Google Apps highlights

This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label “Google Apps highlights" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

We’ve added more than a dozen new features to Google Apps so far in July. Read on to learn about a few of our favorites: a new look for Gmail and Google Calendar, ways we’ve made Gmail safer and easier to use, a couple new mobile capabilities and more.

Preview new looks for Gmail and Google Calendar
A couple weeks ago we began rolling out a visual refresh to Gmail and Google Calendar, which is consistent with design changes happening across many other Google products. The idea is to make the interfaces even more focused, elastic and effortless. If you’d like to see the new look, you can try it out in Gmail and Google Calendar now.

Pick your favorite inbox style
In addition to Gmail’s new look, we added new options to let you choose an inbox layout that best suits your email habits. You can decide between Priority Inbox, important messages first, starred messages first or unread messages first—or stick with a classic inbox style.

Make multiple calls in Gmail
A while back we added the ability to place phone calls to land lines and mobile phones from your Gmail browser window for free or at greatly reduced calling rates. On Wednesday we made this feature better by allowing multiple simultaneous calls. You can place a second call by putting your first call on hold, or put your first call on hold to pick up another incoming phone call.

View ZIP and RAR contents from Gmail attachments
Before last week, when you received a ZIP or RAR attachment you had to download the file and extract its contents to view what someone sent you. Now you can simply view the contents of ZIP and RAR in your browser without the hassle of downloading and extracting. This is a faster, safer and more affordable way of viewing attachments than opening potentially harmful files with software on your computer.

Phishing detection
Gmail has also started keeping you safer by displaying more information about the origin of certain messages. Email coming from senders who aren’t in your contact list will display the sender’s full email address. We’ll also show you when messages come from an email-sending service (like a news site’s article sharing system) and display a warning when it looks like the sender may have spoofed a Gmail address.

Read receipts for business and government customers
Many organizations that use Gmail have asked for a way to tell if important sent email has been opened, and since Tuesday, Google Apps for Business and Government administrators can activate read receipts from the control panel. Administrators can control which users can request or return read receipts, and whether receipts are issued automatically or manually by recipients.

New spreadsheet keyboard shortcut menu and PPTX support
In Google Docs, this week we added a handy keyboard shortcut cheat sheet to help you work more quickly in spreadsheets. Just hit Ctrl+/ (or Cmd+/ on a Mac) to bring up the keyboard shortcut guide. We also launched support for PPTX conversions, so now you can bring all those PowerPoint files from your desktop into Google Docs, and edit them with your classmates and colleagues from the browser.

More options for videos in Google Docs
Recently we made it easier to work with videos that you upload Google Docs. Now you can embed Google Docs videos into Google Sites pages, embed them on other webpages and even add text captions to your videos.

Share files from the Google Docs Android app
In April we introduced the Google Docs app for Android devices, making it easier to find and open Google Docs files on your phone or tablet. A couple weeks ago we added the ability toshare files right from the Google Docs app, so now you’re covered when you need to give others access to a document, spreadsheet, presentation or any other type of a file when you’re on the move.

Five new mobile site templates
The Google Sites mobile experience also got an upgrade. We added five new mobile site templates to make it easy to build and launch a site that looks great on the small screen. This video explains how:

Who’s gone Google?
It’s been another banner few weeks for new customers. A hearty welcome goes out toAperamNexteerPremier SalonsQuality Distribution and tens of thousands of other businesses that moved to Google Apps since our last update. We also welcome our new education and government customers, including the University of Connecticut and the City of Pittsburgh!

I hope these product updates and customer stories help you and your organization get even more from Google Apps. For more details and the latest news, check out the Google Apps Blog.