Who puts in a 9-5 day anymore? Or works on their own? The demands on our time are multiplying, information is increasing exponentially, and there are still only 24 hours in a day. So when you go to work, you don’t want to step back 15 years and use outdated tools that slow you down.

With Google Apps we want to free you from the weight of technology and help you work smarter. We want to help you better manage your time, find new ways to discover and share knowledge within your business, and collaborate with others more effectively.

We’re pursuing those goals by focusing on three areas: cloud, mobile and social. As 2011 draws to a close, we thought we’d share a few thoughts on our plans for each in the year ahead.

Cloud: The movement of computing to the web is inevitable and will only accelerate in 2012 as many large businesses join Fortune 500 companies like Guardian Life, MeadWestvaco, and Sanmina-SCI in the cloud. We also expect that 2012 will be a huge year in the cloud for small businesses, which represent 99.7 percent of all U.S. employers, yet only 10% of SMBs have deployed cloud technologies.

Our computing experience is designed for today’s world and built with entirely modern technologies far more powerful than the PC -- from apps to browser to OS to device -- to benefit businesses of all sizes. Our 100% web focus lets us innovate faster while delivering best-in-class reliability, security and support. In 2011 alone, we added more than 175 new features to Google Apps, while still delivering 99.99% reliability in Gmail.

Going forward, we’ll further integrate the products in the Apps suite to make the experience more seamless, and we’ll accelerate our efforts to make them even faster and more responsive. Our cloud services are another important area of investment, and they will make it easier for you to build scalable web apps and draw trends from huge amounts of data to make better informed decisions. More than 400,000 active applications already run on App Engine, an increase of more than 70% in the last year alone.

Mobile: Increasing numbers of employees are bringing personal devices to work, and there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all enterprise mobile plan. Forrester Research predicts that in 2012 more than 77% of organizations will support Android and iOS devices.* Looking at our own customers, more than 90% of Google Apps for Business users have deployed or are interested in using Android devices in their organization, and for good reason; Android version 4.0, called Ice Cream Sandwich, includes powerful enterprise features such as on-device encryption, VPN and Global Address List (GAL) support.

Managing all of these new devices can be very costly. But the cloud democratizes expensive enterprise software, making it affordable and easy to use for businesses of all sizes. We’ve integrated web-based mobile device management capabilities into Google Apps and recently introduced new features to help you grapple with growing mobile demands.

The best thing about mobile devices is fast and intuitive applications. Our ‘mobile-first’ strategy means our apps will work first and best across different mobile platforms and allow you to be productive from anywhere. Last year we improved our Gmail mobile web app, brought a Gmail app to iOS, introduced a Docs app for Android phones and tablets, and there’s more to come. We’ll continue to invest heavily in mobile and soon you’ll see the products you love work even better on your smartphones and tablets. Beyond our own apps, we foresee many developers increasing their focus on building mobile apps for businesses.

Social: We’ve made strong progress in bringing some of the best consumer technology to business in areas like email, documents, video and mobile devices. But there’s been a glaring exception: social. This despite the fact that businesses are inherently about people and relationships, and the web is ideally suited to groups collaborating together.

That’s changing in a big way. Over the last year we added features like rich discussions in Docs, and made Google+ available to Apps customers. Google+ is our effort to center our products around the hundreds of millions of people who use them every day. It promises reshape all of the services we offer. It’s already changing the way people share knowledge in companies like Journal Communications, which is using Hangouts to train employees on new software.

Our efforts will focus on two areas in the year ahead. First, on continuing the blistering pace of innovation that is bringing multiple improvements to Google+ every week, while also wrapping Google+ with the controls needed for broader use in large enterprises. Just last week we rolled out a number of improvements that make it even easier to connect to your colleagues, customers and business partners face-to-face-to-face via Hangouts and there’s much more to come. Second, on bringing Google+ to the rest of our products: incorporating features that make it easier to connect, share, and integrate with the wider world. The Google+ integrations with Gmail and contacts are one small example of our work to create a seamless and intuitive experience across Google.

Cloud, mobile, social. Fast, lightweight applications that makes it easier to work with others from anywhere. Those are the areas driving our investments for 2012, and transforming the way we work. Join us at

* Forrester Research, How to Connect your Mobile Workforce to Cloud-Based Email, December 12, 2011, by Christopher Voce and Christian Kane with Doug Washburn, Ted Schadler, and Lindsey Kempton


Editors note: Today our guest blogger is the Chief of Police, Dan Doyle, from Lake Havasu City in Arizona. Lake Havasu P.D. has 120 employees and they switched to Google Apps in May, 2011.

Lake Havasu City in Arizona is known to be the home of the historic London Bridge. Our Police Department is dedicated to making our community a safe and secure place to live and work. We are constantly looking for technologies that can help us provide the highest quality of services to the citizens.

Our police department had been using Microsoft Office for decades. Since most of our officers are primarily on the road in their patrol vehicles, accessing documents and information while they were away from their desks had long been a struggle. Many staff members would only be able to check email before they started a shift or after they returned to the office. Even though they were able to remotely connect to the data server via a mobile browser, they were only able to access straight text, not links or the rest of the Intranet.

These challenges prompted us to look for a solution that could meet the needs of our mobile task-force. After comparing available solutions on the market, the decision was made to adopt Google Apps for Government with the help of Google partner SADA Systems. Our officers are pleased. They respond to emails from the computers in their patrol vehicles or on their smart phones. In-person meetings are largely reduced as we are now able to exchange information much more efficiently.

Our operations Captain Joe Fiumara, having worked graveyard shifts himself, realized one of the unique challenges of police work is that officers are out on patrol 24/7 but detectives and the command staff work regular hours. Using Google Sites, Joe built an internal community site called “Water Cooler” that allows all officers to easily post questions and make comments via mobile devices even when they are out on duty. We’re proud that Joe has been recognized by Google as a Government Transformer for his ingenuity improving communication and collaboration in our department. We also use Google Sites for publishing training and policy documents, significantly reducing our paper consumption.

One of the most popular questions I received after our decision to migrate to Google was about the security of Google Apps. What I tell folks is that just because police departments tend to have good physical security, it doesn’t always mean we also have good network security. By moving our data to the Google cloud, we are able to take advantage of the FISMA certified security infrastructure that Google has built, which we have found to be more robust than the systems most mid to small agencies with limited resources (including our own department) are able to build on their own.

Our organization has a goal of increasing our mobility, enhancing communication, and reducing our use of paper. Google Apps meets our needs and moves us much closer to achieving our goals. Not only is our data more secure, but better access to information helps us keep the citizens of Lake Havasu more secure as well.


Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Scott Lawson, director of IT architecture for QAD, a 1,300-employee company that delivers supply chain collaboration software to 5,500 manufacturers in 93 countries. QAD turned to the Google Search Appliance (GSA) to enable employees and customers to search across multiple databases and content repositories such as Lotus Notes.

At QAD, we span 30 different locations around the world, from the corporate office in California to operations in South Africa and Thailand. We pride ourselves on the quality of support we deliver to thousands of manufacturers in 27 languages. We offer more than 50 product modules that are installed in building blocks to support different rules, industry regulations, and manufacturing styles of various countries.

QAD must provide complex, detailed product information to customers, customer service representatives as well as other employees within the organization. We offer a secure extranet where customers can find information such as white papers, data sheets, support ticket status, and technical updates. As an additional resource, our public-facing Internet site provides everything from case studies to product demonstration videos and access to an online support center.

Historically, internal and external users found it challenging to find the right product and service information. Data is stored in many different repositories: Lotus Notes, an enterprise content management and collaboration system, knowledge bases, file shares, QAD’s own customer service and support system, and internal websites. Our content sources had grown organically and were somewhat disorganized, and we had millions of documents that needed to be indexed.

We were using an Autonomy search system for our intranet and public facing site, but it was not meeting user expectations for usability and search relevancy. Autonomy was also time-consuming and expensive to maintain.

In 2010, our employees began working with Google Apps, and wanted Google’s signature ease-of-use and power for search as well. We decided to evaluate the Google Search Appliance (GSA) and consider abandoning the Autonomy solution. The GSA can connect legacy enterprise systems and provide advanced security and multiple language support—all-important priorities for our business.

We worked with Google partner Perficient to develop a search roadmap, proof of concept, and ultimately a streamlined implementation. The GSA was simple to deploy and has been easy to maintain because the appliance features a one-stop administrative interface for configuration and index controls.

For QAD, costs related to search are down, search relevancy is up, and IT is doing less maintenance work. Customer service representatives and customers can locate details about products and services with ease.

Users are able to search through a massive, rich content library housed in many different repositories, all from a single search box. With the GSA, we are linking communities of employees and customers together with content into a cohesive experience. It has made us even more of a unified global company.


Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Lance Trebesch, CEO of Ticket River, an event e-commerce company with 5 business units in the U.S., Australia and the United Kingdom. They offer services and products including online event management, ticket printing and design and customer-configured perforated paper. A PDF version of their case study is also available.

At Ticket River, we’ve helped customers set-up, manage and promote over 300,000 events. We’re based in Harlowton, Montana, but our customer support and software development teams are distributed across North America and Argentina and we have fulfillment partners in Australia and the U.K.

We developed and built all of our systems to be used in the cloud. All of our internal management systems, order processing and order-management systems are web-based and hosted by a provider. The one major exception was email. We were using Microsoft® Exchange but we were becoming increasingly constrained and frustrated with it. It’s expensive for a small business like ours, and it required a lot of IT resources to support.

We looked into Google Apps and were impressed by its capabilities and minimal training requirements. As a small business working with an extended team in six countries on three continents, Google Apps enables us be much more efficient with our communications and projects.

Google Apps has allowed us to streamline our software development, a process that extends across time zones and continents. Gmail gives our employees easy access to email on their Androids and iPhones, letting them stay on top of important issues wherever they are. This fast, easy, mobile access to Gmail allows us to run extended, remote teams with very little IT support.

Gmail capabilities such as message threading and integrated chat allowed us to improve our customer support process. This led to a 38% reduction in the average number of responses needed to resolve a customer issue, and an increase in single-response resolutions. The impact on IT support costs is equally dramatic. By taking Exchange out of the equation, as well as making our processes more efficient, we decreased our IT operating budget by about 28%.

Our relationship with Google extends well beyond Google Apps. Ticket River and our sibling site use Google AdWords as part of our inbound marketing model and we are heavily search engine optimized. We see Google as a huge enabler of startups and small businesses. Harlowton is a rural town of only 1000 people, yet Google's products are helping us build a thriving international business that provides great jobs.


Today, we’re thrilled to announce that the Utah State Board of Education has decided to begin offering support for Google Apps for Education to K-12 schools and districts across the state. The decision has the full support of the Utah Technology Coordinators Council (TCC), a group of IT professionals from Utah’s 42 school districts and other organizations that regularly advises the State Office of Education and Utah public schools on technology issues.

“The Utah State Board of Education and I are pleased to have worked out terms with Google to allow our Utah students and teachers to take advantage of Google Apps for Education,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Larry K. Shumway. “Google Apps for Education will allow greater collaboration between students, teachers, parents and schools to advance academic achievement.” Under the agreement, over 575,000 students and 25,000 teachers statewide will have access to Google Apps.

To support educators transitioning to Google Apps, the Utah Education Network will provide professional development to any school across the state that would like to receive training on Google Apps. In addition, the Southwest Educational Development Center and Washington County School District have offered to provide technical support to schools.

Charlie Roberts, the Technology & Media Director for 27,000 students at Washington County School District, estimates that his school district has saved more than $100,000 from switching to Google Apps. Beyond cost savings, teachers across the district are also using Google Apps to interact with students and parents in new way -- relying on Google Calendar to schedule parent teacher conferences, creating Google Forms for student elections, and setting up class websites using Google Sites.

Roberts has also added a few labs of Chromebooks. "It is a very exciting prospect because we anticipate little or no increase in overall support even though we will be adding hundreds of devices,” he said. “As students move to the Chromebooks, use of other hardware and client based software will be reduced or eliminated entirely, which will cause a reduction of the necessary support."

Utah joins eight other states with statewide support for Google Apps for Education: Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. In addition to Washington County, many other districts within Utah are already using Google Apps, including Alpine, Nebo and Davis school districts.

To learn more about the agreement, join representatives from Google and the Utah State Board of Education for a webinar on Monday, January 9, at 10:00am PT/11:00am MT.

Posted by Steve Arentzoff, VP of Marketing, VigLink

Editor’s note: Today’s guest blogger is Steve Arentzoff, VP of Marketing at VigLink. VigLink helps site owners monetize their online content by tagging outbound links so publishers get paid when readers make purchases. New links are also weaved into content by recognizing when web page content references products and merchants. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

From the beginning, we understood the value of cloud computing for a small business. Two years ago our founder, a former Microsoft employee, chose to start VigLink with Google Apps. He felt this was an easy decision for two key reasons: first, Google Apps was built from the ground up to be a cloud solution with real-time, multi-user features; second, our business is running about 75% Apple computers and 25% PCs, so we needed a solution that would support both platforms equally. With Google Apps, we didn’t have to download any new software or buy new hardware. The tools just worked through the power of the web, no matter what devices we were using.

Google Apps was not only cost-effective for a startup, but it also equipped us with the tools we needed to communicate and work together, no matter where we were. We have nineteen employees and offices in both San Francisco and Indiana, and with Google Apps, we’re able to connect all our employees and seamlessly communicate despite the distance between us.

We use Gmail and Google Docs heavily in our business, and we also take advantage of embedded chat and other collaboration features that make it easy for us to work together. My marketing team uses Google Docs pretty extensively, especially when working on new articles and press releases. VigLink is a startup, so there are no regular hours. Google Apps provides us with a great way for people to interact at two in the morning during the nighttime marathons. Our employees also enjoy the advantages of some of the other cool features that come with Google Apps. They make their calls through Google Voice and receive voicemail transcripts in their inboxes, which are easy to read and easy to search. VigLink’s mission is to help site owners around the world monetize their online content, and Google Apps has been a key tool to our success.

Posted by

Today we announced changes to the data that powers Google Maps API Premier, Google Earth Builder and Google Earth Pro in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Finland.

Among other improvements, the updated maps will show more detailed bodies of water and local parks and will ultimately provide better, more accurate geospatial information for your employees and customers. As Google Maps and Google Earth for Business customers, you can now share direct feedback about our maps and let us know about needed updates to the map in these areas by using the "Report a Problem" tool in the lower right corner of the map. We highly recommend that you re-geocode all of your data to take advantage of the new updated data.


Editors note: Scott Hintz, Gregg Brockway and Andy Denmark founded TripIt in 2006 to simplify the Internet travel experience by bringing together travel plans from multiple online sources into a single, centralized itinerary, and allow travelers to manage and share their travel plans. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

We launched TripIt with about 10 people back in 2007. We now employ about 50 and were acquired by Concur at the beginning of the year. It took all of one minute to decide that Google Apps provided the best tools for our growing team. As a Silicon Valley startup, our employees are very familiar with Gmail and we could count on them getting up to speed quickly without any IT training programs.

We attribute a lot of our internal business success to Google’s communication tools. Google Docs has become our primary collaboration tool and makes it easy for those outside our domain to work in tandem with internal employees. We rely on Google Docs for project planning and a lot of our accounting process. Before our acquisition, we used external bookkeepers to manage our accounting, do invoicing, etc. So we created Google spreadsheets where TripIt folks could enter invoice amounts and our accountants could access the doc and issue invoices based on our entries, then add confirmation information. Because Google documents are always up to date, TripIt employees could always track the status of invoices.

Plus, having a Google Docs link removes the email clutter that results from attachments, while allowing us the certainty that we’re all looking at the most recent version of the information. Before Google Docs, project prioritization was done using Microsoft Excel, which mandated a master owner and often resulted in outdated files. I can’t tell you how many times we were in meetings with people who were looking at different versions of the same spreadsheet.

Now we know the most recent versions of all our docs and the rest of our data are automatically saved in the cloud and accessible anywhere with an Internet connection. With hard drives, too many bad things can happen to your valuable files, especially as much as we travel. Mobile Gmail works great—it’s fast and easy—and we rely quite heavily on email and shared calendars while on the road. As a travel company, the mobile capabilities have become indispensable.

We’ve moved our offices three times in just four years. Because we’re now a cloud-based organization, it’s wonderful not having to lug around hardware and servers, and the fact that we never have to worry about interrupting critical email service is huge.

As a company that believes in the power of technology to simplify things, Google Apps is the perfect fit for us.


(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog and the Official Gmail Blog.)

We want to bring you a great experience across all Google products which, for Gmail and Contacts, means understanding what you care about and delivering it instantly. With that in mind, we’re introducing some new integrations with Google+ that we think will make Gmail and Contacts even better. If you use Google+, you can now grow your circles, filter emails and contacts by circles, keep all your contact information up-to-date automatically and share photos to Google+, all right from Gmail and Contacts.

Grow your circles from your email
Now when you open an email from someone on Google+, you can see the most recent post they’ve shared with you on the right-hand side of the conversation. If they’re not in your circles yet, it’s easy to add them straight from Gmail.

Find information from the people you care about most
Looking for the info on an upcoming family holiday gathering but can't remember who sent it? If you've spent time building your Google+ circles, you can now quickly use them to filter your mail, saving yourself from having to sift through that pile of daily deal emails and newsletters. You can see messages from all of your circles at once or from each individual circle. And if you want, you can show circle names on emails in your inbox. Contacts can also be filtered by circles, making it easier to view your social connections.

Keep your contact information up-to-date automatically
Manually entering contact information can be a huge time drain—so let your circles do it for you. If your contacts have a Google profile, their contact entry in Gmail will be updated with the profile information they’ve shared with you, including phone numbers, email addresses and more. If they change it in the future, you’ll get those updates automatically. You can also make sure the people you care about have your most up-to-date contact information by updating your own Google profile and sharing it.

Share effortlessly without leaving your inbox
Lots of great images are sent through email, but sharing those photos with friends on Google+ used to require downloading the image from Gmail and re-uploading to your profile. Not anymore: Now you can share photo attachments with one quick click. The image(s) will be uploaded to your Google+ photos and be viewable only to the circles that you choose to share with.

We’ll be rolling out all of these changes out over the next few days to Gmail, Gmail Contacts and the “standalone” version of Google Contacts at Please note that Google Apps users won’t see the Contacts updates quite yet, but we’re actively working to make them available.

All of these features (and the more to come) are the result of the great discussion that we had on Google+ with users in July. If you want to join in discussions like these, add the Gmail Google+ page to your circles. And if you haven't signed up for Google+ and would like to try these new features, visit this page to get started.


(Cross posted from the Official Google Blog.)

Last month 350 CIOs and thousands of live stream viewers joined us for Atmosphere 2011, our annual cloud event. Leading companies from around the world came to explore how businesses are using the web to drive collaboration, innovation and growth in their organizations. In case you missed them, the keynotes are now available on our YouTube channel. You can watch the entire conference in order on the Atmosphere playlist.

This year’s speakers included a best-selling author, award-winning computer scientists, Google executives and product managers, and several Google Apps customers including Flint Waters, CIO of the state of Wyoming, Bryson Koehler, SVP of Global Revenue and Guest Technology at IHG, Michael O’Brien, CIO of Journal Communications and Christine Atkins, VP of Group IT at Ahold.

One of the highlights was listening to Christine Atkins talk about Ahold’s experience moving 55,000 users to Google Apps and how, in her words, “Google Apps is helping us deliver on the promise that we've all been seeking: that of strong collaboration platforms that help our company come together and work together.” You can watch Christine’s presentation here:


Editor's note: In business since 1945, Ebby Halliday is one of the largest independent residential real estate companies in the U.S. with over 1,600 sales agents. Ebby herself, at 100 years old, is still very involved in the business and a well-known figure in the Dallas area. Ebby Halliday joins other real estate businesses like Baird & Warner and Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in going Google. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

As we approached our seventh decade of doing business, we needed to modernize our technology infrastructure to provide better communication and collaboration tools for our employees and sales agents.

Before Google Apps, we had an outdated, in-house email system, a continuing battle with spam, and a distributed base of real estate agents with no effective way to collaborate. Each user was allotted 1GB of email storage and email service was provided by a lone Unix server, a single point of failure that crashed every couple of weeks, frustrating agents. The web-based interface was slow, an ongoing source of complaints. Spammers, having tricked users into divulging passwords, would occasionally use the server to send spam, resulting in our email domain being temporarily blacklisted. Mobile functionality was sub-par in an industry that demands anytime-anywhere access.

Among the options, Google Apps was the best choice based on cost, simplicity, and functionality. With help from Google Apps partner Cima Solutions Group, we migrated email from the in-house server, trained 1,600 users, and got everyone operational within serveral months.

Being cloud-based, Google Apps is accessible from anywhere with Internet connectivity. Our agents can access their email, calendar, and contacts whether they’re at an open house, home or the office. That kind of access is key in a business where communication is essential.

Outages are no longer a worry and with each user having 25GB of storage, running out of space is a thing of the past. Spammers no longer bother us. However, the biggest benefit we've seen is the speed and functionality of Google Apps. Using Google Docs to compose a document, for example, is just as fast as using other word processors, and much simpler. Plus, the document is automatically saved every few seconds. We can continue working on the document at home, a coffee shop, or a field office. Little things like these add up to increased productivity and on the go access that's critical in this industry. Google Apps is the perfect suite of apps for the real estate industry. At Ebby Halliday we see this first-hand every day.


(Cross-posted on the Google Nonprofits Blog.)

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Mark Gillingham, Vice President of The Great Books Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization whose mission is to promote reading, thinking, and the sharing of ideas for people of all ages. The Foundation's 60 employees have been using Google Apps for over two years.

For the past 60 years, the Foundation has helped millions of students and adults make the reading and discussion of literature a lifelong source of enjoyment, personal growth, and social engagement.

We offer courses for teachers in person and online. The Foundation also publishes books, anthologies, and materials for all ages to provide quality texts to discuss.

We have a history of using free and open-source applications on our desktop computers and servers that are more flexible and powerful than the paid applications we had been using. Once we learned that Google Apps was available at no cost for nonprofits under 3,000 users, I gathered our IT planning committee to plan how to migrate 60 users from our existing system.

We had been using an onsite email system for years because it was part of our file system. Although we upgraded the system every two years, it never seemed up-to-date. We had issues reading certain types of documents and viewing images and web sites. Using the system away from the office caused problems because we needed special applications, which varied by operating system. The calendar was not compatible with our mobile devices and the document repository was difficult to manage. As a result, most staff did not utilize the IT solutions we were offering.

We planned our deployment with a local developer Rachel Baker, whom we met through NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network). She helped us understand what was required for a successful deployment and guided us through the process. We also used the Google Apps Marketplace to find a Google Apps reseller, Cloud Sherpas, whose specific migration knowledge and software helped us move all of our data.

At launch in 2009, our staff was thrilled to finally use a modern email program with highly reduced spam. Years later, some of us have still not gotten over this giddy feeling. More teams are using Google Docs to share internal and external documents. Google Calendar is the official way we schedule our meeting rooms.

Now in 2011, we're excited to try out Google+ in our organization to find new ways to collaborate. We are considering using Google+ to provide technical support for our employees. Also, we think our remote workers could use Google+ as an easy way to communicate with their peers and home base while travelling.

Part of my job is seeing the future so I can help direct the Foundation toward technology that will work for them. Google is always improving its products and launching new features. I love it when I can show someone the next new thing. It makes them smile, which makes me smile too.

If you are a U.S. 501c3 nonprofit interested in using Google Apps, please apply for our Google for Nonprofits program. If accepted into the program, you can receive up to 3,000 users for free, or a 40% Business discount on more than 3,000 users.

Non US-based organizations can sign up for a free Google Apps account with 10 users, or you are welcome to purchase Google Apps for Business.

To help you setup Google Apps quickly, Google provides many deployment resources, plus a simple in-product Setup Wizard.


I’m proud to announce that my alma mater, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, is the first service academy to move to Google Apps. Founded in the late 1800’s, the Academy is one of the oldest federal service academies. Its small campus on the banks of the Thames River, flanked by Connecticut College and the Groton Submarine Navy Base, is home to 1,100 students — called “cadets.” The Academy trains these bright young people, more than a third of whom are women, for positions of leadership in the Coast Guard.

Last January, all of the cadets migrated to Google Apps. The cadets have been really pleased with the new tools they use for email, coursework, collaboration with other cadets on a range of projects and even video chat with their families and friends.

The Academy started piloting Google Apps in early 2010 with 100 staff members from various departments. That spring, a faulty electrical transformer on campus knocked out power to the Academy for well over a week. Worse, it was the week of commencement, and they were quite literally powerless to do anything about it. The Academy had a catastrophic loss of email during that span when the on-premise email servers reached capacity. The only people who didn’t lose any email was the pilot group on Google Apps.

Between academics, military training and extracurricular activities, the life of a cadet can be pretty demanding. These “mobile warriors” are always on the go and need to access their email, class work and other information whether they’re on or off campus. Google Apps has helped the Academy meet the cadets’ needs for mobility.

The cadets are also using these tools to improve collaboration on team projects. One group of four cadets created a Google Site for their capstone project designing a mini gas turbine engine. They could simultaneously edit spreadsheets, use video chat to share ideas, and even work together with students and professors from other universities to gather input. The cadets are a driving force of change across the campus. Today, nearly half the faculty and staff have converted to Google Apps and that number continues to climb.

As a former cadet, I congratulate the Academy on this milestone. I could not be more pleased that the work we do at Google is helping current cadets.


Around the world, public servants are advancing the way government operates: building more transparent systems, bringing down costs and improving services. They’re doing this with ideas, technology, and passion for their work. When they see problems, they find solutions. They work together to build, fix, create. They imagine how things could be different. They transform their agency, their community, their country.

With Google Apps for Government, we’re pleased to provide some of the tools that help these “Government Transformers.” We are happy to recognize three of these transformers today:

Joe Fiumara, Lake Havasu Police Department, Arizona
Joe realized that officers are out on patrol 24x7 while supervisors and commanders work more regular business hours, making two-way communication a challenge. Joe used Google Sites to build a virtual “Watercooler” that lets officers ask questions, share information and generate ideas. Patrol officers now communicate directly with command, which fosters transparency and openness, even when they’re out on patrol.

Jason Kirkland, City of Lewisville, Texas
Playing golf or pool with Jason can be annoying since after every shot he tries to figure out a better strategy. When Jason realized city employees didn’t have easy access to the mounds of geospatial data the city of Lewisville had, he started thinking about ways to put it all to better use. The result: a layered map of Lewisville that uses Google Spreadsheets and Google Maps to let anyone find local schools, trash pick up days and other useful city information.

Jillian Ballow, State of Wyoming
Upon joining the Governor’s office, Jillian realized that the Governor’s staff lacked easy access to the most current data on a number of important policy issues. She used Google Apps to create a single site to track legislative issues, committee meeting schedules, policy staff participation, and the status of policies. Having all this data in one place makes it easy to keep the Governor and his staff informed and up to date.

Google Apps for Government is a full suite of email and collaboration applications designed for teams and built for the web. We’re proud that our tools are helping people like Joe, Jason and Jillian make a difference in their offices and their communities. We’re looking for more of these Government Transformers in the hopes that examples of their creativity can help other public servants who face similar challenges, in the U.S. and around the world.

So if you’re one of them (or know one of them), we invite you to share your story. What kind of problem did you fix? How did you come up with the idea? And exactly how did you make it happen? Submit your story in 300 words or a short video to by January 16, 2012. We’ll feature the best stories on and invite the very best to present at “Innovation for the Nation” 2012 in Washington, DC.

We can’t wait to see what you and your colleagues are doing for the world!