Posted by Zoe Tabary, Editor-Thought Leadership, Economist Intelligence Unit

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

Editor's note: During Education on Air, Google’s free online conference May 8-9, we'll be discussing how we can help prepare our students for their future. To investigate this issue in more depth, we commissioned The Economist Intelligence Unit to conduct global surveys of senior business executives, teachers, and students, ages 11-17 and 18-25. Editor Zoe Tabary will share the findings during the kickoff session for Education on Air, but here’s a preview.

As technology becomes more pervasive, traditional trades disappear and the world of work becomes more globalised, the skills considered to be valuable for the future are shifting.

Problem solving, team working, and communication (a trifecta commonly known as “21st century skills”) are the most-needed skills in the workplace, according to our recent surveys of business executives, students and teachers. Digital literacy and creativity— and the latter’s close relative, entrepreneurship—are expected to grow more important in the next three years.

Business survey: Which of the following would you say are the most critical skills for employees in your organisation to possess today? Select up to three.
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
Incorporating these skills in existing education systems, however, is far from straightforward. Teachers report that lack of time in a strictly regulated curriculum is the biggest barrier to teaching 21st century skills, while digital literacy is one of the areas where they would most like further training (31%).

Meanwhile, the young have become more comfortable learning on their own, especially on topics of interest: 62% of teachers report that students are becoming more independent and able to gather information themselves. As one expert interviewed for the report puts it, “young people have an innate affinity with technology, and it would be a shame not to utilise that effectively”.

Countries all over the world are devising new innovative approaches to teaching and learning based on these changing trends. For example Singapore’s ‘Teach less, learn more’ initiative aims to help schools and teachers to engage more effectively with students, so that they connect with what they are they are learning and how and why they are learning it.

To hear more about the full research findings, register for the free online conference.


For the last decade, we’ve been helping businesses make the most of maps with Google Maps APIs. Whether it’s helping Allstate give their customers location information so they can deliver better service, or DHL Same Day a view into where their couriers travel to ensure things arrive on time, we know that companies put their information onto a customized Google Map to see real business value.

To understand more about this value and how businesses are using maps, we commissioned some research into how businesses in the Asia Pacific region use Google Maps APIs. The new report “More Than Pins on a Map” has found that 94 percent of businesses that use Maps APIs have seen real business improvements, 50 percent boosted customer satisfaction and 40 percent improved productivity.

Key findings from the report include:

There’s new revenue to be found with Maps

Almost a third of businesses said Google Maps had delivered over $100,000 of value since implementation. This includes a New Zealand airline that created a service to help customers with airport transfers. They pulled information from 20 different taxi services and used Google Maps APIs to provide customers fast facts about driving conditions and transportation options so they could plan their route more easily.

One map leads to another

Companies typically introduce Google Maps with a specific purpose in mind — to show customers their store locations, or to track their assets — but they often find maps can be useful in other parts of their business. For example, a government department in Australia first turned to maps to visualize data points on a map but soon realised they could use Google Maps APIs to bring more data management in-house and cut out a third party. This means less coordination and allows them to push data live within one day rather than waiting a week.

Maps give customers power

An online auto marketplace changed the way it runs its business after discovering Google Maps could help customers locate the best car deal in the shortest time. They created a trip planner tool that integrates with Google Maps and helps customers plan the most efficient route to cars at various dealerships.

Maps can save dollars and lives

Whether an executive’s job is on the line or employees are literally saving lives, it’s critical for teams to work at top efficiency. A disaster management software provider uses Google Maps to investigate ambulance delays. Using real-time data, the company monitored delays longer than 20 minutes and the root-cause of the delay. They found that often these delays occurred because employees weren’t using Google Maps, which takes into account traffic conditions and typography to find the best route.

Maps help employees communicate

Google Maps can help departments communicate with one another more clearly by putting technical information on a map. A telecommunications company in Australia once updated teams about network outages via lists. Out of context, these lists did not simply convey the extent of outages and led to confusion. Now outages are visualized on a Map, so the staff has access to real-time contextualized information that makes it much easier to assess the business impacts.

Whether you’re looking to introduce new revenue streams, improve your customers’ experience or boost productivity, putting your information on a map with Google Maps APIs can help. To find out more and learn how Google Maps APIs may be useful for your business download the new white paper.


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

Last month we announced Education on Air — our free online conference taking place May 8-9, 2015 — and asked what you wanted to hear about. Today we released the schedule of sessions, based largely on what we heard from you. We’ll emphasize innovation — 44% of you voted for this — as well as how to empower students and use Google tools effectively. It was clear from our second poll that you also want practical examples, so our speakers will go beyond theory and share their specific advice for enacting change.

Here’s a look at what you can expect over the two-day conference:

Friday, May 8: Leading for the future

Tune in from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET to hear from educators, business and policy leaders, students and researchers, whose keynotes will challenge you to innovate and improve education. In our kickoff session, panelists will tackle the question “What are the skills of the future?” and will touch upon results from an Economist Intelligence Unit survey. You’ll also hear panels of different perspectives about some hot topics for educators, including how technology is transforming learning and how students are guiding their own learning.

In addition to these panels, our keynote speakers will share their personal passions for the future of education. You’ll hear from Actor, Education Advocate, and Host of Reading Rainbow LeVar Burton, Google Senior Vice President of People Operations Laszlo Bock, education leader and Order of Canada honoree Michael Fullan, and Sir Michael Barber, chief education advisor to Pearson and former Chief Adviser to the Secretary of State for Education during the first term of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Educators and school leaders like Ryan Bretag, education researcher and Chief Innovation Officer of Illinois’ District 225, and students like Brittany Wenger (2012 Google Science Fair winner) will also share their perspectives.

Saturday, May 9: Shaping the classroom today

Over 100 sessions will be led by educators from 12 countries and 29 U.S. states, all specifically designed to offer practical advice and examples. Whether you’re interested in the track for educators, administrators, IT or “anyone,” we invite you to join for the sessions that are most interesting to you.

Presenters will discuss tools and techniques that you can implement easily, affordably and immediately. Many sessions highlight how Google tools like Google Apps, Earth, Chromebooks and Android tablets can support learning and help educators save time. Others will relate to themes including collaboration and community, computer science and STEM, creation and creativity, digital citizenship, literacy and professional development.

Here’s a flavor of the range of sessions:

Visit the Education on Air site to see the full line-up of sessions and make sure to register; because even if you can’t join us live, if you register we’ll notify you when the recordings are available to view.

We hope to “see” you there!


Chrome was a big bet when it was introduced six years ago and has since grown to provide a simpler, speedier and safer web for more than 750 million users around the world. Today, Chrome is an integrated hardware and software solution for work that meets the challenges of and innovates upon traditional platforms.

Join us online April 22nd at 10:00am PDT at Chrome Live, our first-ever online event, to hear from Googlers, technical experts and our customers about how Chrome is meeting the needs of a more mobile, social and cloud-oriented workplace. At Chrome Live, you’ll:

  • Have a front-row seat to two keynotes from:
    • Amit Singh, President of Google for Work, who’ll share how Chrome for Work is part of the transformational agenda of many businesses today. He’ll also be announcing a number of new products coming to the Chrome for Work family.
    • Rajen Sheth, Director of Product Management for Chrome for Work, who’ll discuss how devices have revolutionized the way we work. He’ll also uncover a few pathways of our top-secret roadmap and may have a few surprises in store.
    • Learn how the web, meeting technology and digital displays are being reimagined with Chrome for Work product managers Saswat Panigrahi and Vidya Nagarajan
    • See live deployment and management demos by Chrome team experts
    • Hear from IT leaders at Netflix, Pinterest and Chico’s about integrating devices with the cloud and enabling IT admins at top companies to streamline day-to-day operations
    • Get a sneak peek at the team’s plans to continue innovating and addressing new needs in the market

    To be a part of Chrome Live, all you need is a comfortable seat, an Internet connection and a computer, tablet or phone; pants are optional but recommended. You’ll be able to interact with Google experts and ask questions.

    Register now to learn all this and more at the first Chrome Live event on Wednesday, April 22nd at 10:00am PDT. And even if you can’t attend on the scheduled dates, be sure to register to stay up to date on all things Chrome. Feel free to share your thoughts, impressions and questions using #chromelive15 on social media.


    Editor's note: Our guest blogger this week is Marc Crandall, Head of Global Compliance at Google for Work. A lawyer and long time Googler, Marc focuses on regulatory matters involving privacy and security.

    We regularly hear from our customers that assessing data protection compliance in various countries around the world can be challenging. Protecting the privacy and security of our customers’ information is a top priority, and we take compliance very seriously. That’s why we've been working hard to make things a bit easier for you.

    We recently launched a new legal and compliance section of the Google Admin console where Google Apps administrators can find pointers to useful information, such as security and privacy certifications, third-party audits and data center and subprocessor information. This will be helpful to everyone, from those who manage their own domain to legal, security and privacy compliance specialists.

    Another important resource for Google Apps for Work customers is our data processing amendment, which we’ve offered to customers since 2012. Customers that use our products for Work and for Education are often subject to data protection and compliance regulations. To help address this, in addition to our commercial agreements, we offer a data processing amendment that describes Google’s specific data protection commitments for your Google Apps information.

    If you operate in a regulated industry, having Google’s data protection obligations in writing helps demonstrate to regulators that we take significant and concrete steps to protect your information. For customers subject to laws implementing the European Union’s Data Protection Directive, our data processing amendment also contractually binds us to remain enrolled in the U.S Department of Commerce Safe Harbor Program. And we indicate that Google Apps customers may opt-in to model contract clauses with Google.

    While the data processing amendment does not affect the functionality of Google Apps, we believe customers with regulatory compliance considerations will find the amendment useful. You can access the data processing amendment from within the Admin console.

    Millions of organizations use Google for Work today — they come from all sectors and more than half of our customers operate outside of the United States. You rely on Google to provide strong data protection capabilities, in compliance to your specific needs. With these tools in place, we hope to make it easier for you and third parties to verify that. For more information, visit our Google for Work and Google for Education trust site.


    As an IT admin you want your organization to be free to focus on getting stuff done. But part of your role is also to make sure you stay on top of legal compliance. Today we’re making it a little bit easier to do both with two new Hangouts features.

    Over the next few days, we’ll roll out an admin option that lets you manage Hangouts chat history in your organization, so that you can make certain that it’s either on or off. People in your organization can have the freedom to chat with whomever they want — whether that person is part of your organization or not — and you can be sure that new employee conversations stay personal and private, because they’ll disappear shortly after taking place.
    We’re also adding Google Apps Vault support for Hangouts chat. With Vault support for chat, organizations of all sizes can quickly find and preserve chat messages. This is a great way to safeguard business-critical information for continuity, compliance and regulatory purposes.

    Find out how to tailor Hangouts to best suit your organization's compliance needs.


    (Cross-posted on the Geo Developers Blog.)

    Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Adam Ratana, developer of Sun Surveyor. Read how Sun Surveyor is using Google Maps APIs to help photographers capture the perfect photo.

    I’m a photography enthusiast, and I’m always looking for ways to improve my work. That’s what led me to develop Sun Surveyor, an iOS and Android app that uses Google Maps APIs to visualize the location of the sun and the moon anywhere in the world. The app makes it easy to figure out when the natural lighting will be just right — and get the ideal shot.

    Sun Surveyor uses augmented reality to overlay the paths of the sun and moon on a camera’s view, so you can see where in the sky they’ll be at a specific time and place. Photographers can use it to plan their shots ahead of time, and businesses can use it to gauge things like how best to align solar panels to make the most efficient use of the angle of the sun.

    The app uses multiple Google Maps APIs, including the Elevation API, the Time Zone API, the Google Maps SDK for iOS and the Google Maps Android API. The Android API, which includes Street View, was particularly helpful. It allowed me to overlay the path of the sun and moon on any Street View location anywhere in the world. For programming details, see this blog post.

    The following screen captures give you a sense of how the app works. They show overlays on top of the iconic Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. The first shows the paths of the sun (yellow line) and moon (blue line) over an aerial view of Yosemite Valley. The green line shows the distance between the photographer and the object to be photographed — in this case, Half Dome.

    This next screen capture shows how the app looks when in Street View mode. Again, the yellow line shows the sun’s path, and the blue line shows the moon’s path. The green line represents the horizon. You can see how the app lets you plan the right time to get a shot of the sun behind Half Dome: in this particular instance, 8:06 am.

    Nearly 500,000 people around the world have downloaded the free version of Sun Surveyor, and many have paid for the full edition. They’re taking remarkable photos as a result, and what started as a hobby for me has turned into a business — thanks to Google Maps APIs.