San Francisco -- With a large number of businesses and organizations are now relying on Google, the search behemoth in an attempt to further gain their loyalty, has added its online applications suite -- the doc, calendar and site sharing feature with its Groups service, claiming to differentiate its online applications from that of Microsoft Office.
Before the new feature was released on Tuesday, based on feedback from Google Apps users, who were wishing to share such items either had to make them entirely public, or share them with people on an individual basis. Now, sharing calendars, sites and documents with many people is easy -- instead of adding one person at a time, users can now simply share with an entire Google Group.
Google has been luring business users in an attempt to induce them to switch from desktop productivity apps to Google Apps. Lightweight sharing, without the complexities of software like Microsoft SharePoint, has been one of the major selling points of Google Apps.
This change means that, for example, imagine if you wish to organize a local internal softball team tournament, created on a spreadsheet that can be shared with a Google Group will be easily accessible to anyone joining that group, or rendered inaccessible to those leaving the group.
In a blog post, Jeffrey Chang, associate product manager for Google Groups, explains how a user can employ Google Docs spreadsheet to manage a softball team.
“You want all the players, but only the players, to have editing access,” Chang said. “You already have a Google Group set up with the tournament participants, so you simply share the spreadsheet with the group itself, granting the group members permission to edit.”
“In my occupation, being able to communicate and collaborate efficiently with many groups of people is crucial to productivity, and I often want to use Google Apps to share content with particular groups or teams,” Chang wrote in his blog post on Tuesday. “Typing in every user's email address manually is painstaking and inefficient, and remembering when people leave and join different teams is impossible.”
Members who joined the group afterwards will gain the editing permissions associated with the group and those who leave the group will lose editing permissions.
The advantage of this method is that Google Apps data can be shared with large groups of people without having to manually enter e-mail addresses for group members every time something is shared.
Across Google's various applications, including Docs, Sites, Video for Business and Calendar, groups can be given access by having an invitation sent to the group's email address, rather than to an individual's email address, Chang said.
Calendars, sites and other items will then “automatically detect group membership changes”, Chang added.
This was the application that users have been longing for -- and now it is right here. So, move on and try it out with your own sites, calendars and documents!