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G Suite Pro Tips: how to record macros in Google Sheets

If you spend your day working in spreadsheets, you understand that with great data comes great responsibility—especially since that data can power your business and help you work smarter. Freeing up your time from repetitive tasks can help you focus on analyzing what’s in front of you. That’s where the new Macro Recorder in Google Sheets comes in.

The Macro Recorder lets you record time-consuming actions in Sheets and automatically play them back, without having to write the code yourself. Let’s say you typically format new data imports to match a standard style or you build the same charts in multiple sheets over and over again each month—you can use a macro for that.

Macro Recorder lets you record time-consuming actions in Sheets

The nuts and bolts of macros in Sheets

Recording and running macros is super simple, and it’s all you really need to know to improve how you work in spreadsheets. Here’s how it works.

When you record a macro, Sheets automatically converts the macro actions into an Apps Script. This means that if you want to update your macro, you can edit the script directly instead of having to re-record the macro from scratch. And if you want to integrate tools you already have, or if you write your own Apps Script functions, you can import them as new macros. This puts your favorite Sheets tricks only two clicks away. (You can also create a custom keyboard shortcut for your macro, too.)

Even better, macros are designed to follow the same principles that make Google Sheets great, so the collaborative nature of a Sheet holds true. Whether recording or running a macro, you’re free to continue making edits so that your work goes uninterrupted.  

What makes Google Sheets great

Because Google Sheets are cloud-based, there are more benefits to working in them than in other spreadsheet apps you might rely on—stuff like truly collaborative functionality, faster data analysis and ways to streamline processes (with tricks like macros!). Here are a few benefits that you might find helpful:

  • Your data says up to date. Sheets automatically saves data as it’s typed and multiple teammates can edit at the same time (whether you’re online or offline). This way, you don’t have to worry about whether you’re working with the most up-to-date information. Working in Sheets is a remarkably better alternative to saving changes in attachments and emailing them back and forth to teammates.

  • No version control issues here! Because your data is in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about version control or backups. You can restore information when you need it in “Version History.” Plus, you can name a specific version or make a copy of old versions for your records.

  • It’s more secure. Built-in security features make it easy to control who sees your information. And protecting your information is simple. You can allow users to “Edit,” “Comment” or “View only” on your documents. You can also mark specific cells, rows, columns or entire sheets as “Protected,” so that no one will be able to change the data, regardless of edit access.

  • You can use Google’s AI to speed up analysis. Tools like intelligent pivot tables can help you get insights from your data fast. You can also ask a question about your data and Sheets will return an answer using natural language processing.

  • You can personalize your view. If you have a certain way you like to view your data, you can use a Filter View to personalize your view in Sheets without disrupting your coworkers’ view. The cells aren’t actually moving or rearranging, but they may as well be from your perspective. Collaboration and consistency are important, but so is being able to do your job.

We could go on and on about why working in cloud-native applications is better for your business, but we’ll spare you. See for yourself.

What a week! 105 announcements from Google Cloud Next ’18

Google Cloud Next ‘18 was incredible! From fantastickeynotes and fireside chats to GO-JEK CTO Ajey Gore appearing on-stage on a scooter to listening to Target CIO Mike McNamara we had an inspiring, educational and entertaining week at our flagship conference. We were joined by over 23,000 leaders, developers and partners from our Google Cloud community, listened to more than 290 customer speakers share their stories of business transformation in the cloud and took part in hundreds of breakout sessions. The theme of the conference was Made Here Together, and we’re so grateful to everyone who attended and contributed to help build the cloud for everyone.  


But the week of Next wouldn’t be complete without a comprehensive list of what happened. So without further ado, here are 105 product and solution launches, customer stories and announcements from Next ‘18.

Customers

1. eBay—The world’s largest global marketplace is leveraging Google Cloud in many different ways, including experimenting with conversational commerce with Google Assistant, building ML models with Cloud TPUs for image classification, and applying AI to help buyers quickly find what they’re looking for.

2. GO-JEK—This ride-hailing and logistics startup in Jakarta uses Google Cloud to support its hundreds of thousands of concurrent transactions, Maps for predicting traffic and BigQuery to get data insights.

3. Lahey Health—Lahey’s journey to the cloud included migrating from four legacy email systems to G Suite in 91 days.

4. LATAM Airlines—South America’s largest airline uses G Suite to connect teams, and GCP for data analytics and creating 3D digital elevation models.

5. LG CNS—LG is looking to Google Cloud AI, Cloud IoT Edge and Edge TPU to build its Intelligent Vision inspection tool for better quality and efficiency in some of its factories.

6. HSBC—One of the world’s leading banking institutions shares how they’re using data analytics on Google Cloud to extract meaningful insights from its 100PB of data and billions of transactions.

7. The New York Times—The newest way the New York Times is using Google Cloud is to scan, encode, and preserve its entire historical photo archive  and evolve the way the newsroom tells stories by putting new tools for visual storytelling in the hands of journalists.

8. Nielsen—To support its nearly 45,000 employees in 100 countries with real-time collaboration and cost-effective video conferencing, Nielsen turned to G Suite.

9. Ocado—This online-only supermarket uses Google Cloud’s AI capabilities to power its machine learning model for responding to customer requests and detecting fraud much faster.

10. PayPal—PayPal discusses the hows and whys of their journey to the public cloud.

11. Scotiabank—This Canadian banking institution shares its views on modernizing and using the cloud to solve inherent problems inside an organization.

12. Sky—The UK media company uses Google Cloud to identify and disconnect pirate streaming sites during live sporting events.

13. Target—Moving to Google Cloud has helped Target address challenges like scaling up for Cyber Monday without disruptions, and building new, cutting-edge experiences for their guests.

14. 20th Century Fox—The renowned movie studio shares how it’s using BigQuery ML to understand audience preferences.

15. Twitter—Twitter moved large-scale Hadoop clusters to GCP for ad hoc analysis and cold storage, with a total of about 300 PB of data migrated.

16. Veolia—This environmental solution provider moved its 250 systems to G Suite and Chromebooks for their anytime, anywhere, any-device cloud project.

17. Weight Watchers—How Weight Watchers evolved its business, including creating mobile app and an online community to support its customers’ lifestyles.

Partners

18. 2017 Partner Awards—Congratulations to the winners! These awards recognize partners who dedicated themselves to creating industry-leading solutions and strong customer experiences with Google Cloud.

19. SAP and Deloitte collaboration—Customers can run SAP apps on GCP with Deloitte’s comprehensive tools.

20. Updates to our Cisco partnership—Includes integrations between our new Call Center AI solution and Cisco Customer Journey solutions, integrations with Webex and G Suite, and a new developer challenge for hybrid solutions.

21. Digital Asset and BlockApps—These launch partners are helping users try Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) frameworks on GCP, with open-source integrations coming later this year.

22. Intel and Appsbroker—We’ve created a cloud center of excellence to make high-performance cloud migration a lot easier.

23. NetApp—New capabilities help customers access shared file systems that apps need to move to cloud, plus Cloud Volumes are now available to more GCP customers.

24. VMware vRealize Orchestrator—A new plug-in makes it easy to use GCP alongside on-prem VMware deployments for efficient resource provisioning.

25. New partner specializations—We’ve recently welcomed 19 partners in five new specialization areas (bringing the total areas to nine) so customers can get even more industry-specific help moving to cloud.

26. SaaS-specific initiative—A new set of programs to help our partners bring SaaS applications to their customers.

27. Accenture Google Cloud Business Group, or AGBG—This newly formed group brings together experts who’ll work with enterprise clients to build tailored cloud solutions.

28. Partnership with NIH—We’re joining with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to make more research datasets available, integrate researcher authentication and authorization mechanisms with Google Cloud credentials, and support industry standards for data access, discovery, and cloud computation.

29. Partnership with Iron Mountain—This new partnership helps enterprises extract hard-to-find information from inside their stored documents.

Chrome, Devices and Mobility

30. Cloud-based browser management—From a single view, admins can manage Chrome Browser running on Windows, Mac, Chrome OS and Linux.


31. Password Alert Policy—Admins can set rules in Chrome Browser to prevent corporate password use on sites outside of the company’s control.

32. Managed Google Play (out of beta)—Admins can curate applications by user groups as well as customize a broad range of policies and functions like application blacklisting and remote uninstall.

Google Cloud Platform | AI and machine learning

33. Cloud AutoML Vision, AutoML Natural Language, and AutoML Translation (all three in beta)—Powerful ML models that can be extended to suit specific needs, without requiring any specialized knowledge in machine learning or coding.

34. Cloud Vision API (GA)—Cloud Vision API now recognizes handwriting, supports additional file types (PDF and TIFF), and can identify where an object is located within an image.

35. Cloud Text-to-Speech (beta)—Improvements to Cloud Text-to-Speech offer multilingual access to voices generated by DeepMind WaveNet technology and the ability to optimize for the type of speaker you plan to use.

36. Cloud Speech-to-Text—Updates to this API help you identify what language is being spoken, plus provide word-level confidence scores and multi-channel (multi-participant) recognition.

37. Training and online prediction through scikit-learn and XGBoost in Cloud ML Engine (GA) —While Cloud ML Engine has long supported TensorFlow, we’re releasing XGBoost and scikit-learn as alternative libraries for training and classification.

38. Kubeflow v0.2—Building on the previous version, Kubeflow v0.2 makes it easier for you to use machine learning software stacks on Kubernetes. Kubeflow v0.2 has an improved user interface and several enhancements to monitoring and reporting.

39. Cloud TPU v3 (alpha)—Announced at this year’s I/O, our third-generation TPUs are now available for Google Cloud customers to accelerate training and inference workloads.

40. Cloud TPU Pod (alpha)—Second-generation Cloud TPUs are now available to customers in scalable clusters. Support for Cloud TPUs in Kubernetes Engine is also available in beta.

41. Phone Gateway in Dialogflow Enterprise Edition (beta)—Now you can assign a working phone number to a virtual agent—all without infrastructure. Speech recognition, speech synthesis, natural language understanding and orchestration are all managed for you.

42. Knowledge Connectors in Dialogflow Enterprise Edition (beta)—These connectors understand unstructured documents like FAQs or knowledge base articles and complement your pre-built intents with automated responses sourced from internal document collections.

43. Automatic Spelling Correction in Dialogflow Enterprise Edition (beta)—Natural language understanding can sometimes be challenged by spelling and grammar errors in a text-based conversation. Dialogflow can now automatically correct spelling mistakes using technology similar to what’s used in Google Search and other products.

44. Sentiment Analysis in Dialogflow Enterprise Edition (beta)—Relies on the Cloud Natural Language API to optionally inspect a request and score a user's attitude as positive, negative or neutral.

45. Text-to-Speech in Dialogflow Enterprise Edition (beta)—We’re adding native audio response to Dialogflow to complement existing Speech-to-Text capability.

46. Contact Center AI (alpha)—A new solution which includes new Dialogflow features alongside other tools to perform analytics and assist live agents.

47. Agent Assist in Contact Center AI (alpha)—Supports a live agent during a conversation and provides the agent with relevant information, like suggested articles, in real-time.

48. Conversational Topic Modeler in Contact Center AI (alpha)—Uses Google AI to analyze historical audio and chat logs to uncover insights about topics and trends in customer interactions.

Google Cloud Platform | Infrastructure services

49. Managed Istio (alpha)—A fully-managed service on GCP for Istio, an open-source project that creates a service mesh to manage and control microservices.

50. Istio 1.0—Speaking of open-source Istio, the project is imminently moving up to version 1.0.

51. Apigee API Management for Istio (GA)—Soon you can use your existing Apigee Edge API management platform to wrangle microservices running on the Istio service mesh.

52. Stackdriver Service Monitoring (early access)—A new view for our Stackdriver monitoring suite that shows operators how their end users are experiencing their systems. This way, they can manage against SRE-inspired SLOs.

53. GKE On-Prem with multi-cluster management (coming soon to alpha)—A Google-configured version of Kubernetes that includes multi-cluster management and can be deployed on-premise or in other clouds, laying the foundation for true hybrid computing.

54. GKE Policy Management (coming soon to alpha)—Lets you take control of your Kubernetes environment by applying centralized policies across all enrolled clusters.

55. Resource-based pricing for Compute Engine (rolling out this fall)—A new way we’re calculating sustained use discounts on Compute Engine machines, aggregating all your vCPUs and memory resources to maximize your savings.

Google Cloud Platform | Application development

56. GKE serverless add-on (coming soon to alpha)—Runs serverless workloads that scale up and down automatically, or respond to events, on top of Kubernetes Engine.

57. Knative—The same technologies included in the GKE serverless add-on are now available in this open-source project.

58. Cloud Build (GA)—Our fully managed continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform lets you build container and non-container artifacts and integrates with a wide variety of tools from across the developer ecosystem.

59. GitHub partnership—GitHub is a popular source code repository, and now you can use it with Cloud Build.

60. New App Engine runtimes—We’re adding support for the popular Python 3.7 and PHP 7.2 runtimes to App Engine standard environment.

61. Cloud Functions (GA)—Our event-driven serverless compute service is now generally available, and includes support for additional languages, plus performance, networking and security features.

62. Serverless containers on Cloud Functions (early preview)—Packages a function within a container, to better support custom runtimes, binaries and frameworks. 

63. Cloud Healthcare API (alpha)—By supporting standards-driven data formats and protocols of existing healthcare technologies, the Cloud Healthcare API connects your data to advanced Google Cloud capabilities while also simplifying application development and device integration. 

Google Cloud Platform | Data analytics

64. BigQuery ML (beta)—A new capability that allows data analysts and data scientists to easily build machine learning models directly from BigQuery with simple SQL commands, making machine learning more accessible to all.

65. BigQuery Clustering (beta)—Creates clustered tables in BigQuery as an added layer of data optimization to accelerate query performance.

66. BigQuery GIS (public alpha)—New functions and data types in BigQuery that follow the SQL/MM Spatial standard. Handy for PostGIS users and anyone already doing geospatial analysis in SQL.

67. Sheets Data Connector for BigQuery (beta)—A new way to directly access and refresh data in BigQuery from Google Sheets.

68. Data Studio Explorer (beta)—Deeper integration between BigQuery and Google Data Studio to help users visualize query results quickly.

69. Cloud Composer (GA)—Based on the open source Apache Airflow project, Cloud Composer distributes workloads across multiple clouds.

70. Customer Managed Encryption Keys for Dataproc—Customer-managed encryption keys that let customers create, use and revoke key encryption for BigQuery, Compute Engine and Cloud Storage. Generally available for BigQuery; beta for Compute Engine and Cloud Storage.

71. Streaming analytics updates, including Python Streaming and Dataflow Streaming Engine (both in beta)—Provides streaming customers more responsive autoscaling on fewer resources, by separating compute and state storage.

72. Dataproc Autoscaling and Dataproc Custom Packages (alpha)—Gives users Hadoop and Spark clusters that scale automatically based on the resource requirements of submitted jobs, delivering a serverless experience.

Google Cloud Platform | Databases

73. Oracle workloads on GCP—We’re partnering with managed service providers (MSPs) so you can run Oracle workloads on GCP using dedicated hardware.

74. Compute Engine VMs powered by Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory—Lets you run SAP HANA workloads for more capacity at lower cost.

75. Cloud Firestore (beta)—Helps you store, sync and query data for cloud-native apps. Support for Datastore Mode is also coming soon.

76. Updates to Cloud Bigtable—Regional replication across zones and Key Visualizer, in beta, to help debug performance issues.

77. Updates to Cloud Spanner—Lets users import and export data using Cloud Dataflow. A preview of Cloud Spanner’s data manipulation language (DML) is now available.

Google Cloud Platform | IoT

78. Edge TPU (early access)—Google’s purpose-built ASIC chip that’s designed to run TensorFlow Lite ML so you can accelerate ML training in the cloud and utilize fast ML inference at the edge.

79. Cloud IoT Edge (alpha)—Extends data processing and machine learning capabilities to gateways, cameras and end devices, helping make IoT devices and deployments smart, secure and reliable.

Google Cloud Platform | Security

80. Context-aware access—Capabilities to help organizations define and enforce granular access to GCP APIs, resources, G Suite, and third-party SaaS apps based on a user’s identity, location and the context of their request.

81. Titan Security Key—A FIDO security key that includes firmware developed by Google to verify its integrity.

82. Shielded VMs (beta)—A new way to leverage advanced platform security capabilities to help ensure your VMs haven’t been tampered with or compromised.

83. Binary Authorization (alpha)—Lets you enforce signature validation when deploying container images.

84. Container Registry Vulnerability Scanning (alpha)—Automatically performs vulnerability scanning for Ubuntu, Debian and Alpine images to help ensure they are safe to deploy and don’t contain vulnerable packages.

85. Geo-based access control in Cloud Armor (beta)—Lets you control access to your services based on the geographic location of the client trying to connect to your application.

86. Cloud HSM (alpha)—A fully managed cloud-hosted hardware security module (HSM) service that allows you to host encryption keys and perform cryptographic operations in FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified HSMs.  

87. Access Transparency (coming soon to GA)—Provides an audit trail of actions taken by Google Support and Engineering in the rare instances that they interact with your data and system configurations on Google Cloud.

G Suite | Enterprise collaboration and productivity

88. New investigation tool in the Security Center (Early Adopter Program)—A new tool in the security center for G Suite that helps admins identify which users are potentially infected, see if anything’s been shared externally and remove access to Drive files or delete malicious emails.

89. Data Regions for G Suite (available now for G Suite Business and Enterprise customers)—Lets you choose where to store primary data for select G Suite apps—globally, distributed, U.S. or Europe.

90. Smart Reply in Hangouts Chat—Coming soon to G Suite, Smart Reply uses artificial intelligence to recognize which messages need responses and proposes reply options.

91. Smart Compose in Gmail—Coming soon to G Suite, Smart Compose intelligently autocompletes emails for you by filling in greetings, common phrases and more.

92. Grammar Suggestions in Google Docs (Early Adopter Program)—Uses a unique machine translation-based approach to recognize grammatical errors (simple and complex) and suggest corrections.

93. Voice Commands for Hangouts Meet hardware (coming to select Hangouts Meet hardware customers later this year)—Brings some of the same magic of the Google Assistant to the conference room so that teams can connect to video meetings quickly.

94. The new Gmail (GA)—Features like redesigned security warnings, snooze and offline access are now generally available to G Suite users.

95. New functionality in Cloud Search—Helps organizations intelligently and securely index third-party data beyond G Suite (whether the data is stored in the cloud or on-prem).

96. Google Voice to G Suite (Early Adopter Program)—An enterprise version of Google Voice that lets admins manage users, provision and port phone numbers, access detailed reports and more.

97. Standalone offering of Drive Enterprise (GA)—New offering with usage-based pricing to help companies easily transition data from legacy enterprise content management (ECM) systems.

98. G Suite Enterprise for Education—Expanding to 16 new countries.

99. Jamboard Mobile App—Added features for Jamboard mobile devices, including new drawing tools and a new way to claim jams using near-field communication (NFC).

100. Salesforce Add-on in Google Sheets—A new add-on that lets you import data and reports from Salesforce into Sheets and then push updates made in Sheets back to Salesforce.

Social Impact

101. Data Solutions for Change—A program that empowers nonprofits with advanced data analytics to drive social and environmental impact. Benefits include role-based support and Qwiklabs.

102. Visualize 2030—In collaboration with the World Bank, the United Nations Foundation, and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, we’re hosting a data storytelling contest for college or graduate students.

103. Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator—We’re helping Harambee connect more unemployed youth with entry-level positions in Johannesburg by analyzing large datasets with BigQuery and machine learning on Cloud Dataflow.

104. Foundation for Precision Medicine—We’re aiding the Foundation for Precision Medicine to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease by scaling their patient database to millions of anonymized electronic medical record (EMR) data points, creating custom modeling, and helping them visualize data.

Whew! That was 104. Thanks to all our customers, partners, and Googlers for making this our best week of the year.

But wait, there’s more! Here’s the 105th announcement: Next 2019 will be April 9-11 at the newly renovated Moscone in San Francisco. Please save the date!  


Introducing Course Kit: new ways to collaborate with G Suite in your LMS, designed for Higher Ed

Effective teaching and learning require seamless collaboration between instructors and students. The right technology and training can help facilitate this connection, which is why many universities, colleges, schools and other educational institutions provide their instructors and students with a Learning Management System (LMS). In addition to using an LMS, educators and students often also use G Suite's cloud-based productivity tools to create, collaborate and communicate in real time. Until now, there hasn’t been an easy way to integrate G Suite with many LMSs.


Enter Course Kit—a free toolkit that allows instructors to use Google Docs and Drive to collect assignments, give faster and richer feedback to students, and share course materials within the LMS they’re already using. Course Kit is built using the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard so it's easy to set up and works with all LMSs that support LTI. Course Kit currently includes an assignment tool and a file embed tool, making it fast and secure to integrate G Suite's powerful collaboration capabilities into teaching and learning workflows. We piloted Course Kit over the last semester with higher ed institutions, and are now making it available more widely through a beta program.

Course Kit Video

Save time for thoughtful feedback with Course Kit's assignment tool

Creating and collecting assignments in an LMS with Course Kit's assignment tool is efficient and secure. When submitting their work, students don’t have to worry about the format of their files because any file that can be stored in Google Drive works with Course Kit. Once students turn in their completed work, Course Kit automatically manages permissions and students no longer have edit access to their submitted files while being graded. For instructors, being able to use Google’s cloud-based tools that their students use every day is critical.

We have a lot of tech we’re trying to integrate together, so making it as easy as possible for faculty to receive assignments and grade in Google Docs is a big win for us. Holly Zakos
Senior Instructional Technologist
Course Kit Google Drive Instructor

Educators can use Course Kit's grading interface to easily toggle between students and their submitted files, all in one tab. They also have the ability to privately give feedback on assignment submissions with the rich collaboration features of Docs and Drive—such as in-line suggestions and margin comments. To save time for deeper, personalized feedback, Course Kit includes a new feature that lets instructors quickly insert commonly used margin comments using a customizable comment bank. “Educator comments are added to a bank, which can be easily reused over and over, or edited to make feedback more personal. Our professors found that very useful,” said Ben Hommerding, Instructional Technologist at St. Norbert College.

Course Kit Comment Hashtag

When educators are finished reviewing assignments, grades and feedback are synced to the LMS and files are returned to students. “This saves a lot of time managing grades manually,” said Hommerding. Course Kit also creates an archival copy of every returned assignment so professors have an easy-to-access record of submissions -- especially helpful if the assignment needs to be turned in several times. Students get notified when their assignment is returned and can view the instructor’s comments and feedback directly in their LMS.

Embed course materials in an LMS with Course Kit's file embed tool

Using Course Kit's file embed tool, LMS users can add course materials from Google Drive directly into LMS pages, making it easy to share materials seamlessly. Instructors can embed anything from assignment information and syllabi to lecture presentations and videos. This tool simplifies the process of sharing related materials because embedded files are right there in the LMS, organized in Drive and automatically shared, saving faculty from manually configuring sharing settings.

Course Kit Create Assignment

Join the beta


Now with the Google Docs and Drive integration within your LMS, it’s possible to streamline assignment workflows, give richer feedback, and collaborate with students. Course Kit meets industry standards for accessibility and is available in 44 languages. If your institution uses G Suite for Education, get started by requesting access to the beta. Once whitelisted, your IT administrator can install Course Kit in your LMS. Currently using Google Classroom? We are also working to add new and improved feedback functionality directly to Classroom, so stay tuned for more updates in the next few months.

It’s our goal to build tools that enable meaningful connections and lead to effective learning. As always, we’d love your feedback about Course Kit so we can continue to improve these tools, and build others that help improve teaching and learning.

Answering your questions about “Meltdown” and “Spectre”

This week, security vulnerabilities dubbed “Spectre” and “Meltdown” made news headlines. On Wednesday, we explained what these vulnerabilities are and how we're protecting you against them.

Since then, there's been considerable discussion about what this means for Google Cloud and the industry at large. Today, we’d like to clear up some confusion and highlight several key considerations for our customers.

What are “Spectre” and “Meltdown”?


Last year, Google’s Project Zero team discovered serious security flaws caused by “speculative execution,” a technique used by most modern processors (CPUs) to optimize performance.

Independent researchers separately discovered and named these vulnerabilities “Spectre” and “Meltdown.” 

Project Zero described three variants of this new class of speculative execution attack. Variant 1 and Variant 2 have been referred to as “Spectre.” Variant 3 has been referred to as “Meltdown.” Most vendors are referring to them by Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures aka “CVE” labels, which are an industry standard way of identifying vulnerabilities.

security-1

There's no single fix for all three attack variants; each requires protection individually.

Here's an overview of each variant:

  • Variant 1 (CVE-2017-5753), “bounds check bypass.” This vulnerability affects specific sequences within compiled applications, which must be addressed on a per-binary basis. This variant is currently the basis for concern around browser attacks, Javascript exploitation and vulnerabilities within individual binaries.

  • Variant 2 (CVE-2017-5715), “branch target injection.” This variant may either be fixed by a CPU microcode update from the CPU vendor, or by applying a software protection called “Retpoline” to binaries where concern about information leakage is present. This variant is currently the basis for concern around Cloud Virtualization and “Hypervisor Bypass” concerns that affect entire systems.

  • Variant 3 (CVE-2017-5754), “rogue data cache load.”  This variant is the basis behind the discussion around “KPTI,” or “Kernel Page Table Isolation.” When an attacker already has the ability to run code on a system, they can access memory which they do not have permission to access.

For more information on these variants, please read this week’s Google Security post.

Am I protected from Spectre and Meltdown?  


Google’s engineering teams began working to protect our customers from these vulnerabilities upon our learning of them in June 2017. We applied solutions across the entire suite of Google products, and we collaborated with the industry at large to help protect users across the web.

