This week in Google, our little Docs got some new duds. Meanwhile, apps for Plus are beginning to crop up and some security news might help you sleep at night.
Though we've discussed its slow roll out before, Google Docs officially received a makeover this week. The visual changes fall in line with the new look that Google has applied to its other services since the launch of Google+.
As well as new keyboard shortcuts and easier navigation, the principal change is the interface redesign with a lot more space and bigger gaps between documents listed in the main menu. Google says it is introducing the new look “…as part of our effort to provide an improved and consistent web experience across Google products." If you can’t see the changes already, you can see it by clicking the small gear icon next to your name in the Google navigation bar at the top of the screen.
Users of cloud-based Google Apps and Google App Engine can sleep a little more soundly at night knowing that their data is safe and secure with Google. The Internet giant announced that they have completed SSAE-16 Type II and ISAE 3402 Type II security audits.
Cloud service providers are constantly looking for ways to attract and retain customers in the lucrative enterprise market, and security is a big factor. In fact, just last week, Amazon Web Services announced its own enhancements targeted squarely at the enterprise market. Now that Google has announced it has completed the audit process for SSAE 16 and ISAE 3402, we can expect other major service providers to follow their example quickly.
Google’s most recent announcement isn’t the only measure that the company has taken to assure its current and prospective customers that their data will be secure the in the hands of Google. Many of Google’s security marketing efforts seem to be focused on its software as a service product Google Apps, which has stiff competition from Microsoft. Google has even published a white paper highlighting the services security features and has a page dedicated to the topic.
While Google has been aggressively marketing services such as Google+, a little-known program called App Inventor that lets users build Android applications without requiring hardcore programming knowledge has stayed under the radar. Now Google is decommissioning App Inventor, and will instead release it as open source software.
App Inventor has never gone past beta, but the service will be interesting to people who are into mobile devices and apps. App Inventor lets users design, build and publish applications for Android without requiring programming knowledge. Part of Google Labs, App Inventor is one of those experimental applications that the hotshot engineers at Google come up with, with the hopes of getting mainstream use and acceptance.
App Inventor will live on for three months in its current state, after which Google will make an announcement once it finds a new home for the service. Folks interested in building apps might also want to try alternatives like Conduit. More experienced developers can try Brightcove AppCloud, Metismo or Adobe Flash Builder for creating cross-platform apps for mobile devices.
Adding Real-Time Code Collaboration to Hangouts
Developer Mohamed Mansour has built an experimental Google Chrome extension which adds text-based document collaboration capabilities to the Google+ multi-user video chat feature -- Hangouts.
With this new extension, users can collaborate on text-based files while they chat. Mansour says this would be a great extension for developers to use for code collaboration, for example.
Because it’s still an alpha product, it's not something you should expect to use in a mission critical situation. Mansour himself says it's "horribly buggy."
But, if you're feeling a bit adventurous, just head over to the Chrome Web Store and try it out.