New updates to Google Sync for iPhone and iPad

We don’t have to tell you that the workforce is increasingly mobile, and that workers on the go expect to be fully productive on email and calendar from their mobile devices. But we do want to tell you that we have a few new features for Google Sync users that will help employees work efficiently from anywhere on their iPhones and iPads.

Google Sync keeps your phone’s native mail and calendar apps in sync with your Gmail, Calendar and Contacts. Today, three new updates to Google Sync for iOS will allow you to:

  • Search all your emails in Gmail, not just the emails stored locally by the iOS mail app.
  • Accept, decline or edit calendar events from the iOS calendar app.
  • Send email from the address you want. We recognize that some of you manage multiple email addresses from a single Gmail account.Gmail’s “Send Mail as” feature lets you send messages with another email address listed as the sender instead of your Gmail address, e.g. instead of Now the iOS mail app will respect these settings.

These three updates are available to both Gmail and Google Apps email accounts.
For more information, visit Setting up Google Sync with your iOS device

Do we have to expect updates to all versions of Google Earth this summer?

google-earth-iphone.pngThe announcement of Google Earth Builder at Where 2.0 last week was certainly great news for companies that can take advantage of the enterprise capabilities of it, but it may have some great side effects for the rest of us as well. As we mentioned briefly in our announcement post, there are some things coming for which we don’t yet have an explanation.

In particular, I’ve heard from numerous sources that data from Builder can be accessed from “all computers, tablets and smartphones”. What does that mean exactly?

During the presentations I attended at Where 2.0, Google repeatedly compared the security model of Google Earth Builder to that of Google Docs. In particular, you can choose to keep data private, make it fully public, or grant access to specific users via their Google Account credentials.

For Google Earth on your computer, it almost certainly needs an update. Despite how connected Google is, there is no log-in of any kind for standard Google Earth users, and therefore no way to grant users access to specific layers based on their Google Account info. Therefore, it seems like almost a sure bet that they’ll be adding a “log-in” feature to Google Earth in the next few months. I have three hopes for that:

1 — That it’s optional. While a lot of good could be done from it, part of the beauty of Google Earth is that you simply open it and it runs. Requiring a log-in from every users would certainly hinder that. UPDATE from Frank: Not only that, but a no-login option MUST be there for off-line Google Earth use. An important feature!
2 — That it ties to Google Latitude. It’d be nice to see (and interact with) your friends on Google Latitude from within Google Earth. While it’s probably possible now with some creative use of the Latitude API.
3 — That “My Places” will sync to the cloud. As I use different machines during the day (desktop, laptop, netbook, tablet), all of my data stays in sync automatically because of some great software like Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail, etc, but there is no way to have your Google Earth Places automatically sync between machines. That would be a great feature to have.

For tablets and phones it’s a similar situation. While the program could likely determine who you are based on other credentials on your phone (especially on Android), it’s doesn’t appear to have that kind of connectivity yet. With that in mind, I expect we’ll see updates to all of their mobile products in the coming months. In particular, I think that Google Earth on the Xoom is excellent, but there’s so much more it could do.

The update may only consist of user management to support the new Google Earth Builder data, but hopefully they also add some of the features that Frank mentioned a few months ago.

New Google Docs app for Android

People are using mobile phones to access information — from email to web browsing to editing documents. Part of getting work done on the go is being able to easily access, edit and share content, which is why we’re happy to announce the new Google Docs app for Android.

With this new app it’s easy to filter and search for your content across any Google account, then jump straight into editing docs using the online mobile editors. The app also allows you to easily share items with contacts on your phone, right from within the app.

The Docs app also allows you to upload content from your phone and open documents directly from Gmail. You can also add a widget to your home screen for easy access to three core tasks: jumping to your starred documents, taking a photo to upload, or creating a new document with one tap.

And my favorite feature: Using the app and your phone’s camera, you can turn photos with text into editable Google documents with the power of optical character recognition (OCR). Just create a new ‘Document from Photo’ or select the camera icon from the widget, and your converted document will appear in your documents list shortly after you snap the picture. You can also convert photos already stored on your phone by sharing them with the Google Docs app. OCR does a pretty good job capturing unformatted text in English but won’t recognize handwriting or some fonts – stay tuned, it will get better over time!

The Google Docs app is currently available in English and works on Android 2.1+ phones. Try it out by scanning the QR code below or by visiting Android Market.

Tested on Samsung Galaxy S!