Friday, May 20, 2011 | 3:36 PM
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.
Over the last few weeks, we made improvements to instant messaging, increased capacity for saved contacts, added powerful data analysis with pivot tables in spreadsheets and introduced more flexible management tools for Google Apps customers.
Better AIM interoperability in Gmail and beyond
Google Talk is built on open protocols for instant messaging, making it possible for other IM networks to connect seamlessly with Google Talk. Yesterday we rolled out improvements to make chatting with your AIM buddies even easier in Gmail, iGoogle, Orkut and Google Talk on Android devices. Now you can invite your AIM buddies to chat from any of these places just by entering their AOL screennames, even if you don’t have or use an AIM account.
Room for 15,000 more contacts in Gmail
We’ve heard from a surprising number of super-connected people who wanted to save more contacts in Gmail than its 10,000-contact limit allowed, so a couple weeks ago we made Gmail better by supporting up to 25,000 contacts. You can also save even more information with each contact, so if you were previously bumping up against the limits, you should have a whole lot more extra space for your contacts now.
Pivot tables in Google spreadsheets
Google spreadsheets now has another tool to help serious dataheads make sense from large data sets: pivot tables. With pivot tables, you can easily summarize rows and columns of information, helping you quickly spot patterns in the information that you might not have noticed otherwise. If you’re new to pivot tables, we made a short video to show what you can do.
Customizable administration options for Google Apps customers
IT staff members in large organizations don’t all need the same level of control in their Google Apps environment. For example, a university IT help desk should be able to reset lost passwords for students, but probably doesn’t need to modify school-wide email settings. On Monday, we made Google Apps much more flexible by introducing delegated administration, which lets full administrators assign partial administration privileges to other individuals.
Who’s gone Google?
In the last three weeks, we’ve seen more than 60,000 organizations choose our cloud products for their communication and collaboration needs, and this week a couple international customers stood out from the crowd. Oxygen Design Agency based in Toronto, Canada chose Google Apps and avoided a big investment in traditional email servers when their previous email solution started to break down. With Google Apps, their downtime woes have disappeared, designers can stay in contact when they’re meeting clients and the system is much simpler and more affordable to manage.
EAT. has more than 100 restaurant locations and 1,700 employees in the U.K. They serve fresh, healthy food—as well as kilobytes to customers through technology programs like an iPhone ordering app, free in-store Wi-Fi, a Twitter feed and a tap-to-pay system. EAT. selected Google Apps to replace their old system to get away from complex, costly upgrades, achieve hassle-free scalability as their business expands and securely support a wider array of mobile devices.
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.