G Suite and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are updated to protect against all known attack vectors. Some customers may worry that they have not been protected since they were not asked to reboot their instance. Google Cloud is architected in a manner that enables us to update the environment while providing operational continuity for our customers. Via live migration we can patch our infrastructure without requiring customers to reboot their instances.

Customers who use their own operating systems with Google Cloud services should continue to follow security best practices and apply security updates to their images just as they would for any other operating system vulnerability. We're providing an up-to-date reference on the availability of vendor patches for common operating systems on our GCE Security Bulletin page.


I’ve heard that Spectre is nearly impossible to protect against. Is this true?


There has been significant concern in particular about “Spectre.” The use of the name “Spectre” to refer to both Variants 1 and 2 has caused some confusion over whether it's “fixed” or not.

Google Cloud instances are protected against all known inter-VM attacks, regardless of the patch status of the guest environments, and attackers do not have access to any customers’ data as a result of these vulnerabilities. Google Cloud and other public clouds use virtualization technology to isolate neighboring customer workloads. A virtualization component known as a hypervisor connects the physical machine to virtual machines. This hypervisor can be updated to address Variant 2 threats. Google Cloud has updated its hypervisor using “Retpoline,” which addresses all currently known Variant 2 attack methods.

Variant 1 is the basis behind claims that Spectre is nearly impossible to protect against. The difficulty is that Variant 1 affects individual software binaries, so it must be handled by discovering and addressing exploits within each binary.

Risks that Variant 1 would pose to the infrastructure underpinning Google Cloud are addressed by the multiple security controls that make up our layered “defense in depth” security posture. Because Google is in full control of our infrastructure from the hardware up to our secure software development practices, our infrastructure is protected against Variant 1. You can read more about the security foundations of our infrastructure in our whitepaper.

We work continuously to stay ahead of the constantly-evolving threat landscape and will continue to roll out additional protections to address potential risks.

As a user of the public cloud, am I more vulnerable to Spectre and Meltdown than others?

In many respects, public cloud users are better-protected from security vulnerabilities than are users of traditional datacenter-hosted applications. Security best practices rely on discovering vulnerabilities early, and patching them promptly and completely. Each of these activities is aided by the scale and automation that top public cloud providers can offer — for example, few companies maintain a several-hundred-person security research team to find vulnerabilities and patch them before they're discovered by others or disclosed. Having the ability to update millions of servers in days, without causing user disruption or requiring maintenance windows, is difficult technology to develop but it allows patches and updates to be deployed quickly after they become available, and without user disruption that can damage productivity.

Spectre and Meltdown are new and troubling vulnerabilities, but it’s important to remember that there are many different types of threats that Google (and other cloud providers) protect against every single day. Google’s cloud infrastructure doesn’t rely on any single technology to make it secure. Our stack builds security through progressive layers that deliver defense in depth. From the physical premises to the purpose-built servers, networking equipment, and custom security chips to the low-level software stack running on every machine, our entire hardware infrastructure is Google-controlled, -secured, -built and -hardened.

Is performance impacted?

On most of Google’s workloads, including our cloud infrastructure, we've seen negligible impact on performance after applying remediations. This was explained further in our follow-up Security blog post on January 4.

There are many conflicting reports about patch impacts being publicly discussed. In some cases, people have published results of tests that focus solely on making API calls to the operating system, which does not represent the real-world scenario that customer software will encounter. There's no substitute for testing to determine for yourself what performance you can expect in your actual situation. We believe solutions exist that introduce minimal performance impact, and expect such techniques will be adopted by software vendors over time. We designed and tested our mitigations for this issue to have minimal performance impact, and the rollout has been uneventful.

Where can I get additional information?

  • Our Support page offers a list of affected Google products and will be updated with their current status of mitigation against these risks

  • Our GCP Security Bulletins page will provide notifications as other operating system maintainers publish patches for this vulnerability and as Compute Engine releases updated OS images

What Google Cloud, G Suite and Chrome customers need to know about the industry-wide CPU vulnerability

Last year, Google’s Project Zero security team discovered a vulnerability affecting modern microprocessors. Since then, Google engineering teams have been working to protect our customers from the vulnerability across the entire suite of Google products, including Google Cloud Platform (GCP), G Suite applications, and the Google Chrome and Chrome OS products. We also collaborated with hardware and software manufacturers across the industry to help protect their users and the broader web.

All G Suite applications have already been updated to prevent all known attack vectors. G Suite customers and users do not need to take any action to be protected from the vulnerability.

GCP has already been updated to prevent all known vulnerabilities. Google Cloud is architected in a manner that enables us to update the environment while providing operational continuity for our customers. We used our VM Live Migration technology to perform the updates with no user impact, no forced maintenance windows and no required restarts.

Customers who use their own operating systems with GCP services may need to apply additional updates to their images; please refer to the GCP section of the Google Security blog post concerning this vulnerability for additional details. As more updates become available, they will be tracked on the the Compute Engine Security Bulletins page.

Finally, customers using Chrome browser—including for G Suite or GCP—can take advantage of Site Isolation as an additional hardening feature across desktop platforms, including Chrome OS. Customers can turn on Site Isolation for a specific set of websites, or all websites.

The Google Security blog includes more detailed information about this vulnerability and mitigations across all Google products.  

5 ways to improve your hiring process in 2018

Editor’s note: Senior Product Manager Berit Hoffmann leads Hire, a recruiting application Google launched earlier this year. In this post, she shares five ways businesses can improve their hiring process and secure great talent.

With 2018 quickly approaching, businesses are evaluating their hiring needs for the new year.

According to a recent survey of 2,200 hiring managers, 46 percent of U.S. companies need to hire more people but have issues filling open positions with the right candidates. If your company lacks great hiring processes and tools, it can be easy to make sub-optimal hiring decisions, which can have negative repercussions.

We built Hire to help businesses hire the right talent more efficiently, and integrated it with G Suite to help teams collaborate more effectively throughout the process. As your business looks to invest in talent next year, here are five ways to positively impact your hiring outcomes.

1. Define the hiring process for each role.

Take time to define each stage of the hiring process, and think about if and how the process may need to differ. This will help you better tailor your evaluation of each candidate to company expectations, as well as the qualifications of a particular role.

Mobility best practice in connected workspaces: tiered access at Google

Earlier this year, Google reviewed a subset of its own interview data to discover the optimal number of interviews needed in the hiring process to evaluate whether a candidate is right for Google. Statistical analysis showed that four interviews was enough to predict with 86 percent confidence whether someone should be hired. Of course, every company’s hiring process varies according to size, role or industry—some businesses require double that number of interviews, whereas others may only need one interview.

Using Hire to manage your recruiting activities allows you to configure as many hiring process “templates” as you’d like, as well as use different ones for different roles. For example, you might vary the number of interview rounds based on department. Whatever process you define, you can bring all candidate activity and interactions together within Hire. Plus, Hire integrates with G Suite apps, like Gmail and Calendar, to help you coordinate the process.

2. Make jobs discoverable on Google Search.

For many businesses, sourcing candidates is one of the most time-consuming parts of the hiring process, so Google launched Job Search to help employers better showcase job opportunities in search. Since launching, 60 percent more employers show jobs in search in the United States.

Making your open positions discoverable where people are searching is an important part of attracting the best talent. If you use Hire to post a job, the app automatically formats your public job posting so it is discoverable by job seekers in Google search.

3. Make sure you get timely feedback from interviewers.

The sooner an interviewer provides feedback, the faster your hiring team can reach a decision, which improves the candidate’s experience. To help speed up feedback submissions, some companies like Genius.com use a “silent process” approach. This means interviewers are not allowed to discuss a candidate until they submit written feedback first.

Hire supports this “silent process” approach by hiding other people’s feedback from interviewers until they submit their own. We’ve found that this can incentivize employees to submit feedback faster because they want to see what their colleagues said. 63 percent of Hire interviewers leave feedback within 24 hours of an interview and 75 percent do so within 48 hours.

4. Make sure their feedback is thoughtful, too.

Beyond speedy feedback delivery, it’s perhaps more important to receive quality evaluations. Make sure your interviewers know how to write clear feedback and try to avoid common mistakes such as:

  1. Writing vague statements or summarizing a candidate’s resume.
  2. Restating information from rubrics or questionnaires rather than giving specific  examples.
  3. Getting distracted by personality or evaluating attributes unrelated to the job.

One way you can encourage employees to stay focused when they interview a candidate. is to assign them a specific topic to cover in the interview. In Hire, topics are included in each interviewer’s Google Calendar invitation for easy reference without having to log into the app.

Maintaining a high standard for written feedback helps your team not only make hiring decisions today, but also helps you track candidates for future consideration. Even if you don’t hire someone for a particular role, the person might be a better fit for another position down the road. In Hire, you can find candidates easily with Google’s powerful search technology. Plus, Hire takes past interview feedback into account and ranks previous candidates higher if they’ve had positive feedback.

5. Stop letting internal processes slow you down.

If you don’t manage your hiring process effectively, it can be a huge time sink, especially as employers take longer and longer to hire talent. If your business lags on making a decision, it can mean losing a great candidate.

Implementing a solution like Hire can make it a lot easier for companies to move quickly through the hiring process. Native integrations with the G Suite apps you’re already using can help you cut down on copy-pasting or having to jump between multiple tabs. If you email a candidate in Gmail, it’s automatically synced in Hire so the rest of the hiring team can follow the conversation. And if you need to schedule a multi-slot interview, you can do so easily in Hire which lets you access interviewer availability or even book conference rooms. Since launching in July, we’ve seen the average time between posting a position and hiring a candidate decrease from 128 days to just 21 days (3 weeks!).

Hiring doesn’t have to be hard. Request a demo of Hire to see how you can speed up talent acquisition. Or learn more about how G Suite can help your teams transform the way they work.

Announcing Google Cloud Next 2018

Google Cloud Next '18 is coming! Mark your calendars for July 24-27, 2018 at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Google Cloud Next is where customers, partners, developers, influencers and the greater global cloud community get inspired and learn. Together, we’re working to make the cloud useful and accessible to everyone.

Dive deep into Google Cloud technology through hundreds of breakout sessions, code labs, demos and hands-on training, covering everything from infrastructure to devices, and security to machine learning. You’ll get the chance to connect with the entire Google Cloud team, including our engineers, product leadership, developer advocates and more to unlock new opportunities for your business.

At Next '17, more than 250 Google speakers and 70+ customer speakers presented at 200 breakout sessions. We made 100 announcements at Next '17, and we’re gearing up for more big news next year. Next '18 will feature tracks that encompass all aspects of our Google Cloud portfolio: application development, containerization, collaboration & productivity, data & analytics, infrastructure & operations, hybrid cloud, machine learning & artificial intelligence, maps, security, mobility & devices and much more. Be on the lookout for information on how to register coming in March 2018.

Know someone we can all learn from, or want to contribute yourself? We’re actively soliciting proposals for speaking sessions that will educate and engage attendees. If you have an interesting idea or expertise that you would like to share at Next '18, please submit your proposal by January 26, 2018. The earlier the better.

We’re excited to create an inclusive space that brings people together, fosters collaboration and inspires innovation at Next '18. We can’t wait to see you in July!

Google Drive recognized as a leader by Forrester for File Sync and Share (EFSS) cloud solutions

Drive

We’re designing cloud-based solutions to help teams become more knowledgeable and more effective. Businesses like Whirlpool are turning to Google Drive because they need more secure, friction-free tools to help them house—and more importantly, share—collective company knowledge.

Our continued efforts to help businesses collaborate in the cloud have not gone unnoticed. Today, Drive has been recognized as a leader in The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise File Sync And Share Platforms–Cloud Solutions, Q4 2017 report, which ranks cloud-based file sharing and storage solutions for enterprise IT professionals. Earlier this year, Drive was also named a leader among content collaboration platforms by Gartner.

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What does this mean for your business?

There are inherent benefits to working in the cloud, and businesses are starting to take advantage of them. Cloud-first tools like Drive gives companies a single place to store, access and share information, which can improve efficiencies.

Of course, you need to be confident that these new cloud solutions will work well with your existing IT investments. Over the past year, we’ve enhanced Drive with additional enterprise features to make migrating from on-prem fileshares and content management systems easier:

  • Team Drives, so you can work on collectively-owned files and feel confident that your work will stay put no matter who comes or goes on your team. 
  • AppBridge, so your enterprise can migrate all of its data more securely to the cloud with ease. 
  • Drive File Stream, to help you access all data quickly without using up a ton of disk space.  
  • Data Loss Prevention and Google Vault for Drive, to help you control how your teams share information and to help you keep sensitive data safe.
  • Quick Access in Drive, to help surface your data faster with artificial intelligence-powered technology.

To learn more, access the 2017 Forrester Wave EFSS Cloud Solutions report here. Or get in touch with us to learn more about how your business can benefit from moving to Google Cloud.

Pivot to the cloud: intelligent features in Google Sheets help businesses uncover insights

When it comes to data in spreadsheets, deciphering meaningful insights can be a challenge whether you’re a spreadsheet guru or data analytics pro. But thanks to advances in the cloud and artificial intelligence, you can instantly uncover insights and empower everyone in your organization—not just those with technical or analytics backgrounds—to make more informed decisions.

We launched "Explore" in Sheets to help you decipher your data easily using the power of machine intelligence, and since then we’ve added even more ways for you to intelligently visualize and share your company data. Today, we’re announcing additional features to Google Sheets to help businesses make better use of their data, from pivot tables and formula suggestions powered by machine intelligence, to even more flexible ways to help you analyze your data.

Easier pivot tables, faster insights

Many teams rely on pivot tables to summarize massive data sets and find useful patterns, but creating them manually can be tricky. Now, if you have data organized in a spreadsheet, Sheets can intelligently suggest a pivot table for you.


In the Explore panel, you can also ask questions of your data using everyday language (via natural language processing) and have the answer returned as a pivot table. For example, type “what is the sum of revenue by salesperson?” or “how much revenue does each product category generate?” and Sheets can help you find the right pivot table analysis.

GIF

In addition, if you want to create a pivot table from scratch, Sheets can suggest a number of relevant tables in the pivot table editor to help you summarize your data faster.

Suggested formulas, quicker answers

We often use basic spreadsheet formulas like =SUM or =AVERAGE for data analysis, but it takes time to make sure all inputs are written correctly. Soon, you may notice suggestions pop up when you type “=” in a cell. Using machine intelligence, Sheets provides full formula suggestions to you based on contextual clues from your spreadsheet data. We designed this to help teams save time and get answers more intuitively.

Formula suggestions in Sheets

Even more Sheets features

We’re also adding more features to make Sheets even better for data analysis:

  • Check out a refreshed UI for pivot tables in Sheets, and new, customizable headings for rows and columns.
  • View your data differently with new pivot table features. When you create a pivot table, you can “show values as a % of totals” to see summarized values as a fraction of grand totals. Once you have a table, you can right-click on a cell to “view details” or even combine pivot table groups to aggregate data the way you need it. We’re also adding new format options, like repeated row labels, to give you more fine-tuned control of how to present your summarized data.
  • Create and edit waterfall charts. Waterfall charts are good for visualizing sequential changes in data, like if you want to see the incremental breakdown of last year’s revenue month-by-month. Select Insert > Chart > Chart type picker and then choose “waterfall.”
  • Quickly import or paste fixed-width formatted data files. Sheets will automatically split up the data into columns for you without needing a delimiter, like commas, between data.

These new Sheets features will roll out in the coming weeks—see specific details here. To learn more about how G Suite can help your business uncover valuable insights and speed up efficiencies, visit the G Suite website. Or check out these tips to help you get started with Sheets.

Get ready for AI to help make your business more productive

Editor’s note: Companies are evaluating how to use artificial intelligence to transform how they work. Nicholas McQuire, analyst at CCS Insight, reflects on how businesses are using machine learning and assistive technologies to help employees be more productive. He also provides tangible takeaways on how enterprises can better prepare for the future of work.

Employees are drowning in a sea of data and sprawling digital tools, using an average of 6.1 mobile apps for work purposes today, according to a recent CCS Insight survey of IT decision-makers. Part of the reason we’ve seen a lag in macro productivity since the 2008 financial crisis is that we waste a lot of time doing mundane tasks, like searching for data, booking meetings and learning the ins and outs of complex software.

According to Harvard Business Review, wasted time and inefficient processes—what experts call "organizational drag"—cost the U.S. economy a staggering $3 trillion each year. Employees need more assistive and personalized technology to help them tackle organizational drag and work faster and smarter.

Over the next five years, artificial intelligence (AI) will change the way we work and, in the process, transform businesses.

The arrival of AI in the enterprise is quickening

I witnessed a number of proofs of concept in machine learning in 2017; many speech-and image-based cognitive applications are emerging in specific markets, like fraud detection in finance, low-level contract analysis in the legal sector and personalization in retail. There are also AI applications emerging in corporate functions such as IT support, human resources, sales and customer service.

This shows promise for the technology, particularly in the face of challenges like trust, complexity, security and training required for machine learning systems. But it also suggests that the arrival of AI in enterprises could be moving more quickly than we think.

According to the same study, 58 percent of respondents said they are either using, trialling or researching the technology in their business. Decision-makers also said that on average, 29 percent of their applications will be enhanced with AI within the next two years—a remarkably bullish view.

