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With Google Drive, you can keep all your important files in one place, then open them with your choice of apps and devices. Building on this open approach, we recently made it possible to launch your favorite desktop applications directly from Google Drive. And today we’re taking it a step further by bringing Google Drive to Microsoft Office. Using the new Google Drive plug-in, people using Office for Windows can now open their Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents stored in Drive, then save any changes back to Drive once they’re done.
If you’re working on a document, spreadsheet or presentation that’s on your computer, you can also save that file to Google Drive, directly from the Office apps. This is especially useful for sharing files with teams, or for accessing your files across devices.
With this plug-in, you can use the apps you’re already comfortable with, while benefitting from the security and convenience of Google Drive.


(Cross-posted on the Google for Work Blog.)

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We take all kinds of photos, from pics of friends and family to snapshots of a scenic view. We also use photos for more practical purposes, like planning a wedding, remodeling a kitchen, or capturing meeting notes from a whiteboard. But while you may snap all sorts of images, your experience across Google should be seamless and consistent. That’s why starting today, the photos and videos you keep in Google+ Photos will also be available in Google Drive.
To get started, just look for the new Photos menu in Drive for Android, iOS and the web. From there you'll be able to manage your photos and videos alongside other types of files. For example, you can now add pictures of wedding venues and cakes to the same Drive folder as your guest list and budget.

Google+ Photos will of course keep helping you store, edit and share your pics. But if you want to organize all your files, all in one place, Drive is here to help. You’ll start seeing your photos in Drive today—immediately if they’re new, and a few weeks for your entire library—so give it a try, and let us know what you think. For more specifics, you can always visit the Help Center.

Posted by Josh Hudgins, Product Manager, Google Drive

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This Safer Internet Day, we’re reminded how important online safety is and hope you’ll use this as an opportunity to take 2 minutes to complete a simple Security Checkup. While everything stored in Drive is always encrypted in transit and at rest in Google’s custom-built data centers, this checkup ensures you’re making the most of the 24/7 protection you already get from Google. As our way of saying thanks for completing the checkup by 17 February 2015, we’ll give you a permanent 2 gigabyte bump in your Google Drive storage plan.

It takes just a couple of minutes and, unlike other checkups, it won’t leave you feeling guilty about not flossing. Here’s what it does:

    • Ensures your account recovery information is current
      If we detect suspicious activity in your account, we use your recovery info to get in touch and make sure no one but you gains access.
    • Lets you review recent sign-in activity
      Reviewing this lets you validate the sign-ins are coming from you and not someone who shouldn't be using your credentials.
    • Confirms the apps and devices that access some account information
      This step lets you monitor this list and remove apps and devices that don't need access to your account any more.

After you’ve gone through the checkup successfully, you’ll see three green checkboxes (see below) that confirm you’re eligible for the free storage and, more importantly, that you’ve taken steps to enhance your online safety. We’ll be granting the storage automatically to everyone around 28 February 2015 and we’ll send you an email when your adjustment is complete.
Ideally, you’ll revisit this checkup every so often or anytime your account changes, like when you get a new phone or replace an old laptop. While this is just one way to help you stay safe online, you can find even more tools and tips in the Google Safety Center.

UPDATE: Google Apps for Work and Google Apps for Education users are not eligible for the bonus storage but should still consider taking the Security Checkup.

Posted by Alex Vogenthaler, Group Product Manager, Google Drive

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<Cross-posted from the new Google Docs blog--your dedicated source for all things Docs, Sheets and Slides and more.>

With Google Docs we want to help you work better, everywhere you are. So today’s Android and iOS updates for Docs, Sheets and Slides make it easier to get things done while you’re on the go. 

Doing, not just viewing 
You’ve asked for more editing tools on mobile, so today’s improvements include real-time spell-checking in documents, hiding rows and columns in spreadsheets, and grouping shapes in presentations.

Keeping your content safe 
Online security is really important, so we offer functionality like two-step verification to protect your Google account. Starting today, Google Docs supports Touch ID on iOS, so you can unlock Docs, Sheets and Slides with your unique fingerprint.
Making everything more accessible
If you’re blind or have low vision, you can use screen-reading services like TalkBack on Android and VoiceOver on iOS to create, edit, and share files in Docs, Sheets and Slides. The updated apps also respond well to screen magnification, in case you need to zoom in for a closer look.

These updates are rolling out now, so look for them on Google Play and the App Store (Docs, Sheets, Slides), and download the new versions as they become available. For even more news and tips, you can now follow Google Docs on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.

Posted by Jude Flannery, Engineering Director

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Last month, we partnered with National Novel Writing Month to see what happens when three writers come together, online from three different cities, to create a short story in Google Docs. The three authors—Edan Lepucki, Tope Folarin, and Mike Curato—had one hour to create the story, based on an opening line submitted by Docs user Lauren Lopez in Malaysia.

Watch this short (and pretty entertaining) video to see how it all went down:
You can read the final story at g.co/docsnano, and watch their unedited process and Q&A in the original Hangout on Air.

