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Chromebooks make day-to-day computing fast, simple and secure, whether you’re searching for a great pumpkin pie recipe or sharing a family photo from Google Drive. And now, as a bonus for the holiday season, new Chromebook buyers can get 1TB of Google Drive storage for two years — almost $240 in value — absolutely free.

That’s enough space to keep more than 100,000 awkward holiday sweater pics safe and shareable in Drive. With that much free storage, you can use your Chromebook for work, play and pretty much everything else you’ll do this holiday season.

The 1TB comes with the purchase of a new, eligible Chromebook for as little as $199. You’ll find them at these retail stores and online outlets or on Google Play. Just be sure to redeem the offer before January 1, 2015.

Happy holidays!

Posted by Alex Vogenthaler, Group Product Manager & Holiday Sock Collector

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Browsers are pretty amazing things. Before, if you wanted to do any serious computing, you’d have to install software onto your computer. But these days, most of that can be done right from within the browser. For example, you can use Google Drive to preview files directly in Gmail, create and share Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, and even edit other file types like Microsoft Office documents without installing a single thing on your hard drive.

But here’s the catch: when it comes to browsers and installed applications working well together, they aren’t quite on the same page. To change that, today we’re launching a new extension for Chrome that lets you open files from Google Drive directly into a compatible application installed on your computer. This includes apps like advanced image and video editing software, accounting and tax programs, or 3D animation and design tools. So, no matter what you keep in Drive, using the web to access and manage files doesn’t mean you’re limited to using applications that only work in your browser.
To get started, install the latest version of the Drive app for Mac or PC (version 1.18) and sync your files. Then, visit Google Drive in your Chrome browser (make sure you’re on the new Google Drive). Finally, right-click on the file and select “Open with” to see a list of compatible applications on your computer that can open it. For example, you can choose to open a PDF file with Adobe Reader, or a .psd with Photoshop, make your edits and save back changes to Drive which will sync across all your devices and other collaborators. If you have any questions about this feature, you can learn more in the Help Center.

Please note: This extension will be rolling out over the next several days.

Posted by Rachel Barton, Product Manager, Google Drive

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Every year on November 1, thousands of people aim to start and finish a 50,000-word novel by 11:59pm on November 30. This fun, seat-of-your pants approach to creative writing is called National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), and we think it’s pretty awesome. But you know what could make it even more awesome -- doing it together... live!

To celebrate we’ve invited three of our favorite writers to get creative together. They won’t be writing a full novel, but on November 18, they will be collaborating in Google Docs to write a short story in just one hour. You’ll be able to watch the whole thing as they swap sentences in real time. Afterward, we’ll have a Q&A with the authors moderated by NaNoWriMo director (and dedicated participant), Grant Faulkner.

Of course, every great story needs a great beginning, and that’s where we need your help! You’ll tell the authors how the story should begin, whether it’s with the classic “Once upon a time…” or something completely random like “Before he came to Tuberville, Roger Pickens had never seen a chicken.”

To participate, send us your opening line ideas until November 12th. Then, on November 18, you can tune in to view the winning prompt, and watch as the writers transform that sentence into a one-of-a-kind story, right in front of your eyes.

One prompt, one Doc, one hour. Three talented writers. And the tale unfolds from there...

Meet the collaborating authors 
(Edan Lepucki, Tope Folarin, Mike Curato)
Edan Lepucki’s debut novel, California, debuted at #3 on the New York Times Bestsellers List and has been the #1 bestseller on the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle bestseller lists. California was also recently chosen as a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection.

Tope Folarin made his fiction debut in Transition with 'Miracle' in 2012, for which he won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2013. In 2014 he was named to the Africa39 list of the most promising African writers under 40. Tope currently lives in Washington, D.C. where he is at work on his first novel.

Mike Curato’s debut children's book, Little Elliot, Big City (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, Macmillan), has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. The first in a series of three, Little Elliot, Big City recently won the 2014 Founders Award from the Society of Illustrators, which is given to the most promising new talent in the field of children’s book illustration. Curato lives and works in Brooklyn.

