Google Certified Administrators

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under news

badge_Google_Apps_Cert_Admin_web Google, like all major technology companies run certification programs on their products, enabling you to show that you have training and expertise in the day to day use and applications of them.

After having taken and passed the exam in December, and the exam being officially launched this month, I am proud to say that I am one of the first people in the world and definitely the first in the UK to gain this certification from Google. I’m looking forward to using what I’ve learned from the exam and putting it to use in the University!








Stats, stats and more (Christmas) stats

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under news

Google have recently launched a new reports page that we can view in the UoB Google Team and it shows us some interesting insights into how people work at the University!

On Christmas day





An amazing 9002 staff members (for clarity, we include Postgraduate Researchers) with University Google accounts logged into Gmail on Christmas Day 2013 – was this because they all got given new tablets or laptops? Or was it because they prefer quiet days to do their work? Who knows! Even more surprising are the thousands of people that checked their Google Drive (more coming on this in 2014! – perhaps they were looking for their favourite turkey recipe?)  and their Google Calendar – (perhaps like me they plan their entire personal/private live through Google Calendar and were checking where they were having lunch?).




New Years Eve 2013



University employees quite clearly enjoy NYE more than Christmas – numbers logging into the Google Apps dropped – Gmail went down by just under 3000, perhaps showing that people had got work out of the way and were choosing to use NYE as more relaxing/sociable time?







Email Numbers

We can also see how many emails UoB in it’s entirety is sending and receiving across the past few months:

You can see that it’s fairly constant, that we send much less than we receive (well done UoB!), that there are peaks and troughs as weekends & holidays come and go but that there are 2 enormous spikes in November. Unfortunately, we can’t explain those spikes, but it does coincide with the time when ransomware (where your computer is hijacked and essentially held to ransom..) attacks spiked. Fortunately our spam/virus defences at the University are quite strong and will have stopped the vast majority of these from reaching inbox’s.


Google Drive

and finally, we can look at the amount of documents the University has created in, or uploaded to, Google Drive. Google Drive for those who don’t know is Google’s online version of Microsoft Office (allowing you to work collaboratively, in real time, with colleagues inside the University and elsewhere) and Dropbox (allowing you to share files around the world up to 10GB in size). We’ll be making a big push on Google Drive in 2014, but organically, it seems people are already discovering it:







From August last year right up to the present day, Drive usage in the University has never stopped growing as people find new and exciting uses for it on a daily basis. As of February 13th, the University staff now has almost 1 million files and documents sitting in Google Drive – accessible and editable from any device, anywhere in the world.

We’ll be sharing more insights with you across 2014, keep tuned to this blog!


Mally Mclane



Safety on the Internet

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under news

Safer Internet DayEvery February sees a day of action and education around the world that is designed to increase personal safety on the internet. Called ‘Safer Internet Day’, it’s aim is to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world.

Google offer extensive tools and help with keeping yourself, your family and others safe on the internet – you can find it all linked from their page at: http://www.google.com/safetycenter/

Our local police have also pulled together the advice that they give out and you can find it at:  https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/newsroom/how-safe-are-you-online/

Finally, the UK Government has produced a very engaging website designed for both individuals and businesses and you can find that at: https://www.cyberstreetwise.com


Google and Government Requests for Data

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under news

google-cloud-securityAcross the past year, various stories and documents have been released that have caused some concern and queries over the level of access that our security and intelligence services have to the data we hold in companies like Google, Microsoft and other vendors. When the story first broke, the University released a statement on it’s position. That position has not changed and you can read what we said at: http://www.bris.ac.uk/it-services/news/2013/datasecurity19june.html.

Google believes the public deserves to know the full extent to which governments request user information from Google. That’s why for the past four years they have shared and continuously expanded and updated information about government requests for user information in their Transparency Report. Until now, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) opposed Google’s efforts to publish statistics specifically about Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests. Under FISA, the government may apply for orders from a special FISA Court to require U.S. companies to hand over users’ personal information and the content of their communications. Although FISA was passed by elected representatives and is available for anyone to read, the way the law is used is typically kept secret.

Last summer’s revelations about government surveillance remind us of the challenges that secrecy can present to a democracy that relies on public debate. Last year Google filed a lawsuit asking the FISA Court to let them disclose the number of FISA requests they receive and how many users/accounts they include. Google had previously secured permission to publish information about National Security Letters, and FISA requests were the only remaining type of demands excluded from their report. Now, for the first time, the Google report on government requests for user information encompasses all of the requests they receive, subject only to delays imposed by the DoJ regarding how quickly they can include certain requests in their statistics.

Publishing these numbers is a step in the right direction, and speaks to the principles for reform that Google announced with other companies last December. But Google still believes more transparency is needed so everyone can better understand how surveillance laws work and decide whether or not they serve the public interest. Specifically, Google want to disclose the precise numbers and types of requests they receive, as well as the number of users they affect in a timely way. That’s why Congress to go another step further and pass legislation (PDF) that will enable Google and others to say more.

You have the right to know how laws affect the security of your information online and Google, along with other major internet companies have pledged to keep fighting for your ability to exercise that right by pushing for greater transparency around the world.


Google Calendar now helps you remember holidays in 30 more countries

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under calendar

Interested in celebrating Carnival with your cousin in Argentina, or not sure when your friend in Zurich is off for the Swiss National Day holiday? You can now choose from 30 additional country holiday calendars in Google Calendar to help keep track of special occasions in different countries so there’ll be even more to celebrate.

The calendars, which will be rolled out over the next few days, also contain a wider variety of holidays and display dates for holidays further into the future, so you can have enough time to book a flight to Buenos Aires to join your cousin for the water games, or ask your friend to send you a dozen August-Weggen