Offline Google Docs

Check out the news!

Our team has a real affinity for free-spirited types, and so we spend a lot of time thinking up ways to make Google Docs friendlier even to people on the go. If you’re one of those, you already know how you can access your Google Docs from anywhere, how nice it is to avoid having to email yourself files or back up docs with a thumbdrive, and how easily you can collaborate with others.

Of course there was a teeny thing missing: you needed an Internet connection to make Google Docs work for you. Now, for documents, that’s no longer true. As you’ll read on the Google Docs blog, starting today and over the coming weeks we’re rolling out offline editing access to word processing documents to Google Docs users. You no longer need an Internet connection when inspiration strikes. Whether you’re working on an airplane or in a cafe, you can automatically access all your docs on your own computer.

There is a video too.

[update] … and don’t forget about other office tools like ThinkFree which is offering a similar offline service. [/update]

Google Apps – free from IT

I’ve been sitting on this article all day. I’m not sure where I stand on the issue – but I still feel that it’s something I should bring to your attention:

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced Google Apps Team Edition as the simplest and fastest way for groups of employees and students to collaborate within an organization using Google Apps™. Once users verify their business or school email address, they can instantly share documents and calendars securely without burdening IT for support. Team Edition can easily be switched to Google Apps Standard, Premier or Education Edition for communications and collaboration across the entire company.

Now, I’m using Google Apps as part of a series of tools to assist in me telecommuting – however – mine was IT approved. I can see how this would be great for small orgs without and IT staff – but if your IT staff has reasonable (and I stress reasonable) policies in place for not using Google Apps, should employees be going against those guidelines? I have to agree with Joel:

Google’s approach seems predicated on the old adage that it’s always easier to get forgiveness than permission.

Is this wrong? I don’t know – I know I’ve followed this “old adage” before (in various arenas) – would I with this? I might – but I can certainly see the IT point of view.

So, in short – I’ve brought it to your attention and now you can make up your own mind about it :)

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Flight info from Google

I’m not sure I would have even thought to try this – but it’s pretty darn cool:

Alert! Cool Googlosity Feature! On a hunch, I just typed the carrier name and number of Margaret’s plane flight into the Google search box, and Google correctly parsed that data and offered as the first search result a link to the actual status page for that flight — but on the search results page, it also listed the flight’s origin, destination, scheduled departure and arrival times, and its present status — right there atop Google results page one, no messing with airlines’ arcane “enter this data into that box and click the following agreements, and by the way what’s your credit card number, your flight club number, and an email address at which we can harass you for the rest of the internet’s lifetime.”

Now that I’ll be flying a bit more – this is probably a good tip for my friends and family.

Found via Everything is Miscellaneous.

Public Google Calendars

Did you know that Google had public calendars that you could add to your personal calendar? I didn’t – not until someone in one of the classes I was teaching pointed it out. This is why I love teaching small, hands-on type classes, I always walk away learning something from the students. Anyway, if you search for holidays for example you can get the holidays for several countries and add them right to your calendar with one click. It’s very handy!

Public Google Calendars

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New Addition to Google

It looks like Google is experimenting with a Digg-like search over at Google Labs (info found via TechCrunch)

The new search would let logged in users sort/rate their search results:

This experiment lets you influence your search experience by adding, moving, and removing search results. When you search for the same keywords again, you’ll continue to see those changes. If you later want to revert your changes, you can undo any modifications you’ve made. Note that this is an experimental feature and may be available for only a few weeks.

These results will not only let you move things – but it will let you suggest a better result and put that at the top of your results list. This info will be personalized to you (hence the fact that you have to be logged in). Sounds like it might be interesting to try out – but probably not something I’d bother using on a regular basis. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Learn more here (includes a diagram).

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Last note on Google Presentations …

Well, maybe not, but I do have another note to add. I was singing the praises of Google Presentation for a while … and I still think it’s pretty neat, but it may not be the answer for me.

I was working with my fellow presenters on a presentation using Google Presentation … but today I wanted to export as PPT so I could add notes pages to help me when I present … but you can’t!!!!

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Google Street Views – New Locations

Back when street view was released for Google, I was hiding my head in 100 books, but I did bookmark the announcement. Now, Download Squad has pointed out that Google now has 6 new locations on street view – including Philadelphia! I could have used that a couple of weeks ago when I got turned around coming out of the subway and walked 6 blocks in the wrong direction!!

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Google Transit

This is a nifty new tool if you live in (or are visiting) one of the few areas that Google has maps for. Google Transit lets you plan itineraries using public transportation in 19 locations in the U.S. and all of Japan. Here’s a sample using the examples in Oregon posted on the Transit search page.

Pretty nifty, but since the cities I visit (Philadelphia, D.C., & New York) are not on this list it’s not useful to me yet.

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Google Calendar Goodies

One of the great things about doing hands on workshops is that there is always someone there to push you learn something you didn’t know! Or someone there to tell you something you didn’t know. Now, some instructors may not like that – but I’m all for it!

On Tuesday, Tim Siftar of Drexel University asked me we could embed Google Calendars into our websites. My answer? “I dun oh” But after a bit of poking around I found out that you can in fact embed a Google Calendar into your website. Here is my example.

To share your calendar you need to:

  • Click on Manage Calendars
  • Click on the calendar you want to share
  • Choose to make the calendar public
  • Click on the HTML button at the bottom of the screen (next to Calendar Address)
  • Click on link for the configuration tool and follow the instructions

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Google Presentations

As I mentioned earlier, I gave a Tech Topics session last night for the Philadelphia SLA Chapter. Well, a few hours before I left work for Philadelphia, I got an email informing me that Google had added presentations to their office suite.

I have tried to use some other collaborative presentation suites and always ended up going back to PowerPoint, but Google Presentations really has some awesome features! Its interface is very similar to PowerPoint, making it easy to learn. In addition to collaborative editing (a feature of all Google Office tools) you can publish your presentation and work with it as a webcast (without sound). During our class last night I published my test presentation and we were all able to chat while I changed the slides everyone was seeing. Couple that with Skype, voice chat or a conference call and you have a free collaborative webcast!

This is certainly a tool worth checking out!

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