Announcing Zoho Docs – Google Chromebook integration

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When Google launched the Cr-48 Chrome notebooks, they invited Zoho to be a part of its pilot program. We even gave away Cr-48 notebooks to some of you. We do hope that you have been putting your Cr-48s to good use and have been getting the most out of cloud computing :)

Today, the first commercial Chromebooks have started shipping in the U.S. Those of you who missed out on the pilot program can get your own Chromebook now.

Here’s how Zoho is a part of this launch. If you had followed the Day 2 Keynote at Google I/O you might have noticed that Google’s Chrome operating system now includes some major updates and newer features. The most notable among them is the addition of a file manager. The file manager is a very simple one and looks a lot like the file manager systems in Windows or Mac.

We’ve come up with a Chrome extension, that allows users to upload and view their documents in Zoho Docs. This applies not only to the downloaded files, but users can also upload files from their pen drives to Zoho Docs. As you know, we do let users login to Zoho with your Google credentials which means you try this extension with your Google credentials.

You can learn more about this extension from this page. As always we’d love to hear your feedback. If you’ve any questions please post it here. We’re all ears!

Thanks to Google team for their wonderful API and documentation which has made this extension possible!!

Zoho Docs Gets A Fresh New Look And Feel

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You probably must have noticed the changes in the Zoho Docs UI by now. In an update done yesterday, we’ve completely redesigned our user interface with a fresh new look to improve navigation and to easily manage your documents in the cloud. The new Zoho Docs UI has a cleaner, sleeker interface that will make it easier for you to navigate through your Folders, Workspaces etc.


 


Let us look in detail at what is new in this update

Easy-to-use Navigation
The new navigation system is simple and intuitive. It focuses on things that users do most often like say, going to a specific folder, workspace or group.


Drag-and-Drop Files
Uploading files to Zoho Docs just got easier. You can now upload files by just dragging and dropping them from your desktop on to the desired folders in the “Personal Folders” section. You can also drag multiple files at once. There are no plugins needed for this feature to work. This new feature uses HTML5 and so will work in browsers that support HTML5, like Firefox 3.6+ and Chrome 6+.


Attach From Zoho Docs
We love listening to our customers and quite a number of you had told us that finding documents when using Zoho Mail’s

Attach from Zoho Docs
was not flexible enough. We have now provided more options to easily find and attach the documents from Zoho Docs.

 

Other Enhancements

  1. If you have documents shared to you, which are not relevant to you anymore, you can use the new Remove Share option to remove the sharing. An email notification will be sent to the author of the shared document.
  2. Using the Unsubscribe option, you now have control on what Workspaces you would want to view in your Workspace section.
  3. You can now email documents present in Workspaces using the Send Mail option.

Like Mark Ford who tweeted the below, we hope you too like the new look and feel of

Zoho Docs
 :)

 

Please do share your views and suggestions by dropping us a comment here.

How To Clean Up Your Business – With Zoho

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Entrepreneur.com recently featured an article titled ‘How To Clean Up Your Business‘. The article talks about Spring Cleaning, a time to ‘get rid of the tasks, people and situations that drain time, money and energy from your Business’. Every Business encounters its share of such tasks, people and situations that it must successfully overcome in order to increase and optimize productivity.

I’d like to share some ‘Productivity Pitfalls’ quoted from the original articleAt Zoho, we offer several applications which can help eliminate 7 out of these 8 Pitfalls. These Zoho Apps can be used together, in conjunction with one another, to achieve the purpose of maximizing productivity while saving you time, money and energy.

Productivity Pitfall #1 Scattered day plans

 “Failure to plan their days is the No. 1 reason business owners waste time, energy and money, says New York City-based time-management expert Julie Morgenstern By not planning their days, they tend to become reactive and distracted, diminishing their productivity and the revenue they can generate.”

Our SolutionZoho Mail for Business comes with Calendar, Tasks and Notes apps integrated for improved productivity and efficiency. With Zoho Mail, Business-Owners can plan and organize their days better. The Calendar app within Zoho Mail helps easily schedule, manage and track important events and meetings from within the email interface. The Tasks app lets you assign, plan and track important tasks, ensuring that you never miss any task-related deadlines. The Notes app lets you add quick, color-coded notes to gather all useful information in one place, so you can later refer to it, edit or import it. Zoho Mail also supports multi-level folders that make it easier for Business-Owners to track, organize and prioritize incoming email thereby saving time and energy. Read the complete list of powerful features offered by Zoho Mail for Business.

Productivity Pitfall #2 DIY syndrome 

Morgenstern estimates that 75 to 80 percent of the small and midsize businesses she consults with waste employee salaries, including their own, by not focusing each person’s time on the optimal task for that person.”

Our SolutionZoho Creator helps many Business-Owners build custom apps for their Busi
ness requirements. Instead of hiring a developer who may or may not understand their exact requirements, Business-Owners can easily build their own custom app all by themselves, using the Zoho Creator platform. Building their own apps saves these Businesses considerable time and money that may have otherwise been wasted hiring unnecesary developer resources Also, using Zoho Creator ensures that there is no compromise on the quality of the applications built.

