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Whether you’re planning your next event, mapping out the best route to visit clients, or sharing the location of your food truck with fans, Google My Maps makes it easy to put your world on a custom map. Starting today, you can access My Maps right from Google Drive on your Google Apps account, so it’s even easier to create, find and share your custom maps. Here are some examples:
Jessica owns a food truck and every Thursday she decides her location based on fan votes. She creates a Google Form and posts it online, gathers votes and can lay them all out on one map to find the most popular location.
Shannon is gearing up for her company’s annual conference. This year, with the help of Google Apps Script, she created a Drive folder for each attendee with their tickets, event information and a custom map with event details and their hotel.
Martin is the delivery coordinator for a multi-chain electronics store. He creates My Maps laying out the most efficient routes for all the deliveries. He drops each map into his team’s shared Drive folder, so each driver can access everything they need, from maps to delivery lists, all in one place. Once Martin assigns routes, drivers can use any device to simply search the folder for the right map.
My Maps is also helpful in the classroom to teach kids about explorers like Lewis and Clark, and to plan out your weekend hike. Whatever your needs, Google My Maps—now accessible in Google Drive—makes getting things done that much easier.

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Posted by Virginia Suliman, Vice President of Digital Design and Development, Hilton Worldwide

(Cross-posted on the Google Geo Developers Blog.)

Editor’s note: Today’s guest blogger is Virginia Suliman, Vice President of Digital Design and Development, Hilton Worldwide. Read how Hilton is experimenting with Google APIs to take the guess work out of the hotel booking and room selection process. Hilton is just one of many customers sharing their story as part of our cross-country road trip, Code the Road.

No one likes surprises when they reserve hotel rooms, so it’s crucial for Hilton that people see exactly what they’ll be getting before they arrive. Currently, Hilton’s HHonors guests can use the HHonors website and app as a one-stop tool to control their on-property experience – from finding the best hotels in the right neighborhoods and booking the most suitable one, to soon, using the app as a room key.
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With a spirit of constant innovation, we’re always looking for new ways to enhance the guest experience. One way we’re doing so is by experimenting with the Google Maps APIs through proof of concept iPhone app functionality we built to enhance the room selection process during digital check-in. The concept tests a the Street View panoramas, part of the Google Maps SDK for iOS, letting users see on the app the exact view they’ll experience when they get to their hotel room. For example, they could virtually look out their window on the app and select the room that overlooks a park or a quiet street corner.
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People care not just about the hotel they stay in, but also about the neighborhood, including what kinds of food, entertainment and amenities are nearby. So in our concept, we also tested a controlled list of businesses and points of interest from the Google Maps Places API for IOS to highlight nearby destinations via the HHonors app, like Lincoln Center in New York City, a great fish restaurant in Boston, or the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta.

The full potential of Google APIs sets in when you combine them. If successful, the Maps and Street View panorama concepts could one day fully integrate into our HHonors app or global web portal, which already uses Google Maps Business View to offer panoramic virtual tours of our properties to guests.

We believe that happy travelers are repeat customers who become loyalists. If you feel connected to the experience you’ve had with us, you’re more likely to return and to tell others about it. Through technology, we’re hoping to make it easier for people to find the perfect room, have an unforgettable stay and come back for another adventure.

We were delighted to participate in the Code the Road trip. We hosted the Code the Road bus at our Hilton Chicago property on June 10 and at Hilton Headquarters in McLean, Virginia on June 22. You can also see the Hilton HHonors app window-view proof of concept demo on the bus.

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Security has always been a top priority for Google. But security innovation is only as good as the number of people who use it. Part of that is making adoption super simple  that’s why we, along with the FIDO Alliance, created the Security Key, so that with a simple tap of the key you can send an encrypted 2-Step Verification signature to ensure your login information cannot be phished. And the other part is getting it into more hands. So today we’re announcing a 50% discount on Security Keys for Google Apps customers purchasing keys from Yubico, a Security Key manufacturer.

New admin controls are also rolling out today, to make it easier for Google Apps Unlimited administrators to deploy, monitor and manage Security Keys for their domains. As a Google Apps admin, once Security Keys have been activated by employees, you can see where and when employees last used their keys through usage tracking and by generating reports. You can easily revoke access to lost Security Keys and provide backup codes, so employees can still sign-in and get work done.

Security is never a done deal, and we're continuously working to stay ahead of those with bad intentions. We hope you join us on this continuous journey and take advantage of the Security Key technology, the discount on Yubico keys, and tools to deploy them at scale for your organization.

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

Classroom debuted last year to help teachers and students save time and collaborate with each other, and since then we’ve been working on how to make sure it worked well with other products that educators love and use in their classes.

Starting today, developers can embed the Classroom share button and sign up for the developer preview of the Classroom API. These tools make it easy for developers to seamlessly integrate with Classroom in ways that help teachers and students — like letting teachers create assignments directly from Quizlet, Duolingo, PBS and many other favorites.

We’ve also got other updates to tell you about, including whitelisted domains and notifications in the Classroom mobile app.

Classroom API

The Classroom API allows admins to provision and manage classes at scale, and lets developers integrate their applications with Classroom. Until the end of July, we’ll be running a developer preview, during which interested admins and developers can sign up for early access. When the preview ends, all Apps for Education domains will be able to use the API, unless the admin has restricted access.

By using the API, admins will be able to provision and populate classes on behalf of their teachers, set up tools to sync their Student Information Systems with Classroom, and get basic visibility into which classes are being taught in their domain. The Classroom API also allows other apps to integrate with Classroom.

A few developers have been helping us test the API, and we’re excited to share a few examples of what they’ve built:

  • The New Visions CloudLab (makers of Doctopus) built rosterSync for Sheets, an add-on integrated with Classroom. Harnessing the power of Google Sheets, admins can sync data from any student information system with Classroom.
  • Alma, a hybrid student information and learning management platform, will let schools easily create and sync their class rosters directly to Classroom with just a few clicks. And if an admin adds a student to a class in Alma, that student will get automatically added in the Classroom class. See more in their demo video.
  • And if you use Pear Deck, it’s now easy to start an interactive Pear Deck session with any of your Classroom classes. Just click “Invite from Google Classroom,” choose a class and your students will automatically be invited. Pear Deck will always use your current roster of students from Classroom, so you don’t have to keep rosters up to date across apps.

In the Admin Console, admins will be able to restrict whether teachers and students in their domain can authorize apps to access their Google Classroom data. And we don’t permit other apps to use Classroom data from the API for any advertising purposes.

Classroom share button

Today we’re also introducing the Classroom share button, a simple way for developers – or schools – to allow teachers and students to seamlessly assign or turn-in links, videos and images from another webpage or product.

The share button only requires a few lines of JavaScript, and you can customize the button to meet the needs of your website. When teachers and students click the button, they can quickly share to Classroom without having to leave the site they’re on. More than 20 educational content and tool providers have already committed to integrating the Classroom share button, including:


To get started or learn more about either the API or integrating the share button, visit developers.google.com/classroom. And let us know what you’re building using the #withclassroom hashtag on Twitter or G+. As always, we’re looking forward to hearing your feedback and making sure that we’re addressing top needs. We’ll use the developer community site Stack Overflow to field technical questions and feedback about the Classroom API. Please use the tag google-classroom.

Other new Classroom and Google Apps for Education features:

  • Whitelisted domains: The ability to whitelist domains will be rolling out over the next few weeks. We shared this with you in March; we’re excited that now you’ll be able to whitelist other Google Apps for Education domains so students, teachers or staff in different domains can effectively work together in Drive and Classroom.
  • Mobile Classroom notifications: In the next few weeks, we’ll be adding mobile notifications in our iOS and Android app. Students can immediately see when they’ve got a new assignment or grade, a note from their teacher or a comment from a fellow student.
  • Re-use previous posts: If you used Classroom this year and want to reuse your assignments or materials in future classes, we’ve got you covered. In August, we’re planning to roll out the ability for you to reuse assignments and posts from old classes. Stay tuned for more details.
  • Easier provisioning of Google Apps accounts for your domain: Creating a large number of Google Apps for Education accounts can be challenging. Last week we introduced a new API to generate available usernames and create Google Apps accounts in your domain: account provisioning for Google Apps. It can be used in a website where users create their own accounts or in a script that creates accounts in bulk.

We hope these additions will make it easy to use Classroom alongside all of your favorite educational tools.

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I was fourteen when I knew I wanted to join the Army. I was a cadet at school, in the cold and wet Lake District hills. I revelled in the fun of confronting and overcoming seemingly impossible challenges and hardships with my mates. I loved being part of something; a team, a mission. To me, the Army was something to be part of. Something to believe in.

I served for five years with the Highland Fusiliers, a British Army infantry regiment, after university. What I cherish most from my time in the military is how my character developed from repeatedly having to achieve goals, against the odds, with some of the best teams I could imagine. I remember leading five young Glaswegian soldiers across the glaciers of the Karakoram mountains in Pakistan, and watching as their courage and resolve grew with every icy step. Then, later, I saw them become leaders of teams on operations. It was soldiers like those that taught me leadership is about serving a team, not running a team.

This is just one of many lessons that ex-servicemen and women learn from the military that make them great entrepreneurs. In addition to recognizing the power of a team, they’re taught to plan and act with imperfect information and limited resources. They prepare for every scenario, but know how to react quickly and logically to sudden obstacles. And they learn to do it all while under extreme pressure and often in dire circumstances — skills that become priceless qualities for entrepreneurs in fast-moving business environments.



Now, thanks to development in cloud technology and web-based tools, it’s easier than ever for ex-military personnel to pursue entrepreneurship. They don’t need a physical office to bring a team together; with video conferencing and collaborative tools, they can work with colleagues from all over the world as if they’re in a room together. Having a website means no longer needing an expensive storefront or being limited to customers within driving distance, and online advertising makes it possible to find the clients who are looking for exactly what you offer. Starting a business now costs a fraction of what it used to, with even more tools available to get your idea off the ground.

So, in honour of Armed Forces Day in the United Kingdom, we’re celebrating those leaders in service who became leaders in British business. We’re highlighting people like Andy McNab, the best-selling author and entrepreneur who joined the military at 16 with the literacy of an 11-year old. Or Tom Bodkin, who spent six years in the Parachute Regiment before starting a fast-growing company that leads treks to remote places around the world. And to encourage ex-servicemen and women to pursue their passions as entrepreneurs, we’re offering discounts on Google Apps, Google AdWords and Google Cloud Platform, and providing business training from our Digital Garage in Leeds.

To all those who have served and continue to serve in so many ways, thank you for your dedication and courage. With greatest respect and gratitude, I salute you and your families this Armed Forces Day.

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Posted by Joshua Koen, Special Assistant for Technology, Newark Public Schools
(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog.)

Editor's note: Today’s guest author is Joshua Koen, Special Assistant for Technology at Newark Public Schools, which serves over 35,000 students across 66 schools. Thanks to his diverse background, Koen focuses on bringing together instruction and technology. Here he shares his reflections from this past school year and his continued focus to ensure IT always serves learning. He’s also sharing the great news that Newark is now using Google Apps for Education district-wide.

Some people worry about giving kids too much access to technology, but I’m worried we might not be providing enough. We know students today can use the Internet pretty much anywhere and anytime. So as educators, it’s our job to model effective use. At the Newark Public Schools, infusing technology in our instruction is helping us reach our goal of preparing all students for the college or career of their choice. When it comes to technology, we try to keep it simple by focusing on three very specific objectives that support our district goals: helping teachers check for understanding for all students in real-time, infusing digital learning experiences into the curriculum and helping students develop digital fluency (which is measured through assessments like PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers).

When I arrived at Newark a year and a half ago, I was pleased to see that the district had already invested in high-speed wireless access. To further this work, last year I organized a steering committee of students, teachers and administrators to help guide our new learning environment. As part of this work, we developed a digital learning initiative and introduced Google Apps for Education district-wide. Google Apps has since become our educational backbone, facilitating collaboration at the classroom-level, school level and district level.

For example, students at Benjamin Franklin School led by teacher coaches Tracy Blazquez and Amy Panitch implemented a Problem Based Learning unit aligned to our curriculum to explore how the toy industry shapes what careers students enter when they grow up. Students conducted a class and school survey identifying preferences using Forms, analyzed the results in real-time as they were being collected in Sheets, collaborated together to describe their ideas in Docs, and presented their findings via a Hangout on Air.

Students from Franklin Elementary school participate in a Hangout on Air. Watch the video.

In another school, Speedway Academies, a 5th grade class donned their press badges, put on their adventure gear and became journalists chronicling natural disasters across the world. Their teacher, Audra Chisolm (who had never used Google Apps before) and coach Damion Frye, used Google Classroom to facilitate students researching, editing and writing editorials and newspaper articles in Docs. They created an online student newspaper with their final product using Google Sites. During the entire eight-week unit, the students only used one piece of paper and practiced PARCC readiness by cutting and pasting, highlighting and editing each other's work.
Students collaborate on a problem based learning unit.





As a district team we've taken many steps to enable more digital learning. First and foremost, we focus on learning rather than IT. As IT teams, we need to be knowledgeable about the curriculum and needs of teachers if we're going to be able to help them. We also model the use of new tools. For example, at a recent principals’ leadership institute, we shared the agenda and activities through a Google Site with our attendees who could contribute to brainstorms using Google Docs. To help teachers infuse technology into daily practice we utilize the technological, pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK) framework to guide us in this. We find this to be a helpful framework. Finally, we’ve also introduced tech instructional leads in each school for on-the-job support.

In the next year, we plan to roll out more devices to give students even more access to learning. How will I know we're having success with digital learning? I’ll know when we spend less time talking about IT and gadgets and more time talking about learning.

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

Editor's note: Twenty thousand educators from around the world will share ideas, tips, and trends for the upcoming year when they gather at ISTE, one of the largest education technology conferences in the world. If you’ll be in Philadelphia, come visit us in the Expo Hall at #1808. You can learn more about the new Training Center and check out any of over 50 short sessions that will share more ways to engage and inspire students.

Technology can transform education, but only when it enables and supports amazing educators. Effective professional development is thus a crucial part of creating real positive change and preparing students for the future. For this reason, we’re proud to introduce the new Google for Education Training Center, a free, interactive, online platform that helps educators apply Google’s tools in the classroom and beyond.


Professional development has long been a challenge for educators and administrators. A 2015 survey by the American Federation of Teachers found that the "adoption of new initiatives without proper training or professional development" was the primary reason for workplace stress, with 71% of respondents citing it. This is why we worked closely alongside educators to design professional development tools that fit the needs of their peers.

“We didn’t need another help center with how-to articles; we needed to start where teachers start, with learning objectives, classroom tasks and teaching strategies,” said Jay Atwood, EdTech coordinator at Singapore American School and project lead for the Training Center’s lesson creation. “With the new Training Center, we do just that.”

The Training Center provides interactive lessons with a practical classroom focus, allowing educators and administrators to customize their learning paths by choosing fundamental or advanced courses. Each course is organized around three themes:


Educators can access different units and lessons in any order they prefer. After completing either the fundamentals or advanced course, educators can then distinguish themselves as Google Certified Educators, Level 1 or Level 2.

The lessons support different skill sets, grade levels, content specialties, capacities and interests. “I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about Google, but in each session I learned something new,” says Carla Jones, a teacher at Cook Elementary School in Chicago, IL who previewed the Training Center content. “I learned tips and strategies that I could immediately use in my classroom, and each session got me super excited about how to make my classroom more tech integrated.”

Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the third largest school district in the United States with more than 600 schools and 400,000 students, worked with Google for Education as a launch partner for the new Training Center. CPS will use the Training Center as an integral part of its technology professional development program, and teachers’ time spent on Training Center courses will count toward their professional development hours.

“The new Google for Education Training Center empowers teachers to drive their own learning and track their progress,” says Donna Rom├ín, EdTech instructional specialist at CPS. “It combines differentiated content, flexible pace and application with the collaborative magic of Google Apps for Education in a supportive learning environment.”

The Training Center reflects what we value most about education, focusing on the process of learning rather than the tools themselves. “The Training Center was carefully designed around good pedagogy and instructional practices,” explains Mark Hammons, EdTech coordinator at the Fresno County Office of Education and a contributor to the platform. “Not only will teachers learn how to use Google Apps, but they will also learn how to apply them meaningfully in the classroom.”

To learn more about the Training Center, visit g.co/edutrainingcenter and try out a lesson or two.