As giddy students in the US are beginning to enjoy their summer break, we're feeling nostalgic looking back on the school year and are equally inspired by all the teachers we've had the chance to work with.

For example, the educators at Fairfield County Schools -- a rural district in South Carolina -- are committed to helping each and every student achieve success in academics and dedicated to helping them pursue their personal passions. The IT team may be small, but their achievements are not. And while the district is using Google for Education tools, it’s really the teachers there that make the difference.

It's because of inspiring educators, like those at Fairfield, that we work closely with teachers to build new tools made just for the classroom — to enable them to spend more time teaching & less "tech-ing". And we’re now expanding the availability of these tools, giving even more teachers new ways to engage students when school starts in the Fall.

One destination to find the right content for students
To make it easier for teachers to find content that inspires their students, we announced last week that we expanded Google Play for Education — creating a single destination for US K12 schools to find and distribute educational content — whether students are using Chromebooks, tablets, or both. Schools that use Chromebooks can start using the site for flexible book rentals, to distribute a selection of free Chrome apps and to share YouTube EDU videos. Administrators for Chromebooks can enable Google Play for Education today by visiting If you do this by July 15 you’ll get a $20 credit for your school to use for book rentals. Learn more.

New tools to enhance Google Apps for Education
Last month we announced Classroom, a new tool coming to Google Apps for Education. We designed Classroom side-by-side with teachers to help them better engage their students and make time-consuming tasks like managing assignments easier. Classroom is currently in an invite-only preview but we are working to make it available to all Google Apps for Education schools in August. In the meantime, teachers can view the demonstration video. Administrators will also gain a new tool that saves them time: Google Apps School Directory Sync. It allows a school to export data from their student information system and quickly sync it to their Google Apps for Education domain. With this tool, it’s easy to create users, organizational units, and Google Groups, and also to keep everything in sync. Learn more.

More value and flexibility from tablets
Based on feedback from schools, we’ve made a few changes to help schools gain more flexibility to meet classroom and student needs with tablets. Schools told us they want students to be able to share devices so we’ve made some changes and now our tablets can be shared with up to 5 students. We’ve also taken the first steps to make tablets compatible with standardized testing for the 2014-2015 school year, releasing a single-task-mode tool for developers so they can design apps that restrict the device for assessments only. Partners like Pearson (a PARCC assessment provider) have already started implementing this functionality with their on-line assessment delivery system, TestNav. Learn more.

Connect with other teachers
Educators at the ISTE conference can visit booth #2414 to demo Google for Education and see over 50 presentations in our teaching theater. If you are not at ISTE, follow along online by searching #googleedu. We’re asking educators to share tips each day to surface great ideas for when school starts.


Google I/O, our annual developer conference, kicked off this morning in San Francisco with more than 6,000 developers in person and millions more on the livestream. This year, 41 percent of live attendees represent companies that develop business-to-business (B2B) applications, which validates what we’ve known for a while: there’s great demand for better apps in the workplace. People want to work the way they live and use the apps and tools they love, whether they’re at home or in the office.

This drives so much of what we’re doing to bring the best of Google to our users at home to work. For those who missed it, earlier today Sundar Pichai, SVP of Android, Chrome & Apps and Urs Hölzle, SVP of Technical Infrastructure, announced and showed off a lineup of new products and features for Apps, Android, Chromebooks and Cloud Platform. Here are some of the highlights:

Introducing Google Drive for Work and updates to Google Docs
  • Already, 190 million people actively use Drive at home, school or work, while companies like Crate & Barrel, HP, Jaguar Land Rover, Seagate and Tory Burch and rely on it to work faster and to connect employees and customers. Now, we’re making Drive even better for business with Google Drive for Work — a new premium offering for businesses that includes unlimited storage, advanced audit reporting and new security controls for $10/user/month.
  • As of today, all files uploaded to Google Drive will be encrypted, not only from your device to Google and in transit between Google data centers, but also at rest on Google servers.
  • Quickoffice is now full integrated into Docs, Sheets and Slides, so you can open and edit those documents in Office Compatibility Mode directly on Android, your Chrome browser and coming soon to iOS. This means you can open, edit, save and send Microsoft Word, Excel® and PowerPoint® files from your favorite device. You no longer have to buy additional software — it just works.
Reimagining developer productivity and data analytics in the cloud with Google Cloud Platform
  • Google Cloud Dataflow, a managed service designed to help developers and companies process large datasets quickly and efficiently, was introduced today at Google I/O. Based on ten years of internal research and development, Cloud Dataflow is designed to let you focus on getting actionable insights from your data, while leaving the management, tuning, sweat and tears to Google.
  • To enhance application management and operations in production, we’re launching Google Cloud Monitoring, built on the technology of Stackdriver, a company that recently joined Google, and introducing new tracing and debugging tools to increase developer productivity.
  • We’re making it easier for mobile developers to build on our platform with a new version of Google Cloud Save and improved integrations in Android studio.
Today we also announced new features that are slated to launch in the next Android release — “L” — that are intended for enterprises. These features will make the transition for users from work to play more seamless, and provide IT administrators with more options to keep their employees' data secure and easy to access. Businesses will also be able buy apps in bulk on Google Play and make them available to employees — great for admins, great for developers. You can also read more about some of the updates coming to schools here.

Today has been exhilarating, but it’s still just the beginning. Google I/O continues through the end of tomorrow, so tune in at for more news and check back here for more updates and news throughout the week.


The workplace is full of files that capture your best ideas or your team’s most productive collaborations. But those files aren’t useful if you’re unable to access or share them effectively. That’s why, just two years ago, we introduced Google Drive. Today more than 190 million people actively use it at home, school and work. Drive keeps all your work safe, and makes it available everywhere and easy to share. Companies around the world like Crate & Barrel, Seagate, Tory Burch, HP and Jaguar Land Rover rely on Drive to work faster and collaborate better with their coworkers and customers.

But we’ve also heard from businesses that they want more control and security, visibility into how files are shared, and a product that will grow with them. So we’ve been working to make Drive even better for business, and today at Google I/O we announced Google Drive for Work — a new premium offering for businesses that includes unlimited storage, advanced audit reporting and new security controls for $10/user/month.

More control, more visibility
Google Drive for Work combines the familiar storage, sync and share experience of Google Drive with new admin controls, advanced file audit reporting and eDiscovery services. New fine-grained controls let admins customize the Drive experience, such as which employees can install the desktop sync client. With the new audit view you can see activity like moving, deleting or sharing a file within or outside the company, and an audit API will also be available for developers. Google Apps Vault, our solution for search and discovery for compliance needs, is also included with Drive for Work, expanding to cover all content stored in Drive, including Docs, Sheets and Slides, as well as any other file type.
More than enough space for all your work
Every year companies create more data than the last, adding megabytes, gigabytes and terabytes. Well, today, we’re taking bytes out of the conversation. For $10/user/month, businesses get unlimited storage for all their employees and can store files up to 5 TB in size (To put that in perspective, no desktop or laptop on the market today even has a hard drive big enough to capture and store a file that size).

More security
As of today, all files uploaded to Google Drive will be encrypted, not only from your device to Google and in transit between Google data centers, but also at rest on Google servers.

More productivity
Some of the most common file types stored in Drive are Microsoft Word, Excel® and PowerPoint® files. We’ve now built the power of Quickoffice into Docs, Sheets and Slides, so you can open and edit those documents in their native format using Office Compatibility Mode directly on Android and Chrome browser today, and coming soon to iOS. No need to buy additional software or decide how to open your file. Editing Office files is just a click or tap away from Drive on your computer, tablet or phone.
Ready for your business, available today
Google Drive for Work includes the benefits and guarantees of Google Apps for Business, like 24x7 phone support and a 99.9% uptime guarantee. You also get access to all of Google’s productivity apps like Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites and Hangouts, so you collaborate in even more ways. Drive for Work also offers enterprise-grade security and compliance, including a SSAE 16 / ISAE 3402 Type II, SOC 2-audit, ISO 27001 certification, adherence to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles, and can support industry-specific requirements like HIPAA.

Drive for Work is available globally, today. If you’re a current Apps customer you can upgrade from the Admin console to get new features like unlimited storage. If you’re new to using Google at work you can learn more about Google Drive for Work on the web, or contact us for more information.


Whenever I visit schools and talk to teachers, I’m reminded of the innovation that happens every day in the classroom. The English teacher who knows just the book to send a curious student’s mind racing, or the Physics teacher who shows how force and acceleration factored into the goal that tied the US vs. Portugal World Cup game.

Google for Education aims to make technology easy for students to use, simple for schools to manage, and affordable. But these tools don’t make a difference without the teachers who bring them to life. That’s why, in the last year, we worked closely with teachers to build tools that save time and provide flexibility -- tools like Google Play for Education.

Google Play for Education helps teachers find and share exactly the right educational content -- giving them the freedom to adapt their approach based on students’ current needs and interests. Google Play for Education started with tablets, but teachers told us they wanted to use it to find apps, books, and videos for Chromebooks too. So today we’re expanding Google Play for Education to US K-12 Chromebook schools.
The landing page for Google Play for Education helps schools find the perfect content for their students across Android apps, Chrome apps, books and videos. 
Chromebook teachers can use Google Play for Education to:
  • Share Chrome apps instantly, with the whole class or with individual students -- starting with favorites like GeoGebra, TechSmith SnagIt and CK-12. Soon we’re adding brand new apps from partners like Houghton Mifflin HarcourtDiscovery Education and Scholastic.
  • Adapt classroom reading to students’ current interests as they choose from thousands of K-12 books, from the latest non-fiction to free classics like Huckleberry Finn and Jane Eyre.
  • Create custom YouTube playlists for students using videos from educator-approved channels.
As a result, districts like Council Bluffs in Iowa are trying new things. David Fringer, the Director of IT for the district, has seen a change in the way teachers are approaching classroom reading:

"With Google Play for Education, we're no longer limited by the number of hard copies of books available. It's easy for teachers to find appropriate reading, then assign it to individual students or the whole class. As a result, we’re saving time and money as we make the transition to digital."
Two students in Fresno, CA, work together on a Chromebook. When they head back to school next year, their teachers will be able to send them apps through Google Play for Education. 
If you’re a domain administrator managing Chromebooks, visit to turn on Google Play for Education. Enable by July 15 and we’ll send you a $20 credit for your school to use on paid books and other content purchases. If you’re an education developer for Chrome or Android interested in participating in Google Play for Education, learn how to get your app included.

If you’re coming to the ISTE conference this weekend, check out the sessions in our teaching theater at booth 2414, which include more information on the expansion of Google Play for Education. Stay tuned for more information next week on this blog, at ISTE, and by following #googleedu.


Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Mike Blake, CIO at Commune Hotels and Resorts, a San Francisco-based hotel management company focused on boutique hotels

At Commune Hotels and Resorts, we have a clear vision for the future of hospitality. Our three brands cater to a clientele that’s diverse in its tastes, but unified in its desire for a first-class experience. From Big Sur to Hawaii, our Joie de Vivre hotels are local and quirky. The Thompson Hotels in cities like London, Toronto and Chicago have a more international flair. And our newest brand, Tommie hotels, will offer ergonomic rooms and speedy services like self check-in and gourmet food to go. We’re expanding quickly and anticipating the evolving needs of customers. We need technology that will take us forward, and fast. That’s why we’re using Google Apps and Drive.

When I joined Commune as CIO in April of 2013, we were using Microsoft Exchange, but with the growth we were seeing, we were in dire need of a flexible system that would help employees collaborate better together. We evaluated Office 365 and Google Apps, and concluded decisively that Apps would put us on a path of growth and innovation. This was an essential differentiation: technology isn’t just about what’s available today, but about what will also put you in the best position for the years ahead. Google is hands down the company best suited to carry us forward. So in 2013, we switched over with the help of Cloud Sherpas, our Google Apps partner.

The strengths and vision of Google Drive, in particular, convinced us of the power and potential of Google Apps. It was clear to us that Drive was a particularly heavy area of focus for Google, and we loved that it was a core part of the company’s product strategy — that updates and improvements were happening all the time. In fact, I believe Drive is becoming the next new shared file structure — the next big way of saving, organizing and sharing all your files — as we move away from desktop network folders that hide behind firewalls and VPN access.

Mike Blake, CIO
Drive adoption has been swift and organic across our organization. For example, our development and acquisitions team has a shared Drive folder organized by state, city and hotel or location, where they store everything they need, like blueprints from architects in PDF format, which they then pass on to construction firms and other partners. Executives use Drive to share photos and video of potential acquisitions in JPG and MPEGs with each other, as well as competitive information. They don’t need a VPN and they can access the information from anywhere, whether they’re on the road or in the office.

Our sales operations team also created a set of shared folders in Drive, housed on a page built on Google Sites, with key information for our salespeople, like training documents, marketing campaign materials, promotional assets and property information. This solved a huge problem we faced after growing quickly without much central coordination, where employees resorted to emailing each other for information, often leaving them with either nothing or outdated material. Now, with Drive and Sites, our entire sales team can go to one single place for all the collateral they need. It’s become a quick success: not only do our reps spend less time searching for information, but we’ve seen a significant increase in cross-selling across hotel chains since all brands are in one site. Our teams are developing a more portfolio-focused, rather than hotel-specific, mindset.

Google Apps has already improved the way we work, but we’re especially looking forward to what's to come. As an aggressively growing lifestyle company with an ambitious vision and big goals, we know we’re in good hands with a company like Google that’s always thinking one step (or a mile) ahead.


Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Christopher McClure, IT director of the town of Hopkinton, Mass., home to the Boston Marathon’s starting point.

Here in historic Hopkinton, Massachusetts — affectionately known as the starting point of the Boston Marathon — our small town’s civic-minded citizens are thirsty for information about local events and news. Until recently, though, they had to get it through word-of-mouth and phone calls to city offices, which was slow, inefficient and frustrating. Communication between police and fire departments, schools and town offices, and boards and committees was fragmented. Documents were siloed. Collaboration was limited to sending emails. We were wasting time tracking down information and weren’t working together as well as we knew we could if we had access to the right tools. That all changed when we moved to Google Apps two years ago. Now, our officials and citizens are getting the information they need, when they need it, and we haven’t looked back.

Drive in particular has been instrumental in creating a hub for storing, finding and sharing information. City employees, firefighters and police use Drive as the central storage for files ranging from PDFs to JPEGs, Word docs to videos, and for everything from meeting agendas to department staff lists, and from research reports to contracts. Our firefighters recently used a Drive shared folder as the main repository for all files involved in a recent study on consolidating firefighting resources among our nearby communities, so everyone involved could access key files, whenever they needed them. Our police department uses Drive to share policies and procedures among officers, since it’s so easy to pull up files whether they’re on their Android devices in the field or on their laptops back at headquarters.

Hangouts play a similarly major role in supporting our town’s governance. Officials use Hangouts to go over town budgets together, so they can review the numbers in Sheets while being able to see each other face-to-face. Just recently, we hosted a town meeting and used Hangouts to connect everyone from remote locations. We worked through and discuss all the motions, amendments and documents that had been distributed to citizens through Drive, Google Groups and Google+, all while feeling like we were meeting in person.

Hangouts also helps in emergency planning. Our fire department recently held a Hangout to discuss our “code red” plan, and everyone involved was impressed with both the ease of use — getting connected instantly just by clicking from the invitation in Google Calendar — and the strength of the sharing function, especially compared with past experience using Skype and GoToMeeting.

Google Apps has made sharing news, documents and updates with both our staff and citizens a breeze, and the impact is real and powerful. Not only are employees and residents happier, but we’re seeing quantitative results, like the 50% drop in call volume to the police and fire departments during Hurricane Sandy due to the ability to post emergency information to a public Google site in real-time. Going Google with Apps and Drive has made our town more than just the starting point of the Boston Marathon — it’s become the model of a beacon of information for citizens everywhere.


Editor's note: Today’s guest post comes from William Davis, Director of Research and Innovation at the Bangor Daily News, a 4th-generation family-owned online and daily print publication covering news from around the state of Maine.

The Bangor Daily News has witnessed and reported on quite a long list of moments in American history since it first went to press back in 1889. From world wars to local fires, peace protests to suffrage laws, we’ve covered it all — keeping the people of Maine up to date and in the loop. And we’ve kept it all in the family along the way: our current publisher, Richard J. Warren, is the great-grandson of our founder, and his sister is our chairman of the board.

The last decade has been especially tumultuous as our business has changed rapidly. With people reading news online instead of in print and the rise of the 24-hour news cycle, we’ve re-evaluated how we define ourselves as a newsroom. And our legacy systems were holding us back as we tried to compete with a new wave of digital-only publishers.

One of the biggest issues we faced were slow, expensive systems that kept reporters in the newsroom instead of finding and researching stories in the field. With a large newsroom flung all across the state, traditional desktop and local server-based programs just didn’t cut it. To file a story, reporters often sent their editor an email with a Microsoft Word attachment, and the story would have to be copied and pasted into our local system. To push the story to our website, someone copied and pasted it into WordPress, added images and hyperlinks, formatted it, and published it. If the reporter filed a newer version of the story, the process started back from the beginning and all changes were lost. The process was painful for everyone involved.

That all changed when we moved to Google Apps. Now we use the Drive API to complete the process in a single click. We connected Drive, WordPress, and Adobe InDesign to make a tedious and slow process easier and faster.

In our new system, reporters and editors write their stories in Docs, using collaborative real-time editing, comments and revision history to make process quick and painless. We then use the Drive API to capture the text of the story, strip out comments and editing notes, and push it directly to our website — no copying and pasting. The text also flows into InDesign fully formatted, making the production of our print newspaper easier, faster and cheaper as well.

We also use the Drive API for project budgeting, which is how our newsroom tracks and prioritizes articles using metadata like wordcount, category, story importance and estimated submission time. Editors use the budget to plan our online content strategy for the day and decide what will go in the next day’s paper. As a reporter submits a budget line to let his or her editors know to expect it, a Doc is created via the API, keeping everything tied together and easy to track.

Google Apps costs next to nothing and lets us work the way we want. Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on complex systems, we can spend that money on reporters. And in an industry where seconds, pennies and flexibility matter, Google Apps has helped our business focus on what’s really critical — breaking news that matters to Maine.


Editor's note: Today’s post comes from Bart Louwagie, CIO of Ulster-Greene ARC (UGARC). UGARC is a private, nonprofit agency offering support for intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals in Ulster and Greene counties in New York.

At UGARC, we provide a full array of customized support and services for individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, these include educational programs, vocational readiness, job training, residential options and clinical services. We have over a thousand employees helping more than 1,300 people live full and meaningful lives.

There are a lot of medically frail people in our care who need 24/7 support. At the same time, our direct support workers need to record every event that takes place when they are “on the clock” including daily activities, food preferences and behavioral events. This information is collected in different databases and pulled up by other direct support workers or nurses who might work with the same person. The challenge for our employees is multi-tasking — it’s hard to give someone your undivided attention when you’re also trying to take notes down before you forget.

For a long time, direct support workers used pen and paper and then spent time entering their notes into a computer when they had some down time. It’s not the most efficient, but paper is easy. You just slap it on the table and start scribbling. As the leader of the IT department, I wanted to introduce technology that was as frictionless as paper and as “invisible” as possible, so our employees could spend more time focusing on the individual.

As a nonprofit we didn’t have many resources to use on new technology. With Chromebooks and Google Apps we were able to create an incredibly affordable, secure and easy-to-manage system for employees to collect and share patient information. We purchased 130 Samsung Chromebooks and locked them down in Kiosk mode, via the management console, so a staff member could only access essential web-based forms. We synchronized this with Active Directory so logons are easy. Now, when direct support staff are with the people, they simply turn on the Chromebook, log into the Electronic Healthcare records and start taking notes right away. By cutting down their note taking time, our direct support staff can focus on what is most important for the person.

As a healthcare provider, we needed to meet stringent regulations around data privacy and security. Chromebooks are by far the easiest computers to manage and secure, thanks to the remote management console. Chromebooks give us granular control over who can access what data, preventing problems with confidentiality of personal information. Since we store no data, we are confident that losing a device will not lead to data loss.

Our employees love Chromebooks, but I think the IT department has felt the biggest impact. Because Google automatically sends updates to each device, all we need to worry about is managing permissions for each user. We’ve saved hours of work each week by not having to maintain laptops, their applications and managing upgrades. It takes less than 10 minutes to configure a new Chromebook just the way we want, versus the hours it would have taken with a Windows-based netbook.

Chromebooks have truly achieved my desire for “invisible” technology that’s simple to use, easy to manage and affordable. We hope to roll out more Chromebooks in the future.


Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is John Paul Besong, SVP & CIO at Rockwell Collins, a Fortune 500 manufacturer of communication, aviation electronic, and information management systems, services and solutions.

In 1933, Rockwell Collins — then less than a year old and known as Collins Radio — supplied the equipment to establish a communications link with the South Pole expedition of Rear Admiral Richard Byrd. It was an exhilarating start to what would, over the next 80 years, include a number of industry milestones, including providing communications for the Apollo, Gemini and Mercury programs, pioneering GPS navigation, and more recently, developing the industry's only aviation head-up synthetic vision system.

Today, we're one of the world’s leading aerospace and defence companies. Our team of about 20,000 employees builds systems to ensure pilots around the world arrive and land safely. Our aviation electronics are installed in the cockpits or cabins of nearly every commercial air transport aircraft in the world. And our communication systems transmit about 70 percent of U.S. and allied military airborne communications.

Because we operate in an industry that places a premium on safety and serve clients that prioritize security, our technology — and our IT environment — has to be safe, trustworthy and reliable. Recently, I realized these priorities, along with our risk averse culture, had left us with IT tools that kept our operations secure and consistent but left our employees and our IT team frustrated.

The problems were widespread. With our legacy mail system, less than 10 percent of our employees — those with company Blackberries — could check their email and calendar on the go. A majority of our engineers expressed dissatisfaction with our development tools. And we were having trouble attracting young new talent. After digging deeper, I sent out a company-wide survey, and the message came through loud and clear: our employees wanted a faster, more flexible platform that was safe and let them access their info and collaborate on the go and from multiple devices.

We looked at a number of options, and after an extended evaluation process, decided that Google Apps for Business was the best solution for both protecting sensitive company information and giving our employees the consumer-friendly collaboration tools they were asking for. With the help of Maven Wave, our Google Apps implementation partner, we made the move successfully and completed our official go-live just a few weeks ago.

Google Apps is moving us into the next era of user-centric computing by allowing our employees to use technology at work the same way they do at home. To start, we’ve replaced the legacy mail system with Google Apps for email, calendar, storage, documents and video chat, and all employees can access their Google Apps account on their own mobile devices — Android, iPhone, tablet, whatever they choose to use. We have also deployed a campus-wide employee wireless network so people don’t feel chained to their desks.

Our employees are now exploring and adopting all of the other collaborative features of Google Apps as well. Three weeks into our deployment, 12,500 employees are using Drive for secure file storage and document sharing, with more than 750,000 files uploaded to Drive. Nearly 20,000 Google Docs, Sheets and Slides have been created. And finally, approximately 10,000 files have already been shared on a read/write access basis, enabling employees to co-author and collaborate within a single document.

Rockwell Collins is a Fortune 500 company with employees located across the globe, and we need to leverage technology to collaborate better and to work more efficiently. Now that our employees can respond to each other almost instantly and work from virtually anywhere with Google Apps, I believe we’re paving the way for the next phase of Rockwell Collins’ journey.


It’s now easier to connect with co-workers and discuss important business decisions face-to-face with some new updates to Google+ and Hangouts. In the past, some of you may have noticed an admin option to enable a preview of “Google+ premium features.” Today we’re rolling out these premium features to everybody. It won’t change the way you’ve previously interacted with Google+ or Hangouts, but it will let you access several great business-specific features you may have missed out on before now.
These changes will let organizations do two things: first, you’ll have a more tailored Google+ experience with enhanced control options, like making Google+ posts restricted to your domain by default or the ability to hide employee profiles in external searches.

Second, you can save time and money while meeting face-to-face with colleagues using 15-person HD video calls with Google Hangouts. So the next time you need to quickly chat with a colleague or hash out a decision, you can just jump into a Hangout with one click from Calendar or an email invitation.

All new Google Apps customers will see these updates from the moment they register, and current users will see these great updates in the next month. Read more about these changes in our Help Center.


Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is from FiLIP, maker of the first smart locator for kids. See how other forward-thinking organizations are investing in mapping technology and transforming their business: Maps are Going Google.

The inspiration behind a company comes in many different forms and at FiLIP we have a unique story. It all began the day I lost track of my 3-year-old son at a shopping mall. We found him safe and sound, but those 30 minutes were heart-stopping, terrifying and something a father should never experience.
No parent should ever feel that way — especially in today’s hyper-connected world. Businesses now use mapping technology to monitor of all their valuable assets. Parents need the same tools to protect the most precious assets of all: their children. This is the idea behind the FiLIP watch, a location-aware, communication device developed just for kids.

Millions of people today have smart phones with Google Maps already installed. Knowing this, we developed a similarly-sophisticated piece of technology for kids — one with Wifi, a mobile network and mapping APIs that can provide real-time location data. This lets parents see exactly where their children are at all times, on the same Google Maps interface they already know and understand how to use. Kids can also call their parents directly from their watch. By combining voice capabilities with location technology, families have a simple, yet powerful way to communicate.
Because kids tend to lose or forget things, it made sense to develop a product they would want to wear, rather than a device they would have to carry. That’s why we embarked on a whole new frontier — wearable technology.

Partnering with Google gave my team access to developers who have been at the forefront of wearables and data analysts who could help us understand how to optimize location data and get it on a map. Using their insights, we created a product that lets parents keep tabs on their most important possession, while being fun for kids and parents to use together.

My son, Filip, still remembers the day he got lost. Recently, when his teacher asked all the kids what they want to be when they grow up — Filip said he would be chairman for the company his father named after him. I love knowing my products help parents be truly connected with their children. But the thing I love most about my job is developing something my son is so connected to. As a father, that’s a great thing.


(Cross-posted on the Google Cloud Platform Blog)

Editor's note: Today's guest post is from Daniel Viveiros, Head of Technology at CI&T, a Google Cloud Platform Partner of the Year LATAM 2013. In this post, Daniel describes how CI&T in partnership with Coca-Cola built the ‘Happiness Flag’ for the Coca-Cola 2014 FIFA World Cup™ campaign in Brazil. To learn more about the Happiness flag visit this website.

As part of the ‘The World’s Cup’ campaign, Coca-Cola wanted to do something that would visually illustrate soccer’s global reach. Coca-Cola invited fans around the world to share their photos to create the Happiness Flag -- the world’s largest mosaic flag crafted from thousands of crowdsourced images submitted by people in more than 200 countries. The flag, 3,015 square meters in size, was unveiled during the opening ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™.
A project of this scale calls for high performing and reliable technology, so when we started working with Coca-Cola to build the infrastructure for the Happiness Flag campaign, we knew we had to use Google Cloud Platform. By using Google Cloud Platform, we turned a big, innovative idea into reality on a global scale.

To create the Happiness Flag, we leveraged the whole Google Cloud Platform stack as shown below:
Google App Engine enabled us to handle the computing workload, capable of handling millions of images via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and email, to the searches for images and view requests. The architecture was scalable to meet this kind of transaction demand and the fluctuations in traffic. We stored all the images in Google Cloud Storage, where integrated edge caching support and image services made it an ideal choice for serving the images. Meanwhile, Google Compute Engine gave us the capability for long-running processes, such as the Twitter integration and advanced image transformations. We were able to show how powerful the creation of hybrid environments can be, using both Platform-as-a-Service (Google App Engine) and raw virtual machines (Google Compute Engine) in the cloud.

We used other out-of-the-box Google Cloud Platform technologies like Memcache, Datastore and Task Queues to ensure outstanding levels of performance and scalability. We know that many fans will be viewing the Happiness Flag on their mobile devices, so we needed a platform that would offer different capacities of computational power. The system provides amazing user experience with high performance and low latency, regardless of the device and its location. Using Google Cloud Platform, the campaign runs smoothly 24/7 and includes redundancy, failover techniques, backups and state-of-the-art monitoring. Plus, it’s affordable.

After the physical flag was unveiled before the opening match, the digital mosaic was made available with a Google map-like zoom in and out with eleven levels of detail. Anyone who submitted an image can now search for themselves on the virtual flag and the search results will show up as pins in the mosaic, like locations found in a Google map. By clicking on the pin, their photos open up in an overlay and they are taken to the maximum level of zoom in to see the "neighborhood" around their image in the flag. After the match, a link to the Happiness Flag site was sent to each participant as a souvenir.

Our goal was to help Coca-Cola create a project that would celebrate the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ by enabling fans from all over the world to express their creativity in a show of unity and art. What better way to open the games than by displaying the Happiness Flag, which is a symbol of the spirit of the game and its fans.


Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is David Markle, Director of Retail Experience for Hayneedle, an online retailer of home furnishings. See what other organizations that use Google Search Appliance have to say. offers millions of home products, requiring a robust shopping experience to help customers discover exactly what they're looking for. The name "hayneedle" contains the seed of a promise – a perfect find for each customer's unique needs and tastes. To that end, Hayneedle has embarked on a process of continuous improvement of our site's discovery tools, including the addition of a much better search solution, powered by Google Search Appliance.

Our previous search solutions couldn't handle the large amount of content indexing and diversity of search queries that customers entered. Performance lagged, and the search results weren't highly relevant. Our customers demanded better, and we set out to fix the situation.

We considered every possible search provider in the market, grading them on a list of more than 100 features with a focus on performance and search relevancy. We evaluated each for its potential to provide us a scalable solution that could grow with our business. Google Search Appliance emerged as the leader in the areas that mattered most to our customers and clearly offered the best return on investment.

Since we began using Google Search, has seen revenue per search increase by more than 20%. In addition, the conversion rate for shoppers who use search has increased by 12%, and the average order value for shoppers who use search has gone up 5%. Google is the perfect partner as we seek to continually improve our retail search solution and help our customers find the perfect products for their home.


Google Apps Vault helps businesses, schools, and governments of all sizes archive, retain and manage business business-critical information. Vault also helps with continuity, compliance, and regulatory purposes. Last January, the introduction of targeted legal holds gave our customers even more control over the emails they retain by restricting holds to searchable criteria.

Now, Vault customers can assign Vault privileges based organization units (OU). This allows customers to limit specific administrators to search and export only specific OUs, addressing privacy and security concerns over allowing administrators to access all licensed Vault users in a domain. Last month, we launched OU-based search, which lets Vault administrators search for data within a specific OU. Vault’s OU-based search and OU-restricted search reduce the number of irrelevant search results that a domain-wide search can produce, and eliminates the need to specify individual accounts. For example, if your OUs are structured by geography, you can restrict your administrator based in London to only search your users in Europe.

To learn more about Vault, please visit our Vault Help Center.


What can you do with 24 hours? Google teamed with the States of Colorado and Wyoming to ask more than 100 passionate developers at our inaugural GovDev Challenge, a live coding competition in Denver on May 17 and 18. After an all-nighter cranking out ideas, the coders came up with solutions to transform the way state governments work by using technology to bring innovative ideas to life.

Google collaborated with the State of Colorado and State of Wyoming to host the Challenge. We worked closely with the CIO Offices of both Colorado and Wyoming to identify tough problems that were meaningful to the states and able to be addressed during the 24-hour coding challenge. We’d like to give programmers from across the country the unique chance to make a real difference. To support the event, Wyoming CIO Flint Waters sent a school bus packed with programmers and spectators to Denver to attend. “It’s a great example of how to increase public engagement to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of government,” said Brandon Williams from the Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology.

As they coded their way to better government services, participants got the chance to master tools like Google Cloud Platform, which enables developers to build, test and deploy applications on Google’s reliable infrastructure. They also used other Google solutions such as Google Maps, Google Apps and the Google Search Appliance.

The specific challenges weren’t announced until game day, so participants showed up having no idea what kinds of applications they’d be developing. Colorado requested tools for managing records and tracking donations during natural disasters. “We’re looking to you to make the lives easier of citizens and volunteers who show up at disaster assistance centers,” Williams told the crowd.

Winners included the GovSafe team, who created a website that allows victims from disasters and volunteers to fill out a form online that could spare them the hassle of entering the same information multiple times for various paper documents. Recognizing that the government is not quite ready to go fully paperless, GovSafe incorporated hard copies into their system and used a printer to demonstrate the impact.

For the Wyoming challenge, competitors developed solutions allowing the public to see how taxpayer dollars are being spent. Although that data is publicly available, individuals can’t gather and visualize it without help from government workers. “This should really help us provide better information to our citizens so they know what’s going on,” explained Flint Waters, Wyoming’s CIO.

The CodeRangers team placed first for designing a mobile and desktop tool that displays the geographic distribution of public sector payments to private vendors. The public can easily see the location of vendors on a Google Map and can tell how much payment goes out of the state. They can drill down to the department level and see their spending patterns. They can also run queries by vendor names. “Governmental transparency is vitally important for citizen oversight of how our democratic process works,” said team member Anne Gunn. “The money comes from all of us, and we should know how it is being spent.”
Congratulations to everyone who took part in the GovDev Challenge, from the coders who traveled from far and wide to the officials who helped us with every step of the planning. We hope the event will serve as a blueprint for future partnerships between Google and the government, forged with the shared goal of solving tough problems with private sector talent. Together we help transform government, one innovation at a time.


Editor's note: If you are thinking about going Google with Chromebooks, complete the interest form on our website and a member of our team will be in touch.

As students in the United States put down their pencils and head out for summer vacation, educators across the country are hard at work planning for the school year ahead. For some, it means putting together the summer reading list or having year-end conferences. For others, it means studying materials for a new syllabus or decorating the classroom. And for Chesterfield County Schools, one of the country’s 100 largest school systems, it means securing the best teaching materials and technology to greet students when they return to school next year -- including 32,000 new Chromebooks.

Chesterfield, which serves students across 62 schools in Virginia, joins a number of other large districts who have chosen Chromebooks for the 2014-15 school year. They join Oakland Unified School District (8,000 devices), Boston Public Schools (10,000 devices), Milwaukee Public Schools (11,400 devices), Edmonton Public Schools (13,000 devices), and Chicago Public Schools (16,000 devices).

Chesterfield is one of many public school districts that believe providing access to technology for every student is possible even when budgets are tight. They chronicled their journey on a website they created, called “Anytime, Anywhere Learning,” so the community could engage in the project and efforts. One of the most important steps the District took was running an in-depth pilot study where teachers, students and administrators tested 6 pilot devices in the classrooms, to determine which were best for their schools.
Adam Seldow, Executive Director of Technology, letting younger students test the new Chromebooks 

After testing and assessing the devices, Chesterfield selected Chromebooks for all 32,475 middle and high school students. What’s especially remarkable is that they were able to move to Chromebooks with existing funds — without requesting additional budget, since Chromebooks are nearly half the cost of PC desktops and laptop alternatives. Chesterfield also saved by reducing the amount of classroom peripheral devices such as interactive whiteboards, which they could replace with web-based tools. They selected Dell Chromebooks with local partner TIG, who committed to provide training and support for the journey to ensure students, teachers and administrators could take full advantage of the many benefits of the new technology.

Choosing Chromebooks wasn’t just about selecting a piece of hardware - it was about meeting Chesterfield’s goals at the right price to bring great education to all students. As Chesterfield Superintendent Dr. Marcus Newsome explained, "anytime, anywhere learning is a tenet of our strategic plan made possible by highly trained teachers, and actionable by our students' access to Chromebooks.” And as Adam Seldow, Executive Director of Technology, said, “with Chromebooks, we are now able to provide students with more opportunities to pursue their interests both inside and outside of the classroom."


While most schools eventually want to get to 1:1, it’s not always practical to start with a dedicated tablet for every student. Asking students to share a single account isn’t advisable either -- too often the result is one-size-fits-all technology with more than a few management headaches.

That’s why we’re adding support for multiple accounts to tablets with Google Play for Education, making it possible for schools to provide personalized learning for up to five students on the same shared device.
With multiple accounts, schools can test out tablets at a meaningful scale before buying hardware for every student. Here’s how it works:

  • “Bump” tablets together as usual to get them set up -- you now have the option to specify the number of students who’ll be sharing each tablet (up to 5).
  • Students complete setup by signing into one of the the tablets you’ve configured, then setting a pin code for individual access.
  • From then on, each student can pick up their assigned tablet, select their account, and enter their pin to get back to all their stuff.

When each student has their own account it’s easy for them to collaborate on class projects using Docs, Drive, and other Google Apps. And teachers can use Google Play for Education to instantly send students the apps, books, and videos that match their academic needs and speak to their unique interests.

It's easy for your school to scale to 1:1 when you're ready -- just set up any new tablets with the student accounts you’ve already been using. The apps teachers have already assigned to each student will download automatically.

You can read more about multiple accounts in the Google Play for Education Help Center or contact our sales team to learn about a starting trial at your school.


Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Yakup Dogan, Assistant General Manager in charge of Alternative Distribution Channels at Yapı Kredi, one of the largest retail banks and the largest credit card issuing bank in Turkey. View their case study to learn more and see what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

For me, one of the best things about working at Yapi Kredi is the genuine desire to make the banking experience as simple and enjoyable as possible for our customers. With this in mind, my team and I recently undertook a major re-design project to help improve the customer experience for the three million unique monthly visitors to our website.

And it was a big re-design. We literally got rid of everything on the site apart from a search bar. No confusing menus. No clutter. Visitors to the site can type what they need into the search bar and get directed straight to the answer. It is easy to use and we have had fantastic feedback from our customers. Not only has the number of daily site searches increased by 1000%, but users are spending an extra 30 seconds on average on the site.

Most importantly of all, the shift to the new site has made a genuine business impact. We’ve seen a 134% increase in loan applications since we re-designed the site and I attribute this to how easy it is to navigate around and use the site.

It’s safe to say we couldn’t have done any of this without the GSA. It offered advanced relevancy, ease of use, familiarity and lower TCO. Data security is very important to us and the GSA’s ability to integrate all of the domain’s security features was crucial.

Despite the enormous growth in use of the site, thanks to the GSA the number of admin staff I need to allocate to search remains the same. And because the volume of searches is now so much higher, we can better understand what customers need and are looking for the most. This, combined with web analytics, opens up a high level of insight into our customer’s expectations, frustrations and needs.

This enhanced visibility also enables us to better target our promotion of products to the right people at the right time during their visit, and increase sales. I firmly believe we’ve set a new standard for a simple, effective website experience in the financial sector.


Google Apps helps millions of businesses, schools and governments get work done with easy to use apps that are built for the cloud. Working in the cloud not only makes it easier to get things done, but also allows new insights into how your organization is using Google Apps. Starting today, we’re introducing a new Reports section to the Admin console to make it easier for admins to manage Google Apps and also gain insights that help their entire organization run more efficiently.

See a snapshot of all activity
The Highlights page, located in the new Reports section, gives you a quick overview of all the activity across your domain. You can see how many Hangouts, Docs, Sheets and Slides your organization created, who is close to reaching their Drive and Gmail storage quota and how many files have been shared outside the company. You can also export any report to Google Sheets to slice and dice your data for further analysis.
Drill down to user level Reports
The Apps Usage Activity page shows data on how individual users are working with Gmail, Drive, storage and other apps. Choose what information you want to see and move the columns around to customize your view.

Use filters to quickly find who owns a specific file, people with a high number of uploads and shares, and granular data such as all the people who have between 1000 and 2000 documents.
The Security page is another customizable user report that provides security related information like 2-step verification enrollment, how many files are shared externally, the number of external apps that are installed and other important information like account status and Gmail IMAP usage. Like the Apps Usage Activity report, Admins can customize column names and apply sorting and filters on the columns.

Login Audit
Monitor any security concerns by reviewing the specific IP addresses and dates of all logins and any failed or suspicious logins on the Login Audit page. Admins can use this report to track suspicious activity and take corrective action like resetting passwords.

To use the new Reports page, go to your Admin console and click on the Reports icon or the View Reports link on the right side panel. Mobile data will be added soon, in the meantime you can revert to the old Reports if needed. We have many additions planned for the future so stay tuned.


Today, technology allows us to work across devices, at all hours, around the world. But, sometimes working face-to-face is most effective.

That's why we recently launched a Hangout start button that can be embedded in any app or website. Whether you’re a sales rep working in a CRM app or an engineer in a project management tool, it only takes one click to launch a Hangout and your team will automatically be invited. You can even improve customer service with the ability to quickly launch into a video Hangout with a client to resolve an issue.

With this new Hangouts button, apps everywhere will let colleagues, partners, and customers meet face-to-face anytime, anywhere, and work more effectively together with just one click. A number of our early partners have already enriched their applications with Hangouts:

And this is only the beginning. We invite developers to get started here to make it easier for users to work face-to-face.


Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Vishal Agarwal, Chief Marketing Officer of NoMoreRack, an online retailer of discounted brand-name apparel and household products based in New York City. See what other organizations that use Google Search Appliance have to say.

When we launched NoMoreRack in 2010 we started out with eight products a day on our website. Today, we have 15,000 apparel, home, and electronics products at any given time. To make our fast-growing inventory easy for customers to find, we’ve chosen Google Search Appliance (GSA).

As we evolve NoMoreRack, we’re working hard to turn the flash-sale shopping model on its head. We’re not about buying a small number of discount products from closeout companies, and then getting rid of them quickly. We buy thousands of units of in-demand day to day quality goods directly from the same manufacturers and suppliers who sell to top retailers, so we can keep products in stock for days instead of hours. We also want to provide a better online shopping experience than what people usually expect from a discount retailer – which is where the GSA plays the perfect role.

Our previous site search was custom built by our in-house team. It was based on tagging, and although it served the purpose, it did not have advanced features like suggest as you type, relevance or linguistics strategy. This meant sometimes customers couldn't find the exact product they wanted.

GSA gives all of the tools we missed from our homegrown search – both internally and for customers. GSA will index every word from product descriptions, so if customers use some of that language in a search – like “floral floor-length sun dress” – they are far more likely to see these products in search results. We expect the search results to be more relevant, since GSA will adapt to how our customers search, and will serve up better results over time. Our customers will get to use refinements for things like color, size, and price to narrow down results faster and more accurately.

With tools like Searchandiser, a third party tool powered by the GSA, we’ll create special webpages around popular products or brands that customers search for, and display these eye-catching pages once they’ve conducted a search or refined by a category.

We’ve got the right merchandise at the right prices that our customers are asking for – and with the GSA, we can show them the right product at the right time.