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Work doesn’t just get done in the office: ideas are born and deals are closed from the patios of coffee shops, the benches of train stations and the backseats of taxi cabs. And in the summer, when the office is often the last place many of us want to be, it’s even more essential to get work done faster from anywhere — even on the way to where you’re going.

At Google, we value mobility and want to find the best way for our customers to do their work when they’re on the go. That’s why we invested in new infrastructure in Boston to support free public Wifi at South Station last year. And it’s why we're now outfitting Uber partners' cars in Philadelphia with free Wifi for the summer, compliments of Google Apps for Business. Thousands of entrepreneurs, consultants, restaurateurs and business owners now have another way to help them get work done from anywhere throughout The City of Brotherly Love.

Uber helps millions of people get around in over 41 countries globally, so they know a thing or two about working on the go. And like more than 5 million businesses around the world, they do it with the help of Google Apps for Business. Collaborative tools like Google Docs and Sheets help employees brainstorm, evaluate and prioritize new markets and promotions, while video conferencing over Hangouts keeps globally-distributed teams connected and close. It was using products like these that inspired Uber to offer this technology in Uber partners' cars in Philadelphia.

So, Philadelphia, whether you’re on the way to Wawa, the Linc, the Shore, or the office, you now have one more place to get your work done quickly so you can spend more time enjoying the summer and less time looking at the walls of your cubicle. Read more details from Uber then take uberWIFI for a spin. Benjamin Franklin would approve.

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Editor's note: A few weeks ago, we announced Google Drive for Work, a new premium offering for businesses that includes unlimited storage, advanced audit reporting and new security controls. To celebrate the announcement and show how Drive helps businesses around the world, we’re sharing a few stories from a handful of customers using Drive (and the rest of the Google Apps suite) in innovative ways. Today’s guest blogger is Marco Grieco, Business Innovation and Change Director at OVS, the leader in the Italian apparel market. Marco runs all major change initiatives throughout the company across supply chain, retail model and internationalization, and is currently leading the company in its move to Google Apps for Business.


Merging Italian style with international trends requires a complex process of research, design and production. The 700-person, multi-national supply team at OVS produces 180 million pieces of apparel each year, 40,000 different styles, which are then sold online and in 700 brick-and-mortar stores in Italy and abroad. There are a handful of moving pieces, to say the least, but with Google Drive, we’re able to link together the otherwise disparate parts of our retail business and share information better across the company.

Before Drive, our IT solution was old-fashioned and difficult to coordinate globally. Half of the team used one outdated IT tool, and the other half sent faxes (seriously) or exchanged e-mails: last year, our supply chain team sent five million emails. Two weeks after starting to use Drive, our email volume dropped by 40%. The transition was smooth and the benefits emerged quickly, since so many people were already familiar with Google and were excited to use it at work.

We use Drive to store and share everything product-related both inside the company and externally with our suppliers. From information about models, fabrics and sizing, to prototype images and the results of product tests, everything lives in Drive. We share and sync these files across desktops, tablets and smartphones so people have the information they need, no matter where they are or what device they’re using. Information is always updated, avoiding potential mistakes that could cause delays in our supply chain processes.

Drive is crucial for expediting our prototyping and testing process, which involves teams across the world. The prototyping team in China uses Drive to share sample image JPGs and testing kit PDFs with our team in Italy. The team in China can quickly share results and the team in Italy can request new tests if necessary — and they can all share their updates in a shared Google Sheet that’s stored and shared in the same shared folder with the rest of the assets they need, so everything — PDFs, JPGs, Sheets — can easily be found in a single place.

Drive has showed us how we can work better together and improve communication overall throughout the business, while also breaking down barriers between teams otherwise separated by tens of thousands of miles. Now, we’re rolling Drive out to our retail stores and sales associates, some of whom already started using Drive to upload and share images from their mobile phones and tablets — anything from inspirational window designs to new fashions and innovative store layouts — all without official training. We see major potential to use Drive across our business and make life easier for our employees while continuing to innovate for our customers.


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Most Aussies would say that a collaborative workplace is the sort of place they want to work. Most employers want this too, because collaboration can help employees share information, come up with ideas and reduce waste.

But what exactly is collaboration, and just how valuable is it? We decided to ask Deloitte Access Economics to calculate the value of collaboration to the Australian economy.

They worked the numbers and the results amazed us. Their report, The Collaborative Economy, shows that companies that actively encourage collaboration perform better — by a lot. Companies that prioritised collaboration are:
  • Five times more likely to experience a considerable increase in employment
  • Twice as likely to be profitable
  • Twice as likely to outgrow competitors

But collaboration is about more than the bottom line — it’s about happier, more efficient employees.
  • Employees who collaborate are ten times more likely to be satisfied with their job
  • Over a third of respondents said collaboration helps them work faster
  • And three quarters of respondents said that collaboration improves the quality of work they produce

What’s the current value to Australia of all this collaboration? Collaborative businesses contribute $46 billion to the country’s economy. That’s more than the agricultural sector is worth. And that’s just today. If all companies made the most of opportunities for employees to collaborate, we could add a further $9.3 billion to Australia’s economy.

But today, half of Australian businesses are leaving it to chance, with no dedicated collaboration strategy. There are plenty of things Aussie businesses can do to work more collaboratively — starting with the technology they use.

This first phase of research into The Collaborative Economy is available here. And to find out how Google can help your company collaborate more, visit our website.

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Editor's note: Schools bought more than 1 million Chromebooks in the second quarter of 2014. Today’s guest blogger, David Andrade, the CIO for the Bridgeport Public Schools district, which serves 23,000 students in Connecticut, shares why they selected Chromebooks. Learn more about going Google and follow our Google for Education Google+ page to see a selection of tips from David. 

When I started my role as CIO a year and a half ago, I found that our technology was not up to scratch to meet the needs of our students. We only had a few desktop PCs located in each elementary and middle school classroom, and only a few in our high school computer labs. We definitely needed more machines so students would get more time to work on class projects and do research.

Our district doesn’t have a lot of money for buying new technology, and grants can be hard to come by. Adding to our challenges, Bridgeport Public Schools are based in a working-class community with high unemployment (95% of students receive free or reduced lunches). Most students don't have access to computers outside of school and, at the time, there was a limited supply in our schools.
Bridgeport uses a variety of Chromebook models including devices from Samsung, Acer and HP. 
When the technology committee for Bridgeport Public Schools raised the idea of bringing affordable computers into our classrooms, I suggested we consider Chromebooks, coupled with Google Apps for Education. I was a fan of the Chromebook right from the start because of their affordable price and ease of use. In 2010, Google sent me one of the first Chromebooks to review on my blog, Educational Technology Guy, where I write about technology resources for teachers and students.

The affordability and easy maintenance of Chromebooks clinched the deal – we could buy three Chromebooks for the price of a single desktop computer and the district’s small IT team wouldn’t have to struggle to keep up with the repairs and updates on aging PCs. We would also save on support time and costs since Chromebooks update automatically. Initially, we bought 4,000 Chromebooks for our high schools, where every classroom now has a Chromebook for each student. At the same time, we decided to start using Google Apps for Education so every student would have an email address, something we’d never been able to do before. We also used Google Drive to move student documents off of our internal file storage system – another way to save the IT team time and money. So they can now work together and communicate with teachers even while not in the classroom.

When we received some hard-won grant money, we bought more Chromebooks, and we’re now at 9,000 district-wide. Our goal is to bring Chromebooks to every classroom in grades 4 through 12. The Chromebooks have already changed how teachers teach and students learn: there’s less “listen-to-me” lecturing, and more active student involvement in creating their own projects.

Now that we've been using Chromebooks for a while, we've been able to provide our students access to technology and take the strain off of our IT department, but what makes this truly successful is the what our students say. One of our 12th graders told me she loves that she can "take school work anywhere" or as one of our 10th graders told me, "they make it easier to hand in work and decrease your chance of failing."

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Editor's note: Whether it’s taking a meeting over Hangout from the airport before escaping to a much-deserved vacation or sending work e-mails from an air-conditioned neighborhood cafe, technology should help you get your work done faster so you can enjoy the summer months. To celebrate the season of sun, we’re sharing stories from customers who know all about the importance of technology when fostering a culture of mobility and flexibility. Today, we hear from Camille Ricketts, Editor in Chief at First Round Capital, a leading early-stage venture capital firm founded in Philadelphia with satellite offices in San Francisco and New York.

What do mega-startups Square, Uber, Warby Parker, and the unassuming town of West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, have in common? One of the most influential seed-stage VC firms in the world, First Round Capital, which first started at a small office in the small suburb outside Philadelphia, has invested in them. In 2004, entrepreneur and investor Josh Kopelman set out to reinvent seed-stage funding and opened our first office in West Conshohocken. Since then, we’ve moved our headquarters to Philadelphia, grown to over 30 employees and three offices, and funded close to 400 startups. As we’ve expanded, though, we’ve consistently kept a premium on staying nimble and having a platform that both helps us work efficiently and stay connected.

Mobility, security, and accessibility are essential features when we set out to improve any process, so switching to Google Apps earlier this year seemed natural -- after nearly a decade of working with other solutions. Most of our staff members are used to using Google Apps like Gmail, Drive and Docs in their personal lives, so moving to Apps made perfect sense for the company as a whole.

Constant travel, meetings with entrepreneurs, and supporting the companies we fund demand reliability and security every step of the way. We move quickly because we’re on-call much of the time. It’s crucial to know that our e-mail is supported by Google’s infrastructure and doesn’t suffer from server downtime. Security matters are central to our efforts, as we’re handling significant investments and often working with companies that are operating in stealth mode. Our IT managers are able to easily manage access to sensitive documents — and two-step authentication adds an extra layer of much-needed security. If I leave my laptop on an airplane, it’s nice to have complete confidence that no one can access sensitive emails or documents.

With Google Hangouts, we’re able to video chat with our employees and entrepreneurs across offices, and to conduct interviews for the First Round Review -- our hub for entrepreneurial advice. Before Google Hangouts, we used used a variety of solutions with poor sound and video quality. When I only have 30 minutes to interview someone, I can’t afford to spend even five minutes worrying about whether or not the video will work.

First Round is on the move all the time serving the entrepreneurs we support, and we can’t have technology get in the way of the fast-paced nature of our work. We need technology that makes our jobs easier so we can continue helping startups build companies and products that will change the world. Sometimes we even forget we’re using Google Apps because it lets us focus on what we love to — inventing new ways to connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed.

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Since launching Google Earth in 2005, imagery has become a powerful tool to virtually visit almost anywhere in the world right from a computer, tablet or phone. Organizations also need this type of imagery for their business—whether they’re mapping public service projects, reviewing the environmental impacts in a region or evaluating a property.

Today, we’re launching Google Maps for Business imagery, offering businesses the chance to purchase and use Google Earth imagery for the first time. This gives them access to high-resolution aerial imagery covering the continental U.S. And it will help customers like government agencies get the imagery they need without collecting their own aerial photography.
Using Google Maps Engine, organizations can quickly obtain Google Earth imagery as soon as it’s available and share it with colleagues or customers. By relying on Google’s cloud, they can bypass traditional delivery systems, such as an FTP or disc, while also avoiding the costs of maintaining their own data centers.

Organizations using Google Maps for Business imagery can access the imagery in several ways:

  • View it on a desktop GIS system via WMS
  • Include it with your Google Maps v3 JavaScript API web application
  • Overlay it directly within Google Earth
  • View it on native mobile applications and mobile websites.

Businesses want accurate, comprehensive and useful maps, and with Google Maps for Business imagery, organizations now have better access to commercial, high-quality satellite photography. Read on or contact our sales team to learn more about Google’s commercial imagery offering.

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Whether you’re driving with the top down, escaping the scorching heat by stepping into an air-conditioned building, or grilling burgers and brats with family and friends as the sun goes down — it’s clear that summer is here. And the truth is, we all have things we’d rather be doing than sitting inside an office while the summer passes us by. That got us thinking about how technology can help us spend our time more efficiently. How can we make the most of our days during these fleeting summer months?

We’re asking you — companies, colleagues and friends — to consider how technology can help you get your work done faster so you can enjoy summer even more. With tools like Google Docs and Google+ Hangouts, people can get their work done from wherever they are, from any device, so they’re not forced to watch the sun-soaked days fly by from their desks. As we continue into those long summer days, we want to celebrate the independence that technology affords. So we’ll be working with a handful of our Google Apps customers, like Uber, Thrillist and Federal Donuts, to highlight how technology can make life easier and let us do our work when on the go.

And this is just the start. We’ll continue to find more ways to help bring mobility, freedom, and fulfillment to your workplace and workday. We want you to work the way you live, which means bringing your technology from life to work — whether it’s e-mail, spreadsheets or meetings —and finding that sweet spot between work and play.

In case you’re wondering how I plan to enjoy the summer, well, let’s just say that I’ll be taking my Friday afternoon meetings via Hangouts before heading to the beach. Here’s to celebrating the spirit of summer — at work, at home and on the go.

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(Cross-posted on the Google Cloud Platform Blog)

We’ve had a great time giving you our predictions for the World Cup (check out our post before the quarter-finals and semi-finals). So far, we’ve gotten 13 of 14 games correct. But this isn't about us picking winners in World Cup soccer - it’s about what you can do with Google Cloud Platform. Now, we are open-sourcing our prediction model and packaging it up so you can do your own analysis and predictions.

We used Google Cloud Dataflow to ingest raw, touch-by-touch gameplay day from Opta for thousands of soccer matches. This data goes back to the 2006 World Cup, three years of English Barclays Premier League, two seasons of Spanish La Liga, and two seasons of U.S. MLS. We then polished the raw data into predictive statistics using Google BigQuery.

You can see BigQuery engineer Jordan Tigani (+JordanTigani) and developer advocate Felipe Hoffa (@felipehoffa) talk about how we did it in this video from Google I/O.

Our prediction for the final
It’s a narrow call, but Germany has the edge: our model gives them a 55% chance of defeating Argentina due to a number of factors. Thus far in the tournament, they’ve had better passing in the attacking half of their field, a higher number of shots (64 vs. 61) and a higher number of goals scored (17 vs. 8).

But, 55% is only a small edge. And, although we've been trumpeting our 13 of 14 record, picking winners isn't exactly the same as predicting outcomes. If you'd asked us which scenario was more likely, a 7 to 1 win for Germany against Brazil or a 0 to 1 defeat of Germany by Brazil, we wouldn't have gotten that one quite right.

(Oh, and we think Brazil has a tiny advantage in the third place game. They may have had a disappointing defeat on Tuesday, but the numbers still look good.)

But don’t take our word for it...
Now it’s your turn to take a stab at predicting. We have provided an IPython notebook that shows exactly how we built our model and used it to predict matches. We had to aggregate the data that we used, so you can't compute additional statistics from the raw data. However, for the real data geeks, you could try to see how well neural networks can predict the same data or try advanced techniques like principal components analysis. Alternatively, you can try adding your own features like player salaries or team travel distance. We've only scratched the surface, and there are lots of other approaches you can take.

You might also try simulating how the USA would have done if they had beat Belgium. Or how Germany in 2014 would fare against the unstoppable Spanish team of 2010. Or you could figure out whether the USA team is getting better by simulating the 2006 team against the 2010 and 2014 teams.

Here’s how you can do it
We’ve put everything on GitHub. You’ll find the IPython notebook containing all of the code (using pandas and statsmodels) to build the same machine learning models that we've used to predict the games so far. We've packaged it all up in a Docker container so that you can run your own Google Compute Engine instance to crunch the data. For the most up-to-date step-by-step instructions, check out the readme on GitHub.

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Posted by Sara Aschheim, Media Manager, Crunch Fitness

Editor's note: Today’s post comes from Sara Aschheim, Media Manager at Crunch Fitness. See how other forward-thinking organizations are investing in mapping technology and transforming their business by viewing our Maps are Going Google series.

At Crunch, we’re all about making fitness fun. From our humble beginnings in a New York City basement, to full-service gyms with signature classes like B-Method and Cycle Karaoke, we realize that staying fit doesn’t just mean having access to a treadmill. This year, we’ve already opened over 13 gyms and plan to add several more this year.

The gym industry often relies on outdoor advertising and direct mail to spread the word about its offerings, like new locations, classes, and pricing. At Crunch, we firmly believe in making sure our advertisements are relevant and targeted. With Google Maps Engine Pro, our marketing and sales departments can make smarter, data-driven decisions by visualizing business-critical data.

As someone responsible for making sure we get the most from our media investments, I can use Maps Pro to map potential outdoor advertising placements in the more than 70 cities where we’re currently located. I do this by importing an Excel spreadsheet filled with information like price, geographic coordinates, and vendor name to a Google Map. Using Maps Pro, I can customize icons so anyone can quickly glance at the map and understand exactly where the advertising opportunities lie.
We also use Maps Pro to overlay customer location data around our franchise locations. Although some customers are willing to travel across town for a particular class, it’s important to us that we make the Crunch experience as convenient as possible. We also use these maps to figure out where potential customers are located and where we should launch direct mail campaigns.

The best thing about Maps Pro is that it’s simple to use for anyone who has used Google Maps. It’s easy to share and customize our data in Google Maps, such as changing the icon of one of our club’s to include hours. This has increased our level of cross-departmental collaboration and cut down on the time typically required to implement marketing campaigns. With our previous mapping partner, we had to send maps as email attachments, creating different versions for each change, and as a result people were discouraged from collaborating.

Convenience and location play a huge role in making Crunch, one of the most popular, recognizable fitness chains today. Maps Engine Pro helps us know who our members and potential customers are, and where they are, so we can be smarter about how we communicate with them.

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(Cross-posted on the Google Cloud Platform Blog)

Kubernetes is an open source manager for Docker containers, based on Google’s years of experience using containers at Internet scale. Today, Microsoft, RedHat, IBM, Docker, Mesospehere, CoreOS and SaltStack are joining the Kubernetes community and will actively contribute to the project. Each company brings unique strengths, and together we will ensure that Kubernetes is a strong and open container management framework for any application and in any environment - whether in a private, public or hybrid cloud.

Our shared goal is to allow a broad range of developers to take advantage of container technologies. Kubernetes was built from the ground up as a lean, extensible and portable framework for managing Docker workloads. It lets customers manage their applications the way that Google manages hyper-scale applications like Search and Gmail.

Containers offer tremendous advantages for developers. Predictable deployments and simple scalability are possible because Docker packages all of a workload’s dependencies with the application. This allows for ultimate portability; you can avoid vendor lock-in and run containers in the cloud of your choice. It is just as important that the management framework has the same properties of portability and scalability, and that is what the community will bring to Kubernetes.

We look forward to the contributions of the expanded Kubernetes community:

  • Microsoft is working to ensure that Kubernetes works great in Linux environments in Azure VMs. Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise group at Microsoft told us, “Microsoft will help contribute code to Kubernetes to enable customers to easily manage containers that can run anywhere. This will make it easier to build multi-cloud solutions including targeting Microsoft Azure.”
  • Red Hat is working to bring Kubernetes to the open hybrid cloud. Paul Cormier, President, Products and Technologies at Red Hat, told us, “Red Hat has a rich history of contributing to and maturing innovative, open source projects. Through this collaboration with Google on Kubernetes, we are contributing to the evolution of cloud computing and helping deliver the promises that container technologies offer to the open hybrid cloud.”
  • IBM is contributing code to Kubernetes and the broader Docker ecosystem to ensure that containers are enterprise-grade, and is working with the community to create an open governance model around the project.
  • Docker is delivering the full container stack that Kubernetes schedules into, and is looking to move critical capabilities upstream and align the Kubernetes framework with Libswarm.
  • CoreOS is working to ensure that Kubernetes can work seamlessly with the suite of CoreOS technologies that support cloud-native application development on any cloud.
  • Mesosphere is actively integrating Kubernetes with Mesos, making the advanced scheduling and management capabilities available to Kubernetes customers.
  • SaltStack is working to make Kubernetes a portable container automation framework that is designed for the reality of the platform-agnostic, multi-cloud world.

You can view the source and documentation for Kubernetes on GitHub. We look forward to the contributions of these companies alongside the already vibrant open source community.