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Editor's note: From the typewriter to the propelling pencil to our favorite, the world wide web, inventors and innovators from the United Kingdom have brought us brilliant advances that have changed the way we work all around the world. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share a handful of stories from disrupters and trailblazers in the UK who are using Google Apps for Work to enable new, better ways of working in their organisations. Today, we hear from Chris Morton, Co-founder and CEO of Lyst, a platform that aggregates the world's fashion commerce sites in a single place.

Six years ago, I shared both a house and a common frustration with two fashion forward women: we loved shopping online, but couldn’t stand how impersonal and time-consuming it was to jump from site to site in search of a new jacket or pair of jeans. I knew there must be a better way for people to find the fashion that fit their personal style without having to explore and buy from dozens of different websites. In 2010, my co-founder and I created Lyst, an online destination that allows shoppers to customize their feed of clothes and accessories and buy from multiple brands and retailers through a single platform. Today, we’re a team of 60 with offices in London and New York, generating hundreds of millions in dollars in sales for the fashion industry.

Our unique culture has helped us challenge the way the fashion industry works, not only because we can attract great talent, but because we’ve built an environment that encourages everyone to contribute. Here are a few ways we’ve built the kind of inclusive, creative culture that define fast-moving startups like Lyst.


Cultivating autonomy, ownership and creative problem-solving
We hire people who thrive on freedom — they do their best work without someone giving them constant direction. We emphasize this sense of ownership from the moment they join our team: in every employment contract, the responsibilities for the role include “proactively thinking of ways to make Lyst better.” We brainstorm often, both formally and informally, with everyone from founders to new hires, college grads to industry veterans. We evaluate ideas not by who shared them but how much impact they’d have on our business.

We work with flexibility, recognising those instances that demand what we call the “screwdriver mode”, which involves tweaking and optimizing fine details. Sometimes we work differently, applying our “sledgehammer mode” when we literally need to break down one element of our business and rebuild it from scratch.

Encouraging personal communication and recognizing great work
As we grow, we need to be intentional about building a shared culture through meaningful communication. Google Docs helps us work more closely together, whether we’re collaborating on a press release or gathering feedback on an investor deck. Because it’s not always practical to fly our New York team to London, our two offices meet via Google Hangouts for bi-monthly all-hands meetings, where we share company news, celebrate sales milestones, and tip our hats to people coming up with great ideas — like a data scientist’s suggestion to use search data to understand buying patterns around bomber jackets versus varsity jackets. We’re considering setting up a permanent Hangout so people can get to know their colleagues from across the pond over a cup of virtual tea.

We also track progress in shared Google Sheets, so everyone on the team knows the status of key projects across the team. For instance, our product team use shared Sheets to record development updates on implementing various campaigns and releases. And when it’s time for my 1:1 with our Head of Product, I can follow along with every update by looking at each line item in the Sheet.

Empowering employees to work however they want
Building a culture unique to Lyst also means enabling employees to keep up with their colleagues no matter where they are and how they like to work. Google Apps helps us get the information we need at any time and capture inspiration whenever it hits. We often source styles on the go, whether it’s a particular outfit someone sees on the street or trends spotted from the front row at New York Fashion Week. Drive and Gmail apps on mobile let us quickly share the photos we snap and the notes we take with the rest of our team for internal reference and to publish as part of our editorial content.

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At Lyst, we embrace the fact that everyone is different by creating customized experiences for every shopper. Self-expression transcends fashion, and we want to build our company culture on this same premise. By obsessing over the quality of people we hire, encouraging autonomy and creativity, recognizing excellent work, and giving our team the tools they need to do their best, we’ve created an engaging environment and a unique culture that helps us achieve our goals.

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(Cross-posted on the Google Drive Blog.)

Google Drive makes it easy to keep your stuff safe and accessible from any device, but it doesn’t stop there. We want you to easily find and share your documents, photos, and PDFs with others. So, in addition to a Material Design facelift, the latest update for Android gives you new ways to add, locate, and share from Drive.

Improved Search
The search tool makes it even easier to find the content you’re looking for by providing updated results as you type each letter into the search box.


Better Sharing
Now, you can add a custom message when you share a file so your collaborators know why you sent it—for example, you can add a note asking for feedback. You can also turn on link sharing to make the file “public” and set access to view, comment, or edit. This automatically copies the link to the clipboard and allows you to paste it wherever you want.

Enhanced PDF Viewer
A new PDF viewer lets you find, select and copy text in PDFs, plus, it’s built right into Drive so you don’t need to launch another app.


Look for these updates to roll out over the next several days. If you don't have the Google Drive app, you can download it from Google Play.

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Editor's note: From the typewriter to the propelling pencil to our favorite, the world wide web, inventors and innovators from the United Kingdom have brought us brilliant advances that have changed the way we work all around the world. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share a handful of stories from disrupters and trailblazers in the UK who are using Google Apps for Work to enable new, better ways of working in their organisations. Today, we hear from Sharon Cooper, CTO of BMJ a subsidiary of the British Medical Association that advances healthcare worldwide by sharing knowledge and expertise.

BMJ published our first medical journal in 1840 and moved to BMA House, an Edwardian building in London, in 1925 where we still operate. We have evolved as a digital business and the way we work has changed significantly over the years. While covering the discovery of chloroform and reporting on the controversy of the MMR vaccine, we’ve also transformed from a print-based publisher to a digital information services provider with a team spread across 12 countries.

It wasn’t always that way: until our recent effort to make our business more inherently digital, technology used to hold us back. Our antiquated email and calendars randomly deleted appointments, which caused us to miss crucial senior sales meetings, delaying projects and even derailing sales opportunities — issues that we estimated cost £30K a month of lost revenue. Because inbox storage was so limited, people forwarded emails to their personal accounts. We had no BYOD policy, so we relied on company-provided hardware, and sent UK PCs out to staff in India.

Our ongoing investment in cloud-based technologies lead to a decision last year to invest in Google Apps for Work. We now work together more seamlessly and share ideas more readily, whether we’re brainstorming around a ping pong table in our London office or meeting via Hangout with a colleague working from India. Here are four ways we’ve started working together differently over the past year.

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Delivering new business faster through closer collaborative working
The way we respond to government tender documents exemplifies our new way of working. These 100-page documents, full of dozens of complex tables, used to take two weeks to complete. Now, we create a Google Doc and work collaboratively. Whenever we need someone to insert information or provide specific feedback, we tag them in a comment and they know to jump in and add their edits or suggestions. We save time and avoid confusion by relying on Docs for this kind of collaboration rather than turning to long chains of emails with version after version of attachments. It’s a radically different, more streamlined process.

Connecting face-to-face across miles and time zones
Technology has changed the way we meet. My London developer team uses an always-on video connection through Chromebox and Hangouts to connect with our team developers in Cardiff, so we feel like we’re one team in a single office, despite the distance between our desks. Teams throughout BMJ coordinate meetings using Google Calendar, create agendas in Docs, and host Townhalls for our whole staff using Hangouts On Air — that way, anyone can join whether they’re in Portland, Oregon or Dubai. Getting all 500 employees involved requires zero cost and minimal planning or technical expertise.

Brainstorming, testing and ideating with a new office design
We’ve redesigned our physical environment to brainstorm and test new product ideas with our users. People can write and draw on the walls, which are covered in whiteboards and post-it notes, then take photos of the notes and save the images in Drive, so they can refer to them later and share them with people who couldn’t be there in person.

Working from trains, planes and automobiles
A year ago, we were tethered to our desks. Now, we can access our email and files on smartphones and tablets, thanks to the Gmail and Drive mobile apps. This means our executives can run our portfolio of over 30 products whether they’re in the office or travelling around the world. Our Editor-in-Chief, who frequently travels for work, quickly views and approves the weekly digital and print issues while on the go, using Docs and the Drive app on her mobile phone.

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Thanks to Google Apps, each year we save £135,000 in software licensing fees and hardware costs and an additional 126,500 hours of productivity. But perhaps more importantly, we’ve changed the way BMJ works together to build a healthier world.

Click to expand the full infographic below.


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(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog)

Editor's note: Lisa Davis is Vice President for Information Services and CIO at Georgetown University, and former assistant director for information technology for the U.S. Marshals Service. She shares why the Georgetown Hoyas have gone Google using tools like Gmail, Docs and Drive for Education. Learn more about solutions for Higher Ed here.

There’s a reason “We are Georgetown” is emblazoned across our football field and even the Hoya food court: we take great pride in our identity as Hoyas, enriched by our diverse backgrounds, faiths and beliefs. Rooted in 225 years of history, Georgetown University makes a point of fostering an environment that supports ongoing innovation, open dialogue and intellectual inquiry in our teaching, learning and research.

Three years ago, we kicked off our five-year technology transformation strategy by moving our 20,000 students, staff and faculty members to Google Apps for Education. We saw an opportunity to pull our disparate IT systems into a unified suite and no on-premise solution could match Google Apps in collaborative features, storage, ease or cost-effectiveness. We also found that Google’s philosophy meshed well with our own cloud-first transformation strategy — anytime, any device collaboration and access for a seamless Georgetown experience, anywhere.
A Hoya works on-the-go outside Georgetown's Dahlgren Chapel
Since going Google, we’ve saved $120,000 per year on licensing costs. More importantly, we’ve created a connected learning environment that bridges the traditional and online classrooms. Professors hold office hours on Google Hangouts, classmates frequently collaborate on group projects with Google Drive, and busy students work better together on extracurricular projects using Google Calendar, Forms, Sheets and Docs.

The Corp, Georgetown’s student-run corporation and the largest student-run nonprofit, was one of the first organizations on campus to use Apps for coordinating schedules on the fly and planning events without in-person meetings. Now, student clubs and activities ranging from a capella groups to intramural sports teams use Apps to quickly and easily work together and communicate from any device.

Google Drive helps our faculty streamline communication with their students in and out of the classroom. Arnie Miles, a computer science adjunct faculty, runs his class on Drive. Each student adds the Drive app to his or her computer and shares a folder with the teaching assistant. Through Drive, TAs can collect and grade assignments, and provide step-by-step help from anywhere.

Google Apps has also allowed the university to deliver on the promise of “once a Hoya, always a Hoya” by extending Google accounts to all alumni for life. When students graduate, they keep their email addresses, calendars and all files stored in Drive, which now boasts unlimited storage.

Going Google played a critical role in our technology transformation strategy by enabling collaboration and information sharing across devices and helping us invest in a long-term vision for learning in the 21st century and beyond. We've come a long way in our journey, and look forward to continuing to enable innovation and intellectual inquiry at Georgetown through technology.

To learn more about Georgetown and how they’re using Drive and other Google for Education tools, join our webinar on November 13 at 12pm PST.

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Posted by Bram Bout, Director, Google for Education

(Cross-posted on Google for Education Blog.)

Universities and schools continue to tell us that they want learning without limits. So last month, we announced that Drive for Education would be coming to all Google Apps for Education schools at no charge. This week, we’ll be rolling out unlimited Drive storage to all Google Apps for Education users and free archiving with Google Vault will be coming later this year.

Schools have helped shape our products over time, starting in 2006 when Arizona State University (ASU) was the first institution to make the move to Google Apps for Education. Just two years later, we celebrated two million active Google Apps for Education users at thousands of universities and today, we have more than 40 million students and teachers worldwide actively using Google Apps—from Keio University in Japan to University of Delhi in India, Chile’s Universidad ViƱa del Mar to the University of Ghana.
Students at George Washington University take advantage of the brisk Fall weather and opt to work outside on campus
But, like any good teacher knows, success is not about numbers; it’s about quality and impact. Students are moving from paper and pencils to cloud-based learning, with information and tools at their fingertips anywhere they are. For them, learning doesn’t end in the lecture hall. From online courses to 1:1 tablets to lectures via Hangouts, innovation in education is removing barriers for students and widening their horizons. We’re grateful that higher education institutions have innovated right along with us and helped provide feedback to improve our products.

Throughout this week, top academic institutions like Georgetown University and UT Austin will share how they’ve been using Google tools, including Google Drive, for the past few years to save money, increase collaboration between students and professors and raise the bar on learning and working, anytime, anywhere, on any device.

To learn more, visit our website: www.google.com/edu/highered

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Today we’re combining PwC’s rich client relationships and unparalleled industry knowledge with Google’s breadth of technology across cloud, applications and mobile. Together, we will provide and build solutions to help companies drive transformation and PwC will help bring the best of Google to work.

  • Helping businesses move to the cloud and optimize for success. As part of this new relationship, PwC will help their clients evaluate and plan their move to the cloud. Any company can benefit from the ability to work better together from anywhere with Drive for Work and Android. PwC will also help clients build custom applications and mobile solutions relevant to their industries — improving processes like invoicing and talent management — using Google Cloud Platform. Moving to the cloud requires trust in a new way of working. PwC’s deep industry knowledge and strong client relationships will help businesses realize the security benefits, productivity gains and cultural impact made possible through this move.
  • Providing best in class security. With more than 450 full time security engineers, Google offers one of the most secure platforms for customer information. PwC will enhance its security monitoring practice with new solutions for clients built on Google Cloud Platform. By building custom algorithms on Google Cloud Platform, PwC will identify security threats, alert clients of potential attacks, and prevent or mitigate risks.

PwC is also adopting Google Apps for Work for 45,000 employees in the U.S. and Australia. After extensive research and analysis, PwC’s experts concluded going Google is secure and cost-effective, and offered greater opportunities for collaboration. PwC’s digital transformation will include products like Gmail, Calendar, Hangouts, Drive and Docs, to communicate and collaborate with their colleagues and clients. PwC's use of Google tools will also help them advise clients on the benefits of cloud technology.

We’re excited to be working with PwC to bring the best of Google to work.

To learn more about this collaboration and how PwC and Google for Work can help your company, visit http://pwc.com/google.

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This year, some of the world’s leading online service providers — Wix, Weebly and Endurance (parent company of Bluehost and others) — chose to offer Google Apps for Work as part of their mission to help small businesses get online. Now, we welcome two more to the Google for Work Partner Program: content management systems Squarespace and WordPress.com, who chose Google Apps for its simple integration process and common goal of helping business get off the ground and grow. And, as Google Apps customers themselves, these companies are deeply familiar with its benefits and understand the value it can bring to customers.

These partners make it simple and seamless for businesses to register a domain name, create a new website and set up custom business email through Google Apps, all at the same time and in a single signup process. In addition to the ability to communicate professionally right off the bat, businesses also get a familiar, easy-to-use productivity suite featuring tools like Google Calendar for scheduling, Google Hangouts for video meetings and Google Drive for storing files. Customers have everything they need to build and maintain their online presence as well as run their day-to-day business in one central place.

With a set of APIs that lets these companies build Google Apps into their existing user interface, the process of integrating with these partners’ own products is just as seamless as their customers’ signup process. That’s one of the reasons Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, chose to offer Google Apps: “We’re constantly looking to optimize customer dashboards,” says Matt Mullenweg, Automattic’s founder and CEO, “so integrating Google Apps was a natural decision for us.”

These partners also experience the benefits firsthand in their own companies — they’ve seen how the tools encourage teamwork, improve communication and let employees work the way they live — anytime, anywhere, on any device. “We're huge proponents of giving our customers access to the services that we use ourselves to run our own business,” said Anthony Casalena, Squarespace’s founder and CEO. “We've been using Google Apps since we were a small team, and we continue to use those same tools to power 390 employees.”

We’re thrilled to be teaming up with our new partners, and we’re proud that they’ve chosen to share Google Apps for Work with their users. If your company offers online services to business customers who can also benefit from the value of Google Apps, feel free to email us.