Google recently rolled out ‘Team Drives’ to their G Suite business customers. One big problem for enterprises using Drive is that there is always one ultimate owner of any files shared within Drive. So popular files can be shared by employees, but if the owner happens to leave the company, or decides to reorganize their own ‘My Drive’, the files can be lost to everyone else.
Team Drives aim to overcome this by providing storage space completely outside of anyone’s ‘My Drive’, truly belonging to the organization rather than any individual.
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”.
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.
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.
Many customers use our Google Apps Login Enterprise version to restrict access to their WordPress intranet so that, not only is it inaccessible to non-employees, but certain groups of employees should have different WordPress roles, and perhaps some employees should not have access at all.
There is a useful trick in Google Drive whereby you can allow a file to appear in multiple folders at the same time. This means that any changes made to the file within one folder will be reflected immediately in the others – because it is exactly the same file, not a duplicate in any way. This is handy if the hierarchy of your Drive means that a file really does belong in more than one place if you expect users to be able to find it.
Many of our customers use Google Apps alongside a WordPress intranet, and we’ve heard from a lot of them recently about the benefits of using both these systems together. Below is an example explaining how some customers are using Google Forms in their intranets to standardize their processes and make things quicker and easier for their staff.
A great feature of Google Apps is the ability to embed live spreadsheets in your website, updating automatically whenever your spreadsheet changes.
However, you aren’t allowed much control over the appearance of your spreadsheet – which can be inconvenient if you want to direct viewers to a particular part of the sheet.
Fortunately, there are a few undocumented ways to add a tiny bit more control to the way your spreadsheets appear. You can embed a single sheet and restrict the display to only a rectangle within it.
Many of our clients use Google Apps to collaborate on documents, but turn to a WordPress site to be able to communicate in a more structured way internally, or to present themselves to clients.
With so much information kept in Google documents, it can become a struggle to keep your intranet or website up-to-date as documents change over time.
Knowing that we have already started to connect Google Apps to their WordPress sites (via our Google Apps Login plugin), some clients have been asking if we can do more to bring Google Drive documents along too. (more…)
Although delegation is a practice that many employees feel their employers do too much, it isn’t always the simple pleasure it sounds. It’s especially easy for co-founders of a company, or director of an organization, to end up dealing with certain processes for a long time as the company grows. Fears over handing security to others, and worries that they “won’t do it right”, can make it feel easier to keep full control personally, regardless of how disruptive it may be to more pressing work. One of these processes is the handling of Google Apps user management. (more…)