Adding Subtitles to Videos in Google Drive

Are you using Google Drive to store video files or share them inside your organization? If so, we have a really cool tip that lets you add subtitles to your videos for free!

Subtitles can sometimes be expensive, or take some technical expertise, to add to your videos. There’s actually a really easy way to add subtitles to videos directly inside of Google Drive…anyone can do it!

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Provision Google+ Profiles from the Admin Console

Encouraging adoption of Google+ (whether for internal or external use) has been tricky because it was the responsibility of the user to create their own profile. With a recent update to the Google Apps Admin Console, Administrators have the ability to create Google+ profiles for their users.

As of right now, this is only available on an individual basis, with hopes of bulk actions being added in the near future. Either way, this can make the process of rolling out Google+ even easier if the Admin has the power to create profiles.

This update is also only available for Premier, Gov and higher-education EDU domains only, so K-12 EDUs will not have access to this in the Admin Console.

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How to Recover Archived Mail

We mention this whenever possible, but we always recommend archiving messages in Gmail rather than deleting them. You never know when you may want to access a message again, and archiving allows you to do that while deleting does not.

The one issue with archived mail is that it is not immediately obvious how you can recover archived messages. You have a few options available to you, but there actually isn’t a way to uncover only archived mail.

First of all, you can always search for your archived mail if you have an idea of what you’re looking for. If you can’t remember exactly what was in the message, take a look at the ‘All Mail’ label in the label list on the left-hand side of your Gmail inbox.

All Mail includes any messages in your Gmail account, even those you’ve archived, so you can scroll through those messages until you find the message you’re looking for.

If you’d like to restore an archived Gmail message back into your inbox:

  1. Select the message
  2. Click the Move to Inbox button at the top of your screen

We also have a tip that might it easier to find ONLY archived messages, but it requires a little up front work. Check out the video to learn more!

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Add attachments to Google Calendar events

If you’re scheduling meetings with colleagues, students or clients, it’s important to make sure that everyone is on the same page. One of the easiest ways to do that is by attaching a file to the Google Calendar event with the help of Google Calendar Labs.

Since this features is not available natively with Google Calendar, you’ll first need to enable the Event Attachments Lab. This Lab makes it really easy to add files directly from Google Drive (or your desktop) as an attachment. This is perfect if you want attendees to be prepared before a meeting begins, or if you want to quickly refer to a file during the event.

To Add Attachments to Google Calendar:

  1. Go to your Google Calendar
  2. Click on the Settings gear in the top-right corner of your screen
  3. Select Labs
  4. Scroll down and enable the Event Attachments Lab
  5. Save your changes

Now when you create a new event, you should see a new field that allows you to ‘Add attachment’. Keep in mind that this only allows you to add attachments to events you have created, not events that you have been invited to.

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Comprehensive Guide to Inbox by Gmail

Chances are you’ve already heard about Inbox by Gmail, the brand new email interface from Google. After using it exclusively for a week, we wanted to take a deep dive into the product and show you all there is to know.

The biggest thing we took away from using Inbox was that it truly makes it easier than ever to keep up with the emails that really matter to you. While the tabbed interface of Gmail was a nice step forward in automatically sorting your emails, Inbox takes it even further with Bundles which can be customizable (unlike Gmail tabs).

Inbox also makes managing your email even easier, with new features like Snooze, Reminders and Pinned messages. If you’ve recently been invited to check out Inbox, or you just want to learn more before you try it, you’ll definitely want to check out this comprehensive look at the biggest change to Google email since 2004.

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6 Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed From October

Every month we expect Google to update the tools available to us Google Apps users, improving the product and adding exciting new features. Although we anticipate a lot of updates, even we couldn’t foresee what happened this October. Google introduced a bunch of new features like they normally do, but they also made the biggest change to email since Gmail was introduced over 10 years ago.

Even if we ignore the announcement of Inbox, Google still released enough to keep us busy for all of October! I’m personally very excited about the continued improvements to Google Forms, along with all the other great changes to Google Drive. Check out 6 of our favorite updates below and be sure to let us know what you liked that most!

1. Google announces Inbox, a brand new way to do email


Inbox is a revolutionary new way for Google users to manage their email, filter out the noise and focus on what is really important. There are brand new tools available like bundling similar messages, email highlights, reminders and snoozing. While this might seem like a replacement for Gmail at a glance, Google is definitely not positioning it that way. Gmail will continue to be available for everyone, and it’s unlikely that Inbox makes its way to Google Apps any time soon.

2. Add awesome, custom features to Google Forms with Add-ons

Google Form Add ons
You know all about add-ons for Google Docs and Sheets, tools that bring the advanced functionality of Google Apps Script into a much more user friendly interface. Well, now these add-ons are available for Forms, and some of the things you always wished you could do are finally possible. For example, you can close a Form after a certain number of submissions, set an end date for a Form and automatically create Docs based on Form information.

