Here we are, in all our glory:
About a week ago, the Kerika listing on the G Suite Marketplace disappeared for reasons we still don’t understand. We have been working actively with Google’s engineers to fix this, and are confident they will soon deliver a solution — the problem is on their end, not ours — and in the meantime we would like to apologize to anyone who is affected by this.
The underlying problem is that G Suite Marketplace is transitioning, and right now there are some overlapping systems in place that are creating problems for Kerika (and possibly other third-party apps).
Historically, if you wanted to publish your app on the G Suite Marketplace, you did so using the Chrome Web Store — which is where you also published your app for the Chrome Web Store, obviously.
This always led to to some confusion from our perspective: we had to maintain two identical product listings using the same Chrome Web Store Developer Dashboard. And since this process has been in place, for the past several years, Google itself has been deprecating the use of the Chrome Web Store to distribute browser-based apps through this store.
Meanwhile, the Chrome Web Store Dashboard itself is getting a much-overdue UI makeover, and while this is underway the dashboard doesn’t have all the functionality that the old dashboard does, and there, of course, some bugs remaining in the new dashboard that Google needs to iron out.
(While the old Chrome Web Store Dashboard was ugly as sin, it was old and stable. The new Dashboard is much nicer, but not quite, quite ready yet.)
And there’s also the Google Cloud Platform API Dashboard: newer than the Chrome Web Store Dashboard, and with a completely different user interface and functions, since it manages an app developer’s use of many different cloud services from Google.
This has become another place to maintain your app’s product listing, and this seems to be where our problems originated: the G Suite Marketplace currently takes some information from the Cloud Platform Dashboard, and some information from the Chrome Web Store, to define your product listing.
We have been actively working with Google’s engineers, support and product management to try to resolve this problem — and we are grateful for the attention they have been giving us — and we hope to be out of the woods soon. One unexpected benefit of these problems has been the opportunity to talk to Google about our experience as third-party app developers: hopefully our feedback can help them make the G Suite Marketplace more useful to both Google’s customers and ours 🙂
We have long had a deep, excellent integration with Google Apps: you can sign up with your Google ID and have all your Kerika-related files stored in your own Google Drive, where you can access them independently of the Kerika app.
We are now taking that one step forward, with seamless integration with Google Team Drive.
Google Team Drives are shared spaces where teams can easily store, search, and access their files anywhere, from any device.
Unlike files in My Drive, files in Team Drive belong to the team instead of an individual. Even if members leave, the files stay exactly where they are so your team can continue to share information and get work done.
Team Drives is available on G Suite Enterprise, G Suite Business, or G Suite for Education editions.
You don’t need to do anything different: the integration is built-in with the latest version of Kerika (and, since we are software-as-a-service, everyone always uses the latest version of our product!) and the integration is seamless.
We have a new (five-minute) video that gives a fast overview of Kerika’s many capabilities:
Let us know what you think!
We have added more options for you to add Google files to your Whiteboards.
We used to have a quick way to create, name, and add a new Google Doc to your Whiteboard:
With this new functionality you can create a larger variety of Google Documents from within your Kerika Whiteboards:
- Google Docs
- Google Sheets
- Google Slides
- Google Forms
After you name your new document, it is automatically added to the canvas you are working on, while the new document itself is opened in a new browser tab for you to start working on.
A fun video we made recently featuring Faith Trimble and Kate King, from the Athena Group, talking about how a consulting company can function as a truly distributed team — and get great work-life balance as a result!
Another great new feature: if you upload a file on any card, canvas or board with the same name as a file that’s already attached to that particular card, canvas or board, Kerika will automatically keep track of these as being different versions of the same file. This makes it even easier to organize all your Kerika project files.
Here’s how it works:
There’s no limit to the number of files you add, nor any limit on the size of these files.
When you add a file, to a card, board or canvas, Kerika automatically uploads that file and shares that with everyone who is part of your board’s team. You don’t have to do anything: Kerika makes sure that all the Team Members have read+write permission, and all the Visitors have read-only permission.
That’s how Kerika has always worked; what we have added is an automatic versioning feature that checks when you add a new file to see if has the same name, and type, as a file that’s already attached to that particular card, canvas or board.
If the file name and file type match something that you have already added, Kerika automatically treats that new file as a new version of the old file, rather than as a completely different file. This makes it really easy to manage your Kerika project files.
Here’s an example: this card has a file attached to it called “Foo.docx”.
If a Team Member adds another file to this same card, also called “Foo.docx”, Kerika will treat that new file as a different version of the same Foo.docx, rather than as a completely different file:
Accessing these older versions is easy: if your Kerika files are in being stored in your Google Drive, you can get the older versions using the Google Docs File menu:
If your files are being stored in your Box account, you can access the older versions from the menu on the right side of Box’s preview window:
If you signed up directly with Kerika, you can access the older versions from within Kerika’s file preview:
Clicking on the Older versions of this file link on the top right of this preview will give you a list of all the old versions of this file that Kerika has:
So, that’s it: simple, easy, automatic tracking of multiple versions of your project files! Brought to you by Kerika, of course.
We don’t offer this as a regular service — because it involves some special back-end work that can be a little time-consuming — but we recently helped a bunch of users migrate their accounts over from Kerika+Google to the new version of Kerika that lets you sign up directly with us, and have Kerika store your files instead of linking Kerika to a Box or Google account.
This is the version that you sign up for when you click on the left side of our Sign Up page:
With this option, Kerika stores your files for you using our new integration with the Box Platform.
Migrating away from Kerika+Google to this new platform helps our users save money: they could discontinue their use of premium (paid) Google Apps which they had adopted only to use as a sign-up mechanism for Kerika.
Handling this migration isn’t something we do for everyone, but this is one of our oldest customers. 🙂
It looks like we were on the bleeding edge of Google’s problems last Friday (Oct 9): fairly early in the day, Pacific Time, we started seeing authentication failures from Google related to our Kerika+Google users.
The exceptions shown in the Kerika server logs were clearly pointing to problems on Google’s end:
What was a little frustrating for us — and our beloved users — was that Google itself didn’t seem to be acknowledging any problems until fairly late in the day:
By this time — almost noon, Pacific Time — dozens of Kerika users had been affected. We tried to let folks know via Twitter that there was a problem, and continued to monitor the situation through the day:
— Kerika (@kerika) October 9, 2015
A range of users who use their #googleapps IDs to login to Kerika are being affected by mysterious, unacknowledged problems on Google’s end.
— Kerika (@kerika) October 9, 2015
Looks like the @Google authentication failures have trailed off; hopefully our Kerika+Google users can login now without trouble.
— Kerika (@kerika) October 9, 2015
Google eventually acknowledged the problem as it became clear that it was widespread.
By mid-afternoon, the issue was largely cleared up, at least as far as Kerika was concerned, although it is possible that other apps, which also use Google for authentication or Google Drive for storage, were affected for much longer.
Once again, our apologies for everyone who was affected.
We are currently seeing a bunch of errors from Google with respect to their authentication service — which lets you login to your Kerika+Google account using your Google ID, and they seem to be affecting a wide range of users.
Here’s a sample of what we are seeing:
This error normally shows up when a user is logging in with a Google for Work ID, e.g. Google Apps for Business or Google Apps for Education.
What’s surprising today is that we have seen at least 1 user with a regular Gmail address have this same problem, which is theoretically impossible.
Right now there’s not much we can do but wait this out. The problem seems to be small enough that Google is not even reporting it on their Google Apps Status Dashboard. 🙁