New opportunities for businesses to evolve productivity

In this context, new AI capabilities pose exciting opportunities to evolve productivity and collaboration.

  • Assistive software: In the past year, assistive, cognitive features have become more prevalent in productivity software, such as search, quicker access to documents, automated email replies and virtual assistants. These solutions help surface contextually relevant information for employees and can automate simple, time-consuming tasks, like scheduling meetings, creating help desk tickets, booking conference rooms or summarizing content. In the future, they might also help firms improve and manage employee engagement, a critical human resources and leadership challenge at the moment.
  • Natural language processing: It won’t be long before we also see the integration of voice or natural language processing in productivity apps. The rise of speech-controlled smart speakers such as Google Home, Amazon Echo or the recently-launched Alexa for Business show that creating and completing documents using speech dictation, or using natural language queries to parse data or control functions in spreadsheets, is no longer in the realm of science fiction.
  • Security: Perhaps one of the biggest uses of AI will be to protect company information. Companies are beginning to use AI to protect against spam, phishing and malware in email, as well as the alarming rise of data breaches across the globe; the use of AI to detect threats and improve incident response will likely rise exponentially. Cloud security vendors with access to higher volumes of signals to train AI models are well placed to help businesses leverage early detection of threats. Perhaps this is why, IT professionals listed cybersecurity as the most-likely adopted use of AI in their organizations.

One thing to note: it’s important that enterprises gradually introduce their employees to machine learning capabilities in productivity apps as not to undermine the familiarity of the user experience or turn employees off in fear of privacy violations. In this respect, the advent of AI into work activities resembles consumer apps like YouTube, Maps, Spotify or Amazon, where the technology is subtle to users who may not be aware of cognitive features. The fact that 54 percent of employees in our survey stated they don't use AI in their personal life, despite the widespread use AI these successful apps, is an important illustration.

How your company can prepare for change

Businesses of all shapes and sizes need to prepare for one of the most important technology shifts of our generation. For those who have yet to get started, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Introduce your employees to AI in collaboration tools early. New, assistive AI features in collaboration software help employees get familiar with the technology and its benefits. Smart email, improved document access and search, chatbots and speech assistants will all be important and accessible technologies that can save employees time, improve workflows and enhance employee experiences.
  2. Take advantage of tools that use AI for data security. Rising data breaches and insider threats, coupled with the growing use of cloud and mobile applications, means the integrity of company data is consistently at risk. Security products that incorporate machine learning-based threat intelligence and anomaly detection should be a key priority.
  3. Don’t neglect change management. New collaboration tools that use AI have a high impact on organizational culture, but not all employees will be immediately supportive of this new way of working. While our surveys reveal employees are generally positive on AI, there is still much fear and confusion surrounding AI as a source of job displacement. Be mindful of the impact of change management, specifically the importance of good communication, training and, above all, employee engagement throughout the process.

AI will no doubt face some challenges over the next few years as it enters the workplace, but sentiment is changing away from doom-and-gloom scenarios towards understanding how the technology can be used more effectively to assist humans and enable smarter work. 

It will be fascinating to see how businesses and technology markets transform as AI matures in the coming years.

A strategic partnership with Salesforce to bring the power of cloud to businesses globally

Our partners are incredibly important in helping our customers maximize the value of their cloud investments. Today, we’re announcing a first-of-its-kind strategic partnership with Salesforce that spans Google Cloud and Google Analytics to enable smarter, more collaborative experiences for our customers. As cloud-native companies, our partnership offers a unique opportunity to turn marketing, service and sales data into actionable insights and better business outcomes.

The new collaboration leverages the full value of Google Cloud. Salesforce has named G Suite as its preferred email and productivity provider. In addition, Salesforce plans to use Google Cloud Platform (GCP) for its core services as part of the company’s international infrastructure expansion.

Our teams are working very closely to develop new integrations that will connect Salesforce CRM with G Suite to offer the only cloud-native collaboration platform of its kind. These integrations will enable companies to surface powerful intelligence about your customers from Salesforce directly within Gmail, Sheets, Calendar, Drive, Docs and Hangouts Meet. Here’s some more on what you’ll be able to do:


  • Salesforce Lightning for Gmail: Surface relevant Salesforce CRM data in Gmail, as well as customer interactions from Gmail directly within Salesforce, to service your customers faster. Identify high priority emails and suggest next steps based on the email content to work with customers faster than before.

  • Salesforce Lightning for Google Sheets: Embed Sheets anywhere in Salesforce, and with a single click push content from Salesforce Records or Reports to a new Sheet. Data will automatically update bi-directionally to ensure everyone has the most recent information.

  • Quip Live Apps for Google Drive and Google Calendar: Quip Live Apps will integrate with Google Drive and Calendar, allowing you to access information in a more collaborative, open cloud environment, and embed any list of Drive files, including Google Docs, Slides and Sheets, or your Google Calendar inside Quip. This new combination of Quip and G Suite will create a modern alternative to legacy intranet content services.

  • Salesforce for Hangouts Meet: Access relevant customer and account details, service case histories and more from Salesforce CRM directly within the Hangouts Meet interface. This gives you powerful insights directly in the communications platform to conduct better sales conversations or efficiently resolve customer service issues.

To help take advantage of the combined Google and Salesforce experience, qualified Salesforce customers can receive G Suite for up to one year at no additional cost—restrictions apply, and more details can be found on our site.

We hope this partnership enables more companies to take advantage of the cloud and that the combined solutions will provide an unmatched experience for customers. In fact, our team at Google Cloud uses Salesforce as our preferred CRM provider to engage with our customers in meaningful ways.

As for availability, several integrations between G Suite and Salesforce are already in market, including Lightning for Gmail and integrations with Calendar and Google Drive. The deeper integrations we’ve announced are expected to start rolling out in 2018.

The meeting room, by G Suite

With G Suite, we’re focused on building tools that help you bring great ideas to life. We know meetings are the main entry point for teams to share and shape ideas into action. That’s why we recently introduced Hangouts Meet, an evolution of Google Hangouts designed specifically for the workplace, and Jamboard, a way to bring creative brainstorming directly into meetings. Combined with Calendar and Drive, these tools extend collaboration beyond four walls and transform how we work—so every team member has a voice, no matter location.

But the transformative power of video meetings is wasted if it’s not affordable and accessible to all organizations. So today, we’re introducing Hangouts Meet hardware—a new way to bring high-quality video meetings to businesses of any size. We’re also announcing new software updates designed to make your meetings even more productive.

Introducing Hangouts Meet hardware

Hangouts Meet hardware is a cost-effective way to bring high-quality video meetings to your business. The hardware kit consists of four components: a touchscreen controller, speakermic, 4K sensor camera and ASUS Chromebox.

Hangouts Meet controller

The new controller provides a modern, intuitive touchscreen interface that allows people to easily join scheduled events from Calendar or view meeting details with a single tap. You can pin and mute team members, as well as control the camera, making managing meetings easy. You can also add participants with the dial-a-phone feature and present from a laptop via HDMI. If you’re a G Suite Enterprise edition customer, you can record the meeting to Drive.

Designed by Google, the Hangouts Meet speakermic actively eliminates echo and background noise to provide crisp, clear audio. Up to five speakermics can be daisy-chained together with a single wire, providing coverage for larger rooms without tabletop clutter.

The 4K sensor camera with 120° field of view easily captures everyone at the table, even in small spaces that some cameras find challenging. Each camera component is fine-tuned to make meetings more personal and distraction-free. Built with machine learning, the camera can intelligently detect participants and automatically crop and zoom to frame them.

Powered by Chrome OS, the ASUS Chromebox makes deploying and managing Hangouts Meet hardware easier than ever. The Chromebox can automatically push updates to other components in the hardware kit, making it easier for large organizations to ensure security and reliability. Remote device monitoring and management make it easy for IT administrators to stay in control, too.

New Hangouts Meet enhancements greatly improve user experience and simplify our meeting rooms. It also creates new ways for our team to collaborate. Bradley Rhodes
IT Analyst, Woolworths Limited, Australia

Says Bradley Rhodes, IT Analyst End User Computing at Woolworths Ltd Australia, “We are very excited about the new Hangouts Meet hardware, particularly the easy-to-use touchscreen. The enhancements greatly improve the user experience and simplify our meeting rooms. We have also seen it create new ways for our team to collaborate, like via the touch-to-record functionality which allows absent participants to catch up more effectively.”

More features, better meetings

We’re also announcing updates to Meet based on valuable feedback. If you’re a G Suite Enterprise edition customer, you can:

Dial in image Hangouts Meet
  • Record meetings and save them to Drive. Can’t make the meeting? No problem. Record your meeting directly to Drive. Even without a Hangouts Meet hardware kit, Meet on web can save your team’s ideas with a couple of clicks.
  • Host meetings with up to 50 participants. Meet supports up to 50 participants in a meeting, especially useful for bringing global teams together from both inside and outside of your organization.
  • Dial in from around the globe. The dial-in feature in Meet is now available in more than a dozen markets. If you board a flight in one country and land in another, Meet will automatically update your meeting’s dial-in listing to a local phone number.

These new features are rolling out gradually. The hardware kit is priced at $1999 and is available in select markets around the globe beginning today.

Whether you're collaborating in Jamboard, recording meetings and referencing discussions in Drive or scheduling your next team huddle in Calendar, Hangouts Meet hardware makes it even easier to bring the power of your favorite G Suite tools into team meetings. For more information, visit the G Suite website.

Time for a refresh: meet the new Google Calendar for web

Check your schedule. Starting today, a fresh look and new features are coming to Google Calendar on the web to help you manage your time more efficiently and get more done.

We’re taking a lot of what you know and love from Calendar’s mobile application, like the modern color palette and sleek design, and bringing it to the web with a responsive layout that auto-adjusts to your screen size. We’ve also added more features for enterprises to help teams schedule and prepare for meetings.

New Calendar UI on web

Over the years, you’ve shared valuable feedback on how we can enhance Calendar to better fit your needs and we’re excited to bring new improvements. Now, it’s even easier to manage your schedule at your desk. In the new Calendar for web, you can:

  • See conference room details when booking a room. G Suite admins can now enter detailed information about their organization’s meeting rooms—so employees know where a conference room is located, how large it is, and whether it has audio/video equipment or is wheelchair accessible. Employees can simply hover over the room name in Calendar when they want to book a space, and a hovercard will pop up with details about the conference location and resources.

SRI in Calendar - GIF
  • Add rich formatting and hyperlinks to your Calendar invites. Link to relevant spreadsheets, documents or presentations in your Calendar invite and open them directly from the new “Event Detail” view. This can help you create more detailed agendas and ensure all materials are in one place before your meeting starts.
Rich text formatting in Calendar
  • Manage multiple calendars side by side in “Day” view. Now you can view and manage calendars in separate columns. This makes it easier for employees who manage multiple calendars, like administrative assistants, to schedule meetings on behalf of their teams. Click “Day” view and select the calendars you want to compare.
Side-by-side Day view in Calendar

There are a number of other changes in Calendar, too. Now you can see contact information of meeting participants when you hover over their names in a Calendar invite. There’s also a new way to view and restore deleted items in one place in case you accidentally delete a meeting. Additionally, "Day,” "Week,” and "Month" views are now more accessible, featuring better compatibility with screen readers. For more detail on changes, check out this post.

These new changes in Calendar can help your teams better manage their time, and G Suite admins can enable these new updates starting today. Read this post for more information on rollout options.


And if you use Calendar for personal use, click “Use new Calendar” in the upper righthand corner of the main Calendar view to get started.

8 swift steps G Suite admins can take to secure business data

Security doesn’t have to be complicated. With G Suite, admins can manage and help protect their users with minimal effort because we've designed our tools to be intuitive—like Vault, which helps with eDiscovery and audit needs, and data loss prevention, which helps ensure that your “‘aha”’ moments stay yours. Here are some key security controls that you can deploy with just a few clicks to get more fine-grained control of your organization's security.

1. Enable Hangouts out-of-domain warnings

If your business allows employees to chat with external users on Hangouts, turn on a setting that will show warnings to your users if anyone outside of your domain tries to join a Hangout, and split existing group chats so external users can’t see previous internal conversations. This substantially reduces the risk of data leaks or falling prey to social engineering attacks (From the Admin console dashboard, go to Apps > G Suite > Google Hangouts > Chat settings > Sharing options).

Tip 1

2. Disable email forwarding

Exercising this option will disable the automatic email forwarding feature for users, which in turn helps reduce the risk of data exfiltration in the event a user’s credentials are compromised.

Tip 2

3. Enable early phishing detection

Enabling this option adds further checks on potentially suspicious emails prior to delivery. Early phishing detection utilizes a dedicated machine learning model that selectively delays messages to perform rigorous phishing analysis. Less than 0.05 percent of messages on average get delayed by a few minutes, so your users will still get their information fast.
Tip 3

4. Examine OAuth-based access to third-party apps

OAuth apps whitelisting helps keep company data safe by letting you specifically select which third-party apps are allowed to access users’ G Suite data. Once an app is part of a whitelist, users can choose to grant authorized access to their G Suite apps data. This helps to prevent malicious apps from tricking people into accidentally granting access to corporate data.

OAuth GIF

5. Check that unintended external reply warning for Gmail is turned on.

Gmail can display unintended external reply warnings to users to help prevent data loss. You can enable this option to ensure that if your users try to respond to someone outside of your company domain, they’ll receive a quick warning to make sure they intended to send that email. Because Gmail has contextual intelligence, it knows if the recipient is an existing contact or someone your users interact with regularly, so it only displays relevant warnings. This option is on by default.

Tip 5

6. Restrict external calendar

To reduce the incidence of data leaks, make sure that Google Calendar details aren’t shared outside your domain. Limiting sharing to “free” or “busy” information protects you from social engineering attacks that depend on gleaning information from meeting titles and attendees.
Tip 6

7. Limit access to Google Groups

By setting default Google group access to private, you can limit external access to information channels that may contain confidential business information, like upcoming projects.
Tip 7

8. Google+ access restrictions

Make the default sharing setting for Google+ restricted and disable discoverability of Google+ profiles outside your domain. Both of these actions can help you control access to critical business information.

Tip 8
Tip 8

Every company has their own unique set of business requirements that need to work in rhythm with their security requirements. By evaluating and implementing some of these suggested security controls, you can make a marked difference in your company’s security posture—with just a few clicks. See this post for other security tips.

Access information quicker, do better work with Google Cloud Search

We all get sidetracked at work. We intend to be as efficient as possible, but inevitably, the “busyness” of business gets in the way through back-to-back meetings, unfinished docs or managing a rowdy inbox. To be more efficient, you need quick access to your information like relevant docs, important tasks and context for your meetings.

Sadly, according to a report by McKinsey, workers spend up to 20 percent of their time—an entire day each week—searching for and consolidating information across a number of tools. We made Google Cloud Search available to Enterprise and Business edition customers earlier this year so that teams can access important information quicker. Here are a few ways that Cloud Search can help you get the information you need to accomplish more throughout your day.

1. Search more intuitively, access information quicker

If you search for a doc, you’re probably not going to remember its exact name or where you saved it in Drive. Instead, you might remember who sent the doc to you or a specific piece of information it contains, like a statistic.

A few weeks ago, we launched a new, more intuitive way to search in Cloud Search using natural language processing (NLP) technology. Type questions in Cloud Search using everyday language, like “Documents shared with me by John?,” “What’s my agenda next Tuesday?,” or “What docs need my attention?” and it will track down useful information for you.
NLP GIF

2. Prioritize your to-dos, use spare time more wisely

With so much work to do, deciding what to focus on and what to leave for later isn’t always simple. A study by McKinsey reports that only nine percent of executives surveyed feel “very satisfied” with the way they allocate their time. We think technology, like Cloud Search, should help you with more than just finding what you’re looking for—it should help you stay focused on what’s important.

Imagine if your next meeting gets cancelled and you suddenly have an extra half hour to accomplish tasks. You can open the Cloud Search app to help you focus on what’s important. Powered by machine intelligence, Cloud Search proactively surfaces information that it believes is relevant to you and organizes it into simple cards that appear in the app throughout your workday. For example, it suggests documents or tasks based on which documents need your attention or upcoming meetings you have in Google Calendar.

3. Prepare for meetings, get more out of them

Employees spend a lot of time in meetings. According to a study in the UK by the Centre for Economics and Business, office workers spend an average of four hours per week in meetings. It’s even normal for us to join meetings unprepared. The same group surveyed feels like nearly half of the time (47%) spent in meetings is unproductive.

Thankfully, Cloud Search can help. It uses machine intelligence to organize and present information to set you up for success in a meeting. In addition to surfacing relevant docs, Cloud Search also surfaces information about meeting attendees from your corporate directory, and even includes links to relevant conversations from Gmail.

Start by going into Cloud Search to see info related to your next meeting. If you’re interested in looking at another meeting later in the day, just click on “Today’s meetings” and it will show you your agenda for the day. Next, select an event in your agenda (sourced from your Calendar) and Cloud Search will recommend information that’s relevant to that meeting.

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Take back your time and focus on what’s important—open the Cloud Search app and get started today, or ask your IT administrator to enable it in your domain. You can also learn more about how Cloud Search can help your teams here.

Present like a pro: these new updates in Slides are designed to make you look good

As a go-to presentation tool, Google Slides already comes equipped with real-time collaboration features. Starting today, we’re introducing new robust features to help you and your team win that pitch, nail that client presentation and get buy-in for new ideas—all while saving valuable time.

Here’s a look at the latest updates in Slides, including new G Suite integrations, partner applications and customization options.

Capture ideas in Keep, bring them to life in Slides

We built Keep to help you easily capture and organize ideas. Today, you can use a new drag-and-drop integration between Keep and Slides to transform these ideas into action. Simply select notes from Keep (or sort with #labels) and drag them into Slides. When you add a note from Keep into your presentation, Slides will automatically add a title and description for you.

Keep and Slides GIF

The Office of Information Technology for the State of Colorado uses the new Keep and Slides integration to keep track of population numbers at different agencies and report them to their team. Instead of digging through emails and Docs to track down figures, the team saves statistics to Keep and drags them into Slides to present.

If you’re new to Keep, download here.

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Skip manual updates, use linked Slides

Whether you’re trying to prepare several client presentations or make sure data is up to date, repeatedly copying slides from one presentation to another is a major time-sink. Now, you can link and sync slides from multiple presentations with a click. This way, you can maintain a single source of truth and easily update linked slides to match the source, like for quarterly business reviews or company presentations.

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Sriram Iyer, Senior Director of Product Management at Salesforce Sales Cloud, is excited to use the new slide embedding feature to streamline his teams workflows. Says Iyer, “At Salesforce, we use Google Slides for customer-facing and internal presentations. The linked slides feature will help us easily keep presentations up-to-date.”

You asked, we updated

Our customers also asked for additional features in Slides. We listened to those requests and now you can:

  • Insert Diagrams, or ready-to-use visualizations. This is great for when you need to effectively share timelines, processes or hierarchies.
  • Select Grid view to view all your slides at once as thumbnails. This helps you easily reorder or change formats of multiple slides.
  • Tailor presentations to different audiences with the Skip slide feature. You can now choose to skip select slides without fully deleting them when you present from your phone or laptop.

Try these feature upgrades and create better presentations.

Try new add-ons, shape up your Slides

We’re constantly improving Slides to provide you with robust tools to share ideas. Today, we’re bringing add-ons to Slides. To kick it off, we’re introducing seven  integrations—designed to bring expertise from companies like Adobe and Shutterstock—right in Slides.

Use these new, rich integrations to help you build more powerful presentations, whether you want to add full-bleed images, use advanced image editing tools or include diagrams you created in programs outside of G Suite.

  • Search for and add images from Adobe Stock, right in Slides. You can use the Adobe Stock add-on to build visually-stunning presentations in Slides. Teams can seamlessly search, preview and purchase Adobe Stock images—without leaving Slides. Through the add-on, teams can also use Adobe Stock Visual Search to find relevant stock images with an uploaded image (versus a text search).

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  • Use the Shutterstock Editor add-on to add and customize photos within Slides. With the Shutterstock add-on, teams can browse Shutterstock’s entire library of royalty-free images, and sign into Shutterstock to license content, directly in Slides. Select an image, then apply customization options like filters, text, logos and more.

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Teams can benefit from even more powerful capabilities in Slides with additional add-ons from Balsamiq, Lucidchart, Pear Deck, Noun Project and Unsplash. Tap “Add-ons” in the Slides menu bar to get started.

Customize Slides, automate workflows with Apps Script

Apps Script, the same technology that powers add-ons, can transform the way you work. Apps Script for Slides lets your teams programmatically create and modify Slides, and customize the menus, dialog boxes and sidebars in the user interface.

So, what’s the big deal? Apps Script provides amazing possibilities for improving your team’s workflows. Sales teams can use Apps Script to automatically pull in information from Sheets’ databases to create customized client pitch decks and templates. Marketing teams can host internal assets in a customized sidebar in Slides for easy access to logos and files they use most often.

To learn more about how you can automate your workflows using Apps Script, check out this post.



Present with confidence using Slides—these updates start rolling out to all customers globally on the web today.

How Google went all in on video meetings (and you can, too)

Editor’s note: this is the first article in a five-part series on Google Hangouts.

I’ve worked at Google for more than a decade and have seen the company expand across geographies—including to Stockholm where I have worked from day one. My coworkers and I build video conferencing technology to help global teams work better together.

It’s sometimes easy to forget what life was like before face-to-face video conferencing (VC) at work, but we struggled with many of the same issues that other companies deal with—cobbled together communication technologies, dropped calls, expensive solutions. Here’s a look at how we transitioned Google to be a cloud video meeting-first company.

2004 - 2007: Life before Hangouts

In the mid-2000s, Google underwent explosive growth. We grew from nearly 3,000 employees to more than 17,000 across 40 offices globally. Historically, we relied on traditional conference phone bridging and email to communicate across time zones, but phone calls don’t exactly inspire creativity and tone gets lost in translation with email threads.

We realized that the technology we used didn’t mirror how our teams actually like to work together. If I want to sort out a problem or present an idea, I’d rather be face-to-face with my team, not waiting idly on a conference bridge line.

Google decided to go all in on video meetings. We outsourced proprietary video conferencing (VC) technology and outfitted large meeting rooms with these devices. 

If I need to sort out a problem or present an idea, I’d rather be face-to-face with my team, not waiting idly on a conference bridge line.
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A conference room in Google’s Zurich office in 2007 which had outsourced VC technology.

While revolutionary, this VC technology was extremely costly. Each unit could cost upwards of $50,000, and that did not include support, licensing and network maintenance fees. To complicate matters, the units were powered by complex, on-prem infrastructure and required several support technicians. By 2007, nearly 2,400 rooms were equipped with the technology.

Then we broke it.

The system was built to host meetings for team members in the office, but didn't cater to people on the go. As more and more Googlers used video meetings, we reached maximum capacity on the technology’s infrastructure and experienced frequent dropped calls and poor audio/visual (AV) quality. I even remember one of the VC bridges catching on fire! We had to make a change.

2008 - 2013: Taking matters into our own hands

In 2008, we built our own VC solution that could keep up with the rate at which we were growing. We scaled with software and moved meetings to the cloud.

Our earliest “Hangouts” prototype was Gmail Video Chat, a way to connect with contacts directly in Gmail. Hours after releasing the service to the public, it had hundreds of thousands of users.

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The earliest software prototype for video conferencing at Google, Gmail Video Chat.

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Arthur van der Geer tests out the earliest prototype for Hangouts, go/meet. 

While a good start, we knew we couldn’t scale group video conferencing within Gmail. We built our second iteration, which tied meeting rooms to unique URLs. We introduced it to Googlers in 2009 and the product took off.

During this journey, we also built our own infrastructure (WebRTC) so we no longer had to rely on third-party audio and video components. Our internal IT team created our own VC hardware prototypes; we used  touchscreen computers and custom software with the first version of Hangouts and called it “Google Video Conferencing” (“GVC” for short).

First Google Video Conferencing Prototype | 2008

Google engineers test the first Google Video Conferencing hardware prototype in 2008.

With each of these elements, we had now built our earliest version of Hangouts. After a few years of testing—and widespread adoption by Googlers—we made the platform available externally to customers in 2014 (“Chromebox for Meetings”). In the first two weeks, we sold more than 2,000 units. By the end of the year, every Google conference room and company device had access to VC.

2014 - today: Transforming how businesses do business

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Nearly a decade has passed since we built the first prototype. Face-to-face collaboration is ingrained in Google’s DNA now—more than 16,500 meetings rooms are VC-equipped at Google and our employees join Hangouts 240,000 times per day! That's equivalent to spending more than 10 years per day collaborating in video meetings. And, now, more than 3 million businesses are using Hangouts to transform how they work too.

We learned a lot about what it takes to successfully collaborate as a scaling business. If you’re looking to transition your meetings to the cloud with VC, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Encourage video engagement from the start. Every good idea needs a champion. Be seen as an innovator by evangelizing video engagement in company meetings from the start. Your team will thank you for it.
  2. If you’re going to move to VC, make it available everywhere. We transformed our work culture to be video meeting-first because we made VC ubiquitous. Hangouts Meet brings you a consistent experience across web, mobile and conference rooms.  If you’re going to make the switch, go all in and make it accessible to everyone.
  3. Focus on the benefits. Video meetings can help distributed teams feel more engaged and help employees collaborate whenever, and wherever, inspiration strikes. This means you’ll have more diverse perspectives which makes for better quality output.

What’s next? Impactful additions and improvements to Hangouts Meet will be announced soon. All the while, we’re continuing to research how teams work together and how we can evolve VC technology to reflect that collaboration. For example, we’re experimenting with making scheduling easier for teams thanks to the @meet AI bot in the early adopter version of Hangouts Chat.

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