Technology News

Going from Xero to 100 with help from Google Apps and Drive

Google Enterprise Blog -

Posted by Chris Ridd, Managing Director, Xero

Editor's note: A few weeks ago, we announced Google Drive for Work, a new premium offering for businesses that includes unlimited storage, advanced audit reporting and new security controls. To celebrate the announcement and show how Drive helps businesses around the world, we’re sharing a few stories from a handful of customers using Drive (and the rest of the Google Apps suite) in innovative ways. Today’s guest blogger is Chris Ridd, Managing Director for Xero in Australia. Xero is a cloud-based accounting software company with 300,000 customers worldwide and over 800 employees across offices in the U.S., UK, Australia and New Zealand. 

At Xero, our core business is making beautiful, intuitive cloud based accounting software that helps small business owners spend more time doing what they do best, and less time worrying about keeping their books in order. Xero started life as a small four person operation in New Zealand. Eight years later, we’ve grown to 300,000 customers worldwide and 800 employees across 17 offices in the U.S., UK, Australia and New Zealand.

This rapid growth was great, but it came with challenges, like finding the right people and new premises. One of the biggest challenges was coordination. With hundreds of employees dotted around different parts of the world, it soon became apparent that we needed to improve how we documented information, shared content and communicated.

I have to admit, it was ironic that although our core product is cloud-based, we weren't actually using this same technology to its full extent within our own business. Instead, teams used a combination of cloud software and legacy desktop software that required continual expensive upgrades. With a highly mobile team based all over the globe, we needed a communications platform that would scale with us, make it easy to collaborate from anywhere, and help us maintain our fluid and mobile way of doing business.

To that end, in December last year we decided to change to Google Apps, and I’m pleased to say this has led to huge boosts in productivity and openness. Tasks that used to be time consuming – like emailing a document around for edits – now take just hours. Teams can also now jump into a document from Google Drive and collaborate on product release notes, spreadsheets, blog posts, and dozens of other documents with people around the world in real time.

Whether we conduct meetings in break-out areas or our in-house cafe, open laptops are ever-present, with Xero employees writing minutes in real-time so that everyone has their action items as soon as they walk out the door. Having 99% of our documents saved in Drive gives us a central place where people can find and store everything — and that means no more lost files, confusion over multiple versions, or duplication of work.

Moving to the cloud has made international coordination so much easier. Hangouts bring far flung teammates face to face, and during these video meetings people will often work together on the same document right from within he Hangouts window. Being able to work from anywhere — the office, home, the airport or the back of a taxi — has made everyone feel much freer because they can work wherever they want, on any device without worrying about losing documents.

Although it’s difficult to quantify how much money we’ll save with Google Apps, I’ve seen a lot less hardware around the office. In fact, we no longer need to spend money and time updating and maintaining servers. Productivity gains have been impressive, too.

By embracing the cloud-technology our customers use every day, we’ve been able to vastly improve the way Xero employees across our offices communicate, collaborate and share ideas. ‘Anywhere, anytime on any device’ is a key benefit we promote to customers, and it’s great to see we can now embrace that every day within Xero.

Unlimit your business with Google Drive for Work

Google Enterprise Blog -

Posted by Scott Johnston, Director of Product Management, Google Drive

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.

Better Business Bureau serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT improves productivity with Chromebooks and Chromeboxes

Google Enterprise Blog -

Posted by Lisa Ventura, Vice President of Accounting and Administration, Better Business Bureau

Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Lisa Ventura, Vice President of Accounting and Administration for the Better Business Bureau serving Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont, a non-profit organization that services businesses and consumers in the community.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has a real mix of in office and telecommuting staff. As a busy non-profit, technology is forefront of our organization and, like a lot of Better Business Bureau offices around the country, we don’t have an IT department, which adds to the challenge of keeping information both secure and accessible. If someone needs tech help, I put on my IT hat (as does Kevin J. Sanders, our CEO), and configure new computers or update software. Juggling the IT responsibilities can be difficult during busier times of the year.

That is until we decided to bring 35 Google Chromebooks and Chromeboxes for Business at the BBB. Almost overnight, we reduced the time we spent handling IT tasks like software updates and patches, and worrying about security concerns. We’ve already seen firsthand how Google can help our business — we were early adopters among BBB offices of Google Apps for Business (about 30% of BBBs nationwide now use Google Apps), and we love collaborating on documents and managing our emails, which Google Apps has made so simple.

Chromebooks and Chromeboxes give us even more freedom and help us lock down the security of information. The devices run on the Chrome operating system and software is updated automatically on each device. Security is built into the Chromebook in multiple layers, such as sandboxing and data encryption, so we can rest easy knowing that malware can’t get very far. Using the Chrome management console we can preload the apps that we want employees to use and restrict downloads to only those applications employees need for working with consumers and Accredited Businesses. Not only are we greatly reducing IT issues, we have saved roughly $900 per seat by purchasing Chromeboxes versus computers with added software. With a staff of approximately 50 people, that savings really adds up.

Using Google Apps for Business eliminated the need for email and document servers, instantly saving BBB the cost of maintaining those devices. It became easier to share documents and track user changes, instead of emailing those documents back and forth as attachments. Plus, the ability to have Google Apps anywhere you are, allows our remote workers to always have information at their fingertips. Moving off our Windows-based desktops and laptops onto Chromebooks and Chromeboxes made perfect sense after seeing so much success from switching to Google Apps for Business.

We’re in the process of expanding beyond our original order of 35 devices and switching out all of our desktops and laptops to Chromebooks and Chromeboxes – a huge benefit for our busy organization. In fact, we’ve become such experts at adopting Google technology that other BBB offices in North America are coming to us for advice on Google Apps and buying up Chromebooks and Chromeboxes for Business

Docs, Sheets and Slides work with any file, anywhere (with Suggest Edits too)

Google Enterprise Blog -

Posted by Alan Warren, Engineering VP, Google Docs editors

A few weeks ago at Google I/O, Docs, Sheets and Slides got a major upgrade — making it even easier for you to get work done at the office and on-the-go with Google Apps. In case you missed it, here’s a recap of how you can edit Office files, make Suggested Edits and a new ability to convert tracked changes to Suggested Edits:

Edit and share Office files — without Office
Technology is changing the way people work, but all that change can cause friction when employees are using different software. That’s why we made it possible to edit Office files directly in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, so you can open and edit those documents in their native format using Office Compatibility Mode. No need to buy additional software or think about how to open your file. The Docs, Sheets and Slides mobile apps come with Office editing built right in, and with the Chrome extension, you can edit and share files directly from Google Drive or Gmail.
Suggest Edits in Docs
Docs makes working together easy by letting people edit files in real-time, rather than emailing multiple versions of the same document back and forth. But sometimes you want to control specific changes someone else makes in a document. Suggest Edits in Docs lets you do just that: your team can make suggestions that you can accept or reject with a single click. This feature is available for anyone with commenting access in Google Docs on the web, and is coming soon to our mobile apps.
Convert your tracked changes to Suggest Edits
While you no longer have to convert Microsoft Word files to Docs (thanks to the recent Quickoffice integrations), if you do, starting today any tracked changes in a .docx file will be automatically carried over to Docs as Suggested Edits. Once you’ve imported your changes, you can begin immediately collaborating with your colleagues in real-time.
These features are available today. So next time you’re collaborating in Docs try suggesting edits to speed up the review process.

Gmail and Google Drive — working better together while you’re on-the-go

Google Enterprise Blog -

Posted by Simon Forsyth, Software Engineer, Gmail

(Cross-posted on the Gmail Blog.)

Important stuff doesn't always happen when you’re conveniently sitting at your desk. Maybe you're out to dinner when your boss tells you that she needs the latest project proposal ASAP, or your daughter calls you on your commute home to ask you to proofread her college essay (that’s of course due that night!). While we can't make your life more predictable, today's update to the Gmail iOS app, along with earlier updates to the Gmail Android app, makes it easier to get stuff done on-the-go.

Just like with Gmail on the web, you can now insert files from Google Drive directly into an email on your phone or tablet.
The apps will even tell you if your file isn’t shared with the person you’re sending it to so you can change the sharing settings before you send it. And to help you store all your files in a single place, if someone sends you an email attachment, you can save it directly to Drive with one tap.
On iOS, you can now also change your profile picture right from your Settings. So the next time you take that perfect selfie, you can make it your profile picture right away, all while out with friends. Lastly, if you have multiple Gmail accounts, you can choose which signed-in accounts you want visible in the app.

You can give these features a try by downloading the updated Gmail iOS app from the App Store, and if you’re using an Android phone or tablet, you can get the latest version of the Gmail Android app from the Google Play Store.

Briggs & Stratton streamlines manufacturing and business processes with Google Drive

Google Enterprise Blog -

Posted by Brent Hoag, IT Director, Briggs & Stratton

Editor's note: A few weeks ago, we announced Google Drive for Work, a new premium offering for businesses that includes unlimited storage, advanced audit reporting and new security controls. To celebrate the announcement and show how Drive helps businesses around the world, we’re sharing a few stories from a handful of customers using Drive (and the rest of the Google Apps suite) in innovative ways. Today’s guest blogger is Brent Hoag, IT Director at Briggs & Stratton, the world’s largest producer of air-cooled gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment.

Briggs & Stratton has been in the business of making gas-powered engines for more than 100 years, and if you use a lawn mower or tractor, chances are it’s running one of our engines. Today, we also sell portable generators, pressure washers and snow blowers, and we’re transitioning into a maker of consumer equipment.

A few years ago, our CEO, Todd Teske, set out a strategy to break the company into the consumer market — an expansion from our long history in the original equipment manufacturing industry. To bring his strategy to life, he needed the company to adapt to the demands of consumer markets and invest in innovation. He hired me to help make that change happen with help from the best technology available. When I discovered that 15% of our network traffic was consumed by unsecured content storing and sharing and realized that poor communication was leading to inefficiencies, I pushed for a move to Google Apps. I knew that switching to Google’s platform would not only fix our communications problems, but help our 3,000 employees be both more innovative and more effective.

That’s happening now, in a big way. In a manufacturing plant in Milwaukee, for example, one of our industrial engineers saw a way for Google Drive to replace an outdated, paper-based system to get critical information to production line workers. For decades, step-by-step instructions for assembling engine parts and quality-control checklists were all typed up and printed out for workers on five production lines. This wasn’t just a waste of paper — it often led to damaging errors when processes changed and employees were going about their jobs with inaccurate instructions and manuals. The proliferation of out-of-date information was just inefficient and potentially hazardous. To solve this problem, the engineering team created a page with Google Sites with Drive folders for each piece of manufacturing equipment, with photos, instructions for assembly, how-to videos for each of the steps and line schedules — all in a variety of file types, like JPGs, PDFs and Word docs. Workers can read instructions and learn exactly how to do the assembly using shared workstations on the plant floor.

Drive doesn’t just help us on the shop floor — it’s equally essential for our sales team, who spend a lot of time on the road, meeting with dealers and partners. Reps used to have to spend an hour or two sifting through different Excel spreadsheets and Access databases to find the most up-to-date pricing and promotions data before heading out to customer meetings and jotting down notes or downloading information onto their laptops. We’re now storing the current pricing database and promotions spreadsheet in Drive, and since our Sales teams use Drive sync on their computers, the latest information is automatically synced from Drive to their laptops. They never have to wonder if they have the right prices when they’re talking to a customer. They can also use the Drive mobile app to access the same information on their mobile devices. This means more hours spent with customers and a happier sales team — two big wins for Briggs.

Google is helping us streamline our manufacturing and business processes at a time when we have unprecedented product and corporate growth. And Todd’s strategy around breaking into the consumer market is making its mark: we’ve introduced 40 new models of lawn, garden and outdoor power equipment, won a handful of “Best of” awards and continue to see a growing percentage of our revenue come from these innovations. Google allows us to change our image inside and outside the company in a democratic and creative way, from the assembly line to the CEO’s office.

The Art of Less As More: Micro Content

Beth's Blog -

Visual.ly has published this really useful and free e-book on Micro Content.   As our attention fragments and more and more of us are reading content on mobile devices, content creators are finding that the best way to engage audiences is with shorter, bite-sized chunks of content known as “Micro Content.”    The e-book, which at 32 pages, is definitely long-form content provides context, best practices, examples, tools, and resources.  I don’t know about you, but as a content consumer, I still do consumer long-form content to get a better understanding of a topic.   As a content creator,  one thing to keep in mind, that if you can create long-form by aggregating micro content or take the Lizzy Borden approach and chop up an existing long form content piece – either way if you create in this modular way you have both forms to publish.

Flickr Image by theamarand

What is micro content anyway?  Yes, it is the opposite of longform content – reports, books, slidedecks, articles – and even blog posts.    Micro-content is optimized for social media channels and sharing.   There many forms of micro-content: tweets, Facebook status updates, curated links, Vine videos, photos, visual quotes, etc.     The e-book gives an entertaining historical perspective on micro-content which is not just a product of a networked age.     For example, gum wrappers and fortune cookies are micro content.

The e-book also points out that headlines may be the most basic type of micro-content, and have been a part of print publications for decades – think newspaper headlines.   Headlines are really tweets and more recently good headline writing is an essential skill for nonprofit marketers who embrace social a la “the Upworthy headline.”   The e-book covers examples of micro-content on different social media platforms and channels, pretty much the usual suspects.  However, here’s one to think about data visualizations.  Not just infographics, but a snippet from an infographic or a chart or graph to illustrate a statistic. Small visualizations of data or illustrations of ideas are effective visual micro content, especially when they are fun and easily digestible piece of content.

Tricks of the Trade

The e-book offers some useful tips or best practices in producing effective micro content.   One suggestion is to make it stackable:

With so many media options available, from TVs and laptops to smartphones and tablets, consumers are often engaging with multiple platforms at the same time. Research firm Millward Brown’s recent AdReaction study found that more than 40% of 16- to 45-year-old multiscreen consumers in the United States use devices simultaneously. You can hone in on this audience by crafting stackable content that meshes well with other platforms and encourages sharing.

Tools

The e-book has a good list of micro-content creation tools, many free or low cost for your tool box and for your mobile phone.   Here’s two new ones that I discovered and have added to my tool box.

  • Quozio makes quotes visual – and shareable. “Just provide the text, pick a predetermined style and share. It’s that easy! Its bookmarklet makes it even more convenient to create an eye-catching quote – highlight text on any web page, click the bookmarklet, and your text is delivered into the tool for a hassle-free experience. The only downside to Quozio is its lack of font choice and custom styles. However, its favorable price tag – free! – and the convenience of no registration required makes this a charming, great-to-know tool.”
  • Cogggle Sometimes, you may be dealing with a difficult subject that can be daunting to your audience. A great way of inviting your readers to dive into your post is to create a mind map. This visual can help guide your reader through complex ideas that otherwise might have gotten lost in translation. Coggle is a free, straightforward mind mapping tool that allows you to work independently or invite others to work on the map as well, after signing in with Google. Just double-click on the main Coggle to get started and the rest is cake.

You can download the e-book here.

Bringing the power of Maps Coordinate to Google Maps Engine Pro

Google Enterprise Blog -

Posted by Jen Kovnats, Product Manager, Google Maps for Business

Last fall, we launched Maps Engine Pro to give businesses and individual users an easy-to-use tool for collaborative map creation. Using Maps Engine Pro, you can create rich, multi-layered maps, share information with stakeholders and make decisions more collaboratively.

Starting today, all Maps Engine Pro users will also have access to Google Maps Coordinate, a mobile and web app that lets teams assign jobs and share their locations with each other in real-time. The new offering combines dynamic data visualization with location-based communication using Google Maps.
Pure Fix Cycles, a distributor of custom, fixed gear bikes, uses Maps Engine Pro to identify sales opportunities across target markets, helping to expand their business throughout the U.S. and around the world.
With the same $5 per user per month subscription to Maps Engine Pro, organizations will have access to this powerful suite of productivity tools. For example, a building management firm can organize the buildings they maintain on a map and when a maintenance call comes in, assign the nearest worker to the job.
In addition to making Maps Coordinate available to Pro users, we’re also opening the Coordinate app to anyone with a Google account — previously it was only available to Google Apps customers. This means more teams can use Maps Coordinate to share their locations and get jobs done.

With enhancements to the Maps Engine Pro offering and improvements to Maps Coordinate, businesses can do work with even more powerful, affordable and accessible Google Maps for Business tools. Starting today, new users can purchase Maps Engine Pro with Coordinate and existing Pro and Coordinate customers can begin using the combined app suite.

Tory Burch ramps up retail expansion by sharing plans and project timelines with Google Drive

Google Enterprise Blog -

Posted by Mike Giresi, CIO, Tory Burch

Editor's note: A few weeks ago, we announced Google Drive for Work, a new premium offering for businesses that includes unlimited storage, advanced audit reporting and new security controls. To celebrate the announcement and show how Drive helps businesses around the world, we’re sharing a few stories from a handful of customers using Drive (and the rest of the Google Apps suite) in innovative ways. Today’s guest blogger is Mike Giresi, CIO of Tory Burch, the lifestyle brand known for its iconic bright colors and eclectic prints, available at 120 boutiques around the world and online at Toryburch.com. To learn more about how Tory Burch’s move to the cloud helped them build a thriving retail business, join our Hangout on Air with Mike and Google’s Head of Industry Solutions & Retail on Wednesday, August 6th.

Before opening a new Tory Burch store, we go through months of planning with as many as 200 people, with tasks ranging from hiring staff, importing custom fixtures, designing windows, and when we can, having Tory on hand to do the opening honors. Nearly all of the documentation around a store opening, like blueprints and project plans, are developed by teams, not just one person. Google Drive helps these teams collaborate on documents and make decisions faster — now we can open three stores in a single weekend, something we couldn’t have done before we moved to Google.

Every Tory Burch store needs to embody the brand, so the process requires careful coordination. The more accessible store information is, the easier it is to decide on next steps. But with our old IT system, emailing spreadsheets back and forth wasn’t enabling the speedy decision-making we need for a rapidly growing retail business. Teams couldn’t get their hands on the right information to push store development forward.

Using Google Drive lets our store-opening teams and outside partners like architects and visual designers connect and collaborate seamlessly. For each Tory Burch store, team managers can create master folders without relying on IT, making it easy for them to store and share project timelines, floor plans, and merchandise lists. With Drive, we don't have to worry about version control, which was a struggle when we shared files over email — now, we know that what's stored and shared is the true, up-to-date document.

Choosing Drive also means we won’t have to worry about storage for documents, especially as we expand the business. Purchasing our own servers and storage disks doesn’t make good business sense for us — why not simply rely on a company like Google that can scale storage much better than we can do ourselves?

We’ve got the perfect combination of fashion’s most colorful and eclectic clothing and accessories, and Tory herself to embody the brand — so we’re confident that the world is ready for many more Tory Burch stores. Google Drive has become a catalyst for our exciting growth plans.

Explore Impact Leadership at NTEN’s Leading Change Summit: Free Registration Giveaway

Beth's Blog -

I’m giving away a free registration to NTEN’s Leading Social Change Summit.   If you want to a chance to win, leave a comment on this post sharing something that you’d like to learn about Impact Leadership or some wisdom from your experience about practicing impact leadership!  I’ll pick a winner by July 3oth.

NTEN is hosting the “Leading Change Summit ” in San Francisco from September 3-6th.  (Early bird registration ends on July 31 and scholarship information is here.) This conference will be different from Nonprofit Technology Conference which is geared for a wide nonprofit audience.    The summit will be an opportunity for deeper peer learning for nonprofit change makers in three theme areas: digital strategy, impact leadership, and the future of technology.    I’m excited to be co-facilitating the Impact Leadership track with colleagues John Kenyon, Elissa Perry, and Londell Jackson.

As you can see from the schedule overview, this is more of a participatory event versus the traditional conference with powerpoints and panelists.   While participants in each track will explore their topics in depth and in the context of a facilitated structure, there will be inspiring keynotes and opportunities for networking for all participants.  The event will end with an “Idea Accelerator” where participants will have an opportunity to develop and pitch an actionable idea for feedback and funding.

Over the past few weeks,  I’ve been working with my fellow track facilitators to design the process that we will lead the participants in our track through.   We’ve settled in on an innovation lab process that will help participants reflect on their current “Impact Leadership” practice,  brainstorm solutions to key challenges, and come up with innovative and practical ideas to implement.   We envision that participants will walk away with new insights, but they will also experience an innovation process that you they take back to your own organization.

One of our first design tasks as facilitators was for all of us to get clear on what we mean by “Impact Leadership.”   While the specific topics will emerge from the people in the room,  impact leadership is focusing within, people, processes and plans to help the org reach it’s mission.  Our first session will set the stage and context for the practices of “Impact Leadership.”   We’ll hear some brief lightning talks from participants and experts on technology planning, organizational culture, and the human and technical sides of impact measurement and reflect on what it means for our organizations.  The facilitators will lead participants through human design facilitation techniques to gain both individual and group understanding of this question:  What are our current organizational practices?   What are the points of pain, strengths, and opportunities?

We know that leadership isn’t just about talking about the problems, it is also about discovering solutions.  Today’s nonprofit leaders embrace collective creativity.   We will facilitate a  brainstorming and creative process of generating ideas that address the question: What are some ways that we can improve our practice of  technology planning, organizational adoption, and impact measurement to get better results?   Of course that particular question will change, morph, and multiply based on the earlier session, but it will provide a rich framework for generating many useful and practical ideas.

What great about this conference is that we will have creative immersion and change to “sleep on our ideas.”    The brainstorming techniques from the previous day will yield many, many insights and ideas.  However, putting great ideas into action calls for making things happen in a resourceful manner and frequent iteration.   We facilitate small groups of participants to synthesize and create different prototypes for their ideas, bringing them to life — all with the goal of improving their organization’s current practice of impact leadership.     Participants will not only end this session inspired and armed with a playbook of techniques and ideas to try back at the office, but may also have the genesis of a great idea or two to collaborate on during the next day’s Idea Accelerator.

The magic will happen based on who is in the room and the conversation.    Colleagues like Deborah Finn and others are excited about the opportunity to learn from nonprofit tech peers.    The deadline for early bird pricing is July 31st and if budget is tight, there are some limited scholarships available.   And, if you are lucky, you might win a free registration by sharing your thoughts about impact leadership in the comments below.

Advanced security for Google Drive for Work

Google Enterprise Blog -

Posted by Chuck Coulson, Head of Google Apps and Drive Technology Partnerships

Last month we announced Google Drive for Work, which includes advanced Drive auditing to give organizations control, security and visibility into how files are shared. This new security feature helps companies and IT managers protect confidential information and gain insights into how their employees work.

Drive audit helps IT admins view activity on documents, such as uploading and downloading files, renaming files, editing and commenting, and sharing with others. Filters make it easy to sort and find details like IP address, date range, document title and owner’s email address. To make advanced auditing reports easier to manage, admins can set up alerts for important events like files being shared outside the organization.

To help organizations derive even more value from Drive for Work, we’ve been working with partners to give you even more capabilities through the Drive Audit API:

  • Backupify protects your Google Apps data through secure, automatic, daily backup allowing IT users to easily search and restore files with advanced administrative features, safeguarding your business from data loss caused by user errors, malicious deletions, hackers, and app errors. (website, blog post)
  • BetterCloud, through their flagship cloud management and security tool, FlashPanel, has enhanced their offering through the Audit API to provide additional controls and insight. (website, blog post)
  • CloudLock, who provides a pure-cloud Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solution for SaaS applications, has released a new version of CloudLock for Google Drive, leveraging the new Google Drive audit APIs, to enable large organizations to extend their enterprise security controls to the cloud. (website, blog post)
  • SkyHigh for Google Drive delivers Data Loss Prevention (DLP), mobile-to-cloud support, application auditing, data discovery, and anomaly detection without changing the Google Drive experience users love. (website, blog post)

And this is only the beginning. We invite developers and customers alike to get started with the Audit API to provide additional advanced security solutions for Google Drive. Learn more by visiting developers.google.com.

Google is committed to enabling organizations to be successful by leveraging a large community of ISVs. One of the areas we constantly invest in is our APIs, that allow customers and ISVs to extend the functionality of the Google Apps platform. If you’d like to join our ISV community, check out developers.google.com. For a list of ISVs supporting Google Apps, please visit the Google Apps Marketplace.

Working on the go gets easier with Google and Uber

Google Enterprise Blog -

Posted by Kelly Campbell, Director of Enterprise Marketing

Work doesn’t just get done in the office: ideas are born and deals are closed from the patios of coffee shops, the benches of train stations and the backseats of taxi cabs. And in the summer, when the office is often the last place many of us want to be, it’s even more essential to get work done faster from anywhere — even on the way to where you’re going.

At Google, we value mobility and want to find the best way for our customers to do their work when they’re on the go. That’s why we invested in new infrastructure in Boston to support free public Wifi at South Station last year. And it’s why we're now outfitting Uber partners' cars in Philadelphia with free Wifi for the summer, compliments of Google Apps for Business. Thousands of entrepreneurs, consultants, restaurateurs and business owners now have another way to help them get work done from anywhere throughout The City of Brotherly Love.

Uber helps millions of people get around in over 41 countries globally, so they know a thing or two about working on the go. And like more than 5 million businesses around the world, they do it with the help of Google Apps for Business. Collaborative tools like Google Docs and Sheets help employees brainstorm, evaluate and prioritize new markets and promotions, while video conferencing over Hangouts keeps globally-distributed teams connected and close. It was using products like these that inspired Uber to offer this technology in Uber partners' cars in Philadelphia.

So, Philadelphia, whether you’re on the way to Wawa, the Linc, the Shore, or the office, you now have one more place to get your work done quickly so you can spend more time enjoying the summer and less time looking at the walls of your cubicle. Read more details from Uber then take uberWIFI for a spin. Benjamin Franklin would approve.

Can My Fitbit Data Make Health Care Better?

Beth's Blog -

I first put a fitbit, a digital pedometer that tracks steps, calories burned, food intake, and other personal analytics data,  on my wrist back in October. After some results from routine tests during my annual physical,  my doctor informed me that my cholesterol was high.    ”Start exercising more and stop eating bacon cheese burgers ” were the doctor’s orders and we’ll retest in 6 months.  Otherwise, I would need to go on statins.

As a data nerd, I couldn’t resist the fitbit and its ability to track my every move during this glorious science experiment.   After six months of monitoring my personal health analytics and making better decisions,  I’m happy to report that my cholesterol  is in the normal range and a side benefit of loosing 20 pounds.    I also started living the fitbit life, especially around finding ways to incorporate walking into my work – at client meetings,  trainings, and even keynotes.

Many people are embracing wearable devices and apps that monitor their health and use it to improve their health.  In a recent article in the MIT Technology Review about mobile health care data, making this data actionable can be life saving for the patient.

“Data is changing the role of patients, offering them a chance to play a more central part in their own care. One way is by using mobile technology to monitor sleep patterns, heart rate, activity levels, and so on. In development are even more advanced devices capable of continuously monitoring such key metrics as blood oxygen, glucose levels, and even stress. And companies like Apple are hoping to become repositories for all this information, giving consumers new ways to track and perhaps improve their health.”

Is there the potential for greater good from aggregating and analyzing our collective fitbit and other personal health data?  Are there other benefits? What are the challenges?

These are the questions discussed during the Health Datapalooza conference in Washington, D.C. last month.  According to Information Week, the Health Data Exploration Project, California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), announced it was forming a network of academics, scientists, and health IT companies interested in figuring out the logistical, practical, and ethical issues related to mining consumer health data to spot public health trends.

The project published the Personal Data for the Public Good and has recently received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to explore the issues identified in the report.   They are defining health-related data as the data being collected by wearable devices and smartphone apps as well as ambient social data as people communicate on social networks and leave digital footprints related to personal health tracking, monitoring, and decision-making.

As the report points out,  “personal health data” falls into a bermuda triangle as it is currently mostly outside of the mainstream of traditional health care, public health or health research.  Medical, behavioral, social and public health research still largely rely on traditional sources of health data such as those collected in clinical trials, sifting through electronic medical records, or conducting periodic surveys.

The initial survey and interviews found the following:

  • Individuals were very willing to share their self-tracking data for research, in particular if they knew the data would advance knowledge in the fields related to PHD such as public health, health care, computer science and social and behavioral science. Most expressed an explicit desire to have their information shared anonymously and we discovered a wide range of thoughts and concerns regarding thoughts over privacy.
  • There is a great deal of experimentation taking place.  For example, SmallStepsLab serves as an intermediary between Fitbit, a data rich company, and academic researchers via a “preferred status” API held by the company. Researchers pay SmallStepsLab for this access as well as other enhancements that they might want.
  • There are clearly some obstacles around privacy and access. The report pointed out these:
  • Privacy and Data Ownership: Among individuals surveyed, the dominant condition (57%) for making their PHD available for research was an assurance of privacy for their data, and over 90% of respondents said that it was important that the data be anonymous. Further, while some didn’t care who owned the data they generate, a clear majority wanted to own or at least share owner- ship of the data with the company that collected it.
  • InformedConsent:Researchers are concerned about the privacy of PHD as well as respecting the rights of those who provide it. For most of our researchers, this came down to a straightforward question of whether there is informed consent. Our research found that current methods of informed consent are challenged by the ways PHD are being used and reused in research. A variety of new approaches to informed consent are being evaluated and this area is ripe for guidance to assure optimal outcomes for all stakeholders.
  • Data Sharing and Access: Among individuals, there is growing interest in, as well as willingness and opportunity to, share personal health data with others. People now share these data with others with similar medical conditions in online groups like PatientsLikeMe or Crohnology, with the intention to learn as much as possible about mutual health concerns. Looking across our data, we find that individuals’ willingness to share is dependent on what data is shared, how the data will be used, who will have access to the data and when, what regulations and legal protections are in place, and the level of compensation or benefit (both personal and public).
  • Data Quality: Researchers highlighted concerns about the validity of PHD and lack of standardization of devices. While some of this may be addressed as the consumer health device, apps and services market matures, reaching the optimal outcome for researchers might benefit from strategic engagement of important stakeholder groups.

There are more and more people like me who are tracking their health on their smartphone or on social networks and a growing number of wearable devices that can track data. There are many more on the horizon, for example, even a digital plate that count your calorie intake.  The report identifies a lot of interest from individuals and researchers to make use of this data.  However, privacy, balancing open science with intellectual data, and other issues need to be addressed before personal health data can be maximized for public good.

While social media and social networks were the first wave of connectedness, we are now entering what Geoff Livingston describes as a “post social era.”   This is a world where everything will be connected and generate data, even cows will tweet.   We’re just beginning to look at the implications for the social good sector.

Are you tracking your health with a health app?   Would you be willing to share your personal health information with researchers?

 

 

OVS streamlines its global supply chain using Google Drive

Google Enterprise Blog -

Posted by Marco Grieco, Business Innovation and Change Director, OVS

Editor's note: A few weeks ago, we announced Google Drive for Work, a new premium offering for businesses that includes unlimited storage, advanced audit reporting and new security controls. To celebrate the announcement and show how Drive helps businesses around the world, we’re sharing a few stories from a handful of customers using Drive (and the rest of the Google Apps suite) in innovative ways. Today’s guest blogger is Marco Grieco, Business Innovation and Change Director at OVS, the leader in the Italian apparel market. Marco runs all major change initiatives throughout the company across supply chain, retail model and internationalization, and is currently leading the company in its move to Google Apps for Business.


Merging Italian style with international trends requires a complex process of research, design and production. The 700-person, multi-national supply team at OVS produces 180 million pieces of apparel each year, 40,000 different styles, which are then sold online and in 700 brick-and-mortar stores in Italy and abroad. There are a handful of moving pieces, to say the least, but with Google Drive, we’re able to link together the otherwise disparate parts of our retail business and share information better across the company.

Before Drive, our IT solution was old-fashioned and difficult to coordinate globally. Half of the team used one outdated IT tool, and the other half sent faxes (seriously) or exchanged e-mails: last year, our supply chain team sent five million emails. Two weeks after starting to use Drive, our email volume dropped by 40%. The transition was smooth and the benefits emerged quickly, since so many people were already familiar with Google and were excited to use it at work.

We use Drive to store and share everything product-related both inside the company and externally with our suppliers. From information about models, fabrics and sizing, to prototype images and the results of product tests, everything lives in Drive. We share and sync these files across desktops, tablets and smartphones so people have the information they need, no matter where they are or what device they’re using. Information is always updated, avoiding potential mistakes that could cause delays in our supply chain processes.

Drive is crucial for expediting our prototyping and testing process, which involves teams across the world. The prototyping team in China uses Drive to share sample image JPGs and testing kit PDFs with our team in Italy. The team in China can quickly share results and the team in Italy can request new tests if necessary — and they can all share their updates in a shared Google Sheet that’s stored and shared in the same shared folder with the rest of the assets they need, so everything — PDFs, JPGs, Sheets — can easily be found in a single place.

Drive has showed us how we can work better together and improve communication overall throughout the business, while also breaking down barriers between teams otherwise separated by tens of thousands of miles. Now, we’re rolling Drive out to our retail stores and sales associates, some of whom already started using Drive to upload and share images from their mobile phones and tablets — anything from inspirational window designs to new fashions and innovative store layouts — all without official training. We see major potential to use Drive across our business and make life easier for our employees while continuing to innovate for our customers.


Stop the Glorification of Busy and Thrive

Beth's Blog -



I just returned last week from vacation with my husband and children at the Jersey Shore where I grew up.   It was great to sit on the beach and do nothing, get lots of walking in, and hang out with family.    Above all, it is a great escape from your never ending to do list.   I did take along a few books, including Ariana Huffington’s Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.

The book is about how to reframe success away from money and power to a third metric.  She identifies this as “thriving,” where you get enough sleep, take care of yourself, and work isn’t your whole life.    Over the past year,  I’ve been trying to incorporate thriving into my life – most recently with integrating “walking” into work and embracing the personal analytics movement to pay attention to health.

When I got back online, I discovered Guy Kawasaki’s excellent visual review of the book on SlideShare created with Canva.   I thought he captured the essence of the book’s important message.   The first point – redefine success as making a difference in the world – is something that people like us who  work in the social change sector have already done.  We think about that every day and try to live it.     But, unfortunately, sometimes we are so driven by passion and compassion that we don’t follow Ariana’s other tips and end up burning out or a working and living with a high functioning depression.

She talks a lot about self-care and nurturing yourself.    Whether this is taking time to meditate, walking, take breaks from the screen, eat healthy foods that don’t promote stress, get enough sleep, spend time with family, or whatever that is besides grinding away at work.    The biggest challenge is making this part of your life is doing it before you reach a crisis stage – and not feeling “guilty” or “selfish” for taking care of yourself.

Thriving requires taking a digital detox – going offline and focusing on the other people you are with.   I’ve written a lot about mindfulness and managing your attention in an age of distraction, including the use of “conscious computing tools.”   But it is also important to just turn off the damn computer and mobile phone and spend time with your loved ones or your own thoughts.

I love the takeaway around “Keep on Learning,”  this is what has fueled me over the span of my work.  However,  after you’ve been working in your field for decades or you are overworking yourself, you can be in danger of reaching a place of ennui – where nothing excites or interests you.    I’ve found that one way to avoid this is to find a new perspective on a topic or dip your toes in a completely new topic area.    Often, that’s where I discover something that can inspires a whole new wave of learning.

Thriving is about being intuitive and being able t listen to your inner voice and not be so busy that you can’t hear it.  Recently,  I listened to a Radio Lab episode where they were discussing an experiment where they found a way to take away a human’s understanding of language and making connections by having them shadow or repeat another person’s speech.  The experiment subjects could not make good choices.  I think the drone of a constant to do list and social chatter, and distraction can take away our ability to listen to our own hunches – and then we get trapped because we’re not making good choices.

Thriving is about finding solitude.   More and more in a connected world where the collective is the norm,  that is harder to find and make the space.    I think that we need to learn the skill of balancing solitude with social connection in order to thrive.

There are many great ideas and takeaways in the book – and well worth reading.

How are you taking care of yourself so you can avoid burnout, be successful, and change the world?

 

 

The Collaborative Economy

Google Enterprise Blog -

Posted by Kevin Ackhurst, Managing Director, Google Enterprise, Australia / New Zealand

Most Aussies would say that a collaborative workplace is the sort of place they want to work. Most employers want this too, because collaboration can help employees share information, come up with ideas and reduce waste.

But what exactly is collaboration, and just how valuable is it? We decided to ask Deloitte Access Economics to calculate the value of collaboration to the Australian economy.

They worked the numbers and the results amazed us. Their report, The Collaborative Economy, shows that companies that actively encourage collaboration perform better — by a lot. Companies that prioritised collaboration are:
  • Five times more likely to experience a considerable increase in employment
  • Twice as likely to be profitable
  • Twice as likely to outgrow competitors

But collaboration is about more than the bottom line — it’s about happier, more efficient employees.
  • Employees who collaborate are ten times more likely to be satisfied with their job
  • Over a third of respondents said collaboration helps them work faster
  • And three quarters of respondents said that collaboration improves the quality of work they produce

What’s the current value to Australia of all this collaboration? Collaborative businesses contribute $46 billion to the country’s economy. That’s more than the agricultural sector is worth. And that’s just today. If all companies made the most of opportunities for employees to collaborate, we could add a further $9.3 billion to Australia’s economy.

But today, half of Australian businesses are leaving it to chance, with no dedicated collaboration strategy. There are plenty of things Aussie businesses can do to work more collaboratively — starting with the technology they use.

This first phase of research into The Collaborative Economy is available here. And to find out how Google can help your company collaborate more, visit our website.

Markets for Good Post: Design A Better Dashboard

Beth's Blog -

Flickr Photo by PetitPlat - Stephanie Kilgast

This post was also appeared on the MarketsforGood site as part of my regular column, “Between the Dashboard and the Chair.”

How Human-Centered Design Methods Can Help You Design A Better Dashboard

Take a look at any nonprofit dashboard and the most effective ones probably have an organizational process that lies beneath. Dashboard design is more than simply clarifying outcomes and key metrics. Dashboard design should also inspire buy-in and continuous improvement by using “human centered design” methods.

But shouldn’t dashboards be designed by data scientists and graphic designers? Yes they can be part of the team, but anyone can be a designer! These are methods for developing solutions (any type) in service of people. By applying this approach to any program development or strategy and even your organization’s dashboard, your nonprofit can more innovative and get more impactful results.

Many times dashboard design is focused on “getting it done efficiently” and graphs and does not address the human side – buy-in, learning from data, and consensus on metrics. A focus on the bar charts without taking the time to understand the challenges and open up creative thinking will not inspire organizational buy-in which is so important.

Here are two stories about two very different nonprofits and how they approached designing their dashboards with human-centered design techniques.

Tracking for Impact and Learning

Edutopia, a project of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, is an online web site that creates and curates content that is distributed through mobile, social media, video, and offline channels. They also have a robust online community. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of education. Their theory of change is about raising awareness of the issues and then inspiring, engaging and encouraging their audiences to take actions around this goal.

Their dashboard already did a great job at tracking impact metrics about the reach and size of their audience, but they wanted to go deeper in tracking engagement and taking action. With a large staff producing and marketing content, they also wanted a way to capture data for ongoing feedback to improve their content.

Again, using design-thinking facilitating methods, the process started with a presentation from the executive director on the strategy for the year and measurement. Staff were asked to use a technique called “Rose, Bud, Thorn” to identify strengths, challenges, and opportunities for change. They created a concept map of the different themes that emerged. While technical topics such data and measurement processes emerged, so did a lot culture change issues.

Next staff identified key impact metrics by creating a paper prototype of the dashboard on the wall, with sticky notes. Using a sticky dot voting process to identify metrics most important to senior management and the board and those most important to different staff departments, they were able to design different “views” – a high level for impact and more detailed version for “learning.”

What emerged from the conversation was a plan for impact reporting, but also a process for more intentional experimentation and learning linked to key metrics.

Metrics for Movements

GivingTuesday, a philanthropic movement to promote a national day of charitable giving that takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, organized a convening of key stakeholders called “Measurepalooza.” The gathering followed on the heals of the “Best Practices Summit” where partners and participants came together to share and learn best practices and identified the need for the movement to also capture metrics beyond “dollars raised on the day” numbers.

In particular, they were interested in looking at transformational metrics such as donor engagement, building nonprofit capacity, and global reach.

As a movement, GivingTuesday needed to address and get consensus on two big measurement questions: What metrics should the movement as a whole measure? What should participants each measure for their individual campaigns?

The session started with setting context on the accomplishments of the past year’s campaign and a summary of what was learned during the best practices summit. This lead to a discussion about the need to capture both “transactional” and “transformational” metrics related to specific outcomes as well as what and how to effectively use both quantitative and qualitative data for both movement level learning and for participating partners.

Through a facilitated design thinking process, small groups of participants created a draft of the Giving Tuesday movement level and partner level metrics.  As a consensus building process, participants used “sticky dot” voting to identify the most important metrics (green for partners; red for the movement as a whole). This allowed everyone to see visually what the group consensus was and hone in what was most important.

Summary

Whether you are using data to inform a digital content strategy or to build a philanthropic movement, it is important to remember that effective measurement begins with people.

How has your organization achieved buy-in from staff or senior leaders about what data to collect for impact tracking?  What are the processes that your organization is using to help ensure that data is used for decision-making and learning and not ignored?


 

 

 


 

 

Bridgeport Public Schools chooses Google for Education to bring affordable technology to their students

Google Enterprise Blog -

Posted by David Andrade, CIO, Bridgeport Public Schools

Editor's note: Schools bought more than 1 million Chromebooks in the second quarter of 2014. Today’s guest blogger, David Andrade, the CIO for the Bridgeport Public Schools district, which serves 23,000 students in Connecticut, shares why they selected Chromebooks. Learn more about going Google and follow our Google for Education Google+ page to see a selection of tips from David. 

When I started my role as CIO a year and a half ago, I found that our technology was not up to scratch to meet the needs of our students. We only had a few desktop PCs located in each elementary and middle school classroom, and only a few in our high school computer labs. We definitely needed more machines so students would get more time to work on class projects and do research.

Our district doesn’t have a lot of money for buying new technology, and grants can be hard to come by. Adding to our challenges, Bridgeport Public Schools are based in a working-class community with high unemployment (95% of students receive free or reduced lunches). Most students don't have access to computers outside of school and, at the time, there was a limited supply in our schools.
Bridgeport uses a variety of Chromebook models including devices from Samsung, Acer and HP. When the technology committee for Bridgeport Public Schools raised the idea of bringing affordable computers into our classrooms, I suggested we consider Chromebooks, coupled with Google Apps for Education. I was a fan of the Chromebook right from the start because of their affordable price and ease of use. In 2010, Google sent me one of the first Chromebooks to review on my blog, Educational Technology Guy, where I write about technology resources for teachers and students.

The affordability and easy maintenance of Chromebooks clinched the deal – we could buy three Chromebooks for the price of a single desktop computer and the district’s small IT team wouldn’t have to struggle to keep up with the repairs and updates on aging PCs. We would also save on support time and costs since Chromebooks update automatically. Initially, we bought 4,000 Chromebooks for our high schools, where every classroom now has a Chromebook for each student. At the same time, we decided to start using Google Apps for Education so every student would have an email address, something we’d never been able to do before. We also used Google Drive to move student documents off of our internal file storage system – another way to save the IT team time and money. So they can now work together and communicate with teachers even while not in the classroom.

When we received some hard-won grant money, we bought more Chromebooks, and we’re now at 9,000 district-wide. Our goal is to bring Chromebooks to every classroom in grades 4 through 12. The Chromebooks have already changed how teachers teach and students learn: there’s less “listen-to-me” lecturing, and more active student involvement in creating their own projects.

Now that we've been using Chromebooks for a while, we've been able to provide our students access to technology and take the strain off of our IT department, but what makes this truly successful is the what our students say. One of our 12th graders told me she loves that she can "take school work anywhere" or as one of our 10th graders told me, "they make it easier to hand in work and decrease your chance of failing."

First Round Capital transforms venture capital with the help of Google Apps

Google Enterprise Blog -

Posted by Camille Ricketts, Editor in Chief, Platform Team of First Round Capital

Editor's note: Whether it’s taking a meeting over Hangout from the airport before escaping to a much-deserved vacation or sending work e-mails from an air-conditioned neighborhood cafe, technology should help you get your work done faster so you can enjoy the summer months. To celebrate the season of sun, we’re sharing stories from customers who know all about the importance of technology when fostering a culture of mobility and flexibility. Today, we hear from Camille Ricketts, Editor in Chief at First Round Capital, a leading early-stage venture capital firm founded in Philadelphia with satellite offices in San Francisco and New York.

What do mega-startups Square, Uber, Warby Parker, and the unassuming town of West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, have in common? One of the most influential seed-stage VC firms in the world, First Round Capital, which first started at a small office in the small suburb outside Philadelphia, has invested in them. In 2004, entrepreneur and investor Josh Kopelman set out to reinvent seed-stage funding and opened our first office in West Conshohocken. Since then, we’ve moved our headquarters to Philadelphia, grown to over 30 employees and three offices, and funded close to 400 startups. As we’ve expanded, though, we’ve consistently kept a premium on staying nimble and having a platform that both helps us work efficiently and stay connected.

Mobility, security, and accessibility are essential features when we set out to improve any process, so switching to Google Apps earlier this year seemed natural -- after nearly a decade of working with other solutions. Most of our staff members are used to using Google Apps like Gmail, Drive and Docs in their personal lives, so moving to Apps made perfect sense for the company as a whole.

Constant travel, meetings with entrepreneurs, and supporting the companies we fund demand reliability and security every step of the way. We move quickly because we’re on-call much of the time. It’s crucial to know that our e-mail is supported by Google’s infrastructure and doesn’t suffer from server downtime. Security matters are central to our efforts, as we’re handling significant investments and often working with companies that are operating in stealth mode. Our IT managers are able to easily manage access to sensitive documents — and two-step authentication adds an extra layer of much-needed security. If I leave my laptop on an airplane, it’s nice to have complete confidence that no one can access sensitive emails or documents.

With Google Hangouts, we’re able to video chat with our employees and entrepreneurs across offices, and to conduct interviews for the First Round Review -- our hub for entrepreneurial advice. Before Google Hangouts, we used used a variety of solutions with poor sound and video quality. When I only have 30 minutes to interview someone, I can’t afford to spend even five minutes worrying about whether or not the video will work.

First Round is on the move all the time serving the entrepreneurs we support, and we can’t have technology get in the way of the fast-paced nature of our work. We need technology that makes our jobs easier so we can continue helping startups build companies and products that will change the world. Sometimes we even forget we’re using Google Apps because it lets us focus on what we love to — inventing new ways to connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed.

Bringing Google Earth Images to Business

Google Enterprise Blog -

Posted by Vinay Goel, Product Director, Google Maps for Business

Since launching Google Earth in 2005, imagery has become a powerful tool to virtually visit almost anywhere in the world right from a computer, tablet or phone. Organizations also need this type of imagery for their business—whether they’re mapping public service projects, reviewing the environmental impacts in a region or evaluating a property.

Today, we’re launching Google Maps for Business imagery, offering businesses the chance to purchase and use Google Earth imagery for the first time. This gives them access to high-resolution aerial imagery covering the continental U.S. And it will help customers like government agencies get the imagery they need without collecting their own aerial photography.
Using Google Maps Engine, organizations can quickly obtain Google Earth imagery as soon as it’s available and share it with colleagues or customers. By relying on Google’s cloud, they can bypass traditional delivery systems, such as an FTP or disc, while also avoiding the costs of maintaining their own data centers.

Organizations using Google Maps for Business imagery can access the imagery in several ways:

  • View it on a desktop GIS system via WMS
  • Include it with your Google Maps v3 JavaScript API web application
  • Overlay it directly within Google Earth
  • View it on native mobile applications and mobile websites.

Businesses want accurate, comprehensive and useful maps, and with Google Maps for Business imagery, organizations now have better access to commercial, high-quality satellite photography. Read on or contact our sales team to learn more about Google’s commercial imagery offering.

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