Posted by Andrea Freund, Communications for Docs, Sheets, & Slides and closet writer

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Google Drive makes it easy to keep your stuff safe and accessible from any device, but it doesn’t stop there. We want you to easily find and share your documents, photos, and PDFs with others. So, in addition to a Material Design facelift, the latest update for Android gives you new ways to add, locate, and share from Drive.

Improved Search
The search tool makes it even easier to find the content you’re looking for by updating results as you type each letter into the search box.

Better Sharing
Now, you can add a custom message when you share a file so your collaborators know why you sent it—for example,  you can add a note asking for feedback. You can also turn on link sharing to make the file “public” and set access to view, comment, or edit. This automatically copies the link to the clipboard and allows you to paste it wherever you want.

Enhanced PDF Viewer
A new PDF viewer lets you find, select and copy text in PDFs, plus, it’s built right into Drive so you don’t need to launch another app.

Look for these updates to roll out over the next several days. If you don't have the Google Drive app, you can download it from Google Play.

Posted by Ganesh Shankar, Product Manager, Google Drive for Android

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Google Forms is a free and simple way to collect information--from quickly polling your friends about who'll be attending your trip to the haunted hayride, to getting thousands of responses to an awareness survey for work.

Over the last few months, Forms has been getting a bunch of updates to help you make good looking surveys, like new theme choices and the ability to create your own personalized themes.

To give you even more flexibility and options, we’re introducing add-ons for Forms—new tools, created by developer partners, that deliver even more features to your surveys (just like add-ons for Docs and Sheets).

Add-ons bring handy extras to your survey building experience, like setting a survey end date, sending custom emails based on responses, storing lists of choices that you frequently add to questions, and more.

You can access add-ons from the “Add-ons” menu in Forms, or by directly visiting the Forms add-on store.
Here are just a few of the growing list of add-ons that you can use today with Google Forms:
  • formLimiter: Close your survey automatically, after a maximum number of responses is reached, or at a date and time of your choosing. 
  • Ultradox Trigger: Create custom emails, reports, invoices, newsletters, etc., based on information that people enter into your form. 
  • Form Values: Store and pull from lists that you use regularly in Forms, like a list of staff, students, rooms, resources or anything you want. 
We hope these new tools make your Forms creation process even easier and more useful--and stay tuned for more--our developer partners will be launching even more add-ons in the coming weeks. 

PS: If you’re a developer with ideas for creating your own add-on for Forms, here’s some documentation to get you started.

Posted by Saurabh Gupta, Product Manager

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Sometimes to get an image just right in a presentation, you need to make some small tweaks. To help you do this without leaving Slides, a few months ago we made it possible to crop and add borders, and today we’re giving you even more control of your images with a set of new editing options.
You can now select “Image options...” from the toolbar, format menu, or right-click menu, where you can adjust the opacity, brightness, and contrast of an image, or recolor it to match the theme of your presentation.

Check out some examples of how you can edit images inside Slides in the animated gifs below.
Change the opacity of your image
Recolor your image


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Earlier this month, Google Forms got snazzed up with new customizable and pre-designed themes that let you easily create beautiful surveys—and today’s updates give you even more ways to build and share those surveys.

Find what you’re looking for 
Similar to Docs and Slides, you can use the “Search the menus” shortcut to get quick access to nearly all the features in Forms, without having to dig through the different menus at the top of the page. To find a feature, simply press Alt+/ or look under the Help menu.
New ways to manage your questions 
You’ll also be getting new tools to control how your survey questions appear to others. For example, you can now:
  • mix things up by randomizing the order of questions on quizzes or surveys with the new “shuffle questions” option. 
  • make sure you only get one answer per person by turning on the “only allow one response per user” feature in settings. 
  • limit people to one response per column for grid-style questions using the new option under “advanced settings.” 

Get the word out with shorter URLs 

And of course, what’s the point of creating a survey is you can’t share it with others? To make this easier, now when you click the “Send form” button, you’ll see a checkbox for creating a tidy URL to share. 
Learn more about all the ways you can use Google Forms at google.com/forms/about and stay tuned to our +page and Twitter account to follow along with the latest updates for all the Docs editors.

Posted by Elynn Lee, Software Engineering Intern