Editor's note: They power our homes and supply clean water - utility companies fulfill our most basic needs. This week we're showcasing the Utilities Industry and the ways they’re relying on Google Maps for Business to improve operations and keep the lights on. Today’s guest blogger is Alastair N. Jenkins from GeoDigital.

If you've ever pruned or weeded in your backyard, you've had a glimpse at what we do at GeoDigital. We help keep weeds and trees under control on nearly 300,000 miles of utility corridors so power lines stay clear and the electricity keeps flowing to homes and businesses across North America.

We don’t actually trim the vegetation, we record it. Keeping track of growing vegetation is a never-ending task and one that requires us to compile a lot of data. To organize and gain better insights from the information we collect, we rely on Google Maps Engine.

Maps Engine has become an integral part of our operations. Using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology, we first survey the land and gather utility corridor data with specialized air and ground mapping services. We then turn this data into business intelligence that the utilities companies can use to plan vegetation management. They also use this information for compliance reporting to regulatory agencies.

To make this information easy to digest, we have integrated Google Maps Engine and Google Earth Pro with our Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. Users can view color-coded LiDAR imagery that depicts existing vegetation, projected tree growth, and other obstructions that may interfere with utility maintenance activities. Multiple Google Earth layers - including Borders and Labels, Places, Photos, Roads and 3D Buildings - provide context, so planners can make better, faster scheduling and deployment decisions, while analysts can more efficiently report on regulatory compliance. Mobile workers gain the same benefits using their phone or tablet. For the utility companies, getting this kind of information in an actionable format used to take months and now it can be just a matter of days.

With Google Maps Engine we’re at the forefront of the vegetation management and compliance markets, helping our utilities customers stay ahead of the weeds.


More than ever, people are bringing their own mobile phones and tablets to work. This "bring your own device" (BYOD) trend appeals to companies that want their employees to be productive on the go, with devices they enjoy using. As an admin, your role in a BYOD environment is to make sure users keep their mobile devices secure.

Comprehensive mobile device management is included with Google Apps for Business, Government and Education. Organizations large and small can manage smartphones and tablets - including Android and iOS - right from the Google Apps Admin console, with no need for special hardware or software.

Today we’re adding new Android device management features based on top requests from our customers.
  1. Selective wipe - Remove Google Apps account data without wiping a user’s entire device. 
  2. SD card wipe - During a full device wipe, wipe SD cards in addition to the internal memory.
  3. Device Policy app - Ensure that security policies are enforced across all devices by requiring the latest version of the Device Policy app. 
  4. Wi-Fi configuration - Enter wi-fi settings in the Admin console once -- and they'll be automatically pushed out to all managed Android devices.
Android users can stay connected on the go with mobile apps like Gmail, Drive and Hangouts. Admins can manage their domain with the new mobile Admin app. And admins can let employees bring their own devices to work while keeping those devices secure and saving their employees time with Google Apps device management.

To learn more about these mobile device management features, visit our Help Center or start managing devices right away by visiting your Admin console at


Editor's note: They power our homes and supply clean water - utility companies fulfill our most basic needs. This week we're showcasing the Utilities Industry and the ways they’re relying on Google Maps for Business to improve operations and keep the lights on. Today’s guest blogger is Jeremy Heath from Sutton and East Surrey Water.

At Sutton and East Surrey Water (S&ESW), we supply water to almost 700,000 customers each year, stretching more than 2,000 miles. To manage such infrastructure for our day-to-day operations, quickly assigning and tracking jobs in the field is a top priority. Like many utility companies, we’ve relied heavily on paper-based work orders to manage customer service calls and repairs, a process that added extra work hours for our employees. Then we discovered Google Maps Coordinate.

Introducing Maps Coordinate to S&ESW’s meter fitting and repair teams allowed us to improve productivity and cut costs. Before every team would spend an hour at the end of the day filling out paperwork. Today, we can use the Google Maps Coordinate smartphone app to record data and build reports on a daily basis. Replacing our paper-based workflow with Maps Coordinate has resulted in a 17% increase in operational efficiency and an overall return on investment (ROI) of 500% based on time and cost savings.

Using the same technology as Google Maps, the Coordinate app provides our dispatchers and repair teams with a unified view of past and present job details. Our employees in the field can share their location, manage jobs and record data directly in the app. And because it incorporates the easy-to-use Google Maps interface and rich set of mobile features, we can provide our employees with a tool that is simple and familiar, minimizing training requirements.
Without the need for complex configurations, adopting Coordinate’s web and mobile app was simple and easy to do for our employees. Since we were able to run Maps Coordinate on our existing smartphone network and back-end technology, we deployed the mobile and web-based apps across S&ESW within weeks. This helped us to further reduce development time and costs.

Integrating Google Maps has changed the way we communicate and operate our business. Its allowed us to achieve an impressive ROI and save thousands of dollars in printing costs alone. Above all, we’re meeting demands for better quality service and providing the clean water that our customers depend on everyday.


Editor's note: They power our homes and supply clean water - utility companies fulfill our most basic needs. This week we're showcasing the Utilities Industry and the ways they’re relying on Google Maps for Business to improve operations and keep the lights on. Today’s guest blogger is Bryan Friehauf from GE.

Electric companies are responsible for providing safe, reliable energy to thousands of households. At GE’s Digital Energy business, we know our utility customers have a big job to do and are constantly looking for efficient ways they can meet growing energy demands.

To help our clients improve mission-critical operations, we’ve developed a suite of applications for the utility industry. GE’s Smallworld™ technology brings users smarter ways to plan and design networks, manage jobs in the field and visualize assets using Google Maps. With access to Google’s mapping tools, we’re giving our customers location-based technology that is fully customized for their operations and easy for their employees to use.

By integrating the Google Maps API, GE’s Smallworld-powered Distribution and Outage Management Systems can display location-based information on a Google Map. With a GE device in-hand, a utility worker can see infrastructure that’s down in real-time and quickly respond to the situation. This gives our utility customers a portable solution for gaining information on-the-go.
In addition to having instant, mobile insights, our Smallworld applications give users access to data visualization on a map that is familiar and accurate. Teams in the field can use features like Google Street View, helping them more efficiently locate assets that are hard to uncover, such as transmission lines, or a repair job.

From planning electric, gas and water distribution systems to designing telecommunications networks, having the right tools to visualize and manage complex infrastructure is critical for today’s utility industry. But with Google Maps integrated as part of our applications, we’re making it a little easier.


Editor's note: They power our homes and supply clean water - utility companies fulfill our most basic needs. This week we're showcasing the Utilities Industry and the ways they’re relying on Google Maps for Business to improve operations and keep the lights on. Today's guest blogger is Pascale Bernal, CIO of Gaz réseau Distribution France (GrDF). 

The GrDF natural gas pipeline is 194,600 kilometers (120,900 miles) long. In other words, it’s almost five times longer than the circumference of the earth. Google Maps for Business has made it possible for us at GrDF to manage every detail of that network and build on top of it.

In less than six months, we used Google Maps for Business, including Google Maps Engine and Google Earth, to import and organize more than 18 million data points about our pipeline. Google’s map solutions helped us create Gazm@ps Raccordabilité, an online platform that better serves our customers, technicians and partners.

Gazm@ps helps us run more efficiently by providing our sales, marketing and technical teams with continuously updated views of streets and municipalities served by GrDF. Each day, more than 1,000 employees access customer locations, geographic coordinates, Google Maps Street View, and municipality information through the familiar Google Maps interface. Our natural gas technicians use Google Earth’s 3D maps in Gazm@ps to plan installation and service work before they go out into the field. We also use Google Maps for Business to combine our geographic information system and customer relationship management systems inside Gazm@ps. With one click our salespeople can instantly see anything they need to know about a potential customer’s property, including location, coordinates and Street View. This costs 60 percent less than our previous customer relationship management system.

Prospective customers use Gazm@ps when they visit our customer website and enter their address to instantly find out if they are eligible for GrDF service. Each eligible customer is connected with a salesperson who can access relevant information, including a Street View of the service location and details about the municipality they live in. Since we launched Gazm@ps in July 2012, our user base has grown by 30 percent per quarter and the site now accounts for 10 percent of GrDF’s overall site traffic.

We’re also using Google Maps for Business to create Gazm@ps System, an external site that will help heating and plumbing service providers, home builders and local authorities access our mapping data. Using Google Maps to share this information is much easier than the expansive spreadsheets we used before. We’re also developing Gazm@ps Zio, a tool for infrastructure operators that verifies mapping data the partners send to the government for its national database of power distribution, sewerage and telecommunications systems in France.

We serve more than three-quarters of the French population while managing vast amounts of infrastructure, so having accurate, easily accessible data about our pipelines and our customers is essential. While we connect all the pipes underground, we use Google Maps for Business to help us better connect with our new and old customers above the ground.


Editor's note: They power our homes and supply clean water - utility companies fulfill our most basic needs. This week we're showcasing the Utilities Industry and the ways they’re relying on Google Maps for Business to improve operations and keep the lights on. 

Utility companies have a lot of information and assets to manage. From water to electric power, demand for clean, reliable energy is at an all-time high. This puts even more pressure on the industry to find the best solution for improving operations, whether it's integrating simple asset management, investing in visualization tools or integrating real-time communications with customers.

Google Maps for Business brings the power of Google Maps and Google Earth to an organization improving decision making, optimizing operations and creating engaging applications. Its scalable, familiar technology offers a diverse set of map applications, APIs and cloud-enabled tools that are fully customizable. When applied to utilities companies, Google’s enterprise mapping solutions can let organizations see their data layered on a Google Map and securely share this information with employees, key stakeholders and the public.

This week you’ll hear from several leaders in the utilities space who are using maps to solve industry challenges. By adopting Google Maps for Business, these companies are changing the way they manage jobs, streamline and consolidate processes and better engage with their customers. You’ll hear stories from companies around the globe who have opted for easy-to-use mapping technologies as a way to optimize operations.

Check back here this week and learn more about how today’s utilities are realizing the benefits of Google Maps for Business.


(Cross-post noted on the Gmail Blog)

With Google Groups, you can manage a mailing list, coordinate with your team, and find experts who share your interests. Over the last year we have been working on improving the experience and adding new features while keeping our old version running.

Today we’re retiring the old version and excited to be bringing the new Google Groups to everyone. If you haven’t tried Groups in a while you’ll notice improved options for managing your groups and long time users may be surprised by all the features we have added along the way.

One of the recently improved features is the ability to create an inbox that allows you to collaboratively share, distribute and track responsibilities with others. Imagine you and a few co-workers are organizing an event for your global team and want a single email address to coordinate with vendors, attendees, and speakers. Members of the group can work together to manage email, assign items to each other, and mark items resolved. This can be a great feature for teams seeking a really simple way to get things done without sharing passwords or losing track.
Additionally, there are several new moderation tools to make managing your forum easier and faster. For example, you can now use canned responses in forums and use streamlined options to make moderating forum posts easier. And if you are on the go, you can browse and moderate your groups with our mobile website.

You can learn more about the new Google Groups in the help center.


Editor's note: In honor of National Small Business Week, we'll be sharing stories about small businesses that have gone Google. Our guest blogger today is Daniel Shemtob, owner and founder of The Lime Truck, a Los Angeles-based food truck that serves new American cuisine. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

My passion for food started before my seventh birthday, when I taught myself how to make mushroom and olive Passover Matzo pizzas. Over a decade and many pizzas later, I decided to make food my career: I opened a food truck, The Lime Truck, in 2010, and won the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” in 2011, just a year later. We’ve been moving full speed ahead ever since.

I love running a food truck company, but it’s also a chaotic undertaking. We employ more than 25 people, dish out at least six menu items, and make stops at more than 30 different locations in the Los Angeles area each week. Organization is key and having the proper lines of communication is essential. I moved the company to Google Apps in June of 2011 primarily for dependable email, but we realized quickly that Calendar and Docs were just as indispensable.

Our shared Google calendar is our time management lifeblood. We have an invite for each truck that details each day’s menu and shift schedule, so everyone can see who’s working where, when they have to be there, and what they’re serving. Most importantly, we can update it at any time and know our whole team is looking at the right information. That way, if we run out of Crab Ceviche and have to switch in the Yum Yum Lamb Sandwich, we just update the shared calendar invite, and everyone knows what’s on the menu.

We got one of our partner farms to switch to Apps, and it’s made our communication with them significantly faster and easier. Now, we track everything in Docs - ingredients, quantities and delivery addresses - so all the the latest information is in one place. Getting notifications when someone adds a comment in a doc lets me and our farm know exactly where someone needs help or that something has changed.

Before using Google Apps, I felt more like a project manager than a business owner. Now, I get to focus on what I love - helping my company grow. I just opened my first restaurant, TLT Food, in Westwood and I'm writing a cookbook. Food is my life and The Lime Truck is my passion – well, that and our amazing Ahi Tuna Poke Nachos - and I wouldn’t be where I am without the help of Google Apps.


Editor's note: In honor of National Small Business Week, we'll be sharing stories about small businesses that have gone Google. Today’s guest blogger is Kim Plahn, President of Dunn Bros. Coffee, a franchise based in Minnesota with over 80 coffee shops. See what other customers that have Gone Google have to say.

When Ed and Dan Dunn started Dunn Bros. Coffee in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1987, they refused to open just another coffee shop. They would be different -- their high-quality craft roasts would be as popular as the community of fans that flocked to them. Like the legendary Eugene, Oregon coffee houses that inspired them, Ed and Dan sought to foster the connection between customers through their shared appreciation of exceptional coffees, fresh roasted in the store every day. As CEO of Dunn Bros., I’ve made sure our blends change while that core value stays the same.
Kim Plahn, CEO, Dunn Bros. Coffee
Dunn Bros. Coffee has grown to over 80 locations in eight states since we opened our first shop. But that growth wasn’t always easy: until a few years ago, we were bogged down by the limitations and costs of our servers and legacy hardware. We needed a new IT system that was more cost-efficient and would let us focus on scaling our business.

Since we don’t have a dedicated IT department, we turned to our partner, Agosto, to help us find a better way for our corporate team and dozens of franchisees to communicate, coordinate and operate easily, whenever and wherever we were. They told us we needed Google Apps for Business, and it didn’t take us long to agree.

All the tools available to us as part of the Google Apps suite make partnering with our Support Center staff and franchisees a breeze. We use Groups to encourage discussion between our store owners, who have in turn transformed it into a forum for sharing best practices, troubleshooting and brainstorming. Sites lets us share our recipes, roasting profiles, training documents and marketing plans all in one place, so our employees don’t have to search through dozens of emails to find the latest version of the document they need. We have a shared Calendar with our weekly calls, new coffee releases, and promotions, so everyone’s in the know and on time.

We can’t imagine a day without Google Apps, and neither can our franchise owners. All we need is a cup of Dunn Bros. coffee to get us started in the morning, and the rest falls into place.


In the last few years, educators in The Philippines have moved to provide their students with technology that will prepare them to thrive in their future jobs. A major part of this initiative was the entire Department of Education for the Philippines moving to Google Apps for Education, a cloud-based suite of applications that let teachers and students communicate and collaborate across the classrooms and campuses of the archipelago. Since last September, The Department of Education (DepEd) has already moved 5,000 schools, 200 divisions and 600,000 staff to Google’s services. On top of that the Commission of Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority have also made the switch to Google Apps.
Celebrating the launch of the “Schools Gone Google” program at the University of the Philippines

This week institutions of higher learning in the Philippines are joining the move to the cloud. At the launch of the “Schools Gone Google” program yesterday, The University of the Philippines (UP) and 15 other schools, such as University of San Jose Recoletos and Ateneo de Zamboanga, announced they too would be moving to Google Apps for Education. UP joins over 40 universities in the Philippines that have migrated to, or are in the process of going Google, including AMA Computer University (with 150,000 students and faculty), Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University and Silliman University.

We have been humbled to support this investment in the future of the Philippines and have been working with these institutions to help them get the most out of their experience. The “Schools Gone Google” program aims to provide Google Apps for Education to as many education institutions in the country as possible through the Google Apps Supporting Program (GASP). We’re looking forward to seeing where the cloud takes the education sector in the Philippines and continuing to provide students and teachers with the educational support and tools to flourish.


Editor's note: In honor of National Small Business Week, we'll be sharing stories about small businesses that have gone Google. Today’s guest blogger is Jeremy Davidson, CEO of Monroe Restoration, a disaster restoration company based in South Bend, Indiana. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

When I first joined Monroe Restoration, the company couldn't afford to pay me, but I took the job anyway. I'd seen enough homes destroyed by tornadoes, floods and fires that I was willing to take a personal risk helping people get their lives back together after disaster. It didn’t take long to realize I wanted to run the company myself. I saved enough money to buy out the owner and took over as CEO in 2003. In the last ten years, Monroe has grown from a three-person operation to 27 employees across two locations. At that kind of scale, we can help a lot of people: when a tornado hits, we receive 150 to 200 calls in just a few hours, and on any given day, we’re managing between 50 and 100 projects.

Two years ago, we found ourselves in the face of a different kind of disaster: our Microsoft Small Business Server crashed, effectively stripping us of the tools we needed to help our customers. I turned to Boyd Smith, the founder of Google Apps Reseller TechKnowledgey Inc., for help. I’ve known Boyd for over a decade - we live in neighboring towns, we’re both training for our pilots licenses and he’d been our go-to IT guy for a few years. I told him we needed a new and reliable platform that would help streamline communication between branches and keep our field techs connected while they traveled on-site. He told me we needed Google Apps. We started migrating the entire company the next week.

TechKnowledgey didn’t just help us move to Apps - they’ve helped us become a better business. We buy a lot of materials from the road, so Boyd and his team built a custom purchase order system using Google Sites and Forms that lets our field techs request POs directly from their phones, wherever they are and whenever they need something. Our accounting team receives the requests and can approve them immediately, letting our employees buy the tools they need on the spot.

We’re always looking for new ways to grow the business and TechKnowledgey is continuing to show us how to use Apps to make it possible. When we opened our second office, I wanted our employees to feel a sense of camaraderie regardless of where they sat. Boyd and his team introduced us to and trained us on Google+ Hangouts. Now we can’t get enough of them. I’ll fire up a hangout to catch up with my General Manager or host an all-hands without even thinking about picking up a landline.

I know how to help someone whose roof has been torn off by a tornado or whose basement has been filled with water by a flash flood. I also know that Google Apps makes us better at saving and restoring these homes, and that TechKnowledgey helps us get more value from Apps than we could have on our own. And anything that makes it possible to get more people back on their feet after a disaster is a win for everyone.


Editor's note: As part of our series focused on celebrating National Small Business Week, we are featuring stories, tools and resources that can help small businesses grow and innovate.

American entrepreneurs have good reason to celebrate this week -- it’s National Small Business Week. Entrepreneurs all over the world, like you, have a knack for wearing many hats, being scrappy and spotting new opportunities. And the tools you use should be intuitive, scale quickly and easily, and offer ubiquitous accessibility.

Luckily, many business web apps today are perfect for small and growing businesses. Accounting apps are intuitive enough to be used by someone without a CPA. Managing customers comes with pricing that scales as your business grows. And your social media management and email campaign tools can work with each other via clever APIs. Best of all, you and your team can use these web apps anywhere, from any computer.

In honor of National Small Business Week, we’re featuring a curated list of some of our favorite business apps and extensions from the Chrome Web Store. The Gmail and Google Drive Chrome apps let you access your mail and documents even when you’re offline. And with Chrome extensions like HootSuite’s Hootlet and Zendesk Activity Stream, you can monitor your social media stream and your customer service issues at the same time, because -- well, that’s just what entrepreneurs do every day.

You need tools that work just as hard as you do. Thanks to the web, it’s easier than ever to discover the apps that fit your specific needs. If you’re on the lookout for new ways to simplify, manage, or grow your business, check out these business apps from the Chrome Web Store. And if your team isn’t on Chrome already, learn more about the security, speed and manageability of Chrome for Business.


(Cross-posted on the Google Drive Blog.)

Google Drive lets you store and access your files anywhere -- on the web, your computer, your phone, or on the go. Whether you’re presenting slides in a boardroom in São Paulo or negotiating a Japanese contract in Tokyo, Google Drive speaks your language: 65 of them, to be exact, with the addition of 18 new ones today:

Afrikaans, Amharic, Basque, Chinese (Hong Kong), Estonian, French (Canada), Galician, Icelandic, Khmer, Lao, Malaysian, Nepali, Persian, Sinhalese, Spanish (Latin America), Swahili, Urdu, Zulu

You can switch back and forth as often as you like, and many of these languages are also supported by Drive’s spellchecker.

Love to collaborate? No matter which Drive app you’re using -- Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms -- you can work in real time in any language you choose while your fellow collaborators use another language.

To try Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides in another language, you can switch by:
  1. Clicking the gear icon in the upper right, then select Settings
  2.  Under General, select a language from the drop-down menu in the Language section. 
  3. Click Save. You’re done!
To change the language for Google Drive for mobile, go to your device’s language settings. If you don’t yet have Drive for mobile, you can visit the Google Play or Apple App Store to get the Google Drive app.


Editor's note: In honor of National Small Business Week, we'll be sharing stories about small businesses that have gone Google. Today’s guest blogger is Nathaniel Ru, Co-Founder of Sweetgreen, a retail food chain focused on making healthy eating easier. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Sweetgreen started as an idea I had with two of my friends, now my co-founders, while we were studying business at Georgetown University. We were frustrated by the lack of healthy eateries in Washington, D.C. and wanted to make eating healthy an affordable and easy option, especially on our undergrad budgets. We decided to make it happen ourselves, and launched our first Sweetgreen restaurant shortly after graduating in 2007.

We sell local and organic food, but we stand for a lifestyle: being healthy and environmentally conscious while creating great experiences around food. All of our Sweetgreen restaurants are designed with reclaimed materials, use biodegradable utensils, and compost waste. Our wooden tables and seats are made from pre-1980s bowling alleys, and our bowls, cutlery and cups are all 100% plant-based.

