Google Apps admins gain usage charts

Also, Google Docs users can now create and insert drawings into their documents

Administrators of most versions of Google Apps can now view charts that graph the activity levels of end-users with the hosted suite's collaboration and communication applications.

The charts, available for the Premier, Education and Partner editions of Apps, are designed to help administrators visualize stats like the number of active users and data storage levels. The new feature isn't offered in Apps' Standard edition.

Administrators can post the charts via gadgets in internal and external Web pages that can host these lightweight applications, Google said Wednesday in an official blog.

In addition, using the Google Apps Reporting Visualization API, administrators can extract customized usage reports and graph them using charts created by external developers, wrote Lily Xia and Nick Cooper, Google Apps Engineers, in the blog.

In a separate announcement, Google said its Docs office productivity suite now lets users create and insert drawings into that suite's word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

"The drawing feature that we've built relies heavily on a relatively new capability in browsers: the ability to render vector graphics. We use the SVG (scalable vector graphics) standard to accomplish this in most browsers and VML (vector markup language) where SVG is not available," wrote Tony Glenning, Drawings Team Lead, in an official blog.

Google Docs is a standalone hosted suite of office productivity applications that is also part of Apps.

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