Google has released over the past week several new and upgraded features and functionality for its Apps cloud collaboration and email suite, including a new product for synchronizing password changes between Apps and Microsoft Active Directory as the changes happen.

With Google Apps Password Sync (GAPS), Google Apps administrators can synchronize password changes between the two systems without having to wait for a scheduled synchronization.

Setting up GAPS on servers takes minutes, and transmissions of passwords between Apps and Active Directory are hashed and encrypted, according to Google.

Google also added more flexibility to the way Apps users can share contacts with their peers. It is now possible for a user to give others access to his Apps contacts, a feature Google calls Contacts Delegation. Google already allowed Apps users to delegate to others access to their email inbox and calendar.

In addition, the Apps user directory can now display all users in the domain, making it, according to Google, a "more functional" collection of shared contacts.

Google Apps also achieved compliance with the ISO 27001 security certification for its systems, technology, processes and data centers, adding to a growing list of such certifications for the suite. Google, Microsoft and other software providers all actively seek compliance with these standards, because often they are required by prospective customers, especially those in highly regulated sectors, like health care, finance and government.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.