Tag Archives | Office Suites

Google Apps Users Get Full Google Citizenship

Google Apps–the suite of Web-based productivity tools that’s useful for everybody from individual consumers to big businesses–is among Google has come up with to date. But if you have a Google Apps account, there’s been far more stuff that wasn’t available than was: everything from major services such as Picasa and Google Voice to potentially useful obscurities such as Google Base. That’s because logging into a Google Apps account only provided access to Gmail, the Google Docs office editors, Google Sites, and a few other services.

Starting today, that’s changed: Sign up for Google Apps, and you can use your account to access more than sixty Google services. Why did it take so long? The company says it wanted to make sure that its infrastructure was ready to handle it. And it wasn’t always sure that companies would want a consumery service such as the Picasa’s photo albums to be part of a business-oriented offering like Google Apps. But it says that many customers have asked for Picasa, Blogger, and other services that haven’t been part of Apps. And some of the new arrivals, such as Google Analytics, are very businessy.

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Mobile Google Docs–Now With Editing

For all the cool stuff that’s going on with Web-based apps for smartphones and tablets, not much has happened yet with tools that let you edit documents right in your browser. But Google just added support for editing Google Docs word-processing files on Android 2.2 and iOS devices. (The Google Docs spreadsheet already has a somewhat peculiar editing mode.)

Here’s a video explanation:

Sadly, I’m at the Web 2.0 Summit, sans the one gizmo I really want to try this on–an iPad.

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Office for the Mac: The Same, Only Different

Microsoft’s Office 2011 for the Mac goes on sale today–the first version to support Office’s Ribbon interface, the first one in years with Outlook, and one that’s priced to move. The company provided me with a pre-release copy a few weeks ago, and when I’ve been using a Mac I’ve been running Office and mostly enjoying the experience. That wasn’t a given: I mostly avoided its predecessor, Office 2008, which was slow and not only lacked the Ribbon but had a floating-palette interface I actively disliked. (I was known to run a virtualized copy of Windows on Macs mostly so I could use Windows Office.)

For some people, the fact that Microsoft–a company who has been known to deride Apple’s customers as trendy spendthrifts–still makes Office for the Mac is apparently hard to reconcile. Microsoft’s press site has a story that seems designed both to reassure Apple fans that Microsoft loves them and Microsoft fans that it doesn’t love Apple fans that much.

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Microsoft Office 365: One-Stop Shopping for Desktop and Web Productivity

At an event in San Francisco this morning, Microsoft announced something called Office 365. It’s less of a new product or service and more of an attempt to make it easy for businesses of all sizes to offload IT infrastructure and acquire the Microsoft productivity applications and services they want on a pay-as-they-go basis. (It’s the successor to an existing offering called the Business Productivity Office Suite.)

Office 365’s components include Outlook and a hosted version of the Exchange server, a hosted version of the Lync unified communications server, hosted Sharepoint, the Office Web Apps, and the full-blown Office Pro Plus suite in its traditional desktop form. New Web-based tools will aim to make it easy to sign up for 365 and manage its various bits and pieces in one place. The company is beta-testing the service now and plans to fully roll it out next year.

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Google Apps Gets a Second Layer of Security

Passwords may be by far the Web’s most common form of security, but they’re far from airtight: some get stolen, and others are alarmingly easy to figure out. Two-factor authentication, using both a password and something else–preferably a something else that’s tough for an intruder to determine–is much safer.

So today, Google is announcing two-factor authentication for its Google Apps suite of online productivity tools. A new feature lets businesses which use Apps add another layer of security by generating random codes which employees get on their phones–Google is making apps available for Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry . To get into your account, you’ve got to enter both your password and a freshly-generated code.

The new feature is free and optional, and users who adopt it can specify certain PCs as trusted machines, permitting them to access their accounts with only a password. It’s available for paid, education, and government accounts starting today; users of the freebie Standard edition will get it “in the months ahead.”

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Memeo Connect Ships, Adds iPhone App

Memeo Connect, 2.0 the Google Apps synchronization service whose beta I wrote about a couple of months ago, has been released in an official shipping version. And Memeo added an iPhone version to the mix. As with the existing iPad edition, the iPhone one only lets you view documents, not edit them–but it’s free, and unlike the Windows and Mac versions, it doesn’t require a paid Google Apps Premier account. (Boilerplate disclaimer: My fiancée performs work for Memeo on a contract basis.)

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Office for Mac Coming in October…and It's Cheaper

Microsoft said Monday that it was expecting to release Office for Mac 2011 in October, while at the same time cutting the price as much as 50 percent to bring pricing in line with its Windows counterparts. Two versions of the software will be made available, one directed at academics and the other for business.

Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 will include World, Excel, Powerpoint, and Microsoft’s instant messaging application for Mac OS X. The business version will include all of the above applications plus Outlook, which will replace Entourage as Office’s e-mail client on the Mac.

Pricing for the student version ill be $119 for a single license, and $149 for a family license which allows for installation on up to three machines. This compares to a single license price of $149 for Office 2008. For Office for Mac Home and Business 2011, a single license is now $199, down from $399, and a family license $279.

At any time, a user will be able to upgrade from the Student to Business version using online upgrade functionality, Microsoft said.

A $99 version of the business suite would also be made available, but only to those in higher-education. Proof of employment or enrollment in an academic institution would likely be required to take advantage of the discount.

Those who purchase Office for Mac 2008 after Monday will be eligible to upgrade to the new version at no cost, Microsoft said. To receive the free upgrade, the purchaser must register at Microsoft’s website.


Google Introduces Google Apps for Government

At a press event at its headquarters this morning, Google announced Google Apps for Government–a new version of its Google Apps productivity suite that’s been certified by the US government as meeting its security requirements.

The new version is a variant of Google Apps Premier edition, and includes the same core apps: Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, Groups, Video, and Postini. Pricing is the same as for Google Apps Premier: $50 per user per year.

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