Blog to close!

Posted by James Brimble | Filed under news

Dear all

After the initial bedding in of  Google at the University it has become clear that staff and students are finding their way around Google without too much trouble. In addition, information on Google developments are widely publicised in the media. We have therefore decided that this dedicated blog is no longer needed.

We will however continue to post important updates via the IT Services channels which include:

IT Services’ news

IT Services’ Facebook page

IT Services Google+ page

and via Twitter @BristolUniIT

This blog will be removed at the end of February 2015.


Google Apps in the news: Gmail Passwords Leak

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under news

gmail-logoYou may have seen in the news recently reports of a possible password leak from Gmail and Google. We recognise that this may have caused concern and alarm amongst our users and would like to reassure you that:


Gmail was *not* hacked.


Although a significant amount of valid Gmail usernames and passwords were in the ‘dump’ that was being circulated, Google have been able to confirm these were not obtained from Google, but rather as a result of people falling for ‘phish’ emails. A phish email is where you receive a fake email pretending to be from Gmail, or your bank, and asking you for a username and password.

Google take security of their services very seriously and pro-actively blocked the passwords of affected accounts and forced a password change. Also, whilst the passwords were valid, Google are confident that other measures they have would have prevented any logins by people/systems that were not authorised to use that account.

If you are concerned that your details might be amongst those that were published online, visit a site like haveibeenpwned.com. It’s run by respected security expert Troy Hunt, and can tell you not just if your email address was included in this incident, but in plenty of other password breaches that have occurred in the past.

You can read more from Google at: http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/cleaning-up-after-password-dumps.html

Also, you can read University advice on how to protect yourself at: http://www.bris.ac.uk/infosec/protectyou/


Using Google Apps for Interviews

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under news

chrome-os-2odl-800The vast majority of interviewers dislike the interview process as much as candidates. In fact, one out of five candidates surveyed recently said that their interviewer looked bored. In most cases, it is not boredom as much as logistical distractions and interview fatigue.

The secret to a smooth interviewing process is taking care of all the technical details upfront. Simple organizational issues, like double bookings and incomplete note-taking during the interview, can seriously derail the interviewer’s concentration and focus.

There are no objective measures for determining if the right candidates are slipping away, but there are ways to ensure that nothing stands in the way of a good interview.


Here are some life hacker tips using Google Apps that keep the spotlight where it belongs throughout the complex modern interview.


Many people were saddened when Google Appointment slots were retired last year. However, many of the features are still available in a slightly different way through Google Calendar. Google Calendar makes it easy to generate detailed appointment slots for each candidate. One click on any half-hour field creates a rapid event with just name and time. Double click opens up an Event page for expanded details and editing. Resumes or other docs can be attached and email notifications sent to all interested parties right from the Event page. One of the best features is when an interview team shares calendars with each other or uses public calendars. The “Find a time” link can search through all the team’s schedules to determine the best time for an interview. If the appointment needs to be rescheduled, it can simply be dragged to a new day or time. In that case, the calendar sends up a prompt to ask, “Would you like to notify guests of your changes?” Also, if it is an internal interview, candidates can sign up for their own interviews using the shared calendar.


Vast amounts of money, time and scheduling complications can be cleared up with a video interview in Hangout. Eliminating the hurdle of in-person interviewing widens the candidate pool enormously. Just a few well-placed questions can save hours of resume analysis. The Hangout can even be branded with the company info for a seamless interview process. Interviewing from their home turf makes candidates more relaxed as well and leaves the impression of a company that’s dedicated to using the most advanced technology.


Various kinds of Docs can be created so that the hiring team to share the critical feedback documents from the interview. Since it is updated in real-time, Docs can share information during the Hangout interview, even if the interview panel is connecting from different cities. An interview feedback template has already been created expressly for this purpose. Collaborative document options cover text documents, presentations, spreadsheets, forms and a host of other related apps.


At your next interview session, there is no reason to look bored, distracted or fatigued. Google Apps integrates the scheduling, the video and the documentation so the candidate can remain the star of this show.


