Discovering the different Google products and ways of using them…

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

tipsAt the University we use 3 main Google products, 2 of which everyone knows about: Gmail and Calendar – but we also offer Google Drive, an on-line file storage and collaboration platform. Google Drive allows you to upload Office documents (or any other file type), and convert them so they become editable by anyone you choose to share them – in real time.

Finding the time to discover Drive, along with the many features of Gmail and Calendar can be difficult in a busy environment like the University which is why Google have developed ‘Google Tips’. Google Tips is a website where you can find different scenarios that lead into how you solve them with the different Google products and features. You can find tips at:



New Google Sheets: faster, more powerful, and works offline

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

Whether you’re crunching big data or tracking your team’s budget, you don’t want to waste time waiting for files to load or re-doing edits that were lost because your Internet connection dropped. You can now get more done by switching to the new version of Google Sheets. It’s faster, supports larger spreadsheets, has a number of new features, and works offline.

Bigger, faster spreadsheets

The new Sheets supports millions of cells and kicks many of the old size and complexity limits to the curb. Scrolling, loading and calculation are all snappier, even in more complex spreadsheets.

New features based on your feedback and requests 

Filter views is a new feature unique to Google Sheets that lets you quickly name, save and share different views of your data. This comes in handy when you’re collaborating so you can sort a spreadsheet without affecting how others see it.

Whether you’re new to formulas or a whiz at running complex functions, it’s now easier to set up and perform calculations. New function help and examples guide you as you type, and error highlighting and coloring make it easy to spot and fix mistakes.

As another time-saving improvement, text now automatically flows into empty adjacent cells—no manual merge needed.

With the improved conditional formatting, you can add rules to change the colors and styles of cells in your spreadsheet based on custom formulas.

No internet connection? Work offline with Chrome 

You shouldn’t have to think about whether you have a WiFi connection when you want to work. So just like Google Docs and Slides, you can now make edits to Sheets offline. When you reconnect to the Internet, your edits will automatically sync. If you’ve edited Docs or Slides offline in the past, then you’re already set up to edit Sheets offline. If not, follow these one-time instructions for setting up offline in Chrome.

Ready to try it out? 

Turn on the new Sheets by checking the “Try the new Google Sheets” box in Google Drive settings. From then on, all new spreadsheets you create will work offline and include these new features. We’ll be adding a small list of missing features in the coming months, so if you rely on any of them, you may want to wait a little longer before opting in.

We hope you enjoy these and the many other updates that come along with the new Google Sheets, includingcolored sheet tabscustom number formattingpaste transpose and more.


Send a voicemail from Santa…

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under interesting feature



Every year, Google produce a Santa Tracker which is a website where you can track Santa’s progress around the world, utilising the power of Google Earth, Google Maps and Google Streetview to produce a worldwide flying trip. This year, they’ve also produced a website where you make a fun / free voice message, from Santa, for your co-workers, your kids – anyone!

Find it at:



Google Services and Encryption

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under interesting feature, news

Over the past 6 months, there has been a lot of publicity over what the Intelligence Services of the UK and the USA have access to. When the story first broke, the University issued a news item on it’s thoughts around the issue and you can find that here: http://www.bris.ac.uk/it-services/news/2013/datasecurity19june.html

Since then, the various big technology companies have been investing time/effort into making their networks/services even more secure and resilient to attack/interception. The EFF (a long time advocate of privacy on the internet) has this week published a simple table on which companies are making the most effort and we’re pleased to see that Google is at the top, with 5 out of 5:


ssl(click for a bigger image)

It’s not important to know what the 5 column headings mean, just that they show Google are taking every step they can to prevent your information being read by anyone other than you. This includes criminals, governments, competitors – anyone who shouldn’t have access to your data without the appropiate legal document.

You can read more on the story at the EFF’s website: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/11/encrypt-web-report-whos-doing-what



Attaching files in Gmail

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

In this blog, we try to give you new ways of working. Ways that will hopefully improve your productivity. This week, we’re going to show you how to share files using Google Drive, rather than attaching them directly to Gmail.


Benefits of Inserting Files Using Drive

Larger File Sharing

Traditionally when attaching files to Gmail, you are limited to 25 MB. Sharing a file instead, bypasses the need to attach it to an email, and allows you to send a file up to 10 GB in size. This functionality is possible due to the ability to upload files (and preserve them in their native format) up to 10 GB in Google Drive. Storing files in the cloud in Google Drive ensures that your important files in various formats are available anytime and on any device where you sign in to your Drive account.
Easier Collaboration
When sharing attachments, the purpose is typically to begin collaboration on a project. When sending documents or spreadsheets as attachments to emails to your colleagues, you can easily end up with multiple versions flowing back into your inbox. This workflow is a recipe for disaster. Before you know it, there are multiple versions of your spreadsheet or document circulating. You’re left with multiple revisions in multiple copies, and it is easy to get confused and accidentally start working with the wrong version by mistake.
By inserting a document using Google Drive, you can avoid this confusion because you and your collaborators are always working on the original document in its most up-to-date state. Collaborate on edits with your colleagues in the same document and the same time, and use chat and comments to take working with each other to the next level. Everyone is viewing the same content and can see the changes take effect in real time. Don’t agree with the changes a collaborate made? No problem. You can use the Revision History feature is Google documents to view changes and even restore a previous version of your document if necessary.
Maintain Doc Visibility
When you send an attachment, anyone can download, share, and make changes to it. The recipient has the freedom to forward the attached file to others, which results in a total loss of control over who is accessing your file. On the other hand, when sharing from Drive, you can control the visibility and sharing permissions for each document. Drive lets you be in control by allowing you to edit the collaborators.

How to Insert Files using Drive

Hover over the plus sign located next to the paperclip icon in a new message or reply screen.
Click on the Google Drive icon.
In the new window, choose the location of the file you would like to insert:
  • Upload – Select a file from your computer that you would like to upload to Google Drive and share
  • My Drive – Select a file from your My Drive point of view
  • Shared with me – Select a file from you Shared with me point of view
  • Starred – Select a file that you deemed as star-worthy
  • Previously selected – Select a previously used file
  • All items – Select a file from your file repository



After selecting a file and clicking Insert, the Drive file will be added to your email. Once you have finished composing your email, click send. Insert with Drive has a built in feature that will alert you if try to send your email without sharing the selected file with the recipient(s). You are able to set the file’s visibility directly from this alert, and then Share & send.


Inserting documents this way improves the way we send and work with file attachments. Now we have much more power to share large files, and have control over who can view or edit them. Use this method rather than the traditional way to attach files, so you can reap the benefits discussed above.
(this post was originally written by our friends at www.ditoweb.com)


Streetview – inside CERN

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under interesting feature

Only a short ‘Friday’ type post today. Something to spend your weekend looking at… Google have taken their streetview equipment inside CERN (home of the Large Hadron Collider) and into its laboratories, control centers and its myriad underground tunnels housing cutting-edge experiments.

The University has a special connection with CERN and collaborated in the design and construction of the Compact Muon Solenoid detector (shown below). The collision data which provided the evidence for the Higgs boson was processed and filtered through electronics and computer systems designed and developed at the University.

Screenshot from 2013-09-25 14_44_28


More information at Google’s blog: