Author Archives: Keller Smith

How we built a new tool without ever meeting in person

A little over a year ago, a group of us within Area 120, Google’s internal incubator, wanted to explore whether recorded video could help remote teams work better. Little did we know at the time that COVID-19 would soon send us all home, and we'd actually have to build the product remotely as well. That project became Threadit, short video recordings to share your work and connect with your team. 

Once we had a working  prototype, we started using Threadit to take back control of our working hours. Threadit, available from your browser or as a Chrome extension, helps you say and show more with a video message than with an email or chat. We use Threadit to show each other our progress, ask questions or request feedback without needing to coordinate schedules. This helps us reduce unnecessary meetings while still becoming a tighter-knit team. We have more time to think and do focused work, and the meetings we keep are more effective and easier to schedule for everyone. 

Today, Threadit is available to anyone who wants to try it. 

Threadit screenshots

Record yourself and your screen

To use Threadit, simply speak straight to the camera or share your screen; if you don’t like how it sounded, just hit record and try it again. Record as many short clips as you’d like, and Threadit will stitch them all together into one cohesive video message. When you’re done, send it off to your team. Anyone can reply with their own video message when they’re ready — it’s all part of one conversation.
Threadit screenshots

We know Threadit works because we used it ourselves. Our team has still never met in person. Instead of team whiteboarding sessions or quick updates around someone’s desk, we had to juggle work and family schedules. This meant more virtual meetings and lengthy text exchanges just to stay on the same page.

Show up how you want, when you want

People from all over the world helped us build Threadit, so using the tool became a great way to see one another without having to schedule live meetings across time zones. I’d send a Threadit to my colleagues in Japan during my normal working hours in Seattle; they’d respond during the hours that worked for them in Tokyo. Threadit helped us feel like we were working together in person, even though we were responding at different times from across the world — it built connections that email couldn’t. The best part? Nobody had to get up early or stay up late.

This became our new norm, whether with teammates in Tokyo or in their homes just down the street. I could record replies around putting my son down for a nap or cooking dinner, and review what I said so I came across how I wanted. Threadit gave us an opportunity to hear from everyone on our team, not just the loudest voices in a live meeting. We had more control over our time and could contribute when we were each ready.

Threadit screenshots

How will you use Threadit? 

Since we started, we’ve seen teams use Threadit in different ways, from sharing sales presentations to recording product tutorials to sending leadership updates. We even started using Threadit as a way of celebrating team birthdays! 

Because we all have enough productivity tools to manage as is, we built Threadit to work the way you do. Access Threadit directly from your web browser or mobile device. If you get our Chrome extension, you can record yourself and anything on your screen at any time, even from within Gmail. Send a Threadit to anyone by simply sharing the link — no  download necessary. 

Threadit screenshots

We’re excited for you to see how Threadit can help your team. Get started at  

Businesses from Brazil to India build free websites with Google

Having a website helps local businesses reach new, interested customers, and when those business link to a website on their Google listing, they get 25-35% more clicks (according to internal research). But building a website takes time, and it can feel like a distraction from the work small business owners do to turn their dreams into success stories—whether that’s managing a hotel, perfecting their secret recipe, or opening a second store one day. Our new website builder lets business owners, who are new to creating a website, set up a professional site in under 10 minutes, for free.

Around the globe, more than one million small business owners have already used their first websites from Google to connect with new customers and grow.

How a local getaway found a global audience


Ever since he was 17, Glaucinei Andrade Duarte dreamed of running a hotel that highlights the beauty of his hometown, Armação dos Búzios, Brazil. So he worked as a concierge, took hotel management courses, and eventually opened Pousada Atlantica—an independently owned boutique hotel east of Rio de Janeiro.

Glaucinei knew that a website would help his business grow, but he didn’t have the time to learn web design or the budget to hire a developer. Instead, he tried the free website builder from Google and used custom layouts to create a professional, mobile-ready site. Within 10 minutes, this first-time developer was uploading pictures of his pousada’s incredible beachfront and publishing them for the world to see.

In the short time Pousada Atlantica has been online, Glaucinei’s website has reached nearly 2,000 pageviews, helping him connect with hundreds of potential customers. With the attention its new site has earned, Pousada Atlantica has booked weekends at 80% capacity from August to December.

A couple's passion for Malaysian cuisine, halfway around the world

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While living in Malaysia, Anang and Morgan Mehta had a vision of bringing the bold flavors and healthy ingredients of their country’s cuisine to the U.S. Their vision became a reality when they moved to San Antonio, Texas and started Thyme for Lunch.

Growing a customer base was slow at first, because their restaurant is located off the beaten path. But when Anang and Morgan built their website with Google and completed their Google listing, people started finding them online.

By featuring photos of their delicious meals and a simple call button on their site, Thyme for Lunch is reaching new local customers every day. Since July, they’ve seen more than 1,500 pageviews, and are now bringing their signature meals to a second location.

Local attention for an eye care specialist 

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Sanjay Doshi noticed a lack of high-quality eye care in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. That’s why he founded Shree Optical, a local optician’s office that focuses on personalized care. At first, Sanjay relied on word-of-mouth to bring in customers, but he knew that having a website would help him reach more people.

As an expert optician, Sanjay had little experience building an online presence, but that didn’t stop him. He used Google’s free website builder to create Shree Optical’s entire site from his phone.

In the past month, Shree Optical’s website has reached more than 1,000 people online. “Customers have come from a distance of even 4-5 kilometers to our shop,” said Sanjay. With this increase in business, he is hoping to open two new branches in the next two years.

Join more than one million business owners who are reaching new customers with their websites from Google. Sign up with Google My Business for free and publish your website in minutes.