Google Apps allows us to be more than a traditional brick and mortar restaurant. We’re constantly evolving, changing and growing, and we realized early on that we needed our technology to be as flexible as the ingredients on our menu. We’re growing quickly - we’re opening two new markets this year - and we need technology that can grow with us.

We change our menu every month to highlight seasonal ingredients and keep things fresh. Our customers are generally curious about what they’re eating and what farm the ingredients come from, so we send talking points to the store managers. Google Sheets and Docs make this all happen for us. We have a running spreadsheet with the local ingredients and plan out each month in advance. The spreadsheet is then turned into a newsletter, and the great thing about Google is throughout that process every group has a chance to jump in and contribute. Once it’s completed, we send the newsletter out to our stores.

We also use Google Drive, which allows us to collaborate between departments. Marketing, Finance and HR can all look at one document at the same time, add their thoughts, and keep track of the changes each person makes along the way with revision history. It makes transparent communication easy, especially when we’re moving really fast (which is always).

Five years after the first seed was planted for this idea, we have more than 400 employees and 17 restaurants in four cities. At Sweetgreen, we believe in creating experiences that go beyond the transaction, and Google Apps has helped make that possible.


(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog)

Our first AdWords customer was a small business selling live mail-order lobsters. It's been a long time since then, but a majority of our customers are still small businesses, who play a vital role not only for Google, but for the American economy. More than 60 percent of new jobs each year come from small businesses.

This Small Business Week, we want to celebrate you. We're grateful to you for everything you do for us and our communities. Whether you fix people’s cars, offer music lessons to aspiring musicians, or make the world’s best homemade ice cream - when you do what you love, our lives get better.

As part of the celebration, we’ll be highlighting some amazing small businesses across the country, so keep an eye on the Google+ Your Business page. And in the meantime, check out some of the Google tools that are designed to help you take care of business.

Happy Small Business Week.

Posted by Robert Shield, Google Chrome Engineer

(Cross-posted on the Chromium Blog)

The main goal of the Chromium project has always been to help unlock the potential of the open web.  We work closely with the industry to standardize, implement and evangelize web technologies that help enable completely new types of experiences, and push the leading edge of the web platform forward.

But in 2009, many people were using browsers that lagged behind the leading edge. In order to reach the broadest base of users, developers often had to either build multiple versions of their applications or not use the new capabilities at all. We created Chrome Frame — a secure plug-in that brings a modern engine to old versions of Internet Explorer — to allow developers to bring better experiences to more users, even those who were unable to move to a more capable browser.

Today, most people are using modern browsers that support the majority of the latest web technologies. Better yet, the usage of legacy browsers is declining significantly and newer browsers stay up to date automatically, which means the leading edge has become mainstream.

Given these factors we’ve decided to retire Chrome Frame, and will cease support and updates for the product in January 2014. If you are a developer with an app that points users to Chrome Frame, please prompt visitors to upgrade to a modern browser. You can learn more about these changes in our FAQ.

If you’re an IT administrator you can give your employees the full capabilities of a modern browser today, even if you depend on older technology to run certain web apps. Check out Chrome for Business coupled with Legacy Browser Support, which allows employees to switch seamlessly between Chrome and another browser. Chrome is secure, stable and speedy, and runs on all major desktop and mobile OSs. IT admins can also configure 100+ policies to make Chrome fit their needs.

It’s unusual to build something and hope it eventually makes itself obsolete, but in this case we see the retirement of Chrome Frame as evidence of just how far the web has come.


Editor's note: Our guest blogger today is Majid Manzarpour, Founder and CTO of Synergyse, a company that provides training solutions for Google Apps. See what other customers that have Gone Google have to say. And learn more about Synergyse on our Cloud Platform Blog.

Synergyse is on a mission to teach the world how to use Google Apps. We built Synergyse Training for Google Apps, a fully interactive, measurable and scalable training solution that has been deployed throughout organizations and educational institutions globally.

There are new features introduced to Google Apps on a regular basis, and we take extra care to keep our customers educated whenever any product updates happen. Our solution provides in-application training that delivers lessons with audio and visual guides in your existing Google Apps account, allowing you to remain in your applications, learning how to use them simultaneously.

We aimed to build a solution that could deliver the same level of scalability, security and reliability that more than 5 million businesses have known to expect from Google Apps. In order to make sure our training software could run seamlessly, we chose Google Cloud Platform to support our backend.

We run on Google App Engine, and can automatically scale up to accommodate organizations of any size, anywhere in the world. Google Cloud Storage and Google Cloud SQL handle all of our data needs and provide cost-effective integration with App Engine. We can rely on the 99.95% uptime delivered by App Engine to ensure our customers have training available when they need it. When we deliver automatic training updates for new applications and features to our clients, they can trust us to provide the same level of security that they find with Google Apps. The Google Cloud Platform is powered by the same Google data centers that power Google Apps; it takes care of our backend infrastructure and enables us to focus on our product.

We chose to develop our solution as a Chrome Extension because we can deeply integrate with Google Apps through the browser, as well as provide IT administrators with rapid software deployment options. This allows us to layer our interactive training on top of real Google Apps and provide automatic software updates. With the Chrome Management console, the extension can be deployed to an entire fleet of Chrome browsers and Chromebooks with a few simple clicks.

When we went live with our first enterprise client, we were both impressed with how effortlessly our software deployed to the entire organization and scaled up to support them. By choosing Google Cloud Platform and Chrome, we can focus on providing scalability, security and reliability to our clients who have chosen to run their organizations on Google Apps.


(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog)

More than ever, people are using the Internet to shop, read, listen to music and learn. And businesses rely on Internet-based tools to operate and deliver their services efficiently. The Internet has created all kinds of new opportunities for society and the economy—but what does it mean for the environment?

We’ve been working to answer that question and enlisted the help of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to gather more data. Their study (PDF), released today, shows that migrating all U.S. office workers to the cloud could save up to 87 percent of IT energy use—about 23 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, or enough to power the city of Los Angeles for a year. The savings are associated with shifting people in the workforce to Internet-based applications like email, word processing and customer relationship software.

These results indicate that the Internet offers huge potential for energy savings. We’re especially excited that Berkeley Lab has made its model publicly available so other researchers and experts can plug in their own assumptions and help refine and improve the results.

Of course, understanding the impact of shifting office applications to the cloud is only part of the story, which is why last week we hosted a summit called “How Green is the Internet?” to explore these questions in greater detail. At the summit, experts presented data on how the growth of Internet infrastructure, including devices like phones and tablets, can impact the environment. We also saw great excitement about the potential for entirely new Internet-enabled tools in areas like transportation, e-commerce and digital content to deliver huge energy and carbon savings. We’ve posted the videos from those sessions and invite you to take a look.

One of our goals in hosting the summit and supporting the Berkeley Lab study was to identify and encourage new research on this topic. We’ll continue to work to answer some of these questions, and we hope others will too.


We know that today, more than ever, businesses need ways to store and rapidly analyze vast amounts of data and are looking for ways to accomplish this without huge infrastructure investments. To help make this possible, recent BigQuery features include the ability to join across multi-terabyte tables, and the ability to connect popular analysis tools such as Tableau®, BIME® and Excel®. In the past few months we’ve seen several interesting use cases enabled -- Shutterfly improving their customers’ experience, Gamesys understanding complex user behaviors, tracking and mapping the world’s ships, and monitoring Google I/O 2013 using a real-time sensor network.

Today we’re announcing another update to BigQuery packed with new capabilities.

  • Large results: run queries that return arbitrarily large numbers of rows and save them as a new table for follow-up analysis. 
  • Window functions: take advantage of built-in functions like Rank and Partition to create sophisticated statistical analyses with far simpler SQL than before. 
  • Query caching: now recent queries that are re-run return a cached result when the underlying table is unchanged, providing more cost-effective analysis.

Gamesys, who previewed these features, was able to efficiently identify different cohorts of gaming customers and understand how to create a better in-game experience for distinct groups of users. "Rank and Partition are our 'go to' functions for examining player behaviour over time”, said Tom Newton, Director of Social Gaming at Gamesys. “These new functions combined with large results sets and query caching, help us efficiently and cost effectively improve and scale our analysis to create actionable intelligence that drives product enhancement.”

We’ve also rolled out a host of UI improvements, including the ability to validate a query and estimate its cost prior to running it, and to save frequently used queries. And thanks to recent operational improvements, we’ve been able to double existing query quotas.

Finally, BigQuery customers will have new pricing options starting in July. Data storage costs in BigQuery are becoming even more affordable for everyone, going from $0.12/GB/month to $0.08/GB/month effective July 1st. Furthermore, in addition to the existing on-demand rate for interactive queries, customers with higher-volume usage will soon be able to opt in for tiered query pricing. This provides more economical and predictable cost for interactive queries. Customers who are interested are encouraged to contact a sales representative.

You can get details about these new capabilities and more in our Developer Blog and in our updated product documentation. Got an inspiring use case? Share it in the blog comments or with our community using the #BigQuery tag on Google+.


Editor's note: Our guest blogger today is Jean Charles Bully, chairman of ILCEA Education, a leading provider of educational programs and services around the world. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

With today's technology, the world can seem pretty small. However, language barriers can still form a big obstacle for global communication. At ILCEA Education, our goal is to bring the world together by teaching people new languages. Founded in 2001, we serve 1.5 million students in 50 countries around the world. We help our students learn about new cultures and languages with diverse in-country work programs, student exchanges, internship opportunities, online training, and even coordinate vacations to help people learn new languages. We get to work with all types of students, but we find that it’s not so easy to coordinate our work globally.

To help our students learn, we partner with more than 500 international schools around the world to teach and coordinate our programs. This requires a standard platform for communication, so we’re switching to Google Apps with help from Cloudreach, a Google Apps reseller. Before Apps, our education affiliates sent out emails from various addresses, making tons of phone calls and in some cases even mailing printed letters or printed forms to communicate with us. By bringing everyone in our network onto Google Apps under a single ILCEA Education domain, we’re creating a unified internal communication strategy, ensuring that all of our partners can participate in every conversation. It gives our partners access to Google+ Hangouts, Gmail, and shared Google Docs to foster easy communication no matter where they are or what device they’re on.

Google Apps will upgrade our student’s educational experience. Learning a new language and living in a new place can be overwhelming, so we want to make sure all of our students have a smooth start. All of our students will have an ILCEA Education branded Google Apps account, providing easy access to the resources, communication and social tools they need. Students will be able to interact with course materials from anywhere with an internet connection in an intuitive way using Google Drive. Google Hangouts will also provide an important opportunity for students to practice their language skills from anywhere with an internet connection, transforming the learning experience with active participation.

Because teaching is at the heart of what we do, our learning resources will get a major digital makeover with Google Apps. Sharing lesson plans, curriculums, and other resources on Drive allows our educators have access to the materials they need, without having to worry about cumbersome downloads or printed manuals. Drive allows our teachers and partners to simultaneously edit materials with ease, so our lessons will always be current, including the latest information as well as any updates based on student feedback.

