Category Archives: Google for Work Blog

Work is going Google

Accelerating the journey to the cloud for SAP customers—access transparency preview and new certifications

From the moment we announced a partnership with SAP at Google Cloud Next in March, we’ve been busy readying SAP systems to run effectively on Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Our momentum with SAP offers solutions for all types of business, from SMBs to the largest enterprises around the world, including developments with data access transparency, a sandbox environment, application migration and integrations for business systems. We’re also continuing to build on our progress with larger HANA certifications.  

This week, we’ll be on-site talking about the latest at SAP TechEd in Barcelona. Here’s an  update on what we're launching.

Access Transparency and the data custodian model

Managing and mitigating risk is a priority for any organization adopting the public cloud. As part of our partnership, SAP and Google have proposed a data custodian model that will allow enterprises to continuously monitor risk and help with their data protection and access control policies. Today, we're announcing a preview of Access Transparency, a new GCP security feature that helps enable this model.  

Access Transparency provides visibility into operational access by Google employees to cloud systems that store, secure or process customer data. Cloud providers may require operational access to address a customer support request, or, more rarely, to review whether a service can meet its availability and performance objectives. Access Transparency log entries include justification for access, the specific resource that was accessed, the time of access, and the corporate location of the accessor. Access Transparency enables security and compliance teams to gain meaningful oversight of their cloud provider.  

We're opening up an early access preview of Access Transparency to customers. The early access preview will provide visibility into operational access for a select set of GCP services—Google Cloud Storage (GCS), Identity and Access Management (IAM), Key Management Service (KMS) and Google App Engine (GAE). We intend to progressively roll out this capability to other GCP services that store, secure or process customer data.

To express interest in our Access Transparency early access preview, please complete the online request form.

SAP platform certifications

SAP offers an extensive ecosystem of products to address the needs of SMBs to the largest enterprises. The following systems are now all certified by SAP to run on GCP:

  • SAP HANA: SAP HANA is now certified to run in Compute Engine instances (VMs) of up to 1.4TBs of memory. For customers running analytics applications like SAP BW or SAP Customer Activity Repository (SAP CAR), we can now support scale-out configurations with up to 16 instances, for 22TB of total memory. Additionally, we have already announced our intention to quickly enable VMs with 4TB of memory in the short term.

  • The SAP Data Migration Option (DMO) is now certified for migrating on-premise SAP HANA and any DB-based SAP applications to SAP HANA on GCP.

  • SAP Hybris e-commerce and marketing solutions are now officially supported on GCP, enabling joint customers like Smyths Toys to further integrate its business systems and drive efficiency and value.

  • SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) platform is certified to run on both Windows and Linux environments on GCP.

  • SAP Business One, SAP’s small business software for ERP, is now certified to run on GCP. Customers like Sale Stock in Indonesia are leveraging GCP to run their mission critical Business One solutions.

  • For customers who want bring up non-production SAP applications on GCP, the SAP Cloud Appliance Library now supports GCP. With the click of a button, you can spin up a sandbox environment with SAP applications like S/4 HANA on GCP and incubate exploratory projects.

  • SAP Vora - Version 1.4 of SAP’s in-memory distributed computing system for big data analytics is supported on GCP and what’s more, version 2.2 leverages Kubernetes and will have support for Google Container Engine and Google’s managed Hadoop service Google Cloud DataProc in Q1 2018.

Manage, monitor and extend SAP

Running SAP on GCP is one thing. Integrating it into your larger IT environment is another. Together, Google Cloud and SAP have been working hard to certify the tools you need to make the most of your SAP environment.

  • Customers can now implement data tiering between SAP HANA and Google BigQuery using sample tools published by Google Cloud.

  • It’s now easier than ever to monitor performance from within the GCP console. A new monitoring agent is available to reliably collect and publish metrics from your SAP HANA instance to GCP Stackdriver, letting you set event notifications so you can have actionable insights around aggregated data. Get started now with this user guide.

Visit us online and at SAP TechEd Barcelona

We’re working hard to make Google Cloud the best place to run SAP applications. Visit us anytime online to learn more about the SAP Google partnership. And if you’re attending SAP TechEd in Barcelona, be sure to stop by the Google Cloud booth P13 to say hello, see some demos in action and share your thoughts on how we can help accelerate your journey to the cloud.

Source: Google Cloud

Dynamic Hybrid-SMR: an OCP proposal to improve data center disk drives

Early last year, we published a whitepaper on the need for new disks in data centers, and announced we were joining the Open Compute Project (OCP) to help drive innovation in IT infrastructure. Since then, we’ve been collaborating with members of the OCP storage project to align on a collection of common Cloud Hard Disk Drive (HDD) features and interfaces to adapt to exponentially growing storage needs in data centers.

Today, we’re announcing that we’re sharing a proposal with OCP for Dynamic Hybrid Shingled Magnetic Recording (HSMR) HDD Product Requirements. Our goal is to work with major cloud HDD vendors, customers and partners to collaborate on defining such an HDD behavior and interface.

As we explained in detail in the Disks for Data Center whitepaper, a regular Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) HDD enables physical data compression through recording layout optimizations that lower the cost per byte of an HDD by up to 10-20 percent. While such a cost reduction for cloud storage is highly sought after, the complexity of a distributed file system managing data placement onto separate SMR and CMR drives, while eliminating IOP stranding, is significant. An HSMR HDD, on the other hand, allows IOPs to be shared across SMR and CMR data, reducing the likelihood of stranding.

We believe Hybrid-SMR is the next major milestone in our ongoing pursuit to lower the cost of storage in data centers. We look forward to continued collaboration with adopters and contributors as we draft and innovate on this new HDD technology together through OCP.  To learn more, and participate in the discussion, join us at the OCP storage project meetings.

Source: Google Cloud

Work hacks from G Suite: onboard new employees like a boss

We’ve talked about how corporate training can positively impact employee engagement. The same is true for efficient onboarding. The faster new employees are onboarded, the faster they  feel they’re part of the team and can contribute to your company’s mission.

Here are a few tips to help you onboard new employees without a hitch.

1. Set up an onboarding checklist, save to Team Drives

Google Keep work hacks

To help new employees get up-to-speed quickly, create centralized resources like an onboard checklist or company backgrounder in Google Keep or Docs.

Your new team member can track to-dos by listing out key tasks in Keep. Create a note in Keep and select “Show checkboxes” in the three dots menu. Type in to-dos like “set up HR benefits,” “outline goals” or “meet with Anish about process.”

Pro-tip: Keep integrates directly into Docs. If you’re in Keep, pick a specific note, click the three dots menu and select “Copy to Google Doc.” Or if you’re in Docs, drag-and-drop your note over from Keep.

You can also prepare a more detailed company background for your teammate in Docs. List upcoming projects, assign action items or include other reference material like key contacts. Once you’ve created these resources, be sure to save them to your Team Drives so that the “newbie” knows where to find or upload files for team use.

2. Create an onboarding portal with Google Sites

Now that you’ve created individual resources for an employee, create a mini-onboarding portal in Sites to house them. What’s great about Sites is that you don’t have to be handy with code to build a website—you can spin one up quickly without design, programming or IT resources. Sites also syncs with your favorite G Suite apps, like Drive and Calendar.

Sites GIF

3. Request access to IT systems and equipment using Forms

Sometimes it can take a while to get access to the tools we need to do our jobs, but G Suite apps can help you get around the lag. Help your IT department set up equipment and system access on day one using Forms and Sheets.

If you’re a manager or work in the human resources department, try using Forms to submit requests to IT before a new employee starts. Create a form for equipment and access needs, like computers (shameless plug: Chromebooks), keyboards, phones or IT system permissions. The IT team can then import requests from Forms into Sheets and keep track of needs in real-time.

GIF 3 work hacks

4. Introduce new employees to the team with Google+

G+ work hacks

During your first few days on the job, it’s hard to remember all of the new names and faces. Try setting up a welcome community on Google+ to help your newbie get to know the team.

To get started, go into G+ and click Communities > Yours > Create a Community. Enter the name of the community you want to create and manage who can see the community in your settings. Click “done,” invite people to join your community and started posting.

Employees are a company’s greatest asset. Try these tips to make new folks feel engaged and productive right from the start, or learn more at the G Suite Learning Center or the Google Cloud Transformation Gallery.

Source: Google Cloud

A strategic partnership with Salesforce to bring the power of cloud to businesses globally

Our partners are incredibly important in helping our customers maximize the value of their cloud investments. Today, we’re announcing a first-of-its-kind strategic partnership with Salesforce that spans Google Cloud and Google Analytics to enable smarter, more collaborative experiences for our customers. As cloud-native companies, our partnership offers a unique opportunity to turn marketing, service and sales data into actionable insights and better business outcomes.

The new collaboration leverages the full value of Google Cloud. Salesforce has named G Suite as its preferred email and productivity provider. In addition, Salesforce plans to use Google Cloud Platform (GCP) for its core services as part of the company’s international infrastructure expansion.

Our teams are working very closely to develop new integrations that will connect Salesforce CRM with G Suite to offer the only cloud-native collaboration platform of its kind. These integrations will enable companies to surface powerful intelligence about your customers from Salesforce directly within Gmail, Sheets, Calendar, Drive, Docs and Hangouts Meet. Here’s some more on what you’ll be able to do:

  • Salesforce Lightning for Gmail: Surface relevant Salesforce CRM data in Gmail, as well as customer interactions from Gmail directly within Salesforce, to service your customers faster. Identify high priority emails and suggest next steps based on the email content to work with customers faster than before.

  • Salesforce Lightning for Google Sheets: Embed Sheets anywhere in Salesforce, and with a single click push content from Salesforce Records or Reports to a new Sheet. Data will automatically update bi-directionally to ensure everyone has the most recent information.

  • Quip Live Apps for Google Drive and Google Calendar: Quip Live Apps will integrate with Google Drive and Calendar, allowing you to access information in a more collaborative, open cloud environment, and embed any list of Drive files, including Google Docs, Slides and Sheets, or your Google Calendar inside Quip. This new combination of Quip and G Suite will create a modern alternative to legacy intranet content services.

  • Salesforce for Hangouts Meet: Access relevant customer and account details, service case histories and more from Salesforce CRM directly within the Hangouts Meet interface. This gives you powerful insights directly in the communications platform to conduct better sales conversations or efficiently resolve customer service issues.

To help take advantage of the combined Google and Salesforce experience, qualified Salesforce customers can receive G Suite for up to one year at no additional cost—restrictions apply, and more details can be found on our site.

We hope this partnership enables more companies to take advantage of the cloud and that the combined solutions will provide an unmatched experience for customers. In fact, our team at Google Cloud uses Salesforce as our preferred CRM provider to engage with our customers in meaningful ways.

As for availability, several integrations between G Suite and Salesforce are already in market, including Lightning for Gmail and integrations with Calendar and Google Drive. The deeper integrations we’ve announced are expected to start rolling out in 2018.

Source: Google Cloud

Connecting students across space and time with Google Cloud

Editor’s note: This week the Google team is in Philadelphia for the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2017, an important gathering of higher education technology leaders. If you’re at the event, visit us at booth #1100 to see the latest demos of Google Cloud Platform (GCP), G Suite, devices like Jamboard and virtual reality and augmented reality tools. If you want to be a part of the action from home follow at #EDU17 and our @GoogleForEdu account. If you want to connect with our team but cannot make it to the event contact us.

Yesterday we shared some of the inspiring ways we’ve seen researchers, faculty and students in higher education work with GCP to power their big ideas. But it’s not just researchers that can benefit from the cloud. From virtual reality tools like Jump & Tilt Brush to G Suite for Education to GCP, Google tools are helping educators create new, strong connections amongst students, with faculty, and with new parts of the curriculum.

Brown University connects students with the past with virtual reality

The Gaspee Affair is an important, but largely forgotten moment in U.S. history. And with its “cannon fire and gunshots and boat chases,” it was also a perfect candidate for reconstruction in virtual reality (VR), says Adam Blumenthal, Virtual Reality Artist-in-Residence and Professor of the Practice at Brown University.  

With a team of students and a Jump camera from Google, Blumenthal drafted scripts, designed sets and built a detailed virtual world so that students could interact with the past. “One of the things I love about VR is its ability to put people in places that are otherwise impossible, and in this case that’s stepping back in time in these very authentic recreations,” he says. During production the team has used Tilt Brush, Google’s 3D painting tool, to quickly produce storyboards of 3D scenes as well as to create what Blumenthal calls “virtual reality dioramas” that combine Tilt Brush paint with 2D and 3D assets. Today the prototype of their Gaspee Affair project functions like a virtual museum: students can view the spaces from any angle and interact with its objects. Click here to read the full Brown case study.

We want to help more institutions create their own VR experiences for learning. Google’s Daydream team is excited to launch a pilot program to give higher ed institutions the skills and tools to bring these ideas to life. You can get notified about the upcoming 360 video training course, express interest in the Daydream higher education pilot program or learn more about Google’s AR and VR tools.

Brown University students and faculty create the historic Gaspee Affair in 3D using a Jump camera from Google.

Central Wyoming connects its students and faculty across large distances with G Suite for Education

At Central Wyoming College (CWC), students and staff previously had to be on campus in order to access email and documents—this was especially challenging in a rural region where people commute long distances. Now that CWC uses cloud-based tools through G Suite for Education, it helps them respond to the unique challenges of their campus community.

The school’s 2,000 students are spread across four campuses, and in the case of its Outdoor Education program, remote wilderness. “It’s extremely hard for our students to get together in person,” says CIO John Wood. Now professors and staff can choose to work live or remotely as needed, cutting down on long commutes to CWC campuses. “Their collaboration can now take place in other ways,” Wood says. “Hangouts are becoming popular, since students can use them to meet face-to-face when they’re not on campus.”  Read the Central Wyoming case study and sign up for G Site for Education.

Related Article

Taking education higher with Google Cloud Platform

Editor’s note: This week the Google team is in Philadelphia for the annual EDUCAUSE conference, a gathering of higher education technolog...

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Manhattan College powers critical campus IT systems with GCP

Manhattan College began using Google Cloud in 2008, and “in most cases, it has been the best answer,” says Manhattan College Chief Information Officer Jake Holmquist. First came the transition to Gmail; that “was the foot in the door that we in IT needed to show the rest of campus that it was okay to operate in the cloud,” says Holmquist.

Then last July, building on the trust and familiarity they had gained using Google tools, Manhattan College moved to implement “Banner 9,” an upgrade to their prior system, on top of GCP. In the past “a typical deployment in our datacenter meant a six-figure hardware purchase that we were not guaranteed to be delivered and provisioned in time for ample testing,” Holmquist said. “Instead, we took the unprecedented approach of deploying these new Banner 9 components in GCP’s Compute Engine. We were able to quickly and easily spin up various components during the installation and upgrade testing.”

They were able to deploy a production environment with “excellent performance and a level of high-availability that we could not have achieved on campus.” This has freed Holmquist and his team up for important work. “Instead of maintaining servers, replacing failed components, and applying patches, we are now focusing on making our applications run more efficiently which results in a more measurable benefit to our end-users.” Read the Manhattan College case study or express your interest in Google Cloud Platform.


Source: Google Cloud

Taking education higher with Google Cloud Platform

Editor’s note: This week the Google team is in Philadelphia for the annual EDUCAUSE conference, a gathering of higher education technology leaders. If you’re at the event, visit us at booth #1100 to see the latest demos of Google Cloud Platform (GCP), G Suite, Jamboard, as well as virtual reality and augmented reality tools. Or follow the action on our @GoogleForEdu account, using the #EDU17 hashtag. If you want to connect with our team but can’t make it to Philadelphia, contact us.

