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.
The elves got an early jump on the holidays this year by leaving us some surprises in Google Apps over the last few weeks. Sharing from Gmail got a whole lot easier, and Google Calendar can make better use of precious screen space. We also have 10 new Google Apps customer stories to share from the tens of thousands that have gone Google in recent weeks.
Gmail gets more social
Last week we sprinkled a touch of Google+ into Gmail, making it easier to connect and share with people from your inbox. You can add people to circles right from an email thread through Gmail’s people widget, share photo attachments with friends and family on Google+ without leaving Gmail, and view a filtered version of your inbox only showing messages from people in your circles. We also improved Gmail’s address book by incorporating contact information shared by your friends, family and colleagues in their Google+ profiles.
New features in the Gmail iOS app
Just yesterday we added several new improvements to the Gmail app for iOS 4+. Now you can set up a custom email signature for mobile messages, manage your vacation responder, and view nested labels from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. We also added scribbles, a fun way to spice up messages by adding a quick hand-drawn sketch. You can create scribbles using a range of colors, brush sizes, lines, erasers and spray paints from your touchscreen device.
More free calls right from Gmail
Last year we introduced free domestic calling in Gmail within the U.S. and Canada, and we’re extending this free service for the whole year of 2012. We’re happy to help you keep in touch with those special people in your life, for free.
Hide morning and night hours in Calendar
If you don’t often have appointments early in the morning or late at night, a new trick in Google Calendar might be useful. Now you can hide morning and night hours, leaving more screen real estate for the times of day when most of your events take place. Give it a try in Calendar Labs.
Who’s gone Google?
Businesses and schools are switching to Google Apps in droves these days. From tiny startups to large enterprises and nonprofits to college campuses, we love hearing the inspiring stories that our customers share. Here’s a new batch of stories for your reading pleasure: TripIt, IPSEN, Ebby Halliday, Ticket River, VigLink, HeyZap, The Great Books Foundation, Utah K-12 schools, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and UC Santa Cruz. Welcome one and all!
For more details and the latest news, check out the Google Apps Blog, and keep an eye out for this series here after the holidays. We launched more than 150 improvements go Google Apps in 2011, and we have a ton more in store for 2012!
All that, and Alex, Bucky, Chris, and Sean, too! Seven comics! Five bucks! What a country!
Today, we’re excited to announce three improvements that make it even easier to manage customer feedback.
1) Getting started tutorial
When you log in to TalkBin, you’ll be welcomed with a handy educational tutorial that explains all the most important features. This makes learning how to use TalkBin a cinch for you and your employees.
2) Updated dashboard
Based on your feedback, we updated the user interface with a fresh new design that helps you to manage all of your settings in one convenient place. For example, now your Account Settings are just one click away from Location and Billing Settings.
3) Custom sign builder
In-store signs are key to getting quality feedback from your customers. The new sign building feature help you make and print custom signs in just a few minutes.
To learn more about how TalkBin can help your business, check out these firsthand perspectives from Fraiche Yogurt and P. Terry’s Burger Stand.
Also, for the rest of the month, Google Small Business Blog readers can get TalkBin for just $5/month per location (discounted from the regular $25/month per location). Just enter promotion code BLOGSMB when you sign up at talkbin.com/signup/user/. This offer expires December 31, 2011.
Posted by Qasar Younis, Product Manager, TalkBin
Who's a witty comic comin' up in the Bay?
Who's website is http://
Miles K. Stenehjem, that's que!
To quote East Bay artist Kaitlin McSweeny:
"Miles K. Stenehjem is an elegant satirist with a wit born of sensitive desperation and fearless experience, in my opinion a sort of Oscar Wilde of this time, if Oscar Wilde could lay down some pretty sweet freestyle rhymes and deliver stand-up performances that make even today's recession-depressed audiences gasp and guffaw."
Miles has also recently opened for Andy Kindler, has a show of his own called "Everything Jamboree" and now joins us on our humble show.
Sean is taking a well deserved victory lap around Los Angeles this week, but Chris, Bucky and the newly returned Alex will be on hand to stoke your hot comedy giggly-fire.
As always we ask but only a simple $5 cover charge, begin but only at a simple 8pm, and offer but only a simple proximity to good food and cheep drinks.
The features available in Google Maps are equally functional and fun. You can tour distant cities with Street View or map out a trip with multiple destinations using Custom Maps. Not only is Google Maps a great tool for everyday personal use, but it’s can also be used as a practical business tool. Such is the case for Matt Kolb, owner of Pedal to Properties.
