Fun Friday Blog – Chrome + LEGO: You can build whatever you like

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under chrome, interesting feature

chrome-os-2odl-800Think back: you’ve just dumped a bin of LEGO® bricks onto the floor with a satisfying crash, and you have the whole day ahead of you to build whatever you want. There’s something pretty amazing about being able to piece together your ideas with just a collection of colorful bricks.

Well, we think the creative freedom of LEGO bricks shouldn’t be limited to plastic bins—which is the idea behindBuild with Chrome, a collaboration between Chrome and the LEGO Group that brought these colorful bricks to the web using WebGL, a 3D graphics technology. It was originally built by a team in Australia as an experiment, and now we’re opening it up to everybody. So now you can publish your wacky creations to any plot of land in the world.


We’ve added a few new features to make it easier to build and explore this digital world of LEGO creations. To start, you can now sign in with a Google+ account to help find stuff that people in your circles have created. A new categorization system for completed Builds will help you sort and filter for specific types of structures.

To hone your engineering skills and prepare for the upcoming “THE LEGO® MOVIE™ ,” you can explore the Build Academy, a series of short tutorials and challenges featuring characters and structures from the film.

If it feels more natural to use your hands—rather than a mouse—you can build your creations using a touchscreen on your phone or tablet with Chrome for Android support for WebGL on devices with high-end graphics capabilities.

As big fans of LEGO, we’re excited to see what you come up with to fill this new world.


Five Ways to Track Edits in Google Drive

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under drive, interesting feature

There are plenty of benefits to using Google Drive: Sharing files to provide others access, collaborating on revisions to the same document at the same time as others and watching the changes take effect in real-time, and unlimited storage space for Google Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Forms and Drawings. With all these great collaborative features, did you know it is also very easy for you and your team members to keep track of changes that are made to your shared files or folders?

In this blog post, we will highlight some of the features available in Google Drive that help you stay up-to-date on recent modifications to your files stored in the cloud:

  • New Activity Stream
  • Update Indicators
  • Comments
  • Sort by Last Modified
  • Revision History


New Activity Stream

It’s easy to stay aware of what your collaborators have been up to in Google Drive, thanks to the new activity stream in Google Drive. The feature began rolling out to Rapid Release track customers in mid-January, and allows Google Apps for Business, Education and Government users to view recent actions taken on files or folders in Google Drive. Prior to the update, users had an “Activity” point of view available in the left sidebar, where they could view a list of items in order of when they were last edited either by you or others who have access.

Now, with the activity stream feature, you have an overview of who made modifications and a description of what action they took: Edited, renamed, uploaded, shared, commented, moved, etc. To use the activity stream feature, select a file or folder from Google Drive and click the “Details and activity” button in the top, right corner.


Update Indicators

Update indicators in Google Drive make it easy to recognize if a shared file has been changed by a collaborator since you’ve last viewed it. If update indicators are turned on in Drive Settings, the title of updated items will display in bold until you open them to see the changes that were made.

To take advantage of update indicators, click the gear icon in Google Drive and select “Settings.” Next, locate the “Update indicators” section, and ensure the box is checked next to “Bold any updated items.”


Inserting comments in files is a great way to give direction, start a discussion, add a suggestion or ask a question in Google Documents, Spreadsheets or Presentations. If a collaborator is provided “Can edit” or “Can comment” access to your file, they can insert comments to suggest a modification to text, cells or slides. This will be helpful to not only track proposed changes, but also to hold a discussion about the suggested change before taking action on the shared file. When the discussion is over, you can mark a comment as resolved and it will be available to reference later when you click the “Comments” button in the top, right corner of the document.

So, if your team uses a spreadsheet for tracking and manipulating data, you could use comments to seek your team members’ opinions on additions or changes before actually moving forward with edits. Collaborators can reply to the comment, and even mention another team member in the comment. To address your comment to someone, simply add a plus sign before their email address and they will be notified of the comment via email.

Sort by Last Modified

There are multiple sorting options available in Google Drive, so you can view the contents however it makes sense to you. If you’re primary interest is seeing the most recently updated files at the top of your file list, then “Last Modified” is your go-to. To sort your items by Last Modified, click the drop-down arrow in the second or third column in Drive, and select “Last Modified.” Next, click the column header so that “Last Modified” displays in red font. Now, your contents are listed in order of when they were last modified either by you or your collaborators. Plus, you can see the most recent editor’s name with a time or date stamp of when the changes took effect.


