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How The New York Times used the Google Sheets API to report congressional votes in real time

How The New York Times used the Google Sheets API to report congressional votes in real time

There’s a common phrase among reporters: “The news never sleeps.” This is why many news outlets rely on cloud-based productivity tools like Google Docs and Sheets to share information, check facts and collaborate in real time. And The New York Times is no exception.

In May 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a new health care law affecting millions of Americans. To report the news as fast as possible, The Times’ editorial team used Sheets to tally and display House votes in real time on NYTimes.com.

Engaging voters with the Sheets API

“People want to feel connected to the decisions their legislators make as soon as they make them,” said Tom Giratikanon,  a graphics editor at The Times. But rules in the House chamber make reporting on how every representative votes in real time difficult. Photography is restricted on the assembly floor, and there is a delay until all votes are displayed on the House website—a process that can sometimes take up to an hour.

To get around this lag, Giratikanon’s team used the Google Sheets API. The editorial team dispatched reporters to the chamber where they entered votes into a Google Sheet as they were shown on the vote boards. The sheet then auto-populated NYTimes.com using the Sheets API integration.

Says Giratikanon: “It’s easy to feel like decisions are veiled in the political process. Technology is a powerful way to bridge that gap. Sharing news immediately empowers our readers.”

It’s easy to feel like decisions are veiled in the political process. Technology is a powerful way to bridge that gap.

Tom Giratikanon

Graphics Editor, The New York Times

House votes

How it worked

To prep, Giratikanon tested the Sheets integration ahead of the House vote. He created a sheet listing the names of legislators in advance, so his team could avoid typos when entering data on the day of the vote. Next, he set up the Sheet to include qualifiers. A simple “Y” or “N” indicated “yes” and “no” votes.

After a few practice rounds, Giratikanon’s team realized they could add even more qualifiers to better inform readers–like flagging outlier votes and reporting on votes by party (i.e., Democrats vs. Republicans). The editorial team researched how each of the 431 legislators were expected to vote in advance. They created a rule in Sheets to automatically highlight surprises. If a legislator went against the grain, the sheet highlighted the cell in yellow and the editorial team fact-checked the original vote to reflect this in the article. Giratikanon also set up a rule to note votes by party.

As a result, The Times, which has roughly 2 million digital-only subscribers, beat the House website, reporting the new healthcare bill results and informing readers who were eager to follow how their legislator voted. 

NYT GIF

Try G Suite APIs today 

You can use Sheets and other G Suite products to help speed up real-time reporting, no matter the industry. Get started using the Sheets API today or check out other G Suite APIs, like the Slides API, Gmail API or Calendar API.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Docs, Drive, G Suite, Google Cloud, Journalism & News, Sheets

Track projects with G Suite and Asana

Technology has transformed the way businesses operate—your teams likely do not look like they did 10 years ago. Now, companies rely on a mobile workforce and require productivity tools to help them collaborate no matter the location, and more importantly, without holding up work.

Businesses are using Asana  and G Suite to collaborate and manage projects from start to finish. Asana is a project management tool that helps teams plan, manage and track work, and is a part of the Recommended for G Suite program. With these two tools, your organization can:

  • Create tasks in Asana directly from Gmail
  • Add files directly from Google Drive to tasks in Asana
  • Keep track of deadlines by syncing your tasks in Asana with Google Calendar
  • Build custom reports in Google Sheets to analyze project data in Asana

How OutSystems uses G Suite and Asana to drive marketing launches

OutSystems is a low-code application platform that uses Asana and G Suite to manage digital marketing and advertising projects to reach its more than 7 million users. With 30 marketers across the globe, it’s important that OutSystems uses tools to streamline reviews and track project status. 

With more than 90,000 apps built on their platform, OutSystems relies on Asana to prioritize projects and create templates for marketing launches. G Suite apps are built in, which means OutSystems employees can access their favorite productivity tools, like Google Drive, Docs and Sheets, in one place. 

Teams use Drive to attach files to tasks in Asana, Docs to edit web content, and Sheets to analyze project data. OutSystems marketers also work with external freelancers, and G Suite’s permission sharing settings make it easy to protect proprietary information.

You can get started using Asana and G Suite at your business. Sign up for this free webinar on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Calendar, Docs, Drive, G Suite, Gmail, Google Cloud, Sheets
Four signs you’re wasting time at work and how G Suite can help

Four signs you’re wasting time at work and how G Suite can help

We all waste time at work, whether it’s on purpose (brushing up on Wonder Woman’s history) or on accident (really should have budgeted more time for internal reviews). Luckily, G Suite can help you accomplish more at work, quicker. Here are four tell-tale signs you’re spending time on the wrong things, and tips on how to avoid these time-sinks.

1. You’ve spent more time emailing co-workers than you have actually working 

The average worker spends an estimated 13 hours per week writing emails—nearly two full work days. Luckily, you can cut back on time spent replying to emails with Smart Reply in Gmail. Smart Reply uses machine learning to generate quick, natural language responses for you.

2. You’ve spent the past hour formatting slides for a presentation

Is an image centered? Should you use “Times New Roman” or “Calibri?” Formatting presentations monopolizes too much of our time and takes away from what’s really valuable: sharing insights.

But you can save time polishing your presentations by using Explore in Slides, powered by machine learning. Explore generates design suggestions for your presentation so you don’t have to worry about cropping, resizing or reformatting. You can also use Explore in Docs, which makes it easy to research right within your documents. Explore will recommend related topics to help you learn more or even suggest photos or more content you can add to your document. Check out how to use Explore in Slides and Docs in this episode of the G Suite Show:

Explore feature for Docs and Slides | The G Suite Show

3. You can’t find a file you know you saved in your drive

Where is that pesky file? According to a McKinsey report, employees spend almost two hours every day searching and gathering information. That’s a lot of time.

Curb time wasted with Quick Access in Drive, which uses machine intelligence to predict and suggest files you need when you need them. Natural Language Processing (NLP) also makes it possible for you to search the way you speak. Say you’re trying to find an important file from 2016. Simply search “spreadsheets I created in 2016” and voilà! 

Another way to avoid losing files is by using Team Drives, a central location in Drive that houses shared files. In Team Drives, all team members can access files (or manage individual share permissions), so you don’t have to worry about tracking down a file after someone leaves or granting access to every doc that you create.

4. You’ve fussed with a spreadsheet formula over and over again

According to internal Google data, less than 30 percent of enterprise users feel comfortable manipulating formulas within spreadsheets. “=SUM(a+b)” is easy, but more sophisticated calculations can be challenging.

Bypass remembering formulas and time-consuming analysis and dive straight into finding insights with Explore in Sheets, which uses machine learning to crunch numbers for you. Type in questions (in words, not formulas) in Explore in Sheets on web, Android or iOS to learn more about your data instantly. And now, you can use the same powerful technology to create charts for you within Sheets. Instead of manually building graphs, ask Explore to do it for you by typing the request in words.

GIF

Stop wasting time on menial tasks and focus more on important, strategic work. To learn more about other G Suite apps that can help you save time, visit https://gsuite.google.com/.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Docs, Drive, G Suite, Gmail, Google Cloud, Machine Learning, Sheets, Slides

English county council saves millions switching to G Suite and Chromebooks

A day in the life of an employee at Northumberland County Council in northern England involves everything from running schools, repairing roads or literally putting out fires. It’s work that never stops and that stretches across a rural area the size of Greater London with 330,000 citizens and three million sheep.

Two years ago, the Northumberland IT team started to notice strain in their service infrastructure which connects 380 locations across the region, and recent budget cuts made that system feel increasingly unworkable.

“We had a very big legacy setup that was costing us a fortune in licensing and devices,” says Neil Arnold, Chief Information Officer at Northumberland County Council. “We decided to bring people together in a central hub to make teams more agile.”

Creating G Suite champions

After evaluation, Arnold and his team chose G Suite for its functionality and flexibility. The team relied on Netpremacy, a Google Cloud partner, to train 300 staff members to educate colleagues on how to use G Suite. Within months, 5,500 corporate users and 11,500 schools users had been set up with G Suite accounts. “Without the support of Netpremacy, we wouldn’t have been able to implement as rapidly as we did,” says Arnold. “They recognised the cultural challenges. There was skepticism at first, but users really took the tools to heart when they could see the benefits.”

From different locations across the region, staff began working collaboratively on Docs and Sheets and inviting others to join. The team saved money by switching to Chromebooks and Arnold and his colleagues started using Hangouts to join meetings to stay synced on daily work.

Even firefighters, who were reluctant to try out Hangouts at first, started using it regularly. “Firefighters now use Hangouts at the scene of fires to communicate with central command, monitor the fire, and decide how many vehicles they need,” says Arnold. “The chief fire officer doesn’t have to get in his car and drive out to the scene to help — he can do it all from wherever he is.”

Firefighters use Hangouts at the scene of fires to communicate to central command, so the chief fire officer doesn’t have to drive to the scene.

Neil Arnold

CIO, Northumberland County Council

Saving big by going cloud-first

Arnold expects switching to Chromebooks will help Northumberland County Council save close to £2.5 million on licensing and hardware, without sacrificing data security since Chromebooks have multiple protection layers.

The next step for Arnold and his team is to bring G Suite to the classroom. “We’ve got a lot of schools using Google Classroom successfully,” he says, “and we want to roll G Suite out to more schools. It’ll be a big efficiency for them, because many have small file servers on site, that they manage themselves or pay a third-party to manage. Drive will help them decommission that.”

Meanwhile, outdated exchange and file servers are being closed down across the council as data is seamlessly transferred to Google Cloud. The new central office for the county is set to open in 2019, and Arnold does not plan to have a datacenter at the new building: “That footprint’s going to reduce over the next three years to virtually nothing.” 

“I’ve been working in IT for over 30 years and this has been one of the most successful and satisfying projects I’ve ever been involved in,” says Arnold. “We’ve achieved more than we expected and using G Suite has been a tremendous catalyst for change.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Chromebooks, Connected Workspaces, Docs, Drive, G Suite, Google Cloud, Google in Europe, Hangouts, Sheets
Let’s jam—Jamboard is now available

Let’s jam—Jamboard is now available

Good ideas become great ones when you work together with your teammates. But as teams become increasingly distributed, you need tools that spur visual creativity and collaboration—a way to sketch out ideas, rev on them with colleagues no matter where they may be in the world and make them real. That’s where Jamboard, our cloud-based, collaborative whiteboard, can help. Starting today, Jamboard is available for purchase in the United States.

Breaking down creative barriers

We tested Jamboard with enterprise early adopters like Dow Jones, Whirlpool and Pinterest, who shared how Jamboard helped their businesses collaborate more efficiently and bring the power of the cloud into team brainstorms. 

Shaown Nandi, chief information officer at Dow Jones, saw his teams became more hands-on in creative sessions thanks to Jamboard. “Jamboard breaks down barriers to interactive, visual collaboration across teams everywhere,” said Nandi. “It’s the perfect anchor for a meeting and encourages impromptu, productive sessions. We can easily add any content to the Jamboard to capture great ideas from everyone. We immediately saw the benefits.”

Jamboard is the perfect anchor for a meeting. We can easily add content and capture great ideas from everyone.

Shaown Nandi

Chief Information Officer at Dow Jones

Jamboard GA image 1

We received great suggestions from customers on how to make Jamboard even better, such as adding a greater range of secure Wi-Fi network configurations so it’s easier to jam in different business settings. Customers also confirmed how important high speed touch is when using a digital whiteboard, and we’re using the Nvidia Jetson TX1 embedded computer to make sure Jamboard’s 4K touchscreen delivers a responsive experience. Starting today, you can purchase a Jamboard in three colors: cobalt blue, carmine red and graphite grey.

Jamboard Image 1

Order Jamboard today 

You can purchase Jamboard for $4,999 USD, which includes two styluses, an eraser and a wall mount. We’re also running a promotion—if you order on or before September 30, 2017, you’ll receive $300 off of the annual management and support fee for the first year, as well as a discount on the optional rolling stand.

Keep in mind that a G Suite plan is required to use Jamboard so that you can access files from Drive, use them in your brainstorms and come back to your work later. Plus, the Jamboard mobile companion apps can be used remotely so you can work on the go. Also, we’re teaming up with BenQ to handle fulfillment, delivery and support. Check out pricing details below.

Jamboard pricing - correct

Jamboard is available to G Suite customers in the U.S. to start, and will be available for purchase in the U.K. and Canada this summer, with more countries becoming available over time. Contact your Google Cloud sales rep or visit google.com/jamboard to learn more about how you can start jamming with colleagues today.

If you’re a current G Suite admin, check out this post for more information.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Drive, G Suite, Google Cloud

Four reasons your company should use the new Team Drives

1. Team Drives makes onboarding new hires easier.

When onboarding new team members, it can take weeks, and sometimes months, before those employees become productive. This may partly be due to having limited access to training materials and project information. With Team Drives, new members get instant access to the right documents, so the time it takes to ramp up is dramatically decreased and they can dive straight into work.

2. Files stay in Team Drives even if team members leave.

Determining file ownership when an employee leaves can be a major pain point for a lot of companies. Files in Team Drives belong to the team instead of an individual, so you no longer have to worry about tracking down and transferring information once an employee leaves. The files stay within Team Drives so that your team can continue to share information and workflows aren’t interrupted.

3. It’s easy to manage and share permissions for employees and admins.

If you’re a large organization, keeping track of your data is critical. You need tools that can help you manage access to ensure that only the right people are sharing information. Team Drives make it easy for employees to manage file access. Team Drives allows you to specialize permissions based on who you’d like to edit, comment, reorganize or delete certain files. By default, all members within Team Drives automatically see the same files regardless of who adds or reorganizes them—cutting back on how many times you have to grant file access to trusted teammates.

Before employees get started using Team Drives, admins can adjust permissions in the G Suite Admin Console, like enabling Team Drives for an entire domain or just specific organizational units. Plus, admins can add or remove members to Team Drives as necessary and easily edit permissions.

4. Team Drives uses machine learning to help you find files. 

There are more than 800 million monthly active users on Drive and trillions of files stored in Drive. Many of these files represent collective knowledge of employees, and having “quick” access to these files is a boon for productivity.

Before, Enterprise Knowledge Management solutions attempted to deliver the right files to employees at the right time, but this required manually tagging documents with metadata—a time-consuming process. Now, you can use Quick Access, a feature in Drive that uses powerful machine learning algorithms to analyze trending topics, team calendars and other contextual information to identify relevant documents and suggest files to users. 

Use this step-by-step guide to get started on Team Drives today.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Drive, G Suite

4 reasons your company should use the new Team Drives

1. Team Drives makes onboarding new hires easier.

When onboarding new team members, it can take weeks, and sometimes months, before those employees become productive. This may partly be due to having limited access to training materials and project information. With Team Drives, new members get instant access to the right documents, so the time it takes to ramp up is dramatically decreased and they can dive straight into work.

2. Files stay in Team Drives even if team members leave.

Determining file ownership when an employee leaves can be a major pain point for a lot of companies. Files in Team Drives belong to the team instead of an individual, so you no longer have to worry about tracking down and transferring information once an employee leaves. The files stay within Team Drives so that your team can continue to share information and workflows aren’t interrupted.

3. It’s easy to manage and share permissions for employees and admins.

If you’re a large organization, keeping track of your data is critical. You need tools that can help you manage access to ensure that only the right people are sharing information. Team Drives make it easy for employees to manage file access. Team Drives allows you to specialize permissions based on who you’d like to edit, comment, reorganize or delete certain files. By default, all members within Team Drives automatically see the same files regardless of who adds or reorganizes them—cutting back on how many times you have to grant file access to trusted teammates.

Before employees get started using Team Drives, admins can adjust permissions in the G Suite Admin Console, like enabling Team Drives for an entire domain or just specific organizational units. Plus, admins can add or remove members to Team Drives as necessary and easily edit permissions.

4. Team Drives uses machine learning to help you find files. 

There are more than 800M monthly active users on Drive and trillions of files stored in Drive. Many of these files represent collective knowledge of employees, and having “quick” access to these files is a boon for productivity.

Before, Enterprise Knowledge Management solutions attempted to deliver the right files to employees at the right time, but this required manually tagging documents with metadata—a time-consuming process. Now, you can use Quick Access, a feature in Drive that uses powerful machine learning algorithms to analyze trending topics, team calendars and other contextual information to identify relevant documents and suggest files to users. 

Use this step-by-step guide to get started on Team Drives today.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Drive, G Suite
Bring your idea to life with G Suite

Bring your idea to life with G Suite

You know that feeling when you present on a project after working on it for too many months? It’s great. Perhaps the most gratifying part of wrapping a project (besides finally being done), is reflecting on how your idea came to be more than just an idea.

For most of us in the workplace, ideas take shape in many forms—and G Suite can help you along the way. Here’s a snapshot of how you can bring an idea to life using G Suite’s intelligent apps:

1. You mention an idea to a teammate over lunch

Some of our best ideas happen outside the confines of the office. You mention an idea to a teammate in passing and they tell you, “Hey, that’s not a bad thought, but we should meet to flesh this out.”

Take your idea to the next level by getting your group together with Find a Time and Find a Room features in Calendar. Find a Time intelligently suggests times that you and teammates are available to meet and books a time for you. Find a Room takes over the hassle of finding an available meeting room. All you have to do is show up and brainstorm.

Find a Time gif

2. Step into a meeting room and map out your idea 

Now that you’ve booked a room, you can put more structure behind this “thing” you’re creating with Jamboard—our collaborative, digital whiteboard for sharing ideas in real-time and mapping out your project plan. Check it out:

If you used legacy systems in the past, you probably brought documents, sticky notes or other prep materials to a brainstorm. With Jamboard, you securely access all of those files directly in the cloud within your “jam.” Simply use the sticky notes tool, pull information and images from the web, or add files from Docs, Sheets or Slides to your brainstorm directly from Drive.

3. Give your brain a rest and come back to your work later

Sometimes the best thing you can do for a project is take a break and revisit it with fresh eyes. Jamboard makes this easy because it saves your work directly to Drive. If you’re on the go and want to revisit a file, you can rely on Drive’s Quick Access feature to automatically find files for you. And if you use Team Drives, you can add relevant files to securely share access and edit rights with others that need to weigh in.

team drives transparent

4. Make final edits and present your idea

Once you’ve put the final touches on your “jam,” you can present your work through Hangouts, which integrates seamlessly with Jamboard. Add team members to the Hangout to see your work, and they can even use the Jamboard companion app to make edits from their mobile phones or tablets. 

For a presentation you really want to polish, you can also import your work from Jamboard into a presentation in Slides. If you don’t like to fuss with formatting, use Explore in Slides, powered by machine intelligence, to make your presentation look top notch. Choose from dozens of design recommendations and apply them instantly with one click. Now you’re ready to sell your idea.

Explore in Sheets

5. Track your progress

Coming up with the ideas is the fun part. Executing and tracking success is often more difficult. G Suite can help with that, too. Use templates in Sheets to create detailed project trackers or manage employee shift schedules. Sheets can also help you quantify results at the end of your project. Use Explore in Sheets (powered by machine intelligence) to get insights instantly. Just ask questions—in words, not formulas—and get actionable insights from your data. And once you’re finished, create a Form to solicit feedback on how to improve for the next time.

These are just some of the ways that G Suite can help you create—and execute—your best work. For more tips on how to use G Suite products, check out the G Suite Show.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Calendar, Docs, Drive, Forms, G Suite, Sheets, Slides
How machine learning in G Suite makes people more productive

How machine learning in G Suite makes people more productive

Email management, formatting documents, creating expense reports. These are just some of the time-sinks that can affect your productivity at work. At Google, this is referred to as “overhead”—time spent working on tasks that do not directly relate to creative output—and it happens a lot.

According to a Google study in 2015, the average worker spends only about 5% of his or her time actually coming up with the next big idea. The rest of our time is caught in the quicksand of formatting, tracking, analysis or other mundane tasks. That’s where machine learning can help.

Machine learning algorithms observe examples and make predictions based on data. In G Suite, machine learning models make your workday more efficient by taking over menial tasks, like scheduling meetings, or by predicting information you might need and surfacing it for you, like suggesting Docs.

Time spent chart

Source: Google Data, April 2015

Eliminating spam within Gmail using machine learning

One of the earliest machine learning use cases for G Suite was within Gmail. Historically, Gmail used a rule-based system, which meant our anti-spam team would create new rules to match individual spam patterns. Over a decade of using this process, we improved spam detection accuracy to 99%.

Starting in 2014, our team augmented this rule-based system to generate rules using machine learning algorithms instead, taking spam detection one step further. Now, we use Tensor Flow and other machine learning to continually regenerate the “spam filter,” so the system has learned to predict which emails are most likely junk. Machine learning finds new patterns and adapts far quicker than previous manual systems—it’s a big part of the reason that more than one billion Gmail users avoid spam within their account.

See machine learning in your favorite G Suite apps

G Suite’s goal is to help teams accomplish more with its intelligent apps, no matter where they are in the world. And chances are, you’ve already seen machine learning integrated into your day-to-day work to do just that.

Smart Reply, for example, uses machine learning to generate three natural language responses to an email. So if you find yourself on the road or pressed for time and in need of a quick way to clear your inbox, let Smart Reply do it for you.

Smart Reply GIF

Explore in Docs, Slides and Sheets uses machine learning to eliminate time spent on mundane tasks, like tracking down documents or information on the web, reformatting presentations or performing calculations within spreadsheets.

Explore

Quick Access in Drive predicts and suggests files you might need within Drive. Using machine intelligence, Quick Access can predict files based on who you share files with frequently, when relevant meetings occur within your Calendar or if you tend to use files at certain times of the day.

Quick Access

To learn more about how machine intelligence can make your life easier, sign up for this free webinar on June 15, 2017, featuring experts from MIT Research, Google and other companies. You can also check out the Big Data and Machine Learning blog or watch this video from Google Cloud Next with Ryan Tabone, director of product management at Google, where he explains more about “overhead.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Docs, Drive, G Suite, Gmail, Sheets, Slides

How LumApps and G Suite keep employees organized and informed

This year at Google Cloud Next, we recognized some of our partners for outstanding innovation. One of those partners, LumApps, received the “Solution Innovation of the Year” award for its corporate intranet and social platform for businesses. Deeply integrated with G Suite, LumApps houses resources like corporate news, social communities, employee directories and go-to G Suite apps—like Drive, Calendar or Gmail—all in one place. Check it out:

With LumApps, employees use single sign-on to securely access their corporate information and G Suite apps. Plus, it’s easy to search within the Google tools they use everyday because LumApps uses the power of Google Search to surface the right information when it’s needed.

“Our solution runs on Google Cloud Platform and we really appreciate the performance and scale that Google solutions offer,” says Elie Mélois, chief technology officer of LumApps. “Google’s expertise in cloud service made it a clear choice for LumApps, which is why we decided to build on their reliable and powerful platform.”

Companies are using LumApps and G Suite to centralize resources and connect teams throughout their organizations. To learn more about how your business can use LumApps and G Suite, sign up for this free webinar on April 27, 2017 at 1pm ET/10am PT.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Calendar, Drive, G Suite, Gmail