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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 support their mission while growing at faster and faster speeds. Today we hear from Ning Li, Co-founder and CEO of Made.com, an online retailer that offers designer furniture at affordable prices.

Made.com was born in 2010 out of a desire to provide designer furniture for anybody, without a compromise on quality. We think customers pay too much for nice furniture, so we cut out the middleman for the furniture we love. Pieces like the Fonteyn Coffee Table and Lulu Scoop Chair reveal our eclectic, contemporary design selections that don’t demand a high price tag.

Along the way, we’ve sought to disrupt the traditional furnishing industry model, which typically relies on long product cycles, large floor room displays and a slow turnaround. We produce a new design every two weeks — quite fast for a furniture company — and rely on sales data to frequently adjust our inventory — most of which is online. We’ve established a culture that celebrates speed and innovation, and we rely on Google Apps for Work to help our team connect, communicate and collaborate as effectively as possible.

We began using Google Apps during our humble beginnings as three co-founders in a four square-meter room. With no IT staff, Google provided an easy to use technology foundation that has kept pace with our rapid growth to the present day. Now we have more than 150 staff members in four countries, who use Gmail and Calendar as part of our daily routines. Their integration keeps us in sync and on track for meetings with suppliers, designers and our logistics partners.

Since we’re a very visual business communicating quickly about creative decisions is key. Google Drive takes away the frustration of being out of the office, especially when some of our employees travel throughout the world finding furniture designs. Whether it’s reviewing and directing new design concepts in Google Slides or browsing through new trends, our employees have the freedom to work wherever they may be and access the same information they would in the office.

If you’re going to disrupt an industry you need to outpace the competition and constantly delight customers like we’re doing today. You need to work in seamless new collaborative ways with tools that are quick, efficient and simple. For that we look to Google Apps for Work.

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(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog.)

What if students and teachers from around the world could work on projects together in real-time without ever leaving their classrooms? Pope Francis recently joined students in Australia, Cameron, Israel, Turkey and South Africa for a Hangout on Air to celebrate the launch of Scholas―a new education initiative sponsored by the Vatican that aims to connect 500,000 schools across the world to enable e-learning and remote teaching using Google tools.

A social component of the platform uses Google Hangouts to connect students and teachers globally, so if students at a middle school in Ghana want to learn what it’s like to be a student their age in Peru, they can teach each other through an open and collaborative environment. Schools can also post shared projects on the platform, like the “40 Days of Hope” project by Seton Catholic High School, which aims to raise $3,000 to provide parasite medication and feed 40 people for a year in Nicaragua.

Later this year, Scholas will integrate more tools through Google Apps for Education and Classroom to create an even more personalized learning experience for each student. The Scholas platform aims to foster education through dialogue because when students can share and communicate openly, there’s no limit to what they can learn.

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Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Dawn Santone, Manager of Workflow and Technology Integration at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). CBC is Canada’s national public broadcaster and provides a range of radio, television, internet and satellite-based services. See how other forward-thinking organizations are investing in mapping technology and transforming their business: Maps are Going Google.

Canada didn't have a national team at the 2014 World Cup, but our crew at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation knew that wouldn’t stop Canadians from wanting to experience the tournament alongside the rest of the world. Who did our viewers root for? We created a SuperFan Map to spotlight our fans’ unique experiences as they enjoyed the frenzy and excitement in Brazil.

The idea for the SuperFan Map began with a Google Form that we used to survey our fans about their favorite teams. As we looked at their responses, we noticed the diversity of fans — across Canada and across the world. We used this geolocation data to drop pins on a map and visualize where our fans were located when they enjoyed games. We made the map even richer by pulling in photos and videos from Google+, Instagram and Twitter, curated using our #cbcworldcup hashtag.

We knew we wanted to use Google to create the SuperFan Map. The turnaround was quick — we started using Google Maps Engine in the beginning of June and had our map up and running before the first game was played on June 12. It worked consistently, even during major matches and other spikes in traffic.

 The map also connected our fans in a way that went far beyond sport alone: it created a sense of community, from coast to coast to coast in Canada, from Australia to Norway, and dozens of countries in between. We saw an incredible diversity of teams, geographies and faces surface on a single Google Map.

 The SuperFan Map has helped us take engagement further by connecting with fans in real time. A cross-promotion with CBC Music connected our SuperFans with The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions traveling across Canada. We used the map to see where people were cheering, then invited them to celebrate with us. For instance, we held a giant party in Montreal after seeing a high concentration of fans in the area.

We’ve seen how Google Maps can help us better inform our organization and inform our fans about the events that matter to them, no matter where they happen in the world. Beyond helping us connect with our fans, Google Maps helped connect fans with one another.

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Your local hardware store offers something for everyone, just like the Google Apps Marketplace, which features hundreds of third-party apps that complement the suite of tools in Google Apps for Work.

Starting today, employees can install these apps without involving their administrator. Previously, only administrators could install these apps within an organization. So if you work at an organization that uses Google Apps for Work, Google Apps for Education or Google Apps for Government, you now have greater access to apps that help you work faster, more efficiently and collaboratively.

To find and add third-party apps for Google Apps, click the app launcher icon, click More, and click More from Apps Marketplace.

Administrators can adjust the settings that filter and show which third-party apps are available to their organizations from the Admin console (learn more). By default, any user can now install apps from the Google Apps Marketplace—excluding K-12 EDU domains that are defaulted off.

The Google Apps Marketplace has a wide-variety of options, no matter your taste, including Smartsheet for online project management, Freshbooks for accounting, Zoho for customer support, GQueues for to-do lists and more. To find a solution that fits your needs, visit the Google Apps Marketplace. For additional information regarding end user installations, visit our Help Center.

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Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Jeanne Anderson, SVP of product at DogVacay. Based in Santa Monica, Calif., DogVacay is a service that connects dog owners with local pet sitters. Learn how the company partnered with Google Maps to deliver localized pet sitting services.

At DogVacay, we help people find the perfect home away from home for their dogs while they are away. People across the U.S. spend billions of dollars on boarding for their furry friends, and we want to offer a better solution than current commercial options. The way we see it, dogs are happier in a loving home where they receive customized care, rather than sitting in a crate at a kennel with limited human contact.

Our business has struck a nerve — we have more than 15,000 hosts in 3,000 cities across the U.S. and Canada since we launched in 2012. To help pet owners find the best host nearby for their pooches, we use Google Maps.

With Google Maps, which we integrated with the help of SADA Systems, DogVacay allows pet owners to locate hosts nearby simply by typing in a zip code or street address. Potential hosts are pinpointed on an interactive map linking to profiles that detail the pet sitter’s experience, certifications, price and other details. Many of our guests have told us they like the ability to quickly find sitters nearby — sometimes only blocks away. Our Concierge Team has even helped people find dog sitters in their own buildings in New York City.
There’s an enormous number of dog lovers who want to provide excellent care and a loving home for animals while their owners are away. DogVacay and Google Maps makes it easier than ever to find these hosts right in the owner’s neighborhood. In addition, we’ve made the search options extremely customizable to our customer’s needs, offering services to elderly or sick dogs in need of special care.

We’re always looking for ways we can expand our offering, and Google Maps plays a big role in providing hyperlocal services that help keep dogs (and their owners) happy!

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Today at the Google for Entrepreneurs Global Partner Summit, Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Technical Infrastructure & Google Fellow announced Google Cloud Platform for Startups. This new program will help eligible early-stage startups take advantage of the cloud and get resources to quickly launch and scale their idea by receiving $100,000 in Cloud Platform credit, 24/7 support, and access to our technical solutions team.

This offer is available to startups around the world through top incubators, accelerators and investors. We are currently working with over 50 global partners to provide this offer to startups who have less than $5 million dollars in funding and have less than $500,000 in annual revenue. In addition, we will continue to add more partners over time.

This offer supports our core Google Cloud Platform philosophy: we want developers to focus on code; not worry about managing infrastructure. Starting today, startups can take advantage of this offer and begin using the same infrastructure platform we use at Google. For example, Headspace is helping millions of people keep their minds healthier and happier using Google Cloud Platform for Startups.

Thousands of startups have built successful applications on Google Cloud Platform and those applications have grown to serve tens of millions of users. It has been amazing to watch Snapchat send over 700 million photos and videos a day and Khan Academy teach millions of students. We look forward to helping the next generation of startups launch great products.

 For more information on Google Cloud Platform for Startups, visit http://cloud.google.com/startups.

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The workplace is undergoing a significant shift away from the old, isolated cubicle to an always connected, collaborative approach. More people than ever are working together from any device or place, with cloud-based tools that help them connect, collaborate and quickly bring ideas to life.

On October 1st, innovative business leaders and tech experts will explore this trend and the future of work at Google’s first Atmosphere Live event. In true digital fashion, we’re taking a fresh approach by hosting it entirely online, sparing attendees the travel and hassle of typical conferences. We’re turning a traditional in-person event into an any-person experience. You’ll get the chance to participate and interact by voting, asking questions and using our social media visualizer—all from the comfort of your desk, couch or anywhere else. The future is about working how you want, so we’re bringing you that freedom as you learn and take part with your peers.
The agenda includes Google’s Sundar Pichai talking about bringing game-changing products to market; Claire Hughes Johnson discussing Google [X] moonshot thinking for self-driving cars; Urs Hölzle on next-generation cloud technology; and Vivek Wadhwa talking about inspiring workplaces. Breakout sessions will focus on human resources, marketing, IT and product development, featuring the insights from forward-thinkers from Trulia, All Saints, Whirlpool, Avery Dennison and Chico’s. They’ll weigh in on subjects ranging from employee productivity to customer engagement to workplace technology in the age of Cloud Computing.

We hope you’ll join us for one of our biggest work events of the year. So charge your devices, mark your calendars for October 1st and share your thoughts, impressions and questions using #atmosphere14 on social media. Register today and we’ll see you there.