Posted:


(Cross-posted on the Google Australia Blog.)

Collaboration lies at the heart of Google for Work. It helps people work together and achieve great things; not just for work, but also for society.

That’s why, as Australia celebrates Mardi Gras this week, we teamed up with local nonprofit Twenty10 to raise awareness of homophobia and transphobia by creating a nationwide musical collaboration.

We went to a community day, opened a blank Google Doc, and asked people to help us write a love song. More than 1,000 people added their own lyrics, as did well-known local musicians Guy Sebastian, Megan Washington and the Jezabels.
Google volunteer Tom van Gessel collects another love song lyric

As the lyrics came through on the Doc from multiple locations and devices, Toby Martin, a local singer-songwriter, chose his favorite lyrics and turned them into a beautiful song, which he performed at the end of the day.

Watch the story of the collaboration here:

You can download the song for free on Google Play. For every time it’s downloaded until Mardi Gras ends, we’ll donate $1 to Twenty10 (up to $50,000)

As Toby sings, love is for everyone.

Posted:


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

Editor's note: Educators, read on to learn how you can access new work tools at our free online conference, Education on Air.

When I was a teacher 15 years ago, I loved my students, teammates and the work, but I wished I could work more closely with other teachers and observe their classrooms. Luckily, technology helps us connect more easily, and educators don’t have to feel isolated. We have tools, many of them free, that allow us to share with each other.

We’ll put these tools to work on May 8-9, when we host Education On Air, a free online conference about leading for the future and shaping the classroom today. All you need is a web browser and an Internet connection to join from the best seat in the house — your own. Whether you’re a school leader, teacher, administrator, parent, student or just someone who cares about education, we hope you can join us.
Here’s what we have planned:

Day 1: Leading the future
On Friday, May 8 from 10am-3pm EST, hear from educators, students and business leaders on the topic of leadership in education. Short keynotes and panels will help answer the question “how do we prepare our students for a future that is ever-changing?” Topics will include creating student ownership, leading change and fostering innovation in schools.

Day 2: Shaping the classroom today
On Saturday, May 9, join any of the 90+ sessions, run by educators for educators and held throughout the day across time zones. These sessions are designed to help you immediately in your school. We’ll have tracks for four groups: teachers, leaders, IT and general interest. Topics will include supporting literacy in early learners, successful device deployment and empowering digital citizens.

Even if you can’t attend on the scheduled dates, do register to stay informed. We’ll share the conference schedule and list of speakers in April. We’ll also be recording the sessions, so you can check out anything you missed.

In the meantime, tell us what sessions you want to see by responding to this Tweet or this Google+ post using #GoogleEduOnAir.

Posted:


With just the phone in your pocket, you can email your boss in Gmail and then ask your kids when they’ll be home using Hangouts. You can follow up with a new client in Salesforce and pull up your tax documents in Drive. Everything you do, whether it's for work or your personal life can all be done from the device you always have by your side. That’s pretty powerful and can save a lot of time. But with great power comes great responsibility, and keeping that information secure requires some attention — whether it’s keeping your tax documents private to yourself or your email conversations secure within your company.

That’s why last week we made Android ready for work — making it easier for the more than one billion Android users out there to access the apps they need to be productive on their phones and tablets. Today we wanted to highlight the ways Google Apps Mobile Management let’s you take full advantage of Android for Work.

If you use Google Apps you already have a Mobile Management provider

Phones get lost. Tablets stolen. People leave the company. Things happen. We believe you should have the tools to keep your work data safe, and that this safety should just be built in to the applications you choose. That’s why mobile device management — across Android and iOS — is included with Google Apps and Google Drive for Work. Apps Mobile Management allows admins to see what devices are connected, require device passwords and remotely wipe data when necessary.

Security that’s easy to manage

As the domain administrator, with today’s launch, you can now choose the level of data separation that works for your organization. Whether it’s a personal device or a corp-issued one, with Android for Work, you can have all your employees create a Work Profile that isolates and protects work data from other activity on their phone. Or make it a choice, and let employees continue to switch accounts within Gmail and other Google mobile apps, while using the Work Profile for non-Google work related apps. Either way, all their work information is encrypted and can be remotely wiped.

The Work Profile keeps all work approved apps separate from the rest of the phone.

Easy to use

Google Play for Work makes it easy for employees to see what apps are approved by their company and install the apps they want onto their device. Once an admin enables Android for Work, anyone can choose to use the Work Profile, even if not required to. So their own information stays private while the company can enforce Mobile Management policies for work accounts if needed.
Install work apps from Google Play for Work and keep them on your homescreen.
With Google Apps Mobile Management, you can have choice and security at the same time. Your employees can choose the device they’re comfortable with that helps them get work done, and you have peace of mind that company information is secure. Android for Work and Apps Mobile Management is available for all Google Drive for Work and Google Apps for Work, Government and Education organizations. Learn more in the Admin Help Center.


Posted:


Editor's note: Since the launch of Google Maps ten years ago, maps have come a long way. To celebrate a decade of map innovation, we’re highlighting unique maps built by our developer community. Read how guest blogger, Jacinda Shelly, Lead Platform Engineer for Doctor on Demand, uses the Google Maps APIs to bring unique mapping experiences to users.

Maps can do much more for an online business than help people get from point A to point B. You might not think that a website for making video appointments with medical professionals would benefit from mapping — but at Doctor on Demand, maps connect our patients to physicians faster, and allow physicians to prescribe medications at the right pharmacies. Google Maps make our user experience much more satisfying, which means patients will use our service again.

We use the Google Maps APIs, including the Geolocation and Javascript APIs, to show patients a map of nearby pharmacies before they start a video call with a medical professional. For our users, maps make it easy and convenient to connect with physicians and pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy. But maps can be helpful for other businesses in other ways. Now that we see the great value of incorporating reliable map functionality into our app, we'd love to share how you can do the same:

  • Choose a familiar interface. Use a map that’s easy for people to navigate – if it’s hard to understand and requires extensive instructions, they won’t use it. We picked Google Maps because our patients know them well.

  • Configure maps for many platforms. If your users find maps helpful on your desktop website, they’ll want to use maps from any browser or device. We’ve made sure our maps work just as well on iOS and Android devices as they do on a desktop computer.

  • Maintain accuracy. In our case, we have to update the geolocation information for about 65,000 pharmacies across the country every evening. We use the Google Maps Geocoding API, which minimizes the time it takes to keep our map accurate. We keep a database of all pharmacies from Surescripts, a healthcare network, and each night we get an update to that database that adds, removes, and updates pharmacies and their locations. We use the Google Maps Javascript API to place the pharmacies on our map when a patient is asked to select a pharmacy.

  • Help users save time and make better choices. Before we built our pharmacy map, patients had to tell doctors which pharmacy they wanted to use. Then doctors emailed us the details. However, our support team had to follow up with doctors and patients to make sure we had the right pharmacy, since patients might say something like, “the drugstore down the street from my house.” Today, there’s no doubt about which pharmacy is the right one, since patients can clearly see their local outlets on the map.

Our pharmacy map inspires us to think about new ways to use maps in the future – like plotting the movement of cold and flu outbreaks and sharing this information with patients and doctors. We see a direct connection between maps and improving patient care. In the grand scheme, Google Maps improves the health of our patients, and, the health of our business.


Posted:


Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Mats Randleff, IT Director for Stockholm, Sweden-based Polygon Group, a global provider of property damage restoration, temporary humidity control and property performance services. 

When disaster strikes, Polygon Group is often the first call companies make to help restore their facilities and critical documents. We also provide services like humidity control to prevent property damage, and consult on business continuity and disaster recovery plans. Nearly two-thirds of our 2,800-employees are mobile, so we can be on the spot for our customers whenever we’re needed.
Every minute counts when companies are trying to get back to business after a fire or flood, so our field technicians need reliable communication tools. We used various email systems across our 300 offices, but they needed rigorous IT support to stay up and running. We looked to the cloud for a single system our entire workforce could use and considered Microsoft 365 and IBM SmartCloud (since we’d been using Lotus Notes), but Google Apps stood out as a single, secure system with all the functionality we needed.

We believed our employees would quickly embrace Google tools, since Android was already our most widely used platform for mobile devices. When we tested Google Apps with 50 managers throughout Polygon and saw a 95% satisfaction rate, we wasted no time rolling out Apps to more than 1,900 users worldwide. We worked with Avalon Solutions, a Google Apps Premier Partner in the Nordics, who performed the successful migration and roll-out to our global team.

Since moving to Apps in spring 2013, we’ve achieved significant cost savings. We’ve reduced travel expenses because our workers use video-conferencing on Hangouts to meet rather than coordinate costly and time-consuming in-person meetings. IT support costs are down, too. In fact, compared to our previous Lotus Notes environment, our cost per user is about 50% less – which translates to about $480,000 in annual savings.

Global cooperation has also improved, particularly because group managers have embraced Google Sites as a strategic tool. They’ve created sites for business systems used to report on each group’s operational performance. Managers can monitor financial metrics, key performance indicators, and other information in a single environment that’s easy to use and share. We plan to create sites for our country management teams to track business performance for each region.

Google Apps opens up new ways of working at all levels within Polygon, from managers to field technicians. What began as a search for a new email system has evolved into a complete overhaul of our communications. Today, thousands of Polygon employees across more than a dozen countries communicate and collaborate with ease using Google Apps. The greatest benefit for us is that we now can provide a faster, more effective response to businesses in the challenging and courageous position of overcoming natural disaster.

Posted:



At its core, work is about people coming together to fuse ideas, perspectives and passions into broader, rounder visions. It’s about connecting in that sweet spot between inspiration and launch. To achieve this, we have many partners – our teammates – that work together with us every day. To honor our partners and our shared focus to provide more for our customers on every level, we hosted TeamWork 2015. 800 Premier Partners and 200 Googlers joined live with hundreds more tuning in via livestream, for three days of thought leadership, networking, knowledge sharing and, well, teamwork.

Investing in our teammates
At TeamWork this year, we took the time to share our vision for 2015 and beyond, shaped by the real-time input of our partners.

In December we launched the Google for Work and Education Partner Program, designed to help our partners better innovate across the Google for Work and Education suite of products and platforms. At the summit, we shared full details about this new program and heard directly from partners about what they need to grow in the future.

We also shared the news about Android for Work – a new and better way to work on the powerful mobile devices that we carry with us wherever we go, and a vast opportunity for our partners to develop and deliver innovative IT solutions to their customers.

Celebrating our teammates
Our partners work every day to make sure customers get the most out of the technology and services they use. They’re thought leaders who solve real problems and drive the market forward. We closed out TeamWork by awarding our 2014 Partners of the Year.

We look forward to the work that we’ll continue to do with our partners this year to provide greater tools, services and access for our customers.

Check out what partners are saying about this year’s summit by searching #TeamWork2015 via G+ and Twitter. Go team!

Posted:


(Cross-posted on the Android Blog.)

Over a billion people today carry Android smartphones—devices that are more powerful than the computers we used just a few years ago.

For many, these phones have become essential tools to help us complete important work tasks like checking email, editing documents, reviewing sales pipelines and approving deals. But for the majority of workers, smartphones and tablets are underutilized in the workplace. Their business and innovation potential remain largely untapped.

Today we're announcing the Android for Work program to tap into that potential. With a group of partners, we're helping businesses bring more devices to work by securing, managing and innovating on the Android platform.

Android for Work features four key technology components:

  • Work profiles – We’ve built on the default encryption, enhanced SELinux security enforcement and multi-user support in Android 5.0, Lollipop to create a dedicated work profile that isolates and protects work data. IT can deploy approved work apps right alongside their users' personal apps knowing their sensitive data remains secured. People can use their personal apps knowing their employer only manages work data and won’t erase or view their personal content.
  • Android for Work app – For devices running Ice Cream Sandwich through Kitkat, or that don’t run work profiles natively, we’ve created the Android for Work app. The app, which delivers secure mail, calendar, contacts, documents, browsing and access to approved work apps, can be completely managed by IT.
  • Google Play for Work – Google Play for Work allows businesses to securely deploy and manage apps across all users running Android for Work, simplifying the process of distributing apps to employees and ensuring that IT approves every deployed app.
  • Built-in productivity tools – For everyday business tasks, we’ve created a suite of business apps for email, contacts and calendar, which supports both Exchange and Notes and provides document editing capabilities for documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
We’re joined by a number of partners as part of the Android for Work program, including many familiar names within the Android ecosystem:
Our partners bring IT:

  • Consistent management – Enterprise mobility management (EMM) providers integrate with standardized management APIs to create a simple way to manage all Android devices, new and old, from one dashboard. All Android for Work capabilities are delivered through EMM partners, with more providers available soon.
  • Secure business apps – Software vendors and developers can create a single version of any Google Play app that can be securely deployed to any Android device without alterations or wrapping. And they can create standard management configurations that allow IT to apply policies per app.
  • Innovative devices – Android smartphone and tablet makers are a key part of the Android for Work program, as they create devices and experiences that add additional value for customers.

Together with a wide range of management, application and device makers, we believe the Android for Work program provides businesses and workers with the choice and flexibility they need to get things done at work.

Learn more by visiting google.com/work/android.