Revision History

The revision history tool in Google Drive is perfect for people who like to maintain control over their shared files. Revision history is available from the “File” menu in Google Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations and Drawings. The tool provides a list of dates and times of when revisions occurred, the editor’s name, and the color that will correspond with his or her changes made throughout the document. When edits were made that you do not agree with, you can select a revision and click “Restore this revision” to move that version of the document to the top of the Revision history list.

(this blog was originally published by our friends at Dito, you can find the original here: http://blog.ditoweb.com/2014/01/five-ways-to-track-edits-in-google-drive.html)


Google Tips and Tricks Every Student (and Staff Member!) Should Know

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under interesting feature

Google provide search and provide Gmail/Calendar etc, but did you know that Google can also help with your maths? or converting units? or even with your research?


Find out more at http://lifehacker.com/google-tips-and-tricks-every-student-should-know-1508121671


Top 100 Tools for Learning

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under news

The Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT), one of the world’s most visited learning sites on the Web, recently compiled a list of the Top 100 Tools for Learning from answers given by over 500 learning professionals and I’m pleased to note that the Google tools that we provide to both staff and students feature very highly in the list:


Across 2014 we will continue to develop the Google offering we have in the University – showing you new ways of working with tools like Google+, Google Hangouts and others.

Watch this space!


new Chrome features

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

chrome-os-2odl-800Hopefully by now many of you are familiar with the icon to the left. You’ll recognise it as the icon for Google Chrome, the web-browser that we’ve chosen to recommend in the University for accessing Google Apps as it simply works best with them.

It’s a constantly evolving product and because of the way it updates itself, you should always have the latest version. Google have released some useful features into Chrome this week and you can find them detailed below.



  • You can now track down noisy tabs: You can now visually scan your tabs for a speaker icon to quickly find the ones singing in the background. You’ll also be able to see which tabs are currently using your webcam or are being cast to your TV.


  • Safe Browsing’s malware warning has gotten stronger: If you see this message in the download tray at the bottom of your screen, you can click “Dismiss” knowing that Chrome is working to keep you safe.


(And for those who also use Chrome at home….)

  • Try out supervised users for your family members: You can now use a beta preview of supervised users to help family members who may need some guidance browsing the web. Once you create a supervised user, you can visit chrome.com/manage to review their browsing activity and determine site restrictions.



A new breed of Chrome Apps, now available for Mac too.

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

A few months ago Google announced Chrome Apps which bring the best of productivity, games and more to your desktop. Starting today, you can access these apps on any computer with Chrome, including Mac. Check them out in the “For your desktop” collection in the Chrome Web Store.

Chrome Apps work offline, update automatically and sync to any computer where you’re signed into Chrome, so you can pick up where you left off. Your Chrome Apps on Mac behave and feel just like native software. For example, you can find your Chrome Apps in the Applications folder on the Dock. Search for apps by name in the Spotlight search—just like any other Mac program that you already use.
To make it even faster to find and launch your favourite Chrome Apps, Google are also releasing the Chrome App Launcher for Mac. Just download a new Chrome App and you’ll see the Chrome App Launcher in your Dock.

We know many of you will be spending time with friends and family this holiday season, so here are a few Chrome Apps to check out:

WeVideo Next makes video editing easy for everyone and accessible from anywhere. You choose the editing mode that suits your level of experience and then trim, adjust, apply themes and publish. And it works offline, so you can get a head start polishing up your family videos on your flight home.

Smartsheet is a project management and collaboration app you can use at work and at home.  Try the dinner planner and holiday card tracker templates to stay organized.

Until AM is a full-fledged DJ setup in a lightweight app. Use the music from the cloud while online or keep the party going with your locally stored songs even when you’re on an unstable internet connection. It’s perfect for hosting that big New Year’s party.

There are many more great Chrome Apps available in the Chrome Web Store. We hope you enjoy them.


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.


Gmail for Android app update rolling out with vacation responder, wider attachment support and more

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

gmail-logoFor those who use Android devices, you’ll know already that because they are made by the same people who make Google Apps, then it all works that little bit better than it might on other mobile devices.

One feature a lot of our staff have been asking for is the ability to set out of office / vacation replies when you’re actually out of the office. This is coming now in the new version of Gmail for Android, which is rolling out now through the Play store.

Also in this new release are the ability to download almost any attachment (previously, they have been restrictive in what you could download) and the ability to use Cloud printers.


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: