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 Hurricane Irene did more than $10 billion in damage


While Hurricane Irene didn’t strike the United States with as much force as many had predicted, it was still a substantial storm that claimed 54 lives and did more than $10 billion in damage.

GEB reader Noel has taken some of the imagery from NOAA’s Hurricane Irene Project Index Page and assembled them as image overlays in Google Earth. Some of the the imagery is quite striking, such as this image of a section of Highway 12 being washed away on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.



Highway 12 is the only road that connects Hatteras Island to the mainland, and this destruction has left 2,500 residents stranded on the island. There is an emergency ferry now in place to shuttle emergency personnel to and from the island, and no injuries have been reported.

Tahina Expedition


Frank Taylor here, the founder and publisher of Google Earth Blog. Many of you who are regular readers of Google Earth Blog know that since November of 2009 my wife and I have been traveling by sailboat on a round-the-world trip we call the Tahina Expedition. Tahina is the name of our boat which we bought in 2008. We sold our house, cars and most of our belongings to have this opportunity to see many of the most remote parts of the Earth that we had only visited in Google Earth before. We have already crossed the Pacific Ocean leaving our home state of North Carolina to the Caribbean sea, to San Blas, the Panama Canal, Galapagos, French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga, and New Zealand.

In early May of this year, we left New Zealand and sailed for seven days up to Fiji. Since that time, we have had some amazing experiences in Fiji. We have enjoyed visiting with people in remote villages of eastern Fiji – many who have rarely seen foreigners and have little contact with the modern world. We have had some amazing underwater experiences on some of the liveliest coral we have ever seen. We have had remarkable encounters with marine life such as dolphin, sea turtles, lionfish, shark, sea snakes, eels, manta ray and more. We have also seen some pretty unique locations such as underwater caves, uninhabited islands, white sand beaches, and huge island resorts.


Fiji Tracks in Google Earth 

Today we published a Google Earth file of our Fiji experiences . It includes GPS tracks of our routes as we sailed between anchorages. It also has tracks of dinghy trips to various places, hikes, kayaking trips, and even some taxi trips. There are placemarks of our anchorages, dive sites, and other points of interest along the way. And, finally, the file includes links to all the geo-tagged photos from albums we have published to Picasa. You can read more about the file in the post at the Tahina blog.