Gmail adds 13 new languages!

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under gmail, interesting feature, new feature

gmail-logoEmail is a universal way to communicate. No matter where you are, you can reach anyone else in the world with the press of a button. We take it for granted now, but it’s so much easier to keep in touch with people than it was in the old days of pens, paper, and stamps. But there’s still an important barrier we need to overcome to make email truly universal: language. Gmail is already available in 58 languages, and today Google is bringing that total to 71—covering 94 percent of the world’s Internet population and bringing us closer to our goal of making sure that, no matter what language you write in, you can use it in Gmail.

These 13 new languages are joining the Gmail family: Afrikaans, Armenian, Azerbaijani (Azeri), Chinese (Hong Kong), French (Canada), Galician, Georgian, Khmer, Lao, Mongolian, Nepali, Sinhala, and Zulu.

As any native speaker knows, each language has its own nuances, so Google worked closely with linguists to make sure the tone and style are just right. For example, both Hong Kong and Taiwan use traditional Chinese characters. However, you’ll notice that Gmail’s new Chinese (Hong Kong) language uses 收件箱 for “Inbox” instead of 收件匣, which is a word more common in Taiwan.

All 13 languages are rolling out today in Gmail on the web and feature phone browsers. Try out any one of them by going to your Settings. It’s much easier than finding the right postage.


This cool Google Calendar trick makes sure you won’t miss any World Cup matches

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under calendar, interesting feature

In two days, this year’s World Cup kicks off, and no less than 64 games between international teams will take place in various Brazilian cities. To help users better manage their busy daily schedules and still catch as many games as possible, Googler Dan Cobley posted on Google+ a cool Google Calendar trick that makes sure users won’t miss any soccer games.

To insert all World Cup games inside their calendars, users who have Google accounts only need to go to the web version of Google Calendar on a desktop, log into the app with the Google ID, and then select Other Calendars from the left sidebar. From there, users should go to the Add by URL option from the menu and once there paste in the following URL:

https://www.google.com/calendar/feeds/vdmtdcektajkqjk51vvda4ni4k%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic and then click on Add Calendar.

Once that’s done, the World Cup schedule should be available across devices, and the dates and timings should be converted in the users’ time zones.

Furthermore, this special World Cup calendar should automatically update as “teams qualify and teams get sent home.”


World Cup 2014: Google Calendar


Google Drive on the Go

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under drive, new feature

g-driveGoogle Drive is, as many of you know, the cloud service that stores your files (any files!) and  lets you edit Docs, Spreadsheets and Presentations (Google call them ‘Slides’) – wherever you are. With or without an internet connection.

Beginning today, Google have launched 3 new standalone apps for Android and iOS to edit Docs, Spreadsheets and Presentations. Whereas before you’d have to jump into the Drive app, click create, choose the type of document you want etc – now it’s one step, into the app that’s appropriate to your needs, you can see a screenshot of the Spreadsheets one below:




Hope you like them!


Google Hangouts – new at UoB

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under hangouts, new feature

hangoutsHangouts is a product from Google that allows full HD video calling or text chatting with anyone else in the world who has a Google account. It’s accessible from mobile devices or from a desktop machine, wherever a web browser is available.

Starting now, Hangouts is available on all UoB computers, so long as you download and install a simple plugin into Chrome – this is possible without administrator rights on Windows PCs. Whilst the setup we have at the moment only permits 1:1 video calling, we are actively looking to enable Google+ (the social media site from Google), which will allow you to have group video calls, run broadcasts through YouTube and other productive features.