Posted by Michael Bolognino, Product Marketing Manager

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Cross-posted from the Google for Work Blog

90,000 hours. That’s the amount of time the average person spends working during their lifetime. To put that in perspective, if you spend 90,000 hours watching movies and did nothing else — no sleep, no breaks — you would be watching for 10 years non-stop.

Since you spend so much time at work, we want you to have the latest Google Apps updates when they're available to make working easier. That means your apps are constantly being updated with new and helpful features almost every week to ensure you have the latest tools, security updates and speed improvements — as soon as they’re ready. And that applies across the Docs editors as well. So as a busy 2014 comes to a close, we want to highlight a few of the new ways get things done with Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings and Forms.

Work with any kind of file
You come across all types of files all day. The last thing you want to worry about is what software you need in order to view or edit these files. For this reason, we made it so you can open and edit Office files directly in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, on your desktop, phone or tablet.

Make suggestions
Editing files in real-time with others is a great way to work together across the Docs editors, and many of you asked for the ability to suggest changes in other peoples’ documents, rather than making edits directly. Now you can do just that with Suggest Edits in Docs. Make suggestions that can be accepted or rejected with a single click. And when you convert a Word file to Docs or vice versa, your tracked changes will convert as well.
Work on any of your devices. We created new mobile apps for Docs, Sheets and Slides across Android and iOS, where you can edit your documents, presentations and spreadsheets on the go. While working in the cloud means you have access to your documents on any of these devices, you can still access or create documents even if you don’t have a data or WiFi connection.

Edit your images directly Sometimes the best way to convey a thought is visually and you need your images to look just right, which is why we made it easier to edit and adjust images. You can now crop your images, even masking the crop to specific shapes, and add borders in Docs, Slides and Drawings. Plus, you can connect objects and images in Slides and Drawings, recolor and change opacity of images in Slides, and even add effects.

Get things done faster We want to help you take care of your common tasks. And you know what lots of people make in documents? Bullet lists. So now, just type an asterisk (*) and it will automatically become bullets in Docs and Slides. Nobody likes having to do the same thing twice (unless you’re Santa) so just copy and paste your charts between different spreadsheets in Sheets. For all the regression lovers out there, you can also add trendlines, and to further visualize trends, you can add miniature charts, or sparklines, into individual cells.

Get answers to your surveys Forms is a great way to gather information, and across 2014, we added lots of new ways to ask questions and get answers. You can customize themes in Forms to add your own flare and create short URLs that are easier to share. There are also lots of new question options, like limiting one response per person and shuffling the answer order.

Add tons of functionality from 3rd parties Add-ons for Docs, Sheets and Forms are tools created by developers that help you do those extra things you need help with, whether it’s printing mailing labels or adding MLA-approved citations, right from your document.

Let there be tables You can add borders and backgrounds to your tables, and merge cells together to get your tables to look just how you want. And when you convert your legacy files to Docs, the table cells and borders will still be there so you can keep working. And let everyone, including blind and low-vision users, get work done Across Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings and Forms, it’s much easier to use a screen reader, with better text-to-voice verbalization and improvements to keyboard navigation. You can now use braille support to read and enter text in Docs, Slides and Drawings. And you can collaborate easier with others in Docs, Sheets, Slides or Drawings because screen readers announce when people enter or leave the document, and you’ll hear when others are editing alongside you. We’ll continue to make a ton of updates behind the scenes to ensure everything keeps running faster and smoother next year. Four cheers (Docs! Sheets! Slides! Forms!) for a happy work life in 2015.

Posted by Ryan Tabone, Director of Product Management, Docs editors

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The Docs editors don’t just make things easier at work—they’re handy for helping you get stuff done at home too, especially around the holidays. We’ve rounded up five ideas to help you focus on the cheer—we’ll take care of the rest.

1. Sending holiday cards? Refresh your address book first. 
Use Forms to make it easy for friends and family to send you their most recent mailing addresses. Just create a quick form and email it out or post the link on social media. Everyone’s addresses will be neatly added to a private spreadsheet.
2. Now that you’ve got your addresses up to date—print out mailing labels. 
Use the handy Avery Label Merge add-on to pull your holiday card addresses from Sheets into an Avery label template in Docs. Pop your labels into the printer, hit print and start sticking!
3. Send a digital, collaborative holiday letter with Docs. 
 If you’d rather send holiday letters instead of cards, Docs can let everyone in the family contribute, no matter where they are in the country or the world. Just create a doc, give everyone edit access and write your card together (and leave your thoughts and opinions with suggested edits & comments). When it’s ready to go, you can publish it and share a link, or go old school and print and mail it out.
4. Give your documents and presentations a holiday touch with royalty-free images. 
Choose from a bunch of free holiday-themed images in Docs and Slides to make your holiday projects a little more festive. Just click Insert > Image > Search > Stock images to browse.
5. Create visual wishlists to share. 
Have a bit of fun with your family's holiday wish lists by making Slides for Santa. Share these visual wish lists with anyone who’s looking to pick up something for your family.