I’m continually inspired by all the ways that educational institutions use Google Cloud to expand learning for everyone. Today, eleven years after San Jose City College and Arizona State University became the first to adopt G Suite for Education, we’re announcing that more than 80 million students, faculty and staff now use these tools in higher ed and K12.. Meanwhile, Google Cloud’s product portfolio continues to expand, helping us keep up with educators’ and students’ limitless ideas. Below are a few recent highlights of what institutions have been doing with the help of Google Cloud.


Northeastern researchers understand the spread of Zika using GCP

Amidst the spread of the Zika virus, the Modeling of Biological and Socio-technical Systems (MoBS) lab at Northeastern University, created a model to better understand the deadly virus. Using a mathematical and computational approach powered by GCP, the team studied different scenarios under which Zika could spread, projecting its impact on affected populations. The model is based on the initial spread of Zika in Brazil, and allows researchers to predict the impact of new infections in other locations by introducing additional data layers, including temperature, number of mosquitoes, population size and people’s travel patterns.

With Google Compute Engine and Preemptible Virtual Machines, MoBS has run more than 10 million simulations and drastically reduced the time needed to analyze data.

“Time is vital when confronting disease outbreaks,” says Matteo Chinazzi, Associate Research Scientist at Northeastern University, “and GCP gives us the tools we need to move quickly at scale.” To read more about MoBS Lab’s  Zika research and analysis, check out “Spread of Zika virus in the Americas” and our full Northeastern case study.


This incidence map of Zika infections, created in December 2016 by the MoBS lab simulation model, is a spatial projection of the median number of infections by February 28, 2017. The inset maps provide detailed projections for the areas of Recife and Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

MIT professor pushes computing limits

Andrew V. Sutherland, a computational number theorist and Principal at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is part of the team behind L-Functions and Modular Forms Database (LMFDB), a detailed atlas of mathematical objects and the connections among them. This database is used by physics, computer science and mathematics communities around the world.

The calculations to create the objects in LMFDB are complex, time-consuming and expensive to perform. Sutherland uses Compute Engine and Persistent Disk to calculate some of those objects. One tabulation required 580,000 cores of preemptible VMs to compute—the largest known high-performance compute cluster to ever run in the public cloud.

LMFDB also uses Google Cloud to host its web servers, as well as GCP tools like Google Stackdriver, Google Cloud Console and Google Cloud Load Balancing. Running on GCP supports countless daily searches, and allows people in multiple countries to easily administer the system.

We’re excited to see how the team behind LMFDB continues to push the limits of what is possible. See the full MIT LMFDB case study.


City College of New York and Howard West use GCP Education Grants to equip students with hands-on learning

GCP Education Grants are putting the cloud in the hands of future researchers and computer scientists at more than 500 higher education institutions.

At City College of New York (CCNY), GCP Education Grants provide computer science (CS) students with hands-on experience with virtualization, containers and other cloud technologies. Peter Barnett, Adjunct Associate Computer Science professor, uses GCP Education Grants for students in his Senior Project capstone course, whose software projects have great scientific, social and entrepreneurial potential.  

His teams’ projects include:

  • using machine learning to advance the optical character recognition of handwriting

  • assisting trainers, physical therapists and their clients to develop and maintain correct form in exercise

  • enhancing patent search using content analytics combined with machine learning

  • interior mapping of subway stations and other public places to assist visually impaired people

  • generating quasi-random music with AI that changes in response to user feedback

These students think big, and the GCP grants can help them move from big ideas to new creations.

Across the country, Gloria Washington, a computer science professor from Howard University, helped students in her summer course at Howard West in Mountain View tackle machine learning problems using Cloud Datalab and TensorFlow. These tools allowed Gloria to design a course that was hands-on and project-based, helping students focus on machine learning rather than spending all their time setting up the technology.

“For us, [saving time] was really crucial because we only had five weeks for this course. If you spend a week trying to get them to download the libraries and then make sure that they have the right commands to be able to run it from the shell, that just creates a whole level of complexity that we didn't want to deal with. The complexity was really cut down.”

Professors teaching courses in computer science and related fields can apply for free GCP Education Grants. Learn more about eligibility and apply for grants and see the full case studies about the experiences of Howard West and CCNY.

Source: Google Cloud

The meeting room, by G Suite

With G Suite, we’re focused on building tools that help you bring great ideas to life. We know meetings are the main entry point for teams to share and shape ideas into action. That’s why we recently introduced Hangouts Meet, an evolution of Google Hangouts designed specifically for the workplace, and Jamboard, a way to bring creative brainstorming directly into meetings. Combined with Calendar and Drive, these tools extend collaboration beyond four walls and transform how we work—so every team member has a voice, no matter location.

But the transformative power of video meetings is wasted if it’s not affordable and accessible to all organizations. So today, we’re introducing Hangouts Meet hardware—a new way to bring high-quality video meetings to businesses of any size. We’re also announcing new software updates designed to make your meetings even more productive.

Introducing Hangouts Meet hardware

Hangouts Meet hardware is a cost-effective way to bring high-quality video meetings to your business. The hardware kit consists of four components: a touchscreen controller, speakermic, 4K sensor camera and ASUS Chromebox.

Hangouts Meet controller

The new controller provides a modern, intuitive touchscreen interface that allows people to easily join scheduled events from Calendar or view meeting details with a single tap. You can pin and mute team members, as well as control the camera, making managing meetings easy. You can also add participants with the dial-a-phone feature and present from a laptop via HDMI. If you’re a G Suite Enterprise edition customer, you can record the meeting to Drive.

Designed by Google, the Hangouts Meet speakermic actively eliminates echo and background noise to provide crisp, clear audio. Up to five speakermics can be daisy-chained together with a single wire, providing coverage for larger rooms without tabletop clutter.

The 4K sensor camera with 120° field of view easily captures everyone at the table, even in small spaces that some cameras find challenging. Each camera component is fine-tuned to make meetings more personal and distraction-free. Built with machine learning, the camera can intelligently detect participants and automatically crop and zoom to frame them.

Powered by Chrome OS, the ASUS Chromebox makes deploying and managing Hangouts Meet hardware easier than ever. The Chromebox can automatically push updates to other components in the hardware kit, making it easier for large organizations to ensure security and reliability. Remote device monitoring and management make it easy for IT administrators to stay in control, too.

New Hangouts Meet enhancements greatly improve user experience and simplify our meeting rooms. It also creates new ways for our team to collaborate. Bradley Rhodes
IT Analyst, Woolworths Limited, Australia

Says Bradley Rhodes, IT Analyst End User Computing at Woolworths Ltd Australia, “We are very excited about the new Hangouts Meet hardware, particularly the easy-to-use touchscreen. The enhancements greatly improve the user experience and simplify our meeting rooms. We have also seen it create new ways for our team to collaborate, like via the touch-to-record functionality which allows absent participants to catch up more effectively.”

More features, better meetings

We’re also announcing updates to Meet based on valuable feedback. If you’re a G Suite Enterprise edition customer, you can:

Dial in image Hangouts Meet
  • Record meetings and save them to Drive. Can’t make the meeting? No problem. Record your meeting directly to Drive. Even without a Hangouts Meet hardware kit, Meet on web can save your team’s ideas with a couple of clicks.
  • Host meetings with up to 50 participants. Meet supports up to 50 participants in a meeting, especially useful for bringing global teams together from both inside and outside of your organization.
  • Dial in from around the globe. The dial-in feature in Meet is now available in more than a dozen markets. If you board a flight in one country and land in another, Meet will automatically update your meeting’s dial-in listing to a local phone number.

These new features are rolling out gradually. The hardware kit is priced at $1999 and is available in select markets around the globe beginning today.

Whether you're collaborating in Jamboard, recording meetings and referencing discussions in Drive or scheduling your next team huddle in Calendar, Hangouts Meet hardware makes it even easier to bring the power of your favorite G Suite tools into team meetings. For more information, visit the G Suite website.

Source: Google Cloud

How Google Hangouts helped us scale one of our Googleyest programs

Editor’s note: This is the second article in a five-part series on Google Hangouts. Read the first article here.

Noam Chomsky

We have a program at Google called Talks at Google where we invite influential scientists, activists, inventors and more to speak with Google employees. From Noam Chomsky to Leymah Gbowee, my colleagues and I are lucky enough to have listened to some enlightening perspectives. (And you can, too!). I was among a group of volunteers who helped kick-start the program.

What makes the Talks at Google a great example of our company culture—of “Googleyness”—is how it began. It started with a few events per year and morphed into a speaker series with more than 50 talks per month, thanks to our volunteers and, especially, Google Hangouts.

Cobbling together technology to share stories

After seeing the success of Zeitgeist, a group of Googlers and I set out to create an internal speaker series for employees. We started in 2005 with events hosted just at our Mountain View headquarters, but quickly realized that wasn’t enough. It’s a big part of our company culture to make resources available to all employees. So we experimented with outsourced video conferencing (VC) technology to broadcast talks to other offices.

Hangouts #2 gif

With growing demand, we quickly realized it’s one thing to secure interest and speakers, but it’s another to ensure the technical infrastructure needed to actually scale the program globally.

In 2008, this became apparent. We arranged for linguist Noam Chomsky to speak, one of our most anticipated talks to date. Because our Boston office was new at the time, we cobbled together outsourced VC equipment—a Googler delivered it to us from our New York office. We hosted Professor Chomsky in a cafe and unplugged the refrigerators to cut back on background noise.

Scaling Talks at Google with Hangouts

Talks at Google required a better technical solution. Thankfully, Google decided to build its own VC platform around the same time: Hangouts. Hangouts gave us the tools we needed to scale our program with minimal resources. It helped us meet employee demand, and, more importantly, afforded us the opportunity to include more diverse perspectives in our talk series.

In 2011, we tested an early iteration of Hangouts with Game of Thrones author, George R.R. Martin, and livestreamed Talks at Google for the first time to the outside world on YouTube. More than 25 Google offices tuned in to hear Martin talk about House Targaryen and the White Walkers, and the event went off without a hitch.

Now, we can do all of this within Hangouts Meet, which lets us live stream to global teams, and has advanced audio / video capabilities, so we no longer have to worry about unplugging refrigerators.

Transforming our company culture

Google is full of incredible individuals who do remarkable work, including engineers who reimagine how businesses do business. But technology in the workplace is most powerful if it can help us accomplish things we never thought were possible while remaining true to our company values.

Looking back, Hangouts helped us scale Talks at Google and unite our teams under one common interest: listening and learning from the best minds in the world. Work programs like these help us bridge geographies, expertise and cultures, and in turn, transform how we work together to help us create more meaningful products for our customers. And this is starting to catch on at other businesses, too. Companies like Woolworths and Braintree are using Hangouts Meet to transform how their teams collaborate.

It all started with an idea and a few passionate Googlers.

Source: Google Cloud

How Questar is saving $2.1 million with Chrome Enterprise and G Suite

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Nick Winnie, Infrastructure Systems Administrator for Questar, which provides testing and assessment services in the United States. Questar is using Chrome Enterprise and G Suite to collaborate and save valuable time and money spent provisioning and maintaining laptop equipment for testing workshops.  

For 40 years, Questar has helped train educators on how to develop tests for students in mathematics, language arts and science, and English language proficiency. By developing better tools for instruction, educators can help students better prepare for college and their careers.

Our CEO likes to say that we need to “think like a startup,” which is why we’re always looking for new ways to train educators for state assessments. Technology plays a big part in this.

Provisioning laptops for teaching workshops

About 45 times a year, we offer workshops to educators to help them learn how to develop tests for the subjects they teach. The process requires a lot of work from our IT team, which transports 50 or more machines per workshop to and from the site. The IT team also ensures that operating systems, security programs and software licenses are up to date, which includes wiping old desktop data added by previous workshop attendees and patching software when needed.

This process can take hours and is costly for the business. And with nearly 150 new employees expected to join the company this year, we also wanted to give our employees tools to help them collaborate and share information at any time with ease.