3. Spell Check is finally available in the new Google Sheets


When the new version of Google Sheets was introduced, many of us noticed that several features from the old version were not available. Several of those features were slowly introduced, but Spell Check has finally been added to the new Google Sheets.

Spell Check with Google Sheets behaves just the same as it does with Docs or Slides. The information is pulled in from the web so it’s always up to date, and you can add words to your dictionary so you don’t repeatedly get asked to change words.

4. You can also Manage Revisions in the new Google Drive


If you’re using Google Drive to store and edit Microsoft (or any other non-Google) files, it can get confusing if you’re uploading different versions of the same file. By managing versions in Drive, you can delete a file if it’s no longer relevant and make sure your collaborators are only viewing the correct file.

Manage Revisions was available in the previous version of Google Drive, but it just now made its way to the new Drive. This is great for those of you working with Office files, as well as PDFs, images and much more!

5. Customize images in Google Slides with cool new filters


Google gave you the ability to crop and add borders to images in Slides a few months ago, and now they’re bringing even more customizability. The new ‘Image options’ button makes creating beautiful presentations even easier.

This brand-new button give you the ability to adjust the transparency, brightness and contrast of images, while still making it incredibly simple to revert back to the original version. You can also choose between 19 different filters to customize your images!

6. New support options for Admins and users


Google has made a concerted effort to constantly improve support options for Google Apps, and that continued in October with the introduction of chat support. While this is only available for Admins, everyone else can get help inside of Google Apps with a really cool option covered in this video.

In addition to chatting with Google in their help center, Admins will soon have the ability to reach support by phone directly inside of Gmail, Drive, etc. And if you’re an end user just trying to figure out how to use Gmail, you can actually access popular support articles directly inside of your inbox.


P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy the The Gooru Newsletter. Sign up today to receive each new post, right in your inbox! Sign up here.

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Automatically Generate Infographic Reports From Spreadsheet Data

Most business people assume that the primary attractor to Google Docs is its near-free price. Many like the fact that it’s a fully cloud-centric collaborative environment. However, the promise of lower cost and better accessibility by teams is just a small part of the growing desire for businesses to escape from Microsoft Office.

Click here to download dashOne for highly automated processes in Google Apps

One key incentive for adopting this platform is its capacity for scripting automation services. Taking this to a higher level, dashOne demonstrates how to automatically generate HTML infographic-style reports from spreadsheet data.

Docs: So Misunderstood

Google Docs is a label that is so misleading and under appreciative of its true nature, that describing it in accurate terms requires lots of diagrams and deep exploration.

By using it for a variety of enterprise-grade data visualization and reporting solutions, I’ve leveraged some of the incentives that have triggered a tsunami of defections from Microsoft Office. But beyond reasoned abandonment of Office and adoption of Google Docs, is the broad blue ocean of opportunities that Google Docs provides.

Introduction

I love automation.

There’s only one thing that excites me more than using Google Docs for automated data processes and that is the ability to add visualizations to create greater comprehension and readability.

I’m not referring to the wealth of charts and graphs available in Google Docs. Rather, I’m excited about visualizations that are far simpler and typically easy to understand for readers who may not need the precision of the many chart types available in Google Docs.

Unlike heavily detailed charts, these are lightweight data visualizations – big bright circles, bars, and drawing objects that create easy-to-understand data points. Visualizations like this.

dashOne Example 1

DashOne is not a comprehensive reporting solution; it is a pathway to building comprehensive reporting solutions that meet your specific requirements. The code provided in the dashOne package provides a methodology for building compelling and automated data presentations.

dashOne (Think InfoGraphics)

Highly graphical visualizations are appealing to all business people and I haven’t found a case where they cannot be used to create attention and foster deeper understanding of operational data. This approach is especially useful for high-level awareness of operational data.

This is more like an InfoGraphic and less like a “report”. InfoGraphics are far more compelling than tabular reports and often, somewhat more compelling than complex and overly detailed business charts and graphs.

When I roll out a dashOne solution in a firm, I get the sense that business people are report-weary. A dashOne approach provides a refreshing and unique way to push out the most important elements of operational data. dashOne-style reports are not intended to replace the details that may also be important. Although, even the example Brand Stats report demonstrates how grid data can be combined in a report to provide the high-points and the details behind these numbers.

Furthermore, because my approach is based on open web standards (HTML and CSS) its also possible integrate drill-down links to detailed information sources.

What’s Possible?

This is the sample cover for the outgoing email report. It provides some data to tease the reader.

dashOne Example 2

For my clients, I typically send a small sample of the report data in the cover message and attach a much more detailed collection of analyses in an HTML document.

In this snippet from the dashOne demo code, I blend column charts and grids with large titles to create a simple and easy-to-grasp report layout.

dashOne Example 3

I’ve learned that executives like simple reporting presentations. Often, it only takes a few circles to drive home a specific KPI.

dashOne Example 4

Inside the eBook

The ebook and example solution scripts are extremely simple to use and understand. It includes a user guide and access to a single shared Google Docs spreadsheet. The spreadsheet includes three additional resources – (i) a form for requesting demo report examples, (ii) a sheet with example data, and (iii) the script source for everything this solution provides.

While the resources included in this package are useful straight out of the zip file, source code is included because there are so many ways to employ this solution and so many different implementation contexts. I intended for you to copy this example and modify it to meet many use cases in your business. Please don’t copy it and give it to other people or other businesses.

If you’re really stumped about how Google Apps Scripts work and need a helping hand, I’m a consultant and available anytime to chat about your objectives.

Solution Architecture

When I design Docs-based solutions for my clients, a key requirement is how lightweight the application is and how sustainable it is.

Cloud systems are typically configured to be sensitive to network constraints as well as mobile devices. Mobile users have little time to read reports and limited connectivity to access or download large or dense documents.

Data movement must be constrained as much as possible and instead of pushing graphical elements by value, they should ideally be delivered by reference. Instead of drawing every pixel on a chart, modern browsers should be leveraged to perform the heavy lifting associated with rendering.

While it’s possible to automatically generate native Google documents through script, I choose HTML as the output format for many projects. HTML is very lightweight and even the most complex reports may be as small as 20K. By referencing images and graphical elements on a server, the report doesn’t have to transmit all the graphical elements bound into the document. And by using CSS, significant portions of reports related to graphical objects can be squeezed out of the implementation.

dashOne is designed using standard HTML tags and everyday CSS (cascading styles) – nothing fancy and all supported standards. It’s easy to read and easy to understand. Best of all, there are millions of developers who understand it and who can help you expand its functionality.

And most important, HTML and CSS looks good in modern mobile climates.

dashOne Mobile Devices

Reporting

In and of itself, the definition of reporting is vague. At a general level, some might argue that the dashOne sheet is in fact a “report”. To use it, one would have to log into Google Docs, select the sheet, and then print it. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but our challenge is to extend this to achieve automation as well as a simple but compelling report.

Reporting Events

Ideally we’d all like to eliminate humans from the reporting process. Imagine these simple requirements –

When the data in the dashOne sheet changes materially, a series of reporting events must occur. The reports must be transmitted via email to specific target audiences, and copies of the reports must be uploaded to Box and versioned for historical review.

In the case of the example Brand Stats for which dashOne is based on, perhaps an email message alerting certain managers should occur. And perhaps once a month, a summary report is created for management and shared with the sales team.

With Google Docs and Google Apps Scripting services this is not difficult to achieve with an automation script that watches for changes in the data sheet, and then creates formatted messages and documents containing the latest data, dispatching them to predetermined email addresses at the moment they become most relevant to the recipients.

And in this ebook I have provided precisely the basis for a script that can do this.

Automation Script

Using Google Apps Scripting services (GAS), I’ve created an example script that will send email notifications every time the example Brand Stats report is requested through a Google form (this form). And it sends the notification with a snippet of the report data along with the full report attached.

The HTML report generated is simple, but demonstrative of how to format, save, and attach such documents to email messages.

Taking this example and expanding it to format complex data is entirely possible with Google Apps script and your own custom HTML; dashOne is the pattern for implementation success.

HTML Documents

When I first started using Google Docs, I had no idea that (a) the scripting environment could generate HTML documents; (b) the Docs platform could save and manage them; and (c) they could be attached to email messages.

Once this became clear to me, I started to experiment with script-based HTML extensively. My findings are simple – it’s one (of many) very powerful models that extend the benefits of Google’s cloud-based spreadsheet environment while integrating well with nearly any other enterprise cloud service such as Box. And the icing on the cake – the scripting services embrace email just like all its other services.

Conclusion

You need a basic understanding of GAS (Google Apps Scripting) and some time to design your own solutions based on these examples. But the dashOne script is as much a learning tool as it is a blueprint for a reporting approach.

Click here to download dashOne for highly automated processes in Google Apps

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5 Things A Google Apps Admin Should Do When An Employee Leaves Your Company

A generation or so ago, it was typical for employees to work for the same company for 20 or more years. Now it’s common for someone to have worked for several different companies by the time they hit 30. All this job switching results in a lot of employee onboarding and offboarding for Google Apps administrators.

Google Apps admins are heavily involved in user lifecycle management and should ensure they have their processes nailed down for properly deleting a Google Apps user from the company domain. Below are 5 important things all admins should consider before deleting a Google Apps user.

1. Don’t Go About Deleting Willy Nilly

When it comes to deleting a user from your Google Apps domain, your instinct will be to purge the account as soon as possible. The longer an unwanted account stays around, the longer your organization pays an unnecessary license fee, and the longer the account presents a potential security risk.

However, hastily deleting a Google Apps user account can be equally as dangerous. Once an account is deleted, the data in that account cannot be retrieved by Google — ever. That means any vital business data — including information you may be legally required to retain for years to come — is gone forever. Moreover, if the deleted account also was the primary user for certain Google services like Google Analytics or AdWords, your company may lose access to all data in those applications as well. Professional Google Apps domain administrators must balance the expediency of deleting a user account with the obligation to retain data and prevent interruption to key business operations.

2. Identify the User

The first step in deleting a Google Apps user is to confirm the identity of the user. It seems obvious, but in large organizations (or even smaller family-run companies), there is a statistically significant likelihood that two users will have very similar names and usernames. (There are over 2.8 million people with the surname Smith in the United States alone). Be very sure that the jsmith@yourcompany.com account is the one you want to delete, not jssmith@ yourcompany.com.

3. Determine the Security Risk Level

Once you’ve confirmed the identity of the departing user, you must assess the security risk posed by that user’s Google Apps account. In the vast majority of cases, this risk is relatively low. So long as the user left the company in reasonably amicable fashion — and so long as the domain administrator was given timely (preferably simultaneous or advance) notice of that departure — you can take the time necessary to minimize the impact of the departure on your organization and your data.

If the departure was unplanned or less than amicable — as in, the employee was fired under protest and harbors ill will toward your organization — you may need to treat the account as a moderate security risk.

If the departed user was abusing company resources or using elements of the Google Apps domain to undertake criminal activities, this would represent a high security risk, and you would be best served to purge the user account as quickly as possible. Similarly, if an account was compromised by outside attackers to the degree that it is preferable to purge the account and give an employee an entirely new Google Apps identity, you would need to move with all due haste to erase the hacked account.

4. Change the User Password

By changing the user’s password, you prevent the departing employee from logging in again (to steal data, inflict damage or simply muddy up the deprovisioning process). Just be sure to retain the password for your records! You’ll need it to log in and perform many of the subsequent steps in the deprovisioning a user process.

5. Identify an Account “Executor”

Someone needs to take on the responsibility for dispersing all the vital organizational data hidden in the departing user’s account. This “Executor” of the departing user’s account will be responsible for the account until it is ultimately deleted.

There are obviously more steps to actually going about and deleting the user from your Google Apps domain but the five steps above make for a good starting point. There will be more steps if the user you’re deleting is a high risk in terms of security so always be aware of the potential security risk that the user poses to the company.


 

If interested in a handy guide that walks through a detailed checklist of all the steps an admin should take in order to safely and securely delete a user from Google Apps, check out Backupify’s eBook “How to Delete a Google Apps Account” – you’ll be glad you have it when Joe from accounting gives his notice.

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Prevent Files From Being Downloaded in Google Drive

Sometimes sharing files in Google Drive can make people worried because they feel like they don’t have true control of the data. While that is no more true than attaching files to emails, we’ve put together a helpful trick to keep shared files from being downloaded from Google Drive.

Google limits this ‘Prevent viewers from downloading’ option to non-Google files, so you can make sure shared PDFs, Office files and images can’t be downloaded. To make sure your shared Google files can’t be downloaded you’ll need to first convert them to the corresponding non-Google format.

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Add custom features to Google Forms with Add-ons

With Add-ons available for Google Docs and Sheets, it was only a matter of time before these custom tools made their way to other parts of the Google Drive suite. If you happen to use Google Forms on a regular basis, you have to be thrilled that Add-ons are now available there, as well.

According to the original announcement via the Google Drive blog, “Add-ons bring handy extras to your survey building experience, like setting a survey end date, sending custom emails based on responses, storing lists of choices that you frequently add to questions, and more.”

Just like Add-ons for Docs and Sheets, these tools are available from the new Add-ons tab in your tool bar and then clicking Get add-ons.

 

There are sure to be a number of amazing tools available shortly in the Add-on store, but here are a few the Google Drive team noted:

formLimiter: Close your survey automatically, after a maximum number of responses is reached, or at a date and time of your choosing.

 

Ultradox Trigger: Create custom emails, reports, invoices, newsletters, etc., based on information that people enter into your form.

 

Form Values: Store and pull from lists that you use regularly in Forms, like a list of staff, students, rooms, resources or anything you want.

There are plenty of reasons to be excited about Add-ons for Forms, but simple things like being able to limit the number of responses to a Form, closing a Form at a certain time and pulling in regularly used data are huge for power users. This update is another step (and a huge one) to make Forms a viable option for nearly any survey or data collecting situation.

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