One such Zoho Creator customer, Wayne “Kila” Watts, Chief Pilot at  PilotSpeak.net reports:

“It was a godsend for the applications I needed for my website, saving me thousands of dollars to have someone else make the databases and design the pages.”

Read experiences of other Business-Owners who have saved time and money by building their own apps with Zoho Creator.

Productivity Pitfall #3 Disorganized direction  

To make the delegation process more effective and less time-consuming, Bakersfield, Calif.-based business growth consultant Russell S. Allred, co-author of Best Practices of High Performance Entrepreneurs, recommends creating task-related systems and processes. Write a list of steps for each task you perform regularly in your workplace and the best practices for completing those steps.

Our SolutionZoho Wiki helps create a secure, collaborative environment for Businesses to document and share such task-related systems and processes online over their Intranet. Wikis serve as a knowledge-base where employees can maintain and update information and steps related to these tasks.

Stu Press, CEO of Grand Assistance, is the owner of one such Business and has successfully achieved this purpose using Zoho Wiki. Here’s what he had to say about our Wiki solution:

“Zoho Wiki has been a valuable communication tool that we were able to integrate into our business. We have been able to eliminate printed procedure manuals and employee handbooks resulting in a more nimble and environmentally friendly process for keeping our all of organization’s people in alignment with our goals. We enjoy being able to quickly implement modifications and updates to our Wiki.”

Learn more about Zoho Wiki features that can help you create process-oriented knowledge-bases for your Business.

Productivity Pitfall #4Untamed distractions

“Many people have no idea how to manage the overwhelming amount of communication that comes their way on paper and electronically, says productivity consultant Kimberly Medlock, founder of Productive Matters in Olive Branch, Miss. To cut down on distractions and time-sucks, clean up your act, she says. Develop hard-copy and electronic filing systems to help locate important papers and information more quickly.”

Our SolutionZoho Docs can serve as the electronic filing system helping your Business store, manage and collaboratively work on documents online. Not only does Zoho Docs allow secure file sharing via an online workspace, it also includes an admin console so that user rights and access to files can easily be controlled. Read more about these features available on Zoho Docs.

Productivity Pitfall #5Leaky expenditures 

>By checking his monthly expenses closely, Eli Mechlovitz, co-founder of GlassTileStore.com, an online glass tile retailer, found a variety of unwanted subscriptions, warranty programs, fee-based website analytics programs, utility bill errors and other incorrect or unwanted charges. Eliminating these budgetary leaks has saved his Brooklyn, N.Y., company approximately $4,000 per month.  Every quarter, be sure to review where the money is going, he advises, and discontinue or fight unnecessary or incorrect charges.

Our SolutionZoho Books is a comprehensive accounting solution that helps Business-Owners manage their finances and stay on top of their Business. With Zoho Books, you can keep your Business expenses in check and manage the money flowing in and out of your Business. Learn more about how Zoho Books can help your business stay financially healthy.

Productivity Pitfall #6:  Collecting (all) customers

Maria Marsala, a business coach in Poulsbo, Wash., finds that many of her clients waste time and energy serving the wrong customers. She encourages them to define their “ideal” customer–the person or entity that will pay a fair price for their product or service, value their business, return and buy from them again and generate referrals. The greatest marketing investment and effort should be devoted to finding and courting those ideals, she says.

Our Solution: Zoho CRM can help your Business build, maintain and strengthen customer relationships. With Zoho CRM, you can organize your customer database so that you can identify and tag the right customers, prioritize and track business opportunities and plan focused marketing activity. Read about some of the Business-Owners who have benefited from adopting Zoho CRM for their Business.

Productivity Piftall #7: Energy-sucking employees

 When Mechlovitz has trouble with unproductive or negative employees, he tries to move them into positions that better suit their skills. But if an employee isn’t a good fit or is miserable, he says, you have to end the relationship–quickly. 

Productivity Pitfall #8: Persistent procrastination

 If you constantly avoid tasks or put off work until the last minute, you need to figure out why, Morgenstern says. Burnout could be from being overworked, but she often finds that procrastination is rooted in uncertainty or intimidation. If a project seems too big, procrastination can be a coping mechanism. She suggests breaking the task down into manageable steps you can do in shorter chunks of time.

Our Solution Zoho Projects is helping many Businesses effectively manage their Business Projects online. With features such as task-management, time-tracking, project calendar, chat and meetings, Zoho Projects can help you plan and optimize the time spent on tasks. 

Business-Owners can use Zoho Projects with their teams ensuring that team members collaboratively manage their tasks within optimal time. Tasks can be easily broken down into manageable chunks and completed over a defined, measurable period of time. Not only that, Business-Owners can also save and plan their own time that they would otherwise spend micro-managing different tasks across multiple projects within their Business. Read about some of these Businesses and how they have benefited from Zoho Projects.

So, that’s the complete list of Productivity Pitfalls and how they can be avoided by using the right Zoho Apps. Thanks to Gwen Moran of Entrepreneur.com for the original article that inspired this post. Besides this list, are there any other Productivity Pitfalls that affect your Business? Tell us about them, and we can help you figure out the best ways to tackle them.

If you liked this post, drop us a comment here or give us a shout on twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

Introducing Zoho Docs for iPad

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Zoho Docs, our Online Document Management application is now available on iPad (

iTunes link
). The 2.0 version of the application is now a universal app that works on iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch. Similar to the iPhone version, the iPad app lets you view your documents, spreadsheets, presentations etc within the app.
We have also made a few enhancements to the iPhone version. The look is crisp with added support for Retina display. We have also added options to share files with different permissions within the app.
We do have several more enhancements planned. Keep watching this space!

Play Chess Online With Zoho Writer

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Our users always surprise us when it comes to using Zoho’s services in esoteric ways. We came across this interesting post by Bidhan Adhikary (Bidhan is from Nepal) recently – ‘How to play Chess online with your friend using Zoho Docs‘. Bidhan had actually used the Zoho Writer’s editor within Zoho Docs.

The post describes how to construct a black and white table in Zoho Writer, how to place the chess piece icons in the starting squares, how to make the moves (simply drag and drop the images) and how to play chess with your remote, online friend (share the Zoho Writer document with him/her, start making the moves). Since Zoho Writer offers near real-time document editing, each move gets shown to the remote user almost immediately.

You can choose to follow the steps that Bidhan outlines in his blog post. Or click the ‘Download’ link at the top-right of Bidhan’s public Zoho Writer document, save it as a .doc/.docx file in your desktop and upload it back to your Zoho Writer account. Your online chess board is ready now. Invite your friend (share the document to your friend’s email address) and start playing chess over the web.

Some pointers:

  1. Once you have made your move, you’ll have to take your cursor out of the chess board (since Zoho Writer locks the table down for collaborative editing).
  2. For capturing an opponent’s piece, you can click on a piece and delete it, before moving your piece to that square
  3. You can use the ‘Undo’ icon for wrong capturing, moves etc
  4. You can use the ‘Collaborators’ (text bubble) icon at the bottom-right to chat with your friend while making your moves.
  5. For starting a new game, you can use Zoho Writer’s ‘Version’ feature and revert back to the initial version

Go to Zoho Writer and try making your own online chess board now :)

Have you used any of Zoho’s apps in such interesting ways? Share it with us in the comments.

Zoho Docs: Reviews, Dashboard & Advanced Search

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One of the important aspects of online collaboration is easy peer reviewing of one’s work. Zoho Docs as an online collaboration tool now provides a couple of reviewing features. Your colleagues can add comments to a file uploaded by you. And they can add their ratings to the file too.
Having a snapshot of your Zoho Docs account helps. The newly introduced dashboard view does just that. You can see your storage space details (how much storage have you used), recently added documents, recent reviews and documents with the highest ratings.

Another new option introduced in Zoho Docs is advanced search. Instead of using broad search (search all), you can narrow down your search by properties that you may know. Like document name, author name, documents shared to you, documents shared by you, tags, groups & content. Makes your search faster and more relevant.
Check out these new features in Zoho Docs and let us know your views.

Zoho Mobile Updated with Zoho Docs, new features

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Zoho
Mobile, our web application optimized for smart phones has improved
since its launch with the addition of new apps, features etc. We just
rolled out another important update to Zoho Mobile with more goodies.
Here are the features in this update.

Sign-in with your Google, Google Apps or Yahoo! Accounts

When you visit http://mobile.zoho.com,
you’ll notice that you can now login to Zoho with your Google, Google
Apps and Yahoo! accounts, keeping it consistent with our regular web
applications.



Revamped Home Screen

Once you login, iPhone and Android users will
notice changes to the home screen. The idea behind this new design for
our mobile home page is to create space for additional applications. We
are committed to mobile and many of our apps will start to make their
way to our mobile app. You’ll notice some new elements like contextual
menus for each of the listed apps for quick navigation.


New Zoho Docs Application

We
now added a new application – Zoho Docs – to Zoho Mobile. This app is
available for iPhone and Android devices. Similar to our web
application, Zoho Docs includes our office suite. This means, you can
now view your docs, spreadsheets and presentations from Writer, Sheet
& Show within this app. You’ll notice quick links on the top to
view your documents from these individual apps along with shared
documents. You can also access all files (any format) you previously uploaded to Zoho Docs.

       

As
Zoho Docs supports hierarchical folder structure, we included that in
the mobile app as well. You can now choose a folder to view the list of
files. Selecting a file opens it in the appropriate Zoho application.


Additional improvements

Apart
from these changes, we have made several tweaks on the performance
side. You should find the application more responsive. You’ll also
notice many user interface tweaks which will now be standard across all
Zoho mobile apps.

While these are few improvements to our mobile app, there are lot more in store. We are eager to hear any feedback you may have on these improvements. You’ll find a feedback link on the mobile app too.