Google Apps highlights

Over the last few weeks, Google 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.

The most-popular iPhone navigation apps

TomTom U.S.A. navigation app.

The most significant development in portable navigation this past year has been the rapid advance of smart-phone navigation apps. Apple has led the charge with several brand-name companies developing conventional nav apps.  Apple presents a year-end score card showing which are the most popular by three measures: Top Grossing, Best-Selling Overall, and Most-Popular Free.

Top Grossing Navigation App
TomTom has earned the title as the Top Grossing navigation app with its TomTom U.S.A. application (currently $49.99), followed by Navigon MobileNavigator North America ($59.99). Both applications faithfully mimic the experience of using a dedicated navigation device, while integrating into the iPhone well with their latest iterations.

MotionX GPS Drive ranks third with a 99-cent app that offers 30-days of voice guidance for $2.99 and a full year for $19.99.

Geocaching from the group that popularized this form of electronic treasure hunting, Groundspeak, provides a paperless way to enjoy the hobby. At $9.99, the Geocaching app provides a way to access information on more than a million geocaches around the globe, download their coordinates and tips, track down treasures, and log your finds.

The final Top 5 grossing nav app is TomTom U.S. & Canada. As the name implies, this $59.99 application expands on the lower-priced U.S.A. version with broader maps and points of interest.

MotionX GPS Drive

Best-Selling Navigation App
In this category, we see similar players to Top Grossing, though the order has been shuffled. The best-selling nav app for 2010 was the MotionX GPS Drive, followed by MotionX GPS ($2.99), an outdoors-focused navigator for walking, hiking, cycling, skiing, geocaching, and more.

With a clear brand advantage as the defacto site for geocache enthusiasts, Geocaching ranked third.

TomTom U.S.A. made the list, but Navigon did not. Instead, “Where To?” ($2.99) made the cut, an application focused on finding points of interest, such as the nearest restaurant.  It can share locations by email, text, and a variety of social networks.

MapQuest 4 Mobile

Most-Popular Free Navigation App
The top free applications are a diverse group. Before Google Maps entered the scene, was the go-to site for printing directions, and now the site has a popular, free iPhone app called MapQuest 4 Mobile with voice guidance.

While most apps focus on going from point A to point B, Trapster uses crowd sourcing to share the locations of speed traps.

Proving free often comes at a price, the AT&T Navigator is a popular download with a $9.99 per month fee, or $69.99 annual subscription. While there can be appeal in the flexible pricing plan, most users who will want turn-by-turn guidance would find more affordable options than this so-called free app.

A free version of its MotionX GPS ($2.99), MotionX GPS Lite has a lot of guidance features for active lifestylers and a broad map set that includes, Google and Bing road, satellite, and hybrid maps, along with topographic maps.

Not to be confused with Where To?, Where is a points-of-interest guide that helps you find nearby places, share recommendations, and receive suggestions on where to go next. Local guides add depth to the app, and businesses offer deals to encourage visits.

Bottom line
Popularity doesn’t ensure quality. Be sure to check our ratings on lead iPhone Navigation Apps to see how they compare, as well as check the user ratings and comments on any app before downloading. We have found the iPhone nav apps can be quite good, but they trail dedicated devices in sound quality, GPS precision, screen size, and often controls and routing options.

And the most-popular app of the year? Angry Birds. It also came in second place for top grossing and free, in a “light” version.

New ways to discover great apps on Android Market

We’ve seen tremendous growth in Android Market lately. With over 200,000 apps supporting over 300 Android devices, we’ve had 4.5 billion applications installed to date. But with so many apps available, how do you find the ones you really want? Whether you’re looking for the most popular apps, hot new apps, or just the very best apps available, we want to help make sure that you find what you’re looking for.

Today, we’re excited to announce 5 new features for Android Market focused on helping you find apps you’ll love.

  • New top app charts – We’ve revamped our top app charts to be fresher and country-specific, so you get the most current, relevant results. We’ve also added top new free, top new paid, and top grossing lists, all right on the Android Market home page.   
  • Editors’ Choice – These are some of the very best apps available for Android, as chosen by the Android Market staff. They span everything from games to productivity and beyond.   
  • Top Developers – We’re also recognizing those developers creating the highest quality, most popular, and most notable apps available on Android Market. They’ll get a special icon on our Android Market website, appearing wherever the developer name is shown, starting today for an initial set of over 150 developers.
  • Better related apps – On the left side of an app page, you’ll now see two groups of related apps: apps frequently browsed by people who viewed this app, and apps that people tend to install alongside this app. For example, people who view ScoreMobile, my favorite sports score app, often also view other sports score apps, while those who install ScoreMobile tend to also install apps for specific sports leagues or teams. We’ll also show you related apps once you decide to install an app.
  • Trending apps – Finally, we’ve added a new section to the Android Market homepageshowing trending apps – those apps that are quickly growing in daily installs. Look here to stay ahead of the curve and find new apps as they get hot.

We hope you find these features helpful as you explore the many greats apps available on Android Market. These new features are available now on, and will be coming soon to Android Market on phones and tablets.