Tag Archives: G Suite

Educators share their distance learning stories

We hear a lot of talk these days about the finding “new normal,” and while COVID-19 has presented countless challenges for educators, bright spots have emerged. The pandemic has pushed them to take risks, explore digital solutions, and experiment with new teaching methods to engage and support students and their families. We spoke to several educators who took the time to talk with us and share their experiences with distance learning.

Distance Learning Stories_teachers.jpg

How has your school’s level of digital and innovation changed since the pandemic?

Trinh: A lot of teachers thought that this would be a moment in time—that technology would be a solution for the pandemic only. However, they’re beginning to realize that digital learning will be needed over the long term. This fall, the professional learning is becoming deeper and will be needed to enhance teaching skills for the foreseeable future.

How have teachers’ mindsets changed toward technology since the pandemic began?

Lim:Before the pandemic, we’d have one or two people sign up for technology-related professional learning experiences. Now we’ve had as many as six hundred educators sign up. Since starting the year virtually, we’ve improved and capitalized on our community of teachers to work and plan together for a better distance learning experience. And it’s surprising how well some students do in this setting. They thrive in a space where they have more choice and agency in their learning. They didn’t necessarily have these experiences before because the teachers weren’t familiar with using the digital tools.

Brewster:I’ve seen teachers in my school who have for years have been reluctant to accept coaching or to explore innovative strategies and tech tools. These same teachers have begun to independently seek out support and try new things. They want to make sure their students’ engagement level and experience is more than showing up and turning on their cameras. I’ve also seen how parents are embracing digital learning more than before. In the past, there was concern about screen time but now with this new reality, they see how technology keeps us going and connected.

How have you overcome barriers to device and internet access?

Carraway: This fall, we are much more prepared than last spring. We’ve increased our Chromebook inventory and provided more hotspots to families and staff to better support distance learning. We've also opened up office hours for parents and guardians to get the answers they needed when they needed them.

Wright:Our district launched a Connected At Home Learning Support Initiative to expand our existing technology device offerings. In the spring, we allowed secondary students to check out Chromebooks and hotspots until school ended. For the past two years, we’ve participated in the Sprint 1 Million program to provide hotspots to high school students. We’ve now extended that to the Empowered 2.0 T-Mobile program and are partnering with our local cable company to provide low-cost home internet.

In what other ways are you supporting students and their families?

Barcenas: We thought that internet access was going to be the biggest barrier to learning, but in reality it was that parents weren’t always able to be home. It was the extended family members—the abuelitas and abuelos—who were sitting side by side with the students, and they didn’t have the digital skill sets to help them with digital classwork. This fall, we’ve opened office hours for grandparents and we’re “translating” our technological vocabulary to make sense to older-generation family members.

Farinas:At the start of the school year we were hyper-focused on building community before tackling content. It’s paramount that teachers create safe online learning environments and build positive relationships with students and families. We do this by conducting routine wellness checks with students and families—making ourselves available during office hours and responding to calls and emails as soon as possible. We created a helpline to support families struggling with technology and even have staff who “walk” students to their virtual  classrooms.

Jaber: Thinking ofMaslowe’s hierarchy of needs, students cannot self-actualize if their basic human needs and feelings of safety and inclusivity are not at the core. Give students safe spaces and opportunities to share. That means teachers sharing with students because they are encouraged when they see we are vulnerable too. Call them to check in if they are not “present.” Build in options and flexibility in teaching. Really get to know the kids beyond their persona as learners.

Building solutions using the G Suite developer platform

Posted by Charles Maxson, Developer Advocate, G Suite

Millions of users know G Suite as a collection of communication and productivity apps that enables teams to easily create, communicate, collaborate, and discover content to supercharge teamwork. Beneath the surface of this well-serving collection of apps is also an extensible platform that enables developers to build targeted custom experiences and integrations utilizing these apps, allowing G Suite’s vast user base to get even more value out of the platform.

At first glance, it may not be natural to think of the tools you use for day-to-day productivity and collaboration as a developer platform. But consider what makes up a developer platform; Languages, APIs, runtimes, frameworks, IDEs, ecosystem, etc; G Suite offers developers all of these things and more.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes up the G Suite developer platform and how you can use it.

G Suite as a Developer Platform

There are a lot of components that make up G Suite as a platform. As a developer, there is probably none more important than the data that your solution collects, processes and presents. As a platform, G Suite is both highly interoperable, secure, and also interestingly unique.

Being interoperable, G Suite lets you interact with your data--whether your data is in G Suite or elsewhere, no matter how you store it or how you want to analyze it. G Suite allows you to keep your data where it best suits your application, while offering you flexibility to access it easily. Some examples include rich integrations with sources like BigQuery or JDBC databases. Better yet, often little to no code is required to get you connected.

Where G Suite as a platform is unique regarding data is it can be used to store, or perhaps even more interesting, be used to produce data. For native storage, you may use Drive as a content repository, or store information in a Sheets spreadsheet, or collect it via Google Forms as a front end. Additionally, there are many scenarios where the content your users are engaging in (emails, chats, events, tasks, contacts, documents, identity, etc.) can be harnessed to create unique interactions with G Suite. Solutions that build off, or integrate with G Suite provide such unique business value, but regardless where your data resides, accessing it as a developer is a non-issue via the platform.

The core of the G Suite developer platform itself is composed of frameworks for developer features including G Suite Add-ons and Chatbots, as well as a comprehensive library of REST APIs. These allow you to interface with the full G Suite platform to create integrations, build extensions, add customizations, and access content or data.

G Suite Add-ons and Chatbots are frameworks specifically designed for G Suite that allow you to quickly and safely build experiences that enrich the way users interact within G Suite apps, while while the REST APIs give you essentially unlimited access to G Suite apps and data including Gmail, Classroom, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Task, and more. What you build, and what you build with, including languages and dev environments is up to you!

The beauty of G Suite as a platform is how you can unlock complementary technologies like Google Cloud that expand the platform to be even more powerful. Think about a G Suite UI connecting to a Google Cloud Platform backend; the familiar interface of G Suite coupled with the phenomenal power and scale of GCP!

Building with GCP from G Suite, you have access to components like the AI platform. This enables scenarios like using Google Sheets as a front end to AI tools like the Vision, Natural Language and the Translation APIs. Imagine how you can change the way users interact with G Suite, your app and your data combined with the power of ML?

Another useful concept is how you can add natural conversational experiences to your app in G Suite with tools like DialogFlow. This way instead of writing complicated interfaces users have to learn, you could build a G Suite Chat bot that invokes Dialogflow to allow users to execute commands directly from within their team conversations in Chat. So for example, users could just ask a Chat bot to “Add a task to the project list” or “Assign this issue to Matt”. A recent example of this is DataQnA, a natural language interface for analyzing BigQuery data.

BigQuery is another GCP tool that works natively with G Suite to allow you to analyze and leverage larger, complicated data sets while producing unique custom reports that can be surfaced in a user friendly way. One of the ways to leverage BigQuery with G Suite is through Connected Sheets, which provides the power and scale of a BigQuery data warehouse in the familiar context of Sheets. With Connected Sheets, you can analyze billions of rows of live BigQuery data in Google Sheets without requiring SQL knowledge. You can apply familiar tools—like pivot tables, charts, and formulas—to easily derive insights from big data.

One relatively new addition to the Google Cloud family also worth mentioning here is AppSheet. AppSheet is a no-code tool that can be used to quickly build mobile and web apps. Being no-code, it may seem out of place in a discussion for a development platform, but AppSheet is a dynamic and agile tool that makes it great for building apps fast or envisioning prototypes, while also connecting to G Suite apps like Google Sheets, allowing you to access G Suite platform data with ease.

When you do need the power of writing custom code, one of the foundational components of the G Suite developer platform is Apps Script. For over a decade, Apps Script has been the server-less, JavaScript-based runtime that natively powers G Suite extensibility. Built directly into G Suite with its own IDE, Apps Script makes it super fast and easy to get started building solutions with nothing to install or configure, just open and start coding -- or you can even let the macro recorder write code for you! Apps Script masks a lot of complexities that developers face like handling user authentication, allowing you to focus on creating solutions quickly. Its native integration and relative simplicity also welcomes developers with diverse skill levels to build customized workflows, menus and UI, automations and more right inside G Suite.

While Apps Script is nimble and useful for many use cases, we know that many developers have preferences around tools, languages and development environments. G Suite is an open platform that encourages developers to choose options that makes them more productive. In continuing to build on that principle, we recently introduced Alternate Runtimes for G Suite Add-ons. This new capability allows you to create solutions using the G Suite Add-ons framework without being bound to Apps Script as a toolset, giving you the choice and freedom to leverage your existing preferences and investments in hosting infrastructure, development tools, source control, languages, and code libraries, etc.

Finally, what completes the vision of G Suite as a developer platform is that you have the confidence and convenience of an established platform that is broadly deployed and backed by tools like Google Identity Management and the G Suite Admin Console for administration and security. This enables you to build your solutions--whether its a customized solution for your internal users or an integration between your software platform and G Suite--and distribute them at a domain level or even globally via the G Suite Marketplace, which is an acquisition channel for developers and a discovery engine for end-users and enterprise admins alike.

Now that you can see how G Suite is a developer platform, imagine what you can build?

Visit the G Suite Developer homepage and get started on your journey today.

Why digital tools are a safety net for small businesses

For businesses trying to stay afloat, like Morgan Miller Plumbing in Grandview, Missouri, digital tools are instrumental. While the onset of COVID-19 was full of unknowns, CEO Stella Crewse says it gave her an opportunity to make her business stronger. “This experience has given us the confidence that we will be able to continue operations seamlessly no matter what comes our way,” Stella says.

Stella’s company was already using digital tools when COVID-19 hit, but in recent months has realized how necessary they are. Her team uses G Suite to share documents and stay organized and video conferencing to stay connected. They’ve even used  Google Maps to identify new sewer line paths without leaving the office in order to follow social distancing guidelines. 

A new report, released today by the Connected Commerce Council in partnership with Google, shows how a “digital safety net” can serve as a support system for small businesses like Morgan Miller Plumbing, and helps to mitigate the negative business effects of COVID-19.

According to the report, practically all small businesses—93 percent—were disrupted by the pandemic, facing reduced customer demand and hours of operations as well as employee layoffs. Eighty-five percent of small businesses say COVID–19 made them rethink their approach to digital tools, allowing them to adapt. 

The study also found that businesses that had a digital safety net in place and used a variety of digital tools—like digital ads, digital payments, data analytics and customer insights tools—not only felt better prepared, but also experienced dramatically better business outcomes, expecting less than a quarter of the revenue reduction compared to their digitally unprepared counterparts. And states with a higher share of digitally prepared businesses anticipate better revenue outcomes in 2020.
Drivers business index v. Projected revenue loss SMBs

This research also found that small business leaders of color have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic and are roughly half as likely as white-run businesses to have received aid through public loans for their business needs. Businesses that have remained open despite a lack of funding attribute their resilience to embracing technology.

The crisis expedited digital momentum for small businesses: Nearly three-in-four increased their use of digital tools, particularly video conferencing, over the last five months. But not all American small- and medium-sized businesses have a digital safety net. To best serve the needs of every business, we’re introducing new Grow with Google lessons, helping business owners learn how to build an online presence, find more customers, sell online or work remotely. The content varies from two-minute tutorial videos to live workshops, and ranges from beginner level to advanced, so every business can find what they need to become more prepared. 

On the Google for Small Business website, business owners can find personalized Google product recommendations for their business, as well as helpful tips and practical guides to help small businesses get the most of these tools. 

And to reach even more small businesses, Grow with Google is partnering with SCORE and the International Downtown Association(iDA)  to complete a series of affordable and easily accessible Grow with Google workshops for 50,000 small businesses across the U.S. We will continue our partnerships with more than 7,500 organizations to bring virtual training events to local communities across the country. 

With this plan, we’re hopeful we’ll be able to help more leaders like Stella acquire the digital skills they need to help their business recover and grow moving forward. 

Get more out of Google Meet with these tips

With a lot more of our lives happening on video, you might have discovered more ways for things to go wrong during a call. Shaky camera, bad lighting—remember that time you could only understand every third word someone was saying?

With Google Meet, there are lots of ways to make video meetings and calls with loved ones more enjoyable and productive (and maybe even a little more fun). Here are a few tips and features that can help you avoid some common mistakes, and get even more out of Meet.

See and be seen with tiled layout for larger calls

Getting your colleagues together for a team video call? Or maybe you’ve organized a virtual trivia night with family or friends. It’s easy to see everyone’s face at the same time, as Meet enables you to see 16 participants simultaneously alongside any content that’s being presented. Changing the view when using Meet on the web is easy: click the three dots in the lower-right of the screen; in the Change layoutbox, select Tiled. (We’re planning to add more improvements here, including letting you see up to 49 participants at once and adding self-view to your tiled layout.)
Tile presentation on Meet

Easily see other participants while someone is presenting.

Think about lighting and check your background

Did you know that when using Google Meet on your phone, your video is now automatically enhanced to adapt to low-light conditions? That way you can take a video call from anywhere, even with suboptimal lighting, without worrying that others on the call won’t be able to see you. To improve the way others see you even more, be sure to:

  • Face the brightest light in the room (and be sure not to have bright light behind you).

  • If you have a light source you can point in a specific direction, try aiming it at the wall behind the camera. And turn on overhead lights if you have them.

  • Try to keep your camera at or slightly above eye level, so others don’t feel like they’re looking up at you. And make sure your laptop is on a steady surface. 

  • Consider your background. Choose one that isn’t distracting—and matches your personality and mood. (In the coming months, we’ll make it easy to blur your background or replace it with an image of your choice).

Join a meeting from Gmail

You don’t need to navigate away from your Gmail inbox to join or start a meeting. Just click “Start a meeting” or “Join a meeting” directly from the sidebar in Gmail. Once there, you can invite more people to join. (For help, read this article.)
Join a meeting from Gmail

Start or join a Google Meet video meeting from Gmail.

Have a quiet chat

Sometimes you might have a question during a video call but don’t want to interrupt the speaker. Or you might just want to share a document, meeting notes or a link with meeting participants. You can send messages or links to other video call participants with Google Meet’s chat feature. Just click the chat icon in the upper right corner of the meeting screen (if you’re working from your computerthe icon will be near the middle of your screen if you’re using your phone), enter your message, and click the “send” icon at the bottom right of the chat window.

Poor network connection? We hear you

Improve audio quality in Meet

Even with Meet’s new noise cancellation feature, a poor network connection or outdated hardware can make it hard to hear what others are saying. For G Suite customers, Meet lets you use your phone for audio while still using your computer’s camera and web browser to share and see video and presentations in the meeting. This can be done by dialing into the call directly or by having Meet call your phone directly. If you’re in a meeting, click More options (three dots on the lower right of your screen), then Use a phone for audio. Click Call me, enter your phone number, click Call me again, and then press 1 on your phone when prompted.


Other ways to improve the quality of your audio—and your meeting—include: 

  • Using a wired Internet connection in case your WiFi is congested.

  • Using a wired headset (or, at the very least, earbuds) to capture higher quality audio and reduce external noise.

  • Muting yourself when you’re not speaking, especially in a larger meeting.

  • Taking your call in a room with carpets, drapery and soft furnishings to help reduce reverberation.

Show only what you want

When presenting with Meet, you can choose to show your entire screen, a specific window, or a Chrome tab. When you’re in a video meeting, click Present now in the bottom right corner, and choose one of the three options. When you share a Chrome tab, you share that tab’s audio by default. It’s a great way to share a high-quality video without audio lag or graininess. (Learn more in the Meet Help Center.)
Present a tab in Meet

Present high-quality video and audio by sharing a Chrome tab.

For more tips on using Google Meet, visit the Meet training and help center

Building G Suite Add-ons with your favorite tech stack

Posted by Jon Harmer, Product Manager and Steven Bazyl, Developer Advocate for G Suite

Let’s talk about the basics of G Suite Add-ons. G Suite Add-ons simplify how users get things done in G Suite by bringing in functionality from other applications where you need them. They provide a persistent sidebar for quick access, and they are context-aware -- meaning they can react to what you’re doing in context. For example, a CRM add-on can automatically surface details about a sales opportunity in response to an email based on the recipients or even the contents of the message itself.

Up until recently, G Suite Add-ons leaned on Apps Script to build Add-ons, but choice is always a good thing, and in some cases you may want to use another scripting language.. So let’s talk about how to build Add-ons using additional runtimes:

First, additional runtimes don't add any new capabilities to what you can build. What it does give you is more choice and flexibility in how you build Add-ons. We’ve heard feedback from developers that they would also like the option to use the tools and ecosystems they’ve already learned and invested in. And while there have always been ways to bridge Apps Script and other backends that expose APIs over HTTP/S, it isn't the cleanest of workarounds. .

So let’s look at a side by side comparison of what it looks like to build an Add-on with alternate runtimes:

function homePage() {
let card = CardService.newCardBuilder()
.addSection(CardService.newCardSection()
.addWidget(CardService.newTextParagraph()
.setText("Hello world"))
).build();
return [card];
}

Here’s the hello world equivalent of an Add-on in Apps Script. Since Apps Script is more akin to a serverless framework like GCF, the code is straightforward -- a function that takes an event and returns the UI to render.

// Hello world Node.js
const express = require('express');
const app = express();
app.use(express.json());

app.post('/home', (req, res) => {
let card = {
sections: [{
widgets: [{
textParagraph: {
text: 'Hello world'
}
}]
}]
};
res.json({
action: {
navigations: [{
pushCard: card
}]
}
});
}

This is the equivalent in NodeJS using express, a popular web server framework. It shows a little bit more of the underlying mechanics -- working with the HTTP request/response directly, starting the server, and so on.

The biggest difference is the card markup -- instead of using CardService, which under the covers builds a protobuf, we're using the JSON representation of the same thing.

function getCurrentMessage(event) {
var accessToken = event.messageMetadata.accessToken;
var messageId = event.messageMetadata.messageId;
GmailApp.setCurrentMessageAccessToken(accessToken);
return GmailApp.getMessageById(messageId);
}

Another area where things differ is accessing Google APis. In Apps Script, the clients are available in the global context -- the APIs mostly 'just work'. Moving to Node requires a little more effort, but not much.

Apps Script is super easy here. In fact, normally we wouldn't bother with setting the token when using more permissive scopes as it's done for us by Apps Script. We're doing it here to take advantage of the per-message scope that the add-on framework provides.

const { google } = require('googleapis');
const { OAuth2Client } = require('google-auth-library');
const gmail = google.gmail({ version: 'v1' });

async function fetchMessage(event) {
const accessToken = event.gmail.accessToken;
const auth = new OAuth2Client();
auth.setCredentials({access_token: accessToken});

const messageId = event.gmail.messageId;
const res = await gmail.users.messages.get({
id: messageId,
userId: 'me',
headers: { 'X-Goog-Gmail-Access-Token': event.gmail.accessToken },
auth
});
return res.data;
}

The NodeJS version is very similar -- a little extra code to import the libraries, but otherwise the same -- extract the message ID and token from the request, set the credentials, then call the API to get the message contents.

Your Add-on, Your way

One of the biggest wins for alternate runtimes is the testability that comes with using your favorite IDE, language, and framework--all of which helps you make developing add-ons more approachable.

Both Apps Script and alternate runtimes for G Suite Add-ons have important places in building Add-ons. If you’re getting into building Add-ons or if you want to prototype more complex ones, Apps Script is a good choice.. If you write and maintain systems as your full time job, though, alternate runtimes allow you to use those tools to build your Add-on, letting you leverage work, code and processes that you’re already using. With alternate runtimes for G Suite Add-ons, we want to make it possible for you to extend G Suite in a way that fits your needs using whatever tools you're most comfortable with.

And don't just take our word for it, hear from one of our early access partners. Shailesh Matariya, CTO at Gfacility has this to say about alternate runtimes: "We're really happy to use alternate runtimes in G Suite Add-ons. The results have been great and it's much easier to maintain the code. Historically, it would take 4-5 seconds to load data in our Add-on, whereas with alternate runtimes it's closer to 1 second, and that time and efficiency really adds up. Not to mention performance, we're seeing about a 50% performance increase and thanks to this our users are able to manage their workflows with just a few clicks, without having to jump to another system and deal with the hassle of constant updates."

Next Steps

Read the developer documentation for Alternate Runtimes and sign up for the early access program.

Building G Suite Add-ons with your favorite tech stack

Posted by Jon Harmer, Product Manager and Steven Bazyl, Developer Advocate for G Suite

Let’s talk about the basics of G Suite Add-ons. G Suite Add-ons simplify how users get things done in G Suite by bringing in functionality from other applications where you need them. They provide a persistent sidebar for quick access, and they are context-aware -- meaning they can react to what you’re doing in context. For example, a CRM add-on can automatically surface details about a sales opportunity in response to an email based on the recipients or even the contents of the message itself.

Up until recently, G Suite Add-ons leaned on Apps Script to build Add-ons, but choice is always a good thing, and in some cases you may want to use another scripting language.. So let’s talk about how to build Add-ons using additional runtimes:

First, additional runtimes don't add any new capabilities to what you can build. What it does give you is more choice and flexibility in how you build Add-ons. We’ve heard feedback from developers that they would also like the option to use the tools and ecosystems they’ve already learned and invested in. And while there have always been ways to bridge Apps Script and other backends that expose APIs over HTTP/S, it isn't the cleanest of workarounds. .

So let’s look at a side by side comparison of what it looks like to build an Add-on with alternate runtimes:

function homePage() {
let card = CardService.newCardBuilder()
.addSection(CardService.newCardSection()
.addWidget(CardService.newTextParagraph()
.setText("Hello world"))
).build();
return [card];
}

Here’s the hello world equivalent of an Add-on in Apps Script. Since Apps Script is more akin to a serverless framework like GCF, the code is straightforward -- a function that takes an event and returns the UI to render.

// Hello world Node.js
const express = require('express');
const app = express();
app.use(express.json());

app.post('/home', (req, res) => {
let card = {
sections: [{
widgets: [{
textParagraph: {
text: 'Hello world'
}
}]
}]
};
res.json({
action: {
navigations: [{
pushCard: card
}]
}
});
}

This is the equivalent in NodeJS using express, a popular web server framework. It shows a little bit more of the underlying mechanics -- working with the HTTP request/response directly, starting the server, and so on.

The biggest difference is the card markup -- instead of using CardService, which under the covers builds a protobuf, we're using the JSON representation of the same thing.

function getCurrentMessage(event) {
var accessToken = event.messageMetadata.accessToken;
var messageId = event.messageMetadata.messageId;
GmailApp.setCurrentMessageAccessToken(accessToken);
return GmailApp.getMessageById(messageId);
}

Another area where things differ is accessing Google APis. In Apps Script, the clients are available in the global context -- the APIs mostly 'just work'. Moving to Node requires a little more effort, but not much.

Apps Script is super easy here. In fact, normally we wouldn't bother with setting the token when using more permissive scopes as it's done for us by Apps Script. We're doing it here to take advantage of the per-message scope that the add-on framework provides.

const { google } = require('googleapis');
const { OAuth2Client } = require('google-auth-library');
const gmail = google.gmail({ version: 'v1' });

async function fetchMessage(event) {
const accessToken = event.gmail.accessToken;
const auth = new OAuth2Client();
auth.setCredentials({access_token: accessToken});

const messageId = event.gmail.messageId;
const res = await gmail.users.messages.get({
id: messageId,
userId: 'me',
headers: { 'X-Goog-Gmail-Access-Token': event.gmail.accessToken },
auth
});
return res.data;
}

The NodeJS version is very similar -- a little extra code to import the libraries, but otherwise the same -- extract the message ID and token from the request, set the credentials, then call the API to get the message contents.

Your Add-on, Your way

One of the biggest wins for alternate runtimes is the testability that comes with using your favorite IDE, language, and framework--all of which helps you make developing add-ons more approachable.

Both Apps Script and alternate runtimes for G Suite Add-ons have important places in building Add-ons. If you’re getting into building Add-ons or if you want to prototype more complex ones, Apps Script is a good choice.. If you write and maintain systems as your full time job, though, alternate runtimes allow you to use those tools to build your Add-on, letting you leverage work, code and processes that you’re already using. With alternate runtimes for G Suite Add-ons, we want to make it possible for you to extend G Suite in a way that fits your needs using whatever tools you're most comfortable with.

And don't just take our word for it, hear from one of our early access partners. Shailesh Matariya, CTO at Gfacility has this to say about alternate runtimes: "We're really happy to use alternate runtimes in G Suite Add-ons. The results have been great and it's much easier to maintain the code. Historically, it would take 4-5 seconds to load data in our Add-on, whereas with alternate runtimes it's closer to 1 second, and that time and efficiency really adds up. Not to mention performance, we're seeing about a 50% performance increase and thanks to this our users are able to manage their workflows with just a few clicks, without having to jump to another system and deal with the hassle of constant updates."

Next Steps

Read the developer documentation for Alternate Runtimes and sign up for the early access program.

The Anywhere School: 50+ Google for Education updates

In the midst of all the change and uncertainty in the world over the past several months, the education community has never wavered in its commitment to learning and supporting students. At Google, we’re honored to work on tools that lighten the load for teachers, school leaders, families, and especially the students who have navigated learning from home with grace and resilience. 

As educators worldwide have reinvented their practice online, we’re also adapting our tools to meet the evolving needs of their new educational landscape. This year, we’re taking a virtual approach to “back to school” with The Anywhere School, bringing Google for Education announcements to hundreds of thousands of viewers in more than 250 countries around the world. 

Inspired by your feedback, we’re sharing over 50 new features across Meet, Classroom, G Suite and other products. Check out our other posts for deeper dives into the features, and continue to watch the keynote sessions, which are running live for the next 24 hours and will be available on demand if you need to catch up later. Here’s a birds-eye view of what’s coming. 

A safer, more engaging Meet experience

Earlier this year, we announced new features coming to Google Meet to improve moderation and engagement. Today, we’re sharing more details about these upcoming launches and when they’ll be available. Here are a few highlights:

  • In September, we’ll kick off with a larger tiled view of up to 49 people and an integrated Jamboard whiteboard for collaboration. We’ll also release new controls so moderators can choose to always join first, end meetings for all participants, disable in-meeting chat, and much more.

  • In October, we’ll launch custom and blurred backgrounds to provide some extra privacy. Breakout rooms and attendance tracking will also be launching for all Google Enterprise for Education customers, allowing for more engaged classes and insights on participation.

  • Later this year, we’re rolling out hand raising for all customers and Q&A and polling for G Suite Enterprise for Education customers. Plus, we’ll launch a new temporary recordings feature which will be available to all Education customers for free (premium recordings will still be part of G Suite Enterprise for Education). 

Better support for students, educators and admins in Classroom

With more teachers around the world using Classroom more than ever before, we’re working to make Classroom simpler and more efficient with new features.  

  • A new to-do widget on the Classes page will help students see what’s coming up, what’s missing, and what’s been graded. 
  • Teachers can now share a link to invite students to their class, which makes joining a class much easier. 
  • Classroom will soon be available in 10 additional languages, for 54 languages total.

Classroom also gives you access to originality reports, which are now better than ever. For example, educators can soon run originality reports five times per course (up from three previously). And with G Suite Enterprise for Education, educators will be able to see matches for potential plagiarism not only against webpages, but between student submissions at their school.

We’re giving admins more powerful tools to manage G Suite and Classroom. For example, school leaders with Enterprise licenses will have greater visibility into Classroom usage via new Data Studio dashboards, which allow admins to see active classes, measure feature adoption, and monitor teacher and student engagement. To support teachers and admins, we’re making it easier to sync Classroom grades with a push to your Student Information System (SIS), starting with Infinite Campus customers (and more SIS to come). Keep reading for more details on what’s new in Classroom.

Enhance your learning management system with Assignments

Our newest product for non-Classroom users is Assignments, an application for your learning management system (LMS) that gives educators a faster, simpler way to distribute, analyze and grade student work. This time-saving application helps educators automatically create and distribute personalized copies of classwork to each student's Google Drive folder, quickly provide feedback, and keep grading consistent and transparent with originality reports. Assignments is compatible with any LMS that supports LTI 1.1 and higher such as Canvas, Schoology, Blackboard and more. 

Help students turn in their best work with Docs

We recently launched SmartCompose and Auto Correct in Docs for educators and students. This will help them compose high-quality content faster by cutting back on repetitive writing, while reducing the chance of spelling and grammatical errors (by the end of this month, admins will be able to disable both SmartCompose and Auto Correct if they choose). Soon we’re also launching citations so students can format and manage their sources directly in Docs. With the citations tool, after adding the relevant attributes for a source, students can insert formatted in-text citations or a bibliography.

New resources and tools that continue to support families

As many parents and guardians supported their childrens’ learning from home this year, we heard about a big need for more resources and training for families on Google’s tools. To help, we’ve created the Tech Toolkit for Families and Guardians, which helps parents better understand the technology that their kids use in the classroom. Plus, we’ve added school accounts to Chrome OS so students can access Classroom and their school files while having the safety net of Family Link. We’re sharing many more product updates for families here.

Finally, educators can find free training, resources, and professional development programs like the new Certified Coach program to support them as they use these tools and features in their classroom in the new Teacher Center

Moving forward together

There’s so much more to share with you about what’s coming to Google for Education, and we encourage you to take some time to watch the keynote sessions from The Anywhere School event for all the updates. 


Most importantly, thank you for your partnership. We’re grateful for the insights you’ve shared with us, and we’ll continue to evolve our products to meet the unique needs of this moment. By working together, we can provide students with the education they deserve, no matter where it’s taking place.

When parents become teachers: tools to help students at home

Editor’s note: On August 11, 2020 Google for Education kicked off a global back-to-school event, The Anywhere School. Check out the full recap of product launches and our collection of announcements.

For me, life at home now means an office in my garage and three children at home attempting to learn. I’m still adjusting to my children making appearances on my Google Meet meetings, trying to schedule more walking meetings to squeeze in some exercise, and creating a schedule that my children will only loosely follow. Luckily, nobody knows about the chaos that ensues behind the scenes thanks to Google Meet’s noise cancellation feature!

With these changes, you may realize that you need a crash course in algebra or Shakespeare, and one on the digital tools your kids are using. The resources below, along with  our Tech Toolkit for Families and Guardians, including a video series, can answer your questions about helping kids with lessons and homework, new products and features to help with staying in touch with teachers, and safeguarding kids when they’re online. 

How to help kids with homework and learning from home

When a student turns to Google Search for help with STEM homework this fall, Search will connect them to potential explanations, a step-by-step breakdown for complex math equations and detailed information on the underlying concepts, like the notorious pythagorean theorem. These features help improve comprehension and understanding of core topics. 

Visualizing STEM concepts can be hard without labs or hands-on learning tools. Now, students can see 3D content on Search for nearly100 STEM concepts across biology, chemistry and more using compatible Android and iOS devices. If students search for “Quantum mechanical model,” they can view a 3D atom up close and use augmented reality (AR) to bring it into their space. Check out how to use 3D for STEM concepts. 

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3D Quantum mechanical model on Search from our partner Signal Garden.

When they’re stuck on a homework problem, students and parents can use Socratic and soon can use Google Lens to take a photo of a problem or equation they need help with. Socratic and Lens provide quick access to helpful results, such as step-by-step guides to solve the problem and detailed explainers to help you better understand key concepts.

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Use Google Lens to look up homework questions and get help

Read Along helps kids develop a love of reading. Diya, the in-app reading buddy, uses Google’s text-to-speech and speech recognition technology, to offer assistance for children when they struggle, and reward them with stars when they do well. 

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Use Read Along to help kids learn to read with the sound of their voice

When using Google Meet, turn on live captions to see English text. When you can’t meet teachers in person due to social distancing, you can meet them using video calls. If you're new to Meet, we’ve created a Guardian’s Guide that explains why schools choose Meet, and how you can use it at home. Teachers can also send you guardian summaries in Google Classroom to help you stay connected with your child’s work and overall progress.


And for a little help keeping your family on track with virtual learning, try using Family Bell on your smart speakers and smart displays. You can add bell reminders throughout the day that announce when it's time to start an online class, take a break, or settle in for reading time. To get started, simply say “Hey Google, create a Family Bell” or tap on Family Bell in your Assistant settings. Read on for more ways Google can help keep your family on track during the school year. 

How to help kids stay safe online

Family Link helps parents and guardians keep an eye on kids while they’re online. You can approve apps and extensions, set time limits, and use content filters to set boundaries for kids. And now, you can add aschool account for a Family Link user so you can set ground rules for your child while they do their schoolwork in Google Classroom, Docs, and other websites where you sign in with Google. 

With kids spending so much time online for school and virtual playdates, it’s important to talk to them about internet safety. From password security to phishing to behavior on social media, there’s a lot to talk about. Be Internet Awesome helps kids be positive digital citizens and stay safe online. It provides free family guides, tips from teachers, and Interland, a really fun game for kids to learn about online safety.

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How to learn more about digital learning tools

If your child uses a Chromebook, learn how to set it up on home Wi-Fi,  set controls like blocking access to harmful websites, and get more information on the Chromebook Help support pages. And make sure to check out the Tech Toolkit for Families and Guardians, which has a quick video series on our products and features, best practices for family engagement, and answers to the most frequently-asked technical questions. Guardian Guides offer easy-to-understand overviews of common school tools like Google Classroom, Chromebooks, and G Suite for Education. For more resources, check out Teach from Anywhere.

What’s new for admins in Google for Education this fall

Editor’s note: On August 11, 2020 Google for Education kicked off a global back-to-school event, The Anywhere School. Check out the full recap of product launches and our collection of announcements.

Educators, students and families have quickly adjusted to distance learning, and administrators have played a critical role in this success. Over the past few months, they’ve equipped teachers and learners with the tools they need. We’ve listened to what admins need to save time and meet new demands, and have made improvements so they are better equipped to keep supporting educators and students this school year.

Powerful insights in Classroom

Coming soon, admins who want to troubleshoot Classroom issues will be able to access Classroom audit logs directly from the Admin console. With audit logs, they’ll be able to pinpoint events such as who removed a student from a class or who archived a specific class on a specific date. 

Especially now, we’ve heard that admins want dashboards that give them detailed visibility into usage and adoption of Classroom so they can provide targeted training to teachers, or help intervene with students who aren’t engaged. At schools with G Suite Enterprise for Education, admins will soon be able to automatically import Classroom logs into BigQuery, where they can get much deeper insights into who is using Classroom and how they’re using it. With just a few clicks, they can also create a customizable dashboard on Data Studio, giving them a slate of engagement metrics, including metrics like how many assignments were created, submitted, or graded, and will be able to pivot by date, organizational unit, specific instructors, or specific students. 

Moderation tools for Meet

Meet has become a common tool for teachers and students to connect with each other. As more people rely on Meet, the need for improved moderation tools has grown.

Admins can already get insights into how students and teachers interact with Google Meet using the Meet Quality Tool within the Admin console. Admins can see an overview of meeting metrics, find and debug meetings, view network statistics (like jitter, packet loss and congestion), or view system (CPU) statistics. They can now delegate access to the tool to other people in their organization using a custom privilege in the Admin roles section. Plus, just like in Classroom, admins can access Meet audit logs in the Admin console.

Admins also have the ability to enable or disable Meet independently of Chat. And now, Meet blocks anonymous attendees by default for Edu domains; admins have the option to change this setting as needed.

Better workflows for G Suite

As schools increasingly use G Suite to support distance learning, they’re looking for easier ways to communicate and share knowledge. To improve school-wide or small group communication, admins can use the improved Google Groups experience to create and manage groups. Also, a new beta will allow teams to sharespecific folders within a Shared Drive to help admins make sure that the right information can be shared with the right people. 

SmartCompose, which automatically suggests words and phrases, and Auto Correct, which corrects misspellings or grammar issues, are both now available in Docs for education customers. By the end of this month, admins will be able to disable both SmartCompose and Auto Correct if they choose. 

A simpler way to trial G Suite Enterprise for Education

Lastly, admins who are interested in starting a trial with G Suite Enterprise for Education will soon be able to do so directly without support from a reseller. In order to activate the one-time 30-day trial, admins can enroll from the Billing section of the G Suite Admin console and provision up to 10 team members.

Admins make Google for Education tools work smoothly behind the scenes, so educators and students can get down to work. We hope the new features smooth out the rough spots in the admin workday. If you’d like to learn more about all the new products and features, watch our keynote session from The Anywhere School event.

Grading made easy with Assignments, an app for your LMS

Editor’s note: On August 11, 2020 Google for Education kicked off a global back-to-school event, The Anywhere School. Check out the full recap of product launches and our collection of announcements.

While educators would love to spend every second of the school day teaching students, a good portion of the day has to be devoted to administrative tasks like handing out teaching materials or grading student work. At Google, we’ve watched and listened closely as educators around the world have adapted to distance learning while carrying out the vital job of teaching, administering and engaging students. 

That’s why today we're launching Assignments, an add-on application for your school’s learning management system (LMS), to general availability as a core service for all G Suite for Education schools. With Assignments as part of your LMS, you’ll be able to easily distribute and grade classwork—all with the collaborative powers of G Suite. And just like Classroom, Assignments comes with originality reports that allow educators and students to review classwork for potential plagiarism.

Bring the G Suite experience into your LMS

Assignments makes Google Docs and Google Drive compatible with your LMS, so it’s easier to assign, collect, and grade student work. It’s built with the latest Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standards for robust security and easy installation. Assignments integrates with LMSs such as Canvas, Schoology, Moodle, Brightspace, Sakai, and Blackboard, or any LMS that supports LTI 1.1 or higher. Instructions on getting started and setting up Assignments in your LMS are available in the Assignments help center. 

Save time with a simple solution to distribute and grade

With Assignments, educators can automate repetitive tasks like grading and sharing coursework. For example, teachers can automatically create and distribute personalized copies of project documents for each student to edit and submit or set up Google Drive folders for a whole class. 

Assignments also simplifies the grading process with easy-to-use tools, such as comment banks that store your most frequently used feedback, reusable rubrics to keep grading consistent, and the ability to make direct margin comments, strikethroughs or highlights. Not only do these tools help teachers save time and give feedback that helps students learn, they also help teachers stay organized in the face of disruption. With these tools, educators can plan semesters in advance and adapt previous class materials to be used again.

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Assignments is compatible with any LMS that supports LTI 1.1 and higher.

Spot missed citations and possible plagiarism with enhanced originality reports

Reviewing writing projects to make sure they are original helps make sure students are thinking critically and developing authentic work. Originality reports, which are built into both Assignments and Classroom, provide educators with flags for potential plagiarism in student work and also help students quickly identify passages that may need citations. Educators and students can use originality reports without leaving Assignments, making it easier and faster to check work.

Over the coming weeks, we’re improving originality reports so that more educators and students can benefit from them. We’re increasing the number of free assignments educators can use the feature with, making reports available in new languages, and adding the ability to print, save and download reports for easy sharing. And for schools with G Suite Enterprise for Education, teachers will be able to detect potential plagiarism between students, in addition to web pages. Learn more about what’s new in originality reports in this blog post.

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Detect potential plagiarism between students with school matches, a feature of G Suite Enterprise for Education.

We hope Assignments and originality reports will help you reduce time spent on administrative tasks so you can find more ways to connect and engage with students. If you need more information about Assignments or originality reports, watch our keynote session from The Anywhere School event.