Wednesday, April 21, 2010

3 New Google App Surprises

I just how I log into Google Apps and new goodies show up on a regular basis. Here are my latest three favorites:

  • Google Drawings - Bam! And just like that, Google now offers a simple drawing program from within Docs. Like Google Docs and Spreadsheets, it's mostly basic functionality. But, of course it's collaborative. Which means you can use it as an interactive whiteboard. There are other online whiteboard apps out there, but if you're already using Google Apps, this one is going to be easier to access.
  • Google Apps Script - Bam! And just like that, Google now offers a powerful way to add functionality that doesn't currently exist in the apps. A while back I saw this Google Apps Mail Merge setup and didn't know what to make of it. Now I get that they've given developers a way to create plugins. I haven't had a chance to look at this from a programmer's perspective, but this seems like it could be incredibly useful.
  • Enhanced Spreadsheet UI - Google Spreadsheets has gotten a usability face lift. Items like auto-complete of cell text and dragging and dropping have been added. My favorite feature, though, is that you can directly link to a sheet within a spreadsheet by taking the URL that Google provides you with, and adding &gid=XX where XX the sheet number. Mix this with short links, and you can now have URLs that take users right to the sheet you wanted them to see.

I've always thought it was clever how Google just let features more or less leak out. It's quite possible that the above features have been around for weeks or months. By doing so, there's just a sense of continual innovation going on.

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