and discuss character
development.  They notice how empathy or lack of empathy in various characters can create tension and conflict in the story.  

Students discuss how the characters’ choices shape the events of the plot.  Also, they discuss how various events in the plot cause the characters to undergo change and, for example, gain sympathy for the other characters in the story.

‘Shared with me’ is coming to the new Google Drive UI

Posted: 02 Mar 2015 11:41 AM PST
With the launch of the new Drive UI last year, we renamed the ‘Shared with me’ section to ‘Incoming’ and tweaked the functionality a bit. We’ve since heard feedback from people using the new UI that they miss the ‘Shared with me’ functionality, so today, we’re bringing it back.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release