We’ve put a lot of information online, along with links to Google’s own support – you can find it here: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/it-services/applications/google-apps/hangouts/


Google Drive on the Desktop at UoB

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under drive, interesting feature, new feature

g-driveGoogle Drive, for those who don’t know, is a product from Google that allows you to:

  • upload any file, of any type, and have it accessible from wherever you have a web browser or mobile device.
  • create and collaborate with others, in real time, across Desktop or Mobile, on Google Docs (hugely similar to Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint)

Although we launched in April 2014 with Google Drive along with Gmail and Calendar – we’ve not publicised it or made any changes to it in that first year. Despite this, a lot of staff have found it by themselves and usage at Bristol is already one of the highest for a Google EDU site, with over  a million files already uploaded or created: http://googleatuob.blogs.ilrt.org/2014/02/13/stats-stats-and-more-christmas-stats/

Beginning now, we’re making Drive easier to use and to access inside the University by installing Google Drive for Desktop on all University managed Windows PCs that are not in open access rooms. This means that you will be able to save directly to Drive from within any of your applications and have that saved file available, anywhere in the world where you have a web browser, Google Drive for Desktop, or a mobile device.

To demo this feature to you, we’ll be running roadshows around the University like we did for the main launch – look out for dates soon!

We hope you find this new service useful and beneficial to your working. You can find more information online at: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/it-services/applications/google-apps/drive/



5 useful Gmail features

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under interesting feature

Gmail’s best features are tucked away in its nooks and crannies. There are endless tricks for Google’s email platform, so we’ll be sharing our favorites every week! Scroll down for our first five pointers, then add your own in the comments. You’re just a few hacks away from becoming an email ninja.

Source: Google Plus user Gmail


Send and Archive

If inbox zero is what you’re trying to achieve, this magic button will help you do it. Once you’ve responded to an email, that conversation will be moved away from the inbox into a digital filing cabinet. Archiving doesn’t mean deleting mail. You can find archived messages in the All Mail tab on the left or with the search bar on top.

To enable Send and Archive, go the the gear icon (top right) > Settings. Under the General tab, find the Send and Archive and select Show Send & Archive in reply.

Read Gmail Offline

The most underrated feature in all of Gmail? Gmail Offline. It’s a Chrome extension that allows you to read, respond to, search, and archive emails without an Internet connection.

Click on the gear icon (top right) > Settings, then click the Gmail Offline tab. You’ll need to let the extension sync and download emails for a little while, before you get offline. And don’t worry — this extension doesn’t take up any space on your hard drive.

Add Emails to Tasks

Responding to email takes a lot of time and energy. If it’s not done immediately, it might never get done. Make sure important emails get attended to by adding them to Tasks. In the upper left, click the Gmail dropdown menu to open your Tasks window. To add an email to Tasks, select it from the inbox or open it, then click the More tab at the top. Select Add to Tasks.


In your Tasks window, you’ll now see a list of emails that need responding to. Click on the task to go directly to the thread without having to search for it!

Mass Unsubscribe

Want to get rid of those newsletters for good? Type “unsubscribe” into the search box, and you’ll probably find every deal, discount, and event email notification you’ve ever signed up for. You can also select all (but make sure to click “select all conversations that match this search” too) to banish historic newsletters from your inbox for good.

Drag Labels Onto Messages

This trick is an oldie but goodie. Drag and drop Gmail labels on top of threads in your inbox. It’s so much easier than clicking on the Label tab and selecting the right category.

(originally posted by our friends at GeekSugar: http://www.geeksugar.com/Tips-Gmail-34542860)


Sending encrypted files through Google

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under news, Uncategorized

google-cloud-security Whilst Google’s services are very secure in their own right (read more here: http://goo.gl/dP02wl), the University has always offered advice on how to encrypt files that you may send via Gmail, Drive or other means. Whilst the University mandates encryption for strictly confidential files, you may personally wish to encrypt them to be 110% guaranteed of their privacy, or to protect the integrity of the file – there are many reasons.

Earlier this week, Google made a change to their services that resulted in the method that we had for encrypted files no longer being compatible with Gmail or Drive. We don’t yet know why they made this change, but Google do pro-actively make changes to their services to protect the security of the service and the users that use it.

Because of this, the University has had to make a small change to it’s instructions, meaning that you have to choose a different option in one of the drop-down boxes in 7-zip – you can find more information on this, and other information security advice, on the University website: