Editors note: Today, we welcome Mayor Francis G. Slay of the City of St. Louis, the latest U.S. city to move to Google Apps for Government.

Email keeps City employees and departments connected, and it's how our residents and businesses get in touch with their City government. Our current email system – old and unreliable - hasn’t worked very well for a while. Employees have had trouble accessing email and attachments, and they experienced email outages and delays. When City employees aren’t at their desks, it’s been difficult for them to access the email server from mobile devices or from computers outside of the network. All of these challenges hampered our ability to collaborate among each other and respond to citizens efficiently – or to hear from them at all.

With an email system that held us back, we wanted to find a new system. After evaluating several competitive bids, the City of St. Louis selected cloud-based Google Apps for Government because it best suits our needs for a reliable, secure, and cost-effective email system. Our employees are not only able to access email reliably at their desks, but will be able to stay connected, anytime, anywhere. This will likely make them more productive; it will certainly make them happier. Because Google is a familiar and trusted brand (and many employees currently use Gmail for their personal email), I’m confident that this will be a smooth transition.

We look forward to working closely with Google and Daston Corporation, a Google Apps Premier Reseller, to complete the migration in the next few months. We are proud that the Gateway to the West is now moving to the cloud.


Editors note: Johnston Press, one of the UK’s leading local newspaper publishers, has just announced a bold plan to transform its sales operations. Today’s guest blogger, CEO Ashley Highfield, has been discussing what’s in store.

Johnston Press is a major publisher of quality local newspapers and local Internet sites in the UK. It owns 230 local newspapers - most of which hold the number one position in their respective markets across the UK and Ireland. At JP we base our publishing philosophy on local service to local communities and we pride ourselves in delivering unique content across a variety of channels, always with the view that “content is king”.

Today, we’ve announced that Johnston Press is embarking on a new plan to transform the advertising sales operation - introducing new solutions and ways of working.

One of the major pillars of this plan is Google Apps for Business - which will be adopted by our employees as their core email system, allowing them to work together in new ways. Google Apps will allow our employees to access their information at any time, from anywhere and will enable them to work more efficiently as a team, no matter where they are.

We will also equip our 1,500-strong sales team with the customer relationship management system (CRM), which will be integrated with Google Apps for Business. More than 800 non-office-based sales staff will be given iPads to allow them to work remotely and stay in touch when on the road - significantly improving their sales effectiveness at customers’ premises.

This initiative will help drive innovation by making it incredibly easy for JP’s sales executives to communicate, collaborate, and share business information. I see the move as part of the creation of a new social enterprise that places our regional newspapers at the hearts of their communities.


Google Apps has customers all over the world from Spain to Canada, and today we’re bringing you news from Japan. Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. announced that they’re moving all 30,000 employees to Google Apps by May 2013, becoming the largest Google Apps customer in Japan to date. Sompo is the largest property and casualty insurance company in Japan, operating 700 offices across 28 countries. Through a network of 45,000 agencies, they help a large base of customers with damage insurance, life insurance, and asset management.

Using Google Apps, Sompo will make strengthening its internal communication the centerpiece of their strategy, which will be critical for their planned merger with Nippon Koa Insurance in early 2014. Additionally, Google Apps will make it easier for employees to work remotely, stay connected to overseas offices, and seamlessly communicate using mobile devices.

Posted by: Barbara Yang, Google Apps Team

Music is a huge part of our culture at Google, and I’m really excited that the music festival season is just getting started. If you were at Coachella (which we livestreamed on YouTube this year) or have plans to go to go to another festival, you're probably just as excited.

Musicians, record labels, and music companies are using technology to do some amazing things, like producing on-stage holograms or experimenting with new online distribution models. It’s common for artists to launch their careers on YouTube, broadcast a performance on Google+ Hangouts, or connect with their fans using social media. But beyond the tech-coolness we hear a lot about, the music community is also taking advantage of technology behind the scenes - or rather, in the cloud - to develop their businesses.

I’m proud to say that some of today’s musical entrepreneurs are using Google Apps for Business. Whether it’s having the freedom to run a new indie record label, the flexibility to manage up-and-coming music artists on tour, or the ability to collaborate across the globe, Google Apps helps these teams focus on what they love the most - the music. We want to share three stories about awesome music companies using Google Apps to grow and evolve:

Music Clout is a startup formed by a group of guys with a die-hard passion for music. The idea is simple: create an online community that connects independent artists with music industry contacts and opportunities. They launched their company with Google Apps to make it easier to work together internally and with their team of contractors. Since their web development team works from Turkey, the combination of chat in Gmail and Hangouts allows them to instantly discuss website programming and other technicalities, while saving the team from high phone bills.

GHouse, a Boston-based record label, works with musicians from various genres, including electronic, reggae, rock, and country. Beginning as a side project by a college music student, it’s evolved into a full-time business. Initially, the team relied on a remote server and legacy software that were always stalling or crashing on them. They switched to Google Apps so that they could easily work together anytime, anywhere online, and on any device with Internet connectivity. With Google Docs, the team can easily share music tour dates and track all of their profits from the shows.

Founded in 2007, Fly South Music Group is an artist management firm out of Orlando, FL with satellite offices in Nashville and Los Angeles. The company set up Google Apps because it wanted a common platform for company email, calendars and documents that could be shared between all their clients, families, labels, tour managers and promotion coordinators. Today, it’s become essential to their workflow from scheduling to budget management with access to information from anywhere. This accessibility provides a whole new layer of transparency that keeps everyone in sync, especially while traveling around the world.

Google Apps has given these companies the built-in collaboration they need to communicate better, work smarter, and stay focused on bringing new talent and fresh ideas to the music industry.


Today, we’re introducing Google Drive—a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your work. Whether you’re drawing up floor plans with a client, creating a presentation with classmates or planning next year’s budget with colleagues, Drive makes it easy to work together. You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond.

With Google Drive, you can:
  • Create and collaborate. Google Docs is built right into Google Drive, so you can work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once you choose to share content with others, you can add and reply to comments on anything (PDF, image, video file, etc.) and receive notifications when other people comment on shared items. As a business user, you can share files or folders with specific people, your entire team, or even customers and partners outside your company, controlling who can view or make edits.
  • Store everything safely and access it anywhere (especially while on the go). All your stuff is just... there. You can access your stuff from anywhere—on the web, in your home, at the office, while running errands and from all of your devices. You can install Drive on your Mac or PC and can download the Drive app to your Android phone or tablet. We’re also working hard on a Drive app for your iOS devices. And regardless of platform, blind users can access Drive with a screen reader.
  • Search everything. Search by keyword and filter by file type, owner, activity and many more. Drive can even recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Let’s say you upload a scanned image of an old newspaper clipping. You can search for a word from the text of the actual news article. We also use image recognition so that if you drag and drop photos of the Grand Canyon into Drive for an upcoming ad campaign, you can later search for [grand canyon] and photos of its gorges should pop up. This technology is still in its early stages, and we expect it to get better over time. Open more than 30 file types right in your browser—including HD video, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop—even if you don’t have the corresponding program installed on your computer.

We know you rely on your files to get work done every day. Drive uses the same infrastructure as other Google Apps services, meaning it also has the same admin tools, security and reliability, including:

  • Centralized management: New tools available in the Apps control panel for administrators to add or remove storage for individuals or teams of users.
  • Security: Encryption on data transfer between your browser and our servers, and optional 2-step verification that prevents unauthorized account access by having users sign in with a secure code from their mobile phone.
  • Data Replication: Simultaneous data replication in multiple data centers, so that in the unlikely event that one data center is unavailable, your files will still be safe and accessible.
  • Uptime: 99.9% uptime guarantee so you can be confident that your files will be available whenever you need them.
  • Support: 24/7 support for assistance when you need it.

Each Apps user gets 5GB of storage included and administrators can centrally purchase and manage more. When a user reaches their limit, administrators on Google Apps for Business accounts can buy storage as it’s needed. Start with an additional 20GB for $4 per month and add as much as 16TB. (Just as before, Google Docs don’t count against your storage quota.)

Starting today, Google Apps administrators will see new controls for Drive in the control panel.  Users at organizations on the Rapid Release track will be able to opt-in to Drive at

Drive is built to work seamlessly with your overall Google experience. Drive is also an open platform, so we’re working with many third-party developers so you can do things sign documents with DocuSign and HelloFax, design flowcharts with Lucidchart and manage projects and tasks with Smartsheet directly from Drive. To install these apps, visit the Chrome Web Store—and look out for even more useful apps in the future.

This is just the beginning for Google Drive; there’s a lot more to come. Contact our sales team or a Google Apps reseller if you are interested in signing up for Google Apps and Drive.

Note: At launch it is not possible for organizations using Google Apps for Education or Google Apps for Government to centrally purchase and manage additional storage.

Posted by: Chris Farinacci, Senior Director, Google Enterprise

There are about 9,000 community curbside recycling programs and 3,000 community composting programs in the United States. I’ve been recycling since I moved to California in the 90's, and in the U.S. we’re lucky that many communities have recycling and composting services. But there’s still more to be done – we only recycle or compost 33% of the 243 million tons of trash generated each year.

I’m encouraged to hear about some of the cool ways that people and organizations are coming together to re-think how we can recycle, reduce, and reuse. In honor of Earth Day, we’d like to share the stories of three organizations that take recycling to the next level, using Google products to help.

Andrew Sell started out as a personal hunter/gatherer of “upcycled” products. There are a lot of companies that manufacture recycled products by recovering difficult-to-recycle materials from landfills and turning them into useful items, and the market continues to grow. Recognizing a need to connect the growing number of manufacturers with consumers, Andrew created an e-commerce website, Hipcycle, almost a year ago in Ocean Township, New Jersey with the budget of a typical startup. 

Andrew, or Chief Hipcycler, chose to manage his new company with Google Apps due to low costs, ease of set up, and the ability to provide custom email addresses to employees, contractors and bloggers. Hipcycle also uses Google Docs to track order statistics and share them with manufacturers, Google Calendar to keep the social media team aligned on topics and timing, and Google+ Hangouts to communicate directly with customers. Google Analytics provides data on site traffic and activity.

Not far away in Brooklyn, New York, Eva Radke identified another opportunity to eliminate needless waste. Having spent 15 years working in film, Eva saw two trends: a growing amount of waste and a general desire for environmental responsibility in the industry. After film shoots, large, awkward items like furniture are brought to landfills and Eva became passionate about finding a better way to use the waste.

In 2008 Eva’s passion became a full-time non-profit organization that collects waste from the film industry and sells or donates the goods to students and partner charities. For example, a women’s shelter receives bedsheets and towels from Film Biz, allowing them to free up their non-profit dollars to spend on education and therapy for its residents. Eva says she doesn’t know where she’d be without Google Apps. Since day one, she’s been using Gmail to stay up-to-date while traveling and Calendar to schedule everything from set clean-outs to school trips to donation drop-offs. Google Docs allows her team to edit documents together and they rarely need to use paper, which helps them stay even more green.

As the name would indicate, Cell Again buys and sells used mobile phones. With the rapid proliferation of mobile devices - and trend of consumers purchasing new phones every couple of years - there’s a seemingly endless quantity of second-hand cell phones. Tucker Nielson wanted to keep these phones out of landfills so he started CellAgain with just a few employees in Salt Lake City. The company has been so successful that there are now eight stores and 87 employees, which he expects to double this year.

With rapid company expansion plus growing franchise and wholesale operations, Tucker says that Google Apps has been his savior in terms of staying organized. Tucker set up Google Apps for on his own and uses Gmail to stay connected to his management team from his own cell phone. He also hosts nearly everything in Google Docs, including company manuals, shift schedules, timesheets, job descriptions and more. And Google AdWords helps CellAgain make sure that consumers looking for a refurbished cell phone can find their local franchise or kiosk.

Each of these companies help keep environmental impact low and Google is working to do its part as well. We’re a carbon neutral company, and Google Apps (and all the products in our cloud) have a "net zero" impact on the environment.

Happy Earth Day.


Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Mary Gendron, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, at Celestica, a Toronto-based innovative supply chain solutions company that provides end-to-end product lifecycle solutions from design and manufacturing through to delivery and after-market support.

Our talented global team is dedicated to delivering innovative supply chain solutions to our customers – helping them to stand out in their markets. This requires our employees to work together effectively and increase the sharing of knowledge and ideas across functions and geographies.

After piloting Google Apps, we quickly realized it would enable our global workforce to work more collaboratively, and as a result, we have recently decided to move 19,000 of our employees to Google Apps. Now my team can meet spontaneously using the video chat feature in Gmail or draft our team strategy simultaneously in a Google Doc. That type of collaboration allows us to build on everyone’s ideas to develop better solutions. Also, by sharing a document where all team members have the opportunity to contribute, everyone is invested in the project because we did it together.

Because we’re no longer tied to different time zones or other people’s schedules, we can work together where we want, when we want, and we can all edit a document together in real time. With Google Apps, the stress of compiling edits in time for a meeting or ensuring you are presenting the final version of a deck are gone. Recently, I was working on a strategy document with my team. I could close my laptop in the evening and know that, when I woke up, those in a different time zone or who preferred to work at night would have added their comments and input directly in the document. Overall, we’re accomplishing more together and faster than before.

We’re in the early stages, but I believe Google Apps will help us achieve our objectives faster, more efficiently and with greater success.

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is John Hur, Director of Information Technology at Golf Town, a destination for everything golf headquartered in Ontario, Canada. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

At Golf Town, we’re all about the game. From footwear and apparel to clubs, bags and balls, we supply everything golfers need to play their best. Since we opened our doors in 1999, we’ve grown to over 60 stores and over 1000 employees across the U.S. and Canada.

We’ve grown quickly, adding up to seven stores a year, and it became increasingly difficult to keep our employees connected to each other and the company. We needed to give our team a better way to communicate and collaborate across multiple stores so things didn’t start to slip through the cracks. In 2009 we started to look at moving our email, documents and calendar to a better platform. We looked at Microsoft® Exchange and Google Apps, and found that Google Apps was more affordable and provided us with the best set of tools to improve communication and collaboration.

Now that we’ve switched to Google Apps, we’re able to see each other’s availability through Google Calendar and keep each other in sync with group calendars. For example, The marketing team has implemented a calendar that shows which advertisements are running at each store location and their duration. The calendar is shared with floor managers so they can be prepared to answer customer questions and honor any promotions.

Docs also helps regional managers streamline important daily processes. Each day, our regional managers compile sales reports from all of their individual store managers. Instead of compiling attachments sent from each store manager, regional managers can use one Google document to collect information quickly and easily. Plus, since Google Apps is web-based, employees can access this information from their Android mobile devices. This saves hours of time and energy each week, and it’s just one of many processes that are simpler and easier with Google Docs.

For us, Google Apps has been a hole in one. My IT team no longer needs to focus on supporting e-mail because everything is accessible via the web and Gmail is so intuitive. In fact, our support requests for email have gone down by over 95 percent. And, employees are happy because they can get to their information from anywhere and easily collaborate with their co-workers. Google Apps provides the tools that help our growing business run more efficiently. We’re excited to have Google help us prepare for our next 60 stores.


Earlier in 2012, I became a United States citizen, more than 14 years after moving to the U.S. from my native Canada. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll continue to root for Team Canada when it comes to hockey and Canada will always have a special place in my heart. That’s why I’m particularly proud that the City of Edmonton announced today its plans to move 9,000 city employees to Google Apps. In keeping with its reputation as a forward-thinking local government, Edmonton will become the first major Canadian city to go Google.

Edmonton, the capital city of the province of Alberta, is the northernmost North American city with a metropolitan population over one million. Its decision to move to Google Apps for email, calendar and other collaboration tools supports Edmonton’s strategic plan, which calls for “finding new ways to become even more collaborative, open, responsive and innovative.”

Google Apps will provide a unified communications platform for all municipal employees, bringing email to roughly 3,000 “deskless” city employees for the first time while providing additional tools to help all employees work together. As a result, the City of Edmonton’s employees will have a more inclusive, collaborative work environment while giving the city more value for its technology investments.

While Edmonton may be the first city in Canada to go Google, it’s in great company with other city governments in North America─like Pittsburgh, Orlando and Zapopan, Mexico─that have already made the move. And personally, I’m grateful to Edmonton for giving me a good reason to visit Canada later this year to check on their progress!

Posted by: Jeff Jones, Vice President, Admiral Pest Control

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest blogger is Jeff Jones, Vice President of Admiral Pest Control, a pest control and extermination business with two locations in Los Angeles and Orange County, California.

Admiral Pest Control is a fourth generation family-owned business. The company was started by my grandfather in 1947, and with every generation there have been new ideas on how to run more efficiently. We handle everything from termite inspections, to pigeon control for residences and businesses throughout the Long Beach area. With a team of 40 people, we’re big enough to accommodate the needs of our clients, but small enough to have a personal relationship with them too.

For many years, we had a Microsoft Exchange server and when it came time to upgrade, we realized we needed a change. The price to upgrade was costly and we had experienced frequent outages. So, we decided to switch to Google Apps for Business which offered a far more reliable and cost-effective way for our employees to communicate from their desks or the field.

Our staff spends a lot of time at customer locations and can now easily check their email and schedules from their mobile phones. They can see where their next customer visit is or whether there’s been a cancellation without making a trip back to the office.

We’ve also improved how we communicate with our customers using Google Forms. We embedded a form on our website where customers can fill in their contact information and describe the problem they’re experiencing. Incoming inquiries are centralized in a single spreadsheet that gets updated in real time as a form is submitted. We’re able to better manage requests and reply quickly, and our customers appreciate that we make it so easy to contact us. Customers can also provide feedback on our services through a separate form on the website.

Google Apps has helped us to better communicate as a team and better communicate with our customers at a price that fits our family business. We’re excited to have Google take us into the next 65 years.


In April 2010, 89 million U.S. households returned a census form in which they answered ten basic questions. Once collected, aggregated, and published, the 2010 U.S. census provided rich insights into the makeup and distribution of the U.S. population. However the resulting demographics, which cover all 50 states, over 3,000 counties, over 70,000 census tracts, and over 200,000 block groups, are extremely challenging to obtain and visualize on a map.

Today we are making U.S. demographics visualization accessible and easy for our Google Maps API for Business customers with the launch of the new Demographics Layer in Maps API v3. The Demographics Layer enables Google Maps API for Business developers to add visualization of U.S. demographics provided by Nielsen to their Maps API applications.

Developers can select from 34 statistics to display on the map at state, county, census tract or block group granularity, including:
  • population
  • age
  • race
  • marital status
  • housing status

Data is available for 2010 and 2011, in addition to projected data for 2015 and 2016.

Google Maps API for Business applications using the Demographics Layer can control how the data is styled, such as defining color thresholds or gradients, and also define style rules based on expressions across statistics that are evaluated in real time. For example, by defining a gradient style based on the expression “population / area” you can visualize population density on the map.

The Demographics Layer is now available to all Google Maps API for Business customers for use in internal applications. For more information on how to add the Demographics Layer to your applications please see the documentation. If you are not an existing Google Maps API for Business customer and are interested in using the Demographics Layer, please contact the sales team by filling in this form.

We hope the Demographics Layer provides your business with the intelligence you need to put your own data into context, and empowers you to make smarter business decisions going forward.


Every day people rely on maps to help them make purchasing decisions. Location matters for everything from choosing a restaurant for dinner, to picking the perfect home. It’s important to understand how users view and interact with this information so you can create a map experience tailored specifically to your customers’ needs. Today we make this possible with the release of Analytics for Google Maps API for Business:

Just as Google Analytics shows you how visitors interact with your website, Analytics for Google Maps API for Business provides detailed information on how customers interact with maps on your website. Do customers have to pan and zoom to find what they need? How often is 45 degree imagery used? Should you consider using a different map type? Now this information is at your fingertips.

Analytics for Google Maps API for Business delivers reports for map interactions, services, the Places, and Street View. Make changes to your map and immediately see how these enhance user behavior, allowing you to quickly customize your map to the needs of your customers.

Analytics for Google Maps is a feature included with your license of Google Maps API for Business. You can enable Analytics for Google Maps API for Business for your maps with the click of a button in the Google Enterprise Support Portal. All information recorded is anonymized and aggregated to protect the privacy of users.

For more information on how to enable and access Analytics for Maps API for Business, please see the Maps API for Business Developer Guide. If you need further assistance, or have ideas for additional features you would love to see in Analytics for Maps API for Business, please contact the Google Enterprise Support team.

Posted by Adam Swidler, Google Apps Product Manager

Think back to your first day of work. Do you remember that blank look of sheer confusion you had throughout the day? Your coworker approached, “Hi! Great to meet you, welcome aboard! Can you calendar me in for a 1:1 to talk about our c-level action plan for the all hands?” That’s when you learned it only got worse if you smiled in acknowledgement. Even after you’ve been at a company for years, business jargon continues to invade your day and ruin productivity. When your boss asks, “Can we take a step back for a second?” what he really means is, “Wow, you have completely gone in the wrong direction.” These kind of interactions are not only annoying, but studies from the Foundation of Office Language show that such interactions also significantly reduce productivity and morale amongst employees.

Our engineers have worked tirelessly for the past two years to fight this epidemic that has plagued efficiency in the business world. Today, we are launching a new alpha feature in Google Apps for Business, Jargon-Bot. Jargon-Bot will automatically detect business jargon or business speak and provide you with real-time translation in plain English. Yes, simple, plain English. Jargon-Bot has been integrated across the entire suite of Google Apps so that next time you are on an IM chat with your manager, it will help you recognize and say no to unrealistic expectations. When you receive an e-mail from your supplier, Jargon-Bot won’t let you get ripped off by demystifying the fine print. And even when you’re on a Google+ Hangout with your accounting team, jargon-bot will be by your side, so you don’t break your e-reader when you have to help “close the books.”

We’ve been alpha testing Jargon-Bot internally for the past 6 months, and the results have been dramatic: a 10X increase in employee productivity, a 35.4% increase in worker productivity, and IM conversations that are 90% shorter. Best of all, meetings which are normally an hour long, now average just 17 minutes because people actually understand each other.

Turn on Jargon-Bot today and avoid making a fool of yourself.

P.S. Happy April Fool's Day