To shorten our laptop provisioning time, and to give our employees better tools for trainings, we tested 30 Chromebooks using G Suite.

Saving money and time with Chrome Enterprise and G Suite

Right away, our employees saved time preparing for workshops. With Chrome Enterprise, we can customize applications available to educators before they start working. Security is automatically updated, so we don’t have to worry about updating and patching antivirus software. We also can skip the time it takes to wipe machines and delete old files using Ephemeral mode and Chrome Kiosks for employees. All told, the time spent provisioning each device has gone from hours to minutes.

Security is automatically updated . . . All told, the time spent provisioning each device has gone from hours to minutes.

We’ve also seen significant cost savings by switching to Chromebooks and G Suite. We no longer pay for operating systems, business software, and security program licensing.

Instead, we use Chromebooks with the Chrome Enterprise license, and use Chrome’s management console to whitelist and blacklist websites, so we don’t need proxy servers to control online access. Altogether, we spend less than $300 per device using Chromebook and Chrome Enterprise.

Here’s a look at the total cost savings in comparison.


Our employees have also told us that G Suite has transformed how they work together. The team has streamlined processes because their favorite apps—like Google Sites, Sheets and Drive—are all in one place. Some employees are creating pivot tables in Sheets and using Drive to share it with their colleagues. This collaboration wasn’t possible with our previous technology–especially for people working remotely.

Creating a culture of collaboration to train tomorrow’s educators

Following our successful test of Chromebooks and G Suite, we’ve purchased more Chromebooks for workshop attendees and Questar employees to use. By deploying Chrome OS, using Chrome Enterprise and collaborating with G Suite, our processes have become more efficient and much faster.  It’s been easy to get our teams seamlessly up to speed on these products and less expensive for IT provisioning. That adds up to a good investment in better technology—just what a “40-year-old startup” needs.

Source: Google Cloud

G Suite and Freshdesk at your (customer) service

Managing teams and customer requests across geographies and disciplines can be a challenge, but cloud-based applications like Freshdesk can make it much easier. What’s great about Freshdesk is that it’s a popular customer support and IT helpdesk solution—and, better yet, it integrates with G Suite.

Together, G Suite and Freshdesk help companies manage many customer interactions in one place which helps businesses collaborate and address customer concerns quicker. Win-win. Integrate your favorite Google and G Suite tools like Gmail, Hangouts, Google Drive, Analytics and more, directly into Freshdesk. Check it out.

The power of GSuite + Freshdesk

How Citizens Advice uses G Suite and Freshdesk

Citizens Advice is a network of nearly 300 independent charities in England and Wales. The organization provides free consultation on issues like housing, immigration, and consumer rights, and employs 30,000 staff across 2,700 locations. More than three-quarters of the staff are trained volunteers who work remotely. With so many inquiries per year, it’s imperative that Citizens Advice has the tools to collaborate, analyze and improve customer experience, particularly when bringing together so many independent partners. Plus, the organization requires a solution that can integrate directly with existing IT infrastructure.

Citizens Advice chose G Suite and Freshdesk to help with this. Says Simon Sheridan, product manager at Citizens Advice, “G Suite and Freshdesk help our teams collaborate and create more value for our customers every day.” The organization uses both tools to:

  • Collaborate with distributed teams. G Suite apps like Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides and Calendar help Citizens Advice organize customer support processes, and to collaborate across distributed teams, including its large network of volunteers.
  • Create better support functions for customers. The company uses integrations with G Suite and Freshdesk to mitigate customer support issues quicker. For example, Citizens Advice uses Hangouts to resolve customer issues face-to-face.
  • Analyze and optimize the customer support process. With tools like Freshdesk and Freshservice by Freshworks, Citizens Advice is able to analyze and improve the customer support process. The company also monitors and reports on each stage of the customer journey using G Suite tools. 

Learn more about how your business can use G Suite and Freshdesk to deliver better customer experiences. Sign up for this webinar on Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 2pm GMT if you’re in Europe, or at 11am PT / 2pm ET if you’re in North America.

Source: Google Cloud