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How to teach Gen Z to be collaborative, innovative and responsive

Category: Google | Feb 2, 2017

Editor’s note: As part of our ongoing celebration of students and teachers, we’re highlighting leaders across the world to share how they’re creating more collaborative, engaging classrooms. Today’s guest author is Mark McCrindle, one of the keynote speakers from Education on Air, Google’s free online conference which took place in December 2016. Mark, a social researcher, author and commentator based in Sydney, Australia, shares how teachers are adapting to today’s digital era to teach the next generation how to collaborate, think creatively and respond to their environments.

When I was eight years old, my third-grade teacher, Ms. Calov, taught me to be an inquisitive learner. Through her contagious enthusiasm, she turned me from an ordinary kid who did only what was required, to a perceptive student who asked for more projects and always connected what I learned to the world around me.

The kinds of soft skills I learned from Ms. Calov are increasingly important for Gen Z, the generation cohort after millennials. To be prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow, these students need to be collaborative, innovative and responsive to their environment. Here’s a look at how today’s teachers are fostering curiosity, creativity and other skills in their students, with help from technology.

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Encouraging collaboration

School is no longer just a place to learn math, science and writing. It’s a place to learn interpersonal skills that will never become outdated—like how to collaborate, resolve conflict, clearly communicate ideas and teach others. Technology can encourage this kind of interaction. For example, since Gen Z is the first digital-native generation, teachers are asking students for help using technology and to show their peers how to use new tools. Students are working on group projects when they’re in separate physical locations, developing their ability to communicate through written feedback and explain the thinking behind their suggestions.

Encourage lifelong learning and innovative thinking

Teachers today are encouraging students to have a love of learning and adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, so they can adapt to new careers and industries. The average employee tenure in the U.S. is 4.2 years, a decline from 4.6 years two years prior. In Australia, we’re experiencing a similar effect where employees are staying in jobs for a shorter duration—the Australian average is three years. This means Gen Z will have 17 different jobs in their life, and they’ll need to continue to learn new skills and how to use new tools as they progress in their careers. By designing learning tasks that have a real-world application, teachers are engaging their students as problem finders and problem solvers—roles that are crucial in any job.

Foster an adaptive mindset that’s ready for change

As the economy shifts and new jobs like VR engineers and cognitive computer analysts emerge, the next generation will need to be able to learn quickly and connect the dots between related topics. To teach these skills, many teachers are “flipping” learning —asking students to reflect on global issues and synthesize information from videos, podcasts and written material, instead of simply assigning a chapter in a textbook.

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Six decades later, I still remember Ms. Calov. Her inspiration reminds me of a Mother Teresa quote: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Ms. Calov created many ripples by fostering a love of learning and empowering a community of learners. But with technology, every teacher can teach students lifelong skills to carry them through their careers.

Learn more by watching Mark’s recorded talk from Education on Air.


Q&A: Fontana Gruppo – Special Fasteners tightens up global operations with G Suite

Category: Google | Feb 2, 2017

Editor’s note: We spoke to Alberto Fontana, Owner and Global Operations Director of Fontana Gruppo – Special Fasteners, about the company’s growth strategy and how it’s supported by G Suite collaboration tools. Founded in 1952, Fontana Gruppo – Special Fasteners is one of the world’s leading producers of industrial fasteners. The Fontana family business has more than 4,100 employees, 19 production plants on four continents, and an annual turnover of $1billion.

Why did you choose Google Cloud’s G Suite to help you grow?

In 2014, our annual turnover doubled when we bought one of our main competitors. This helped us expand pretty rapidly. Today, we have factories in Italy, Mexico, Brazil, India and the United States, and we produce more than 10 billion industrial fasteners per year. This rapid global expansion brought fresh challenges we needed to overcome: we had two separate email solutions, our on-premise server system felt outdated, and different locations were using different IT systems. We looked for ways to unify the company and G Suite was a perfect fit.

How was the migration process to G Suite?

With outstanding assistance from Innext, our Global Change Management Service Partner, we began moving 14 terabytes of files from our servers onto Drive. We wanted our teams to choose G Suite rather than to be forced to make the change, and within just six months, all 4,100 of our staff had Google accounts and Gmail. Data migration was only a part of the whole “Project Innovation” we undertook with Innext, whose team of Google Cloud credentialed trainers educated our people on G Suite features and best practices.

How did G Suite impact your office-based teams?

Staff at our 19 sites can now work together simultaneously on single, continually-saved documents using Docs or Sheets. No more worrying about having the wrong version or losing information when people fail to save. On top of that, management now has oversight on up-to-the-minute progress, and can leave feedback in clear and simple comments.

How have your factory teams benefited from G Suite?

Our factory staff surprised us by using G Suite in interesting ways. One example is they use  Sheets as an alternative ). The staff installed large screens in the factory on which operators can upload information on a live Sheet, such as daily goals and progress in real-time.

How has this helped your teams work together across borders?

With G Suite, our managers now use mobile devices more than desktop or laptop computers, even when they’re offline, so that they can stay in touch when they’re visiting sites and clients. At the same time, Hangouts has reduced unnecessary travel, and meetings are easier to arrange on Calendar and at our facilities with Chromebox for Meetings.

How do you make sure everything’s running smoothly?

Unlike with our on-premise servers, we never experience outages or have to spend time on maintenance. For staff feedback, Forms is ideal for collecting vital data from our sales team and global HR.

Can you tell us about your experience with Google’s security and compliance?

Following a discussion with James Snow, Head of Google Data Security, we’re convinced that Google’s security meets our needs, and is certainly better than our previous servers. One major benefit is that we can partition our information and share it with third parties, such as auditors.

What’s next for Fontana Gruppo – Special Fasteners?

Beyond universal adoption of G Suite in our Italian HQ and in our foreign branches, we keep improving our new “collaboration and communication experience” by evaluating new initiatives provided by Innext, like our CSS project and customized Transformation Labs. It’s our intention to be more than the biggest industrial fastener company — we want to be the most innovative, too. And because G Suite is regularly updated, we know Google will keep us ahead of the curve.


Keep track — from vending machines to pets with Google Maps APIs plus IoT

Category: Google | Feb 2, 2017

Editor’s note: Over the next weeks, we’ll share stories from Google Maps customers who are building new businesses or reinventing existing ones using geolocation services and Google Maps APIs. Read on to learn how Pod Trackers, Enevo and Vagabond are using Google Maps APIs to develop Internet of Things networks.  

The Internet of Things is coming to places that you might not expect. In the service industry, companies are using geolocation services and IoT to be more efficient, save money and create entirely new businesses. Today you’ll hear about three Google Maps customers using location-based technologies to do everything from stock vending machines, collect trash — even help people keep track of their pets.

Smarter trash

The Finnish Enevo helps communities stay on top of their waste disposal by placing wireless sensors in trash and recycle bins that measure how full they are and deliver that information via a cloud-based server. With that information, waste management firms can predict exactly when bins will need emptying and arrange pick ups just when they’re needed. Integration with Google Maps APIs allows bins to be displayed on a map at their exact location and to track waste trucks in real time. Drivers use Android tablets to see where they need to be at what time of day and what routes to take.


In addition to helping keep the streets clean of trash, Enevo has figured out ways to streamline operations and save money for its customers. The company has reduced the number of trucks needed on the road and the amount of time drivers spend collecting trash because they aren’t making unnecessary stops or taking inefficient routes. Enevo’s geolocation app has resulted in as much as a 50 percent reduction in costs for its customers, according to Enevo CTO Pirkka Palomäki.

Stocked vending machines

What Enevo is doing for trash and recycling, Washington, D.C.-based Vagabond is doing for vending machines in North and Central America. Vagabond’s IoT network allows vending machine operators to remotely see when stock is low, as well as how quickly items are selling, to arrange for refill service as the machine needs it. The sensors provide real-time data that also can identify malfunctions so broken machines can be fixed as soon as possible. Vagabond used the Google Maps Javascript API to build the web-based application that shows the vending machines as pins on a map. Clicking a pin displays data about the machine, including stock and cash levels.


By mapping sensor data, Vagabond helps operators build more efficient schedules and routes to service the machines. They also maximize profit. Because operators know which products sell best in which machines, they can tailor their inventories to meet customer demand, which increases revenue per machine by an average of 15 percent, says Michael Lovett, Vagabond co-founder and CEO. Creating efficient routes reduces the amount of overtime paid to drivers, as well as gas and truck maintenance costs. Vagabond customers are seeing as much as a 15 percent reduction in spending as well, meaning operators can increase profit margins from 2.5 percent to 20 percent, according to Lovett.

Safe pets

Over the course of its lifetime, one in three pets will go missing. It’s no surprise then that pet owners see the value of IoT-based pet trackers and geolocation services. Pod Trackers offers a mobile app, available in 175 countries, that uses Google Maps APIs to show a pet’s location in real-time. It also allows people to designate “safe zones” and receive an alert when the pet travels outside a specified area. The app tracks location via GPS and Wi-Fi, which offers more precise and indoor pinpointing in case kitty is merely hiding in the closet. The small battery-operated sensor is attached to the pet’s collar and transmits data to the app over the 2G cellular network.


Owners can use Pod Trackers in “adventure tracking” mode, which records a pet’s location every 10 seconds for up to eight hours. There’s also an activity monitor feature for tracking a pet’s fitness.  

Pod Trackers are popular, resulting in a 300 percent year-over-year revenue growth for the company and the reuniting of an untold number of pets with their families.

These businesses are using the power of geolocation to bring visibility to areas where there previously was none. The combination of maps and sensors are bringing new efficiencies, opening up new capabilities and making lives easier. Learn more about geolocation services and IoT solutions using Google Maps APIs.


Recipe search in the Google app is your new MVP

Category: Google | Feb 2, 2017

If you’re huddling your team together for the big game this Sunday, chances are you’re looking for a lineup of recipes that’s sure to win. Enter Google’s latest version of recipe search. Now when you’re searching on the Google app for a particular recipe, you’ll see a carousel of tappable suggestions to make sure you catch the best recipe to suit your taste buds and kitchen skills.

If you’re planning to make seven-layered dip, a quick search will bring up options ranging from “healthy” to “vegan” to “bean dip” or “taco dip” (to name a few). Or type “chicken wings” into the Google app to bring up all kinds of crowd pleasers. Once you select your flavor or category, you’ll see top recipes from a wide variety of sources with easy-to-read step-by-step instructions. So whether you’re calling a play for sticky honey-soy or buffalo, your wings are sure to score some points.


The Google app can do more than deliver the dish you’re craving: It can also help you analyze the game film and uncover must-try recipes that you didn’t know existed. Ever thought of trying slow cooker bbq? How about lobster roll tacos? Now a single tap can kick off a journey to please your palate.

Whether you’re rising up with Atlanta, or are down with New England, the Google app is your new champion teammate in the kitchen.


How District 99 supports students and teachers through 1:1 learning

Category: Google | Feb 1, 2017

Editor’s note: Schools are working with Google for Education Premier Partners to throw open their doors for the ExploreEDU event series, which invites neighboring educators to learn first-hand from their own experiences using Google tools. To see if there’s an event near you, visit the ExploreEDU site. Today’s guest authors are Jon Orech and Lisa Lichtman, Instructional Technology Coordinators from Community High School District 99 in Downers Grove, IL. They hosted an ExploreEDU event on Jan. 26–27 with CDW.

At District 99, we want to help students be better learners. In 2014, we decided to launch a 1:1 pilot with Chromebooks, involving more than 40 teachers and 1,500 students. Students that participated in the pilot reported that these tools increased collaboration and encouraged self-directed learning, and we launched the program district-wide last fall. We’ve learned a lot of lessons about how to introduce and get the most out of technology—here are a few tips.

1. Take the time to help everyone understand why the new technology was chosen

To get support for new technology and ensure its success, it’s important for everyone to understand the reasons behind the change. Before we introduced Chromebooks and G Suite for Education, we spent a lot of time talking to students, parents and faculty members, and organized professional development training for teachers customized based on their technology comfort levels. We made sure everyone understood how Google solutions aligned with our district’s values, one of which is collaboration. We demonstrated how G Suite could help students be more collaborative by allowing them to work with their classmates on the same document at the same time no matter where they were, while also benefiting from immediate feedback through live comments.

2. Provide teachers with a safe and trusted place for sharing

We wanted to make sure our teachers had the resources they needed to be successful in a 1:1 learning environment, so we created a private Google+ community for our 400 teachers to share knowledge across campuses, subject areas and grade levels; giving them access to a richer peer network. For example, in response to a thread about differentiating instruction based on unique student needs, a special ed teacher shared how she was able to push out different assignments to a subset of students using a recently launched feature in Google Classroom. Her post piqued the interest of other educators in a way other announcements couldn’t, since it was coming from a fellow colleague who had a positive first-hand experience with the feature.

3. Empower students to be creators and interact with their communities

A 1:1 Chromebook model gives every student the tools to be creative anytime, anywhere. In one health class, students made documentaries about diseases that affect their families with WeVideo on their Chromebooks. In the past, activities like this required reserving time for research on a desktop in the library, but now, students have access to these creative tools whenever they want.


Students using their Chromebooks in class.

Chromebooks also make it easy for students to share their projects with the community. Our digital photography teacher asked her students to share their photos in an online Google community, where both their peers and invited professional photographers provided helpful critique on their photos. Through projects like this, students at District 99 are learning in new ways.

Our experience has taught us how technology and a 1:1 environment can support students and teachers to be better learners and educators. We hope sharing these tips helps others looking for ways to improve learning and teaching in their districts.


Celebrating Black History Month

Category: Google | Feb 1, 2017

Every February Googlers come together to celebrate and reflect on the many contributions the Black community has made to our company, the United States, and the world. We’re starting off Black History Month with a Doodle honoring the life and work of Edmonia Lewis, the first woman of both African- and Native-American descent to achieve international praise for her work as a sculptor.


Lewis, whose Native American name was Wildfire, was born in upstate New York in 1844. As a woman of color, she faced significant adversity and discrimination in her quest to become a sculptor, but she persevered, eventually moving to Europe where she found her first success in a solo exhibition that paid tribute to American abolitionists.


Lewis’ lifelong dedication to her craft has been a source of inspiration for many, and we’re honored to display her work, which is archived at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC, in a new exhibit from Google Arts & Culture. Throughout BHM, we’ll be adding additional exhibits featuring Black modern photography and dance—part of our continued work to make Google Arts & Culture more inclusive of America’s diverse history and culture, and to make it accessible for everyone.

Stay tuned this February for more on what we’re doing to celebrate and support Black Googlers and the Black community.


Zaha Hadid at the Serpentine Galleries: the legendary architect’s early paintings in virtual reality

Category: Google | Feb 1, 2017

‘I know from my experience that without research and experimentation not much can be discovered. With experimentation, you think you’re going to find out one thing, but you actually discover something else. That’s what I think is really exciting. You discover much more than you bargain for. I think there should be no end to experimentation.’  -Zaha Hadid.

Zaha Hadid (1950 – 2016) was a pioneering and visionary architect and artist who left behind an extraordinary body of work. Many of Hadid’s architectural proposals took the form of paintings which prophesied the potential of the digital age and the application of software in architecture. Technology grew to be central to the the work of Zaha Hadid and in honour to Hadid’s legacy of profound experimentation and innovation, the London exhibition of Zaha Hadid: Early Paintings and Drawings at the Serpentine Galleries was born.

In the words of the great Zaha Hadid, “there should be no end to experimentation”. Continuing with her legacy of experimentation and innovation, the Serpentine Galleries and Google Arts & Culture have collaborated on a new virtual reality project – Zaha Hadid: Virtual Reality Experiences 2016. Viewers from around the world can now experience four of her early paintings translated into virtual reality, offering groundbreaking 360 degree video experiences at

As a prolific painter and visionary architect, Hadid changed the way we think about the relationship between mediums. This experience, previously only available at the galleries, is now available to a global audience online, with the four paintings now accessible as 360 degree video experiences. You can see the videos online on Google Arts & Culture and for an immersive experience, you can see them through a virtual reality headset.

We also worked with Google’s ultra-high resolution Art Camera to document the paintings to enable a close up and intimate relationship with the viewer:

It is important to note that none of these architectural painting proposals were ever realised as completed buildings. They remain heroic unrealised projects, which makes the VR experience all the more poignant for its ability to show how their spatial qualities unfold. The four 360 degree films translate some of the key aspects and DNA contained inside the paintings, offering a dynamic and immersive experience of the paintings on display in the exhibition.

Hans Ulrich Obrist (b. 1968, Zurich, Switzerland) is Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries, London. Prior to this, he was the Curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Since his first show World Soup (The Kitchen Show) in 1991, he has curated more than 300 shows.

Zaha Hadid (1950–2016) was widely regarded as a pioneering and visionary architect whose contribution to the world of architecture was ground-breaking and innovative. Born in Baghdad, Hadid moved to London in 1972 to attend the Architectural Association (AA) and later, in 1979, founded Zaha Hadid Architects. Each of her projects spans over thirty years of exploration and research in the interrelated fields of urbanism, architecture and design including Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London (2013), London Aquatics Centre (2011) and Guangzhou Opera House (2010).


Announcing new enterprise-grade controls and visibility in G Suite

Category: Google | Jan 31, 2017

Scale. Speed. Lower total cost of ownership. The cloud offers enterprises significant benefits and gives their teams a freedom that’s as big as their ambitions. G Suite supports such businesses around the world with our unified suite of intelligent apps. Today, more than 3 million paying businesses rely on G Suite to make working together easier, including Whirlpool, PWC, and Woolworths.

Having greater control and visibility when protecting sensitive assets, however, should also be a top concern in today’s world. That’s why starting today, we’re giving customers the critical control and visibility they expect (and their CTOs and regulators often require) in G Suite with:

  • More powerful access control for administrators with security key enforcement
  • More data control with Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Google Drive, DLP for Gmail, and S/MIME for Gmail
  • More analytics and insights by connecting BigQuery with Gmail

Manage who can access your company’s devices and systems

  • Security key enforcement:  In 2011, we introduced 2-step verification for added protection when users log into their Google accounts. With 2-step verification, admins can opt for their company to use Security Keys, which are both easier for users and more secure against common (phishing) attacks than other methods. Security Keys plug directly into a laptop or pair with a mobile device using Bluetooth or NFC, instead of receiving a code via text. Today, we’re adding the ability for admins to enforce this measure by restricting login solely to users with a Security Key. Admins will also be able to manage the deployment of Security Keys and view usage reports.

See how stripe enhances account security with G Suite

Stripe, a software platform for running an internet business, processes billions of dollars a year for hundreds of thousands of companies around the world. Everyday, Stripe employees rely on G Suite to communicate and collaborate quickly, effectively and securely. Security Key enforcement provides an added layer of protections for Stripe, with advanced authentication controls to combat phishing attempts and unauthorized email access. 

“Businesses that run on Stripe trust us with some of their most sensitive information, and we take the security of that information extremely seriously. We’ve found Security Keys to be ideal second factors because they balance ease-of-use with increased account security. G Suite Security Key enforcement gives us a way to easily enforce secure logins for all employees, across both their desktop and now mobile devices, ” says Bryan Berg, security team member at Stripe.

Control how data is shared beyond your company

  • Data loss prevention (DLP) for Google Drive: In 2015, we launched DLP for Gmail with easy-to-set-up rules, OCR image scan recognition and advanced customization. Today, we’re extending DLP to Google Drive, making it even easier for admins to secure sensitive data, control what content can be stored and protect users from accidentally sharing confidential information externally. G Suite’s DLP protection goes beyond standard DLP with easy-to-configure rules and OCR recognition of content stored in images so admins can easily enforce policies and control how data is shared.

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  • S/MIME for Gmail: When it comes to Gmail security, there are dozens of security measures running behind the scenes to keep your emails safe, and we support industry-standard authentication to help combat email spoofing. Unfortunately, other email services that you exchange emails with might not take similar measures to protect your data. That’s why we’re offering additional protection by giving you the option to bring your own certificates for S/MIME encryption. Administrators will be able to enforce S/MIME usage and can set DLP rules based on specific organizational unit needs.

Understand employee behavior and activity

  • Gmail logs + BigQuery integration: Gmail logs contain valuable information that can help administrators diagnose issues or unlock insights. Today, we are making it easier to analyze Gmail logs with a preconfigured BigQuery integration so administrators can run sophisticated, high-performing custom queries, analyze their data and build custom dashboards.

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  • Third-party email archiving: Google Vault helps you easily archive Gmail content while also complying with retention for legal holds and audit reporting. That said, some organizations use other third-party SMTP archiving solutions like HP Autonomy or Veritas. Today, we’re making it simple for you to integrate third-party archiving solutions of your choice with Gmail.

Part of the new G Suite Enterprise edition, today’s announcement is designed to provide the peace-of-mind our enterprise customers demand and deserve.

See how your business can innovate faster — and now even more securely — with G Suite by Google Cloud.


Start the Lunar New Year with Google Arts & Culture

Category: Google | Jan 28, 2017

Today marks the start of the Lunar New Year—we’ve entered the Year of the Rooster.


Across Asia and around the world, families are coming together, houses and neighborhoods are being dressed up in red and traditional lanterns are being hung. If you’re still wondering about what the fireworks are all about, Google Arts & Culture is here to help you learn more about this centuries-old tradition.

Celebrate Lunar New Year with Google Arts & Culture

Celebrate Lunar New Year with Google Arts & Culture

Google Arts & Culture teamed up with 12 museums from Beijing to Washington to create a new online exhibition, so everyone can discover the craftsmanship and arts that make this holiday so colorful. Follow the zodiac animals across 1,000 years of art history, learn about the art of the New Year prints with which people decorate their homes, or find out how to give and accept a traditional red envelope.


The exhibition is available for everyone online and through the Google Arts & Culture mobile app on iOS and Android. And if you follow us on Instagram, you can join the celebrations and learn how to create lanterns or fold a pretty paper rooster to celebrate Lunar New Year.

May the Year of the Rooster be a great one for you all!


Know before you go: parking difficulty on Google Maps

Category: Google | Jan 26, 2017

It’s Friday night and you hit the road early enough to make it to a movie, grab some buttery popcorn, and catch the previews. But when you get to the theater, parking is hard to come by and you spend the next 20 minutes circling the lot and side streets until a spot finally opens up. You get to your seat just in time for the opening credits…and no popcorn!  

Factoring in time for parking can make or break a night out, let alone making it to that big meeting on time. So in 25 metro areas throughout the U.S., we’ve introduced a new parking difficulty icon in Google Maps for Android that’ll give you a heads up on what kind of parking crunch to prepare for when you’re on the go.


To see how hard it might be to park where you’re headed, just get directions to your destination and look for the parking difficulty icon in the directions card at the bottom of the screen. Parking difficulties range from limited to medium to easy and are based on historical parking data (similar to how we calculate Popular Times and Visit Duration).

For now, look out for parking difficulty icons in the following metro areas across the U.S.: San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington, DC, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, Portland and Sacramento.