This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label “Google Apps highlights" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

Over the last couple of weeks, we added ways to keep up with new messages in Gmail and printing capabilities from Gmail mobile and mobile documents, and announced a partnership with Verizon to make it easier for millions more businesses to start using Google Apps.

Desktop notifications for Gmail
When people switch to web-based email, sometimes they miss seeing desktop alerts when new mail is waiting to be read. In the past, Gmail required a helper application to show alerts, but on Wednesday we made it so Gmail can display desktop notifications for new email and chat messages with nothing more than a browser. If you use Google Chrome, you can enable desktop notifications in the Gmail settings panel.

Search-as-you-type for Gmail Labs
Gmail Labs is a testing ground where you can try out new features and provide feedback on your experiences. As the list of Labs has grown to more than 50 options, we wanted to make it easier to find features you’re interested in, so we introduced search-as-you-type on the Labs page. With just a few keystrokes, you can pinpoint just what you’re looking for—no more scrolling down a long list of options to find what you want.

Unread message icon in Gmail Labs
The Gmail tab in your browser displays how many unread messages you have, but if you have lots of tabs open or use pinned tabs in Google Chrome, the Gmail browser tab is too small for you to see the count of unread messages. On Tuesday we added a new Lab that shows your unread message count in the browser tab icon, so you can always see at a glance how many new messages you have. Visit the Gmail Labs settings page and type “unread” in the new search box to find and try this feature.

Cloud Print for Gmail and Docs
Printing is sometimes tricky even when you’re in the same room as your printer, not to mention when you want to print on a remote printer or from a mobile device. Last year we introduced Cloud Print to make printing easier from any device to any Cloud Print-enabled printer, without the need for any special software. On Monday we added support for Cloud Print to Gmail mobile and mobile documents, so now you can print messages and documents directly from your phone or tablet to your Cloud Print-enabled printer.

Education category in the Google Apps Marketplace
Businesses, schools and organizations can shop for third-party applications, features and services that complement Google Apps in the Marketplace, and over the last few months we’ve seen a surge in listings geared for schools and universities. To make it easier for schools to link up with great partners in their field, we added a dedicated category for educational listings. There you’ll find powerful add-ins from LearnBoost, Grockit, Aviary and many other education software providers.

Who’s gone Google?
More than 3 million businesses, plus many more schools, non-profits and government agencies have switched to Google Apps over the last few years, and we’re looking forward to helping the next wave of customers get started. To that end, we’re thrilled to have Verizon as our newest partner. Verizon will provide Google Apps to many of their small business broadband customers, making it possible for businesses to obtain a more complete set of small business IT services from a single provider. Welcome to Google Apps!

I hope these product updates and customer stories help you and your organization get even more from Google Apps. For more details and the latest news, check out the Google Apps Blog.