Learning requires consistency and practice. By providing easy-to-use collaboration tools and access to educational resources, ILCEA Education is helping our affiliates provide a better education to millions of students worldwide. With Google Apps, we can work toward breaking down obstacles in communicating and obstacles for learning.


(Cross-posted on the Google Australia Blog)

Editor's note: Today's post comes to us from Down Under where a new report from Deloitte Access Economics Australia highlights finds that there is a direct link between workplace IT and employee satisfaction.

In the last few years, forward-thinking businesses have come to the same conclusion: it’s not only perks and pay that matter when it comes to attracting and keeping top talent. Up-to-date IT systems that support and encourage collaboration are also very important.

In the last year we’ve seen companies like Woolworths, Fairfax and Dick Smith move their communication and collaboration software to the cloud. These businesses cite the benefits of being able to have their remote teams work on the same document in real time, have editorial meetings via video conference or give their casual staff access to company updates and videos via their mobile phones.

Today, for the first time, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of the bottom-line benefits of giving employees the kind of IT systems that make them happy and productive. A new report from Deloitte Access Economics Australia now shows a direct link between flexible IT policies and employee satisfaction and retention.

Deloitte’s The Connected Workplace — War for talent in the digital economy shows that:

  • Employees who are happy with their workplace IT are one third less likely to leave the company than those who are unhappy
  • Large companies with 500 employees could save up to $350,000 annually simply by investing in flexible IT policies. Over a ten year period this amounts to $2.6 million. 
  •  Similarly, small businesses could save up to $22,000 a year by investing in flexible IT policies.

The Connected Workplace report comes at a time when Australian and New Zealand business leaders are experiencing a critical shortage of skilled employees. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 20% of businesses reported that an inability to find skilled workers within the labour market or within their company was a barrier to innovation.

Deloitte found that the businesses whose employees were most satisfied with their IT policies had a few characteristics in common. They allowed people to bring their own devices to work. They permitted access to social media while on the job. They let them work from home. They encouraged them to use collaborative technology.

The report also found that when people are given the opportunity to use their workplace IT to do personal activities, they spend an equal amount of time at home doing work tasks. So every 30 seconds an employee does something besides work will be balanced out by another half-minute of productivity later in the day.

Around the world, businesses are finding that it pays to be more flexible and let employees collaborate and work in whatever way suits them best. This includes more than 5 million businesses that now use Google Apps for Business to work from anywhere, anytime on any device. Businesses looking to win in the war for talent may find the same.


Editor's note: Our guest blogger today is Lisa DeLapo, Director of Technology at St. Joseph School, part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Learning shouldn’t be limited to pen and paper, nor the computer lab. Rather than taking tests or filling out worksheets, the 270 students at St. Joseph’s spend most of their time creating projects using digital tools that show off their knowledge. Whether they’re telling stories of famous heroes using Google Sites, making group study guides with Google Forms, or listening to voice comments on their science fair projects in Google Docs, our students learn more from creating than they ever could from only consuming information.

My job as Director of Technology at St. Joseph’s is to make sure our educational tools are available everywhere. We have found Chromebooks to be the perfect tools – they’re portable and easy to use, have a keyboard and a large screen, and are secure. We’re piloting Chromebooks with several teachers now, and soon our entire faculty and staff will use them exclusively. We will also supply carts for the Chromebooks so students in different classrooms can share computers as freely as they swap lunches.

Because our teachers already use the Chrome browser and work largely in Google Apps, moving to Chromebooks has been easy. In addition to Google Apps, we also use Pearson PowerSchool to track grades, test scores and attendance, along with giving us a collaboration platform for parents. Accessing PowerSchool is extremely important but because it uses an older Java technology that is not supported in Chrome, I had to find a way to access it securely and easily from the Chromebook. I found out about the Chrome RDP app by Fusion Labs; it was exactly what we needed.

Chrome RDP lets users connect to any Windows desktop or server directly from within the Chrome browser. Since it uses Microsoft’s native Remote Desktop Protocol, no additional configuration or setup is needed after you install the app. It gives us secure access to PowerSchool and other legacy applications, and it’s straightforward for teachers to use. They download the Chrome RDP app from the Chrome Web Store, open up the app, and enter their login information for secure access to PowerSchool through the school’s firewall.

The introduction of Chromebooks to St. Joseph's has broadened what our teachers and students are able to achieve in the classroom. Chromebooks have helped everyone at St. Joseph’s enjoy the benefits of technology without expensive, complex maintenance. And now our students will have a new outlet for learning that helps familiarize them with technology and what we see as the future of learning.


Editor's note: Our guest blogger this week is Paul Clarke, Director of Technology at Ocado, the world’s largest online-only grocery retailer based in the UK. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Ocado isn’t your typical corner grocery store. For one thing, there’s no corner as we’re the world's largest online-only grocery retailer reaching over 70% of British households, and now with a fast growing non-food business alongside. Our customers shop online using our award winning webshop or mobile apps and then their orders are picked and packed in one of our huge automated warehouses, the largest of their kind in the world; hours later, our vans deliver to their kitchens in one hour delivery slots. On a normal week we ship over 150,000 orders - that's over 1.1 million items each day. Google Enterprise solutions are playing a major, and expanding, role in helping us run such a time critical 24/7 operation across multiple sites.

Google Apps allows us to do things our way, wherever and whenever we want. Our staff use Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive to stay on top of their day to day work, and Google+ is helping our teams stay in touch, share information and build local communities. Ultimately, all of these tools help to make sure our customers get the groceries they order, on time and in the best possible condition.

But we didn’t stop there. We looked at other ways we could use Google’s technology to help us run our business and started using Google App Engine for building internal applications. For example, we used App Engine to create a new version of our "Where's My Order” application, which our customers will soon be using to find out where their orders are within our production cycle. Once their order is on the road, the integration with Google Maps allows them to see exactly where their delivery van is. So we’re taking what used to be a chore, grocery shopping, and making it a simple experience that you can do from the convenience of your own home, or wherever you may be.

Our most recent project was on Google Compute Engine. Within our warehouses there are certain tasks that are repetitive and arduous for humans to do, like picking heavy six packs of bottled water into customer orders. So our robotics team is developing solutions that use robots to automate these sorts of tasks and thus release staff for other more important work. But these robots need sophisticated 3D vision systems to enable them to see what they are doing. These are very computationally intensive applications and by providing the instantly flexible and scalable computing power to crunch all those numbers, Compute Engine provided the perfect solution. And, we are already using the cloud to store and process some of the huge volumes of data that our business spits out every minute. But with an eye to future growth and international expansion, we have plans to use Compute Engine and Cloud Storage to move other parts of our production systems to the cloud.

So walk into an Ocado warehouse in the future and you might run into a robot if you’re not careful. Like I said, we’re not your typical corner grocery store.


Editor's note: Today we announced the availability of the Google Maps Engine API, letting organizations build their own applications on Google’s cloud infrastructure. Hear from guest blogger, Pat Doyle, to find out how FedEx helps its customers locate their nearly 50,000 retail touchpoints on, using Maps Engine.

Delivering packages to almost any location in the world is just another day on the job at FedEx. On average, we ship more than nine million packages daily and guarantee they’ll arrive on-time, at the right place and unharmed. However, our commitment to a superior customer experience extends far beyond delivering packages. To make it even easier for people to find the information they need online, we launched a new store locator site using Google Maps.

Using Google Maps, and more specifically Google Maps Engine, allowed us to completely re-imagine We turned to Maps Engine because it gave us a powerful platform to build and share our own FedEx maps. By integrating features that so many people use everyday, like Google Street View and driving directions, visitors can easily find the nearest FedEx.

In addition to providing a much easier way to locate us, Google Maps Engine gives us another big advantage: global accuracy and consistency. Central to the cloud-based offering, we can rely on Google’s core infrastructure to host our always-changing and growing database of store information. By hosting attributes, such as street addresses, opening hours, holiday schedules and local pick-up times on Maps Engine, we can update details for nearly 50,000 retail touchpoints in real-time and share this information to visitors within minutes. This helped us replace a patchwork of region-bound store locators with a single, global site.

Providing a store locator that is easy-to-use, accurate and reliable helps us deliver a brand experience that our customers can trust. Google Maps Engine is critical to better customer service and it helps users quickly find and access our stores online. With our new store locator, powered by the Google Maps Engine, we can concentrate on what FedEx does best - delivering packages on-time.


Maps tell stories about the world around us. With a single map, an organization can locate underground pipelines, decide on the best place to build their next store, or inform customers about cell phone coverage areas. Today we're announcing the Google Maps Engine API, allowing developers to bring the power of Maps Engine into their own applications.

Maps Engine lets organizations use Google’s fast and reliable cloud infrastructure to layer their data on top of a Google Map and share their custom-made Google Maps with employees, customers or the public-at-large. At the push of a button an organization can share their maps internally or publish them on the web, making it easy to access their data from anywhere.

The API provides direct access to Maps Engine for reading and editing spatial data hosted in the cloud. With the API, organizations can develop on any platform - web, Android, iOS and server-to-server - and build applications like store locators, crowdsourced maps or crisis-response maps. For example, uses the API to query its more than 50,000 retail locations and IRIS creates applications for utilities to track underground pipelines.

Google Maps Engine is changing the way enterprises create and use maps - replacing complex GIS technologies with accurate and comprehensive Google Maps-based tools. Contact sales if you are interested in Google Maps Engine or learn more about today’s newly launched API.


Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Jim Sylvester, Deputy Chief, Travis County Sheriff’s Office. When the Travis County Sheriff’s Office needed to track officer's positions and dispatch additional aid, they turned to Google Maps and Google Maps Coordinate. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

I’ve spent 27 years working for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office in Austin, Texas, and I’m a third-generation law enforcement officer. Since I’ve been on the job, the county population has nearly tripled in size from about half a million to approximately 1.3 million citizens today. We consider ourselves a family at the Sheriff’s Office, and my paramount concern is keeping our law enforcement officers safe so they can protect the county’s citizens.

Until recently, we didn’t have technology that could give us the precise location of our deputies, which made it difficult to ensure their safety at all times. For instance, when deputies left their patrol cars to pursue a suspect on foot, we were not able to track their movements in real-time to dispatch additional assistance. For that reason, we decided to try Google Maps Coordinate.

It didn't take long for the team to pick it up: our deputies needed less than 10 minutes of instruction before they were ready to start using the product themselves. We put it to the test during the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix weekend in Austin in November 2012, which drew more than 120,000 attendees. With Google Maps Coordinate running across all our devices, our dispatchers were able to interface and organize the deputies throughout the event in real-time. Our personnel knew the exact locations of all available law enforcement resources in the area at any given moment.

What we saw at the Formula One event has prepared us for the future, and we’re making this a regular part of our toolset to fully maximize officer safety while serving our citizens. We plan to use this product at the Republic of Texas biker rally in Travis County this June, which will draw a huge crowd. We also plan to use it for more special events and also daily to keep deputies safe while they are on bike or foot patrols.

Thanks to Google Maps Coordinate, we feel much more in sync and aware of the situation at hand, and—above all—we have better ways to safeguard our law enforcement officers.