Matt is an avid cyclist and a realtor based in Boulder, Colorado. In 2006, Matt decided to blend his hobby and career by founding his own real estate agency called Pedal to Properties. His company is built on the idea that by touring homes via bicycle, one can get a better sense of the local community and determine if a particular property is the right fit.
When Matt meets with clients, he locates various properties on Google Maps and creates a biking route of the houses they’ll visit that day, using Bicycling Directions as a guide. Home buyers are encouraged to interact with the map, using Street View to check out a property and its surrounding neighborhood, and using nearby search to take a look at local schools and businesses. Through this process Matt is able to narrow down viable homes for a specific buyer, making the experience enjoyable and time-efficient.
If you have interesting stories about how you use biking directions, Street View, or other Google Maps features to enhance your business, comment on our Google+ Page with #mygmapstory
Posted by Dave Kim, Product Marketing Manager
Tuesday night, Sylvan Productions has their final open improv show at the Dark Room. Wednesday, they're the guest of honor at The Business, as we say goodbye to our Dark Roommates, and say hello to a new era of SF comedy. If that weren't enough, we've also got comedians Matt Gubser and O.J. Patterson - plus regular Businessmen Sean and Bucky.
Sylvan Productions has done a wildly popular Open Improv show at the Dark Room every Tuesday, which moves to the SUB/Mission starting in December. They also produce a five-hour comedy show every Wednesday at the Dirty Trix Saloon, and this Friday, their Producers Show comes to Dirty Trix as well. Their shows may be heavily improv'ed, but they could hardly be improved.
Matt Gubser is an SF comedian with the hair of a handsomer Jesus Christ and the wit of a sassier Judas Iscariot. He performs at all the finest clubs and showcases in the Bay Area, and he's also a potter, as if that's fair at all. O.J. Patterson is a rising star who recently opened for Hannibal Buress. His blog, Courting Comedy (http://
The show gets started at 8, and admission is still just five bucks. Are you going to be there? The answer is, "Yes, and..."
And all through the Mission
Everyone came to the Dark Room
Because our show was so bitchin'
It is an All Thanksgivinged Eve to remember at the Dark Room this week, as we welcome a cornucopia of guests to the Business. From Los Angeles, we have Aparna Nancherla and SF native Emily Maya Mills, and from New York City, we have Alameda's own Emily Heller! Holy shit, if the Wampanoag had brought this kind of lineup to the Pilgrims back in 1621, they all would have died of laughter! And probably scurvy or rickets, because medicine was very primitive back then.
Aparna Nancherla is a Washington D.C. native who now entertains Los Angeles with her absurdist wit. She's performed all over the place. including Last Comic Standing, the Bentzen Ball, the Bridgetown Festival, WTF with Marc Maron, and, most importantly, The Business LA. I yam excited to hear her stuff!
Emily Maya Mills - "the Edward James Olmos of comedy" - is an actor, writer and stand-up comic based in Los Angeles, and is regarded by many as "the hottest 65-year-old in the business." She's been seen on Parks and Recreation, Ellen, Conan, Childrens’ Hospital, Key and Peele, Downers Grove and many of television’s weirder commercials. She's one of our favorite comics and favorite people, and we're thankful to have her back.
Emily Heller recently performed as one of Comedy Central's Comics To Watch in New York City, but she's still humble enough to return to her Dark Room roots. She's performed at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, SF Sketchfest... look, you know who Emily Heller is already. In 1621, she would have been known as a "sassy pilgrim," refused to eat turkey, and then probably burned at the stake. But instead, she'll be lighting it up on the stage!
We've also got regular Businessman Sean and Bucky, the gravy to this holiday smorgasbord. Also expect surprise guests, cardboard hand turkeys, pumpkin-based snacks, and one thousand six hundred and twenty-one laughs. $5, no wampum.
Whose Dark Room? Our Dark Room! No Alex this week, but The Business has two exciting guest stars this week. We welcome two of our favorite journalists, Rachel Swan and Hiya Swanhuyser, to discuss the Occupy movement, journalism, the Black Bloc, and whether Occupy Oakland is hipper and less gentrified than Occupy SF.
Rachel Swan is the music editor of the East Bay Express, who made her standup comedy debut at The Business last year. Hiya Swanhuyser is a former culture writer and blogger for the SF Weekly who recently produced the Occupy SF Art & Performance series. They're both in the top 1% of journalists in our book.
Our corporate overlords still demand a capitalist admission fee, but it's only five dollars, dollars that sadly still bear the mark of the Federal Reserve bank. We still offer a bring-your-own-burrito program, in defiance of the authorities, but you might need a gas mask afterward.
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.
The last few weeks have brought a fresh new look in Gmail, more mobile access options and simpler meeting scheduling tools. Millions of organizations using Google Apps can now use Google+ on their business and university accounts, and we launched a couple Apps-related Google+ Pages ourselves.
Gmail’s new look
Back in July we previewed Gmail’s new look, and a couple weeks ago we started letting people switch to the new design with one click. The refreshed interface makes it easier to follow conversations and spot the sender with profile pictures for each message. The new look also supports dynamic screen densities, so Gmail displays properly whether you’re viewing on a large desktop monitor or a smaller mobile screen. We also added a selection of beautiful HD themes to the existing gallery. Finally, we made it easier to perform advanced email searches using a panel of powerful search options that reveals with a single click.
Gmail app for iOS devices
This month we introduced the Gmail app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, complete with mobile alerts for new mail, a responsive touch screen interface and Gmail mainstays like fast search, conversation view and address auto-complete.
Suggested meeting times in Google Calendar
We’ve heard how frustrating it can be to spend 15 minutes finding a good time for people to convene for a 30 minute meeting, so we made it easier to find a good meeting time in Google Calendar. The suggested times feature automatically reviews the availability of meeting invitees, and proposes event times that work for the whole group.
Google+ for organizations using Google Apps
Businesses, schools and organizations with Google Apps can now use Google+. Employees and students can create profiles, +1 things they like on the web, share interesting content with their circles and have live multi-person video chats with classmates, colleagues and friends. Organizations can also create their Google+ Pages—an organization’s identity on Google+ for customers, students or fans. We’re using Google+ Pages ourselves, so take a look at the Gmail and Google Enterprise pages, and circle us if you’d like to stay in the loop.
24x7 telephone support and improved mobile device management
This week, we introduced a couple other new benefits for Google Apps customers. Organizations of all sizes around the world can now call our support hotline at any time for all core service issue. Also new this week, we improved our mobile device management capabilities with an interface for administrators to view and deny mobile devices connecting to Google Apps, granular mobile policy controls, and the ability to visualize mobile usage trends across the organization.
Who’s gone Google?
Organizations large and small continue to amass around Google Apps. We’re thrilled to welcome a whole host of new customers including the Trinity Mirror Group (Britain’s largest newspaper publisher), startups such as JobFlo and UserTesting, organizations including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and colleges like the University of Michigan and UT Austin. Welcome to all!
This week The Business welcomes not one, not two, not three, but FOUR special guests, effectively doubling the base number of comics guaranteed by our standard Wednesday fare. Along with our factory installed four Businessmen, you will also receive Ivan Hernandez, Colleen Watson, Mike Recine and Erin Lennox. It's like when Oreo took the work out of assembling two cookies and smartly debuted the now legendary Double Stuff cookie. What kind of laughs will you find in our creamy center this week? Let me pull this sweet baby apart for you...
Ivan Hernandez is self described as "nerd gent comic jerk" That's right, no need for punctuation. When not forcing individual panels of comic books on the internet's population for proper acknowledgment of their radness, Ivan tells jokes all over San Francisco. I think it's his birthday this Wednesday too, so buy him a burrito and wrap it in a page from a Hellboy novella.
Colleen Watson is an idiot, according to her Twitter bio. But we know better. She is also a regular at Rooster T. Feathers, Colleen the SJ Improv, Punchline, Tacoma Comedy Underground and Utah’s Wiseguys. She’s opened for Arj Barker, has been molested by Norm MacDonald, and continues to take the Bay Area by storm with her biting and bitter comedy.
Mike Recine was nominated for Time Out New York’s ‘~Joke of the Year’in 2010 and an ECNY award for ‘~Best Emerging Comic’ . Most recently, he was selected to perform in the ‘~New Faces Showcase’ at the 2011 Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal. Mike works really hard on his jokes and on being likeable. He owns 5 pellet guns and is happy to give you one.
Erin Lennox is a nice girl and a writer / comedian based in Brooklyn, NY. She is originally from Chapel Hill, NC and has been in exactly 3 bar fights. She hosts a weekly show at the People’s Improv Theater called FRESH, which isn’t always. And a monthly variety show called I LIKE YOU TOO with her best friends the Bandana Splits.
As indicated before, your regular Businessmen Bucky, Chris, Alex and Sean will also be on hand to make sure that all the cookie crumbles correctly. And as always we are burrito and liquid fun adjacent, only five dollars and hecka funny dude forever.
Editorial note: Many of you have already verified your Place page via Google Places for business. We encourage you to continue maintaining the information in your Google Places account to help ensure that potential customers can find accurate information about your business on Google Maps and local search. You may also want to supplement your Google Places account with a Google+ Page for your business, which provides you with additional ways to engage and directly interact with customers using Google+. Currently, however, Google Places accounts and Google+ Pages must be managed separately.
Since the initial launch of Google+ just a few months ago, we’ve welcomed over 40 million people and introduced more than 100 new features. For all these people, one important part is still missing - your business.
We want to help you make the same kinds of lasting connections with your customers online the way you can in real life. That’s why we are introducing Google+ Your Business, a collection of tools and products to help you get closer to your customers. At the heart of this is Google+ Pages, your business’s identity on Google+.
Google+ Pages: Have real conversations with the right people
To get your business on Google+, you first need to create a Google+ Page. On your page, you can post updates and news about your business, engage in conversations with your customers, send tailored messages to specific groups of people, and see how many +1’s you have across the web. Here are a few features of Google+ Pages that we think will help you build relationships:
Sometimes you might want to chat with your customers face-to-face. For example, if you run a bookstore, you may want to invite an author to talk about her latest novel, or if you market a cosmetics line, beauty specialists might want to hold how-to sessions for makeup tips. Hangouts make this easy, by letting you have high-quality video chats with nine customers, with a single click. You can use Hangouts to get product feedback, help solve problems or simply get to know people better, all in real time.
Circles allow you to group followers of your Page into smaller audiences. You can then share specific messages with specific groups. For example, you could create a Circle containing people who are your most loyal customers and offer them a special discount.
+1 button and Google+ badge: Inspire current customers to recommend new ones
Google+ Pages also help you deliver your great content to users in a way that’s easy to share with their friends. We introduced the +1 button as a way for your customers to recommend your business across the web - on Google search, in your ads, on sites across the web and on mobile devices. Now, your customers can +1 your Page, recommending your actual brand -- not just an individual ad or a site -- directly to their friends.
To help your customers find your page and start sharing, we have two buttons you can add to your site by visiting our Google+ badge configuration tool:
The Google+ icon is a small icon that directly links to your Page.
In the coming days, we’re introducing the Google+ badge, which lets people add your page to their circles, without leaving your site, to start getting updates from your business via Google+.
Make your +1’s count, improving the performance of your ads
Coming soon, we will also make it possible to link your Page to your AdWords campaigns for your site, so that all your +1s -- from your Page, your website, ads and search results -- will get tallied together and appear as a single total.
Consumers will be able to see all the recommendations your business has received, whether they are looking at an ad, a search result or your page, meaning your +1’s will reach not only the 40 million users of Google+, but all the people who come to Google every day. In the coming days. you'll be able to link your page to your AdWords campaigns by following the instructions in the AdWords Help Center.
Or, if you're using AdWords Express from your Google Places account, you can link your ads to your Google+ Page by simply selecting the option to direct viewers of your ad to your Google+ Page, and entering the Google+ Page URL in the appropriate field.
Bringing Google+ to the rest of Google
Our ultimate vision for Google+ is to transform the overall Google experience-- weaving identity and sharing into all of our products. Beginning today, we’re rolling out a new experimental feature, Direct Connect -- an easy way for your customers to find your Google+ Page on Google search. For eligible pages, when someone searches for your business with the ‘+’ sign before it Direct Connect will send them directly to your page. For example, try searching for ‘+YouTube’ on Google. Users will also be prompted to automatically add Pages they find through Direct Connect to their circles. Direct Connect will not work for everyone.
Just the beginning
We wanted to help you get your business on Google+ as soon as possible, so we’re opening the field trial for Google+ Pages to everyone today. Creating a Google+ Page only takes a few minutes. To get started, you’ll need a personal Google+ profile. If you don’t have a Google account, it’s very quick and easy to join. And if you are looking for inspiration, check out some of the companies that are already starting to set up their Pages:
To learn more about how Google+ works for your business, check out the Google+ Your Business site. We’re just getting started and have many more features in the coming weeks and months. To keep up to date on the latest news and tips, add the Google+ Your Business page to your circles. If you have ideas on how we can improve Google+ for your business, we’d love to hear them.
Posted by Dennis Troper, Product Management Director, Google+ Pages
We've got a full lineup of regular Businessmen this week, plus two exciting guests - Anna Seregina and Saurabh Kikani!
Ms. Seregina is a talented actress and improviser who recently turned her focus to the world of stand-up comedy. She was born in Moscow, which she credits for her sharp, cynical wit, but also means that if all goes well, she should have very her own theater in Branson, Missouri in twenty years. Also, she works just down the street from at the Beauty Bar, where she tends bar beautifully.
Mr. Kikani visits us from Los Angeles, where he is a regular at the Comedy Store and the world-famous Improv. Also, he has a law degree, so if you don't laugh your ass off, he'll sue your pants off! Just kidding. Please put your pants back on.
All this plus Alex, Bucky, Chris, and Sean, a one-eyed dog, unlimited in-and-out privileges, and Six Hours In A Car, and it's just five bucks! Though for an extra dollar, you can also feel Bucky's biceps. Just kidding. Please do not grope Bucky.
Introducing the Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner Program: Connecting you with partners to help maximize your AdWords campaignsWednesday, October 26, 2011 Posted by ganita at 9:00 AM
As a small business, we know you spend a lot of valuable time trying to reach more customers. Many of our advertisers build and create successful AdWords campaigns on their own, and others prefer to work with partners to get their Google advertising up and running. We think it’s important to provide you with the options that work best for your business, which is why we’re excited to announce a partnership program dedicated to helping small- and medium-sized businesses reach new customers with Google AdWords.
The Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner Program (PSP) connects Google’s trusted and experienced partners with businesses to create, manage, and optimize AdWords campaigns that help you reach more customers and make the most of your advertising budget.
Premier SMB Partners bring to the table years of industry knowledge and meet Google’s highest standards for qualification, training, and customer service. Teaming up with a PSP gives you a marketing and search engine advisor who can take the guesswork out of online advertising, to save you time and resources so you can focus on running and growing your business.
Check out the video below to see how a Google AdWords customer named A&D Automatic Gate & Access has worked with a Premier SMB Partner to find new customers with their Google AdWords campaigns.
To learn more about working with a Premier SMB Partner, visit our website, www.google.com/ads/premiersmbpartner/.
Posted by Todd Rowe, Director of Global Channel Sales
The Business returns triumphantly from Los Angeles this week, and welcomes a special guest - comedian and broadcaster Jordan Morris! Jordan is the co-host of MaximumFun.org's "Jordan, Jesse, Go!" and was an original co-host of "The Sound of Young America." You can also see him on Fuel TV's "The Daily Habit" and at the UCB Theatre in Los Angeles. See the face attached to the voice you love!
We've also got all of your favorite regular Businessmen, making this a veritable "Jordan, Alex, Bucky, Chris, Sean, Go!" event. Tickets are still just five dollars, and we enable, nay, encourage the bringing of one's own burrito.
Small business and the power of video, announcing “My Business Story” by Google and American ExpressPosted by ganita at 1:20 PM
(Cross-posted on the Inside AdWords Blog)
Let’s say you’re a custom sneaker maker. Or you run a yoga retreat center. Or maybe you even sell vegan Vietnamese out of a gourmet food truck. Your business has its own unique story to tell. If you had the chance to show the world what your business is all about - from its founding roots to the ways it changes your customers’ lives, would you take it?
Today you have that chance. We’re pleased to be presenting “My Business Story®” alongside American Express. “My Business Story” is a program for small businesses to tell their stories through video, leading up to the second annual “Small Business Saturday”, a day set aside to encourage communities to spend and support local businesses by shopping small.
And since Google research has shown that companies who use video can expect better customer engagement and retention, we are launching a new video tool so that small business owners can create personalized, professional-quality videos about their business.
Once you’ve got your video crafted, business owners are invited to submit it to the contest for an opportunity to appear in the YouTube homepage ad on Friday, November 25th, which is viewed by an estimated 22 million people in the United States every day. Thirty-six small businesses will be featured in the ad and will receive an online ad campaign worth $5,000 from Google and American Express. All submissions will be viewed and judged by an independent panel of experts. The deadline for contest entry is Tuesday, November 15, but entry is not required to use the My Business Story editing tool.
Happy editing! We’re eager to see what you come up with.
Posted by Marisa Currie, Product Marketing Manager