Google has announced a new name for the Google Apps product – it’s now known as G Suite!
The change was made on 29 September 2016, and you can find out more from Google here.
There appear to be no major changes to the product. Google Apps has simply been renamed – in no way to make things confusing for users!
During the transition, we will use “Google Apps” and “G Suite” interchangeably on this web site and throughout our products. Over time, as everyone adjusts to “G Suite”, we will phase out use of “Google Apps”.
Green Dot Public Schools is a non-profit organization founded in 2000 to help transform public education in historically underserved communities in the USA.
The U.S. Department of Education considers Green Dot to be a national leader in school turnarounds, and they are the only charter school operator to lead the successful turnaround of a 3,000-plus student high school.
They have been using our Google Apps plugins for WordPress for a few months now, and reported to be very happy with them! We caught up with Rena Banka, IT Project Manager at Green Dot, for a short interview to find out how they are using our plugins to integrate Google Apps and WordPress.
All versions of our Google Apps Login plugin will add a new ‘Login with Google’ button to the login page of your WordPress site. However, you might also want to add a ‘Login with Google’ button to other pages of your site – for example in a sidebar widget to appear on every page.
Let’s say you want better security for your WordPress site. Maybe you want your employees to always access their WordPress account by authenticating through Google (which you see as easier to manage rather than requiring all users to maintain separate username/passwords for WordPress as well as Gmail). You’ve also read about brute force attacks on WordPress so hope that Google login will guard against those. You might also have installed a plugin such as Limit Login Attempts to prevent multiple login attempts from the same IP address – likely a sign of a brute force attack (although increasingly such attacks are performed from distributed IPs).
This post explains how to configure Google Apps Login Premium/Enterprise versions to secure your site in this way – and also explains why brute force attacks will never succeed against WordPress when protected by Google Apps Login, so in fact your Limit Login Attempts plugin is now completely redundant!
Google Apps can now be used as a Single Sign-On (SSO) solution for a wider range of cloud applications – specifically, those that support the SAML 2.0 standard.
Our Google Apps Login plugin has always allowed users to sign into WordPress sites – via their Google Apps accounts – using a different authorization mechanism called OAuth 2.0. This is a modern protocol designed for ‘web scale’, to be used across web browsers and mobile devices.
However, many ‘enterprise’ services prefer to use the older SAML 2.0 even though it is restricted to web browsers and is more complicated to implement. This is largely because SAML can also provide extended ‘authentication’ information, controlling users’ permissions once connected.
The fact that Google Apps accounts can now be used as a Single Sign-On for a wider range of services is great news for customers of Google Apps Login. Using Google to sign on to far more services will reinforce your employees’ use of ‘Login with Google’ when they connect to your WordPress site using our plugin.
You can read Google’s official announcement. And there is a great explanation on the difference between SAML 2.0 and OAuth 2.0 here.
Thousands of WordPress pages contain embedded Google Drive files and folders thanks to our Google Drive Embedder plugin. It’s easy to embed a file: when composing a post in WordPress, click our ‘Add Google File’ button to bring up a dialog box where you can search for the file or folder you want. That works well if you know how to search for the Drive file, but if you only know which folder it is in, it can be harder to find.
We have sometimes been asked if our Google Drive Embedder Enterprise plugin can be used to embed folders within a tab of a BuddyPress Group. That way, each group – maybe a department within a company – would have a space on the intranet to share commonly-used files; but rather than getting lost inside WordPress’ file system, the files would also be immediately available on Google Drive as well. Even better, it would be possible to drop files straight into the corresponding Drive folder and have them show up straight away in the BuddyPress Group without even having to log in to WordPress at all.
Our Google Apps Login Premium and Enterprise plugins allow all users with an email address in an organization’s Google Apps domain to log in to the WordPress site with one click. If the user doesn’t have an account in WordPress already, one is automatically created based on their Google profile information – taking their first name and last name, for example. The plugin needs to generate a unique WordPress username, so the simplest thing is for it to use the email address as the username directly. This ensures it is unique – but an email address can be long and cumbersome as a username when used throughout the site.
Google has emailed some of our users to remind them that a selection of their old APIs are to be deprecated on 20th April 2015. Users of all our Google Apps plugins for WordPress – Google Apps Login, Google Drive Embedder, etc – can rest assured that we migrated to the new versions of all of Google’s APIs a long time ago, so their service will not be affected.
Update – we have now built the BuddyPress extension right into the full version of Google Profile Avatars. If you are using BuddyPress and Google Profile Avatars but aren’t seeing Google profile photos throughout your site, please get in touch to ask for version 1.1 of the plugin.
We provide a small plugin extension called Google Profile Avatars that takes your users’ Google profile photos and substitutes them in place of the user’s WordPress avatar pictures throughout your site. That brings an easy level of personalization to the site, and saves users having to upload a photo directly – which they often won’t take the time to do anyway.