Tag Archives: Google Drive for Work

Top ways to save time and #maketime with Google Apps

Today we’re launching the #maketime website, which builds on the movement to hold uninterrupted time on our calendars during the hours when we’re most creative. The website helps you prioritize time for the things that keep you inspired, over the things that just keep you busy.

Did you know that we spend 2.25 hours a day on average answering emails and 86 hours a month on average in meetings? The workplace is changing. We have the freedom to work and collaborate across any device and the flexibility to finish tasks and create from wherever we are. But we’re also more accessible.

Use the #maketime website to look at how you spend your work hours, so you can stamp out needless time takers, and not just save time, but #maketime for the things that are important to you.

Here are a few ways you can save time to #maketime with Google Apps.

Save time with Reminders in Google Calendar

Use Reminders in Google Calendar to combine an evolving and editable to-do list with your scheduled events. See the items on your list that you haven’t “checked off” yet at the top of your calendar each day, until you give them that triumphant swipe “complete!”

And Reminders sync with your contacts, so you can add phone numbers and addresses. When it’s time to call in dinner reservations at a favorite restaurant, dial directly from the Reminder.

Save time with machine learning and Inbox

From Inbox, use Smart Reply to respond to emails without typing out the reponses yourself. Machine learning recognizes emails that can be answered with short replies and creates natural language responses instantly — often with a few versions to choose from.

Save time by researching and collaborating in Docs

Switching between tabs and tools costs incremental time that adds up. In Docs and Slides, you can use the Research tool to do a quick Web and file search for terms you need to gather more info on. And now you can do the same on the go within the Docs app on Android.

From Docs, Sheets and Slides, you can also use the instant comments feature on the Web or your Android or iOS device to add teammates to the conversation by simply adding their names (just start typing names and contacts will appear in the comment box). So when you’ve got some great feedback on a line of text or a table of data, you can add a note right next to it that sends an email. No need to go back into Gmail to draft an additional note.

Also in Sheets, Explore deciphers your data for you and automatically creates charts and insights that illustrate trends. The time cost on your end: seconds.

Save time by converting image text

One of the coolest recent innovations in Drive for Work is the Optical Character Recognition that converts text in images into text documents to collaborate on. You can take a photo of a whiteboard brainstorm or an inspiring message on the other side of the subway window and turn that photo into a shared doc.

We can’t stop the clock — or to a large degree control the number of emails that flood our inboxes or the amount of traffic that slows our work commutes. But we can find ways to make more minutes meaningful.

Because it’s gotta be super easy to find your files

(Cross-posted on the Google Drive Blog.)

When you store important files in Google Drive they’re not only safe, they’re accessible from any device. And finding them again from any device should be super easy so we’re rolling out a new search experience to get you better results — even faster.

Drive lets you search across all your files, regardless of the device they came from. To make that easier, you can use these new ways to find your files:
  • Narrow your search to a file type from the search box on Android, iOS, and the web.
  • Open advanced search instantly from the search box.
  • Access recent files or search Drive from the home screen using 3D Touch on iOS.
  • Search Drive using the iOS search bar without opening the Drive app.
Several behind-the-scenes improvements give your search queries even better results than they did before. And to get more specific results, anyone can now do the following:
  • Search for shared files by file owner using their name or email address.
  • Use advanced search options like the date a file was modified, words it contains, or who it was shared with.
This is all part of an ongoing effort to make Drive the easiest place to find your files. Look for these features as they roll out in the coming weeks.

The RSPCA rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes hundreds of thousands of animals a year with help from Google Apps for Work

Editor's note: Today we hear from Billie Laidlaw, Assistant Director Resources-IT at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the UK’s oldest and largest animal welfare charity with 1600 employees across England and Wales. In 2014 the £43 million that the organisation received in voluntary donations helped rescue more than 128,000 animals from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Read how the RSPCA is using Google Apps for Work to help give these animals a new chance.

I often refer to our IT spend as kitten food, since that helps us focus on its value. Every pound we save with our solutions helps to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals across the country. So when our legacy email system reached the end of its working life, we wanted great value for money in the short term and opportunities for cost-saving and innovation further down the line. With Google Apps for Work, we got both.

We started the rollout with the IT team, then added superusers, then everyone else. We called these stages “ready,” “steady” and “GO.” In the “steady” stage, we trained up superusers and gave them t-shirts and flags so their colleagues knew who to turn to for advice. We installed timers on everyone’s desktops with a day-by-day “Countdown to Google” that created a real sense of excitement about the change and used Forms to gather post-go live feedback from 1,000 members of our team. The response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

From the start, we saved significantly on equipment costs alone. Our previous system operated from more than 40 servers, all of which have been decommissioned and will never have to be replaced. At £3,500 per server, that saved us £140,000 just on equipment. And digital signage now costs one tenth of the price we used to pay, from £1,500 per store to a solution using Chromebox and Slides that costs just £150 per store. Chromebooks have proven so cost effective that we bought 150 this year and plan to adopt them further. And because they connect to Drive, we don’t need to carry heavy paperwork around, which is good for the environment, our budget, and our backs. Also, when we needed to add 500 staff to our email platform, we did it in a matter of days with no additional infrastructure other than the provision of Android smartphones.

Every year we find new homes for more than 50,000 animals, and Google Apps tools make that rehabilitation process so much faster. Our 500 RSPCA inspectors are out in the field every day, investigating animal cruelty and complaints. Under our old system, none of them were connected to a central email hub, but now they all have Gmail and Drive on Android phones and access to Chromebooks, so they can instantly share test results, check documentation, send pictures and request temporary accommodation for an animal at one of our animal centres. And as soon as an animal is ready for rehoming, the quest begins to find new owners. We used to make promotional videos that we would burn to DVDs and deliver to our shops and centres by hand once a month, but now we can use Slides and a Chromebox to send promotions instantly to our screens, the same day an animal’s ready for a new home. No driving, no hassle with DVDs.

We’re committed to creating a more united, mobile, flexible workforce by the RSPCA’s 200th anniversary in 2024, and with Google Apps for Work, we’re well on the way to making that a reality. Working together in Docs isn’t just making our internal processes more transparent, it’s connecting people from parts of our organisation that otherwise operate independently and allows us to share knowledge and advice across the country. Hangouts let us meet face-to-face online and keep workflow moving with instant messaging. We’re also using Calendar to keep in synch and Sheets to work out duty rosters and book holidays.

Every time a supporter puts a pound in one of our collection tins, they want it to be spent wisely. By streamlining our services with Google Apps for Work, we make sure that more of that money serves the animals who need it. In the end, it could be food for a kitten, or a puppy, a horse, a seal, a hedgehog…

Looking back at Marie Curie’s radical discovery: How the Mother of Modern Physics might have used Google Apps

Editor's note: We’re jumping into our Delorean to explore how some of our favorite historical figures might have worked with Google Apps. Today, in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we imagine how Marie Curie’s discovery of radioactivity, which won a Nobel Prize and revolutionized modern cancer treatment, might have played out in a Google Apps universe.

Consider what Marie Curie accomplished in the face of adversity and with few resources. Despite being refused a place at the French Academy of Sciences and almost denied her first Nobel Prize for being a woman, she continued her work undeterred, securing a second Nobel Prize in Chemistry and developing methods for treating cancer with radiation therapy. To celebrate her, we explore how she might have worked in a different time — by using some of the tools we use today.

The radioactivity in Curie’s lab was so strong that it harmed her health — archivists today still use protective gear to handle her papers. Instead of carrying these radioactive documents, Curie could have kept them in the cloud with Google Drive, allowing for easy access whenever and wherever she needed them, without risking her well-being. Drive’s organization features could also have helped her organize her files and notes in folders, easily distinguishable by color and category.

Her easy access to files would also be secure with Drive’s built-in security stack. And to prevent anyone from stealing her discoveries, Marie Curie could have conveniently protected all of her files using the Security Key for 2-step verification along with password protection. This would ensure that she was the only one who had complete access to all of her work (she may even have thrown on a screen protector to shield her work from spying eyes on the train). To share the right documents with only the right people, Marie could have used sharing controls to give different groups access to relevant research.

With the voice typing feature in Google Docs that supports 40 languages, she could have dictated her numerous notes in her native Polish without stopping her research. She could have then used Google Translate to convert her papers into other languages, so that the global science community could see what she was working on.

Curie could have used Gmail’s Priority Inbox to create labels and organize her messages related to research, teaching and fundraising. Each label filters emails into its own section in her inbox, making it easy to notice new emails when they arrive. She might have created a “Physicist Community” label for correspondences with Pierre and other influential scientists like Henri Becquerel and Albert Einstein. She might also have used a “Fundraising” label to organize messages from members of the press and government who funded her research, including U.S. presidents Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover.

Even Marie Curie could have been the victim of seemingly neverending reply-all email threads. With Gmail, she could have avoided these distractions by muting the message so responses are automatically archived. For example, Curie could have muted the message from her Sorbonne colleagues who abused “reply all” in RSVP emails or broke out into a physics debate, letting her focus on important emails only.

With Google Hangouts, Curie could have broadcast her physics classes to a global audience using Hangouts on Air. As the first woman professor at the Sorbonne in Paris, making her classes available online could have given more women access to lectures from a renowned physicist during a time when many universities wouldn’t admit female students. She might even have started her own grassroots movement, using live video chats to bring advanced science into the homes, coffee shops, underground classrooms, etc., of whoever chose to tune in.

Marie Curie accomplished award-winning work, even without access to the most advanced lab technology of the time. It’s humbling to consider that despite any limitations she encountered, Curie’s pioneering work in radioactivity remains so relevant today as we continue to make advances in not just physics and chemistry but also engineering, biology and medicine, including cancer research, on the basis of her discoveries.