Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Have you ever wanted to cut and paste from an existing email while creating a new email?  I reuse my email content all the time.  Well, now thanks to Google Apps constantly updated capabilities, I can more easily compose new emails while accessing content from my previously received emails.

If you use Google Apps you may use this new feature.

Gmail's new compose and reply experience

You can now write messages in a cleaner, simpler experience that puts the focus on your message itself, not all the features around it. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Fast: Compose messages right from your inbox.
  • Simple: Redesigned with a clean, streamlined look.
  • Powerful: Check emails as you're typing, minimize drafts for later, and even compose two messages at once.

Try it out!

Once you click the Compose button, click the "new compose experience" link right next to the Labels button at the top of the message. Until the change is fully launched, you'll be able to choose whether you use the new or current experience.
If you change your mind or if you need to use a feature that isn't available yet, you can switch back to the old experience at any time. Here's how:
  1. Click Compose
  2. At the bottom corner of the message pane, click the More menu icon More options drop-down arrow next to the Discard button.
  3. Select "Switch back to old compose."

Details of the new compose feature may be found at this Google site

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Google's BigQuery

We know you have a lot of data to work with within your organization, which can present big challenges. Your data can be large in volume and complex in structure. For example, large-scale web applications have millions of users, documents and events to manage. As a result, many engineering teams choose highly scalable NoSQL databases over relational databases. Though this approach is effective in storing and retrieving data, it poses challenges for interactive data analysis.

With Google BigQuery, you can run ad hoc, SQL-like queries against datasets with billions of rows. This can be your own data, or data that someone has shared with you. BigQuery works best for interactive analysis of multi-terabyte datasets, to which you can append fresh data.

Google BigQuery offers these features:


  • Data storage that scales seamlessly to hundreds of terabytes, with no management required

Speed and flexibility
  • Ad hoc queries on multi-terabyte datasets
  • Familiar SQL-like query syntax and intuitive web UI
  • Ability to JOIN enormous fact tables to most lookup tables

Integration and accessibility
  • Integration with Google spreadsheets, letting data analysts drive massive datasets in BigQuery directly from a spreadsheets interface
  • Interactive dashboards easily built with Google AppEngine, and smooth data export to Google Cloud Storage
  • HTTP REST API, a web UI for interactive querying, and command-line interface

Today Google enhanced BigQuery with several new features:

  • Support for JSON: JSON is used to power most modern websites, is a native format for many NoSQL databases hosting large scale web applications, and is used as the primary data format in many REST APIs. With this update, it’s now possible to import data formatted in JSON directly to BigQuery without the hassle of writing extra code to convert the data format.

  • Nested and Repeated Fields: If you’re using App Engine Datastore or other NoSQL databases, it’s likely you’re taking advantage of nested and repeated data in your data model. For example, a customer data entity might have multiple accounts, each storing a list of invoices. Now, instead of having to flatten that data, you can keep your data in a hierarchical format when you import to BigQuery.

  • Additional improvements:
    • Increased import quotas from 1000 jobs per day to 1000 jobs per table per day, and boosted the file size limit from 4GB to 100GB
    • Faster data exports from BigQuery to Google Cloud Storage, by enabling large tables to be exported as multiple files in parallel
    • Permanently save common queries in the BigQuery interface

If you need help with Extract - Translate - and Load (ETL), BigQuery design, or generating BigQuery reports send us an email to

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Google Drive the latest enhancement

With the announcement of Google Drive, the Google Apps suite is “the solution” for hosted email. Most of us find that “email is email” so, how do you choose a hosted solution? MMY Consulting’s premise has always been that “choosing a hosted email solution is a platform decision.”  If I were to update that premise I might re-word it to say that “choosing a hosted email solution is a collaboration decision.”  

Google Drive allows users to firmly plant their documents within the Google Apps environment, synchronize their document folders with multiple on-line or off-line devices, have folders that contain virtually every type of document in use today, and have those documents protected in an environment with integrated security and backup.  Plant your documents within Google Apps and watch your collaboration grow. 

Google Drive and Docs overview

Google Drive and Docs are the components of an integrated service that provides a single place to store, access, create, edit, share documents, files, and folders of all types.
  • Google Docs refers to the web-based editors to create, edit, and share Google documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, and forms. These online documents are tightly integrated with other Google Apps services and provide very powerful real-time collaboration features.
  • Google Drive is a single place to manage all your files, including Google Docs.
    • Think of Google Drive as your personal stash of files and folders that follows you wherever you go - it lets you keep everything and share anything. With Google Drive, you can access files, folders, and Google Docs from a web browser or any device where you've installed Google Drive. No matter what happens to your devices, your files are safely stored in Google Drive.
    • You can use Google Drive to store all file types including; documents, presentations, music, photos, and videos. You can open many file types right in your browser, including PDFs, Microsoft Office files, high-definition video, and many image file types, even if you don't have the corresponding program installed on your computer.
    • Google Drive automatically keeps everything up to date, so you can make edits and access the latest version from anywhere - regardless of where you are.

Supported file types

Google Drive viewer helps you preview over 16 different file types, listed below:
  • Microsoft Word (.DOC and .DOCX)
  • Microsoft Excel (.XLS and .XLSX)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.PPT and .PPTX)
  • Adobe Portable Document Format (.PDF)
  • Apple Pages (.PAGES)
  • Adobe Illustrator (.AI)
  • Adobe Photoshop (.PSD)
  • Tagged Image File Format (.TIFF)
  • Autodesk AutoCad (.DXF)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG)
  • PostScript (.EPS, .PS)
  • TrueType (.TTF)
  • XML Paper Specification (.XPS)
  • Archive file types (.ZIP and .RAR)
  • Text files (.TXT)
  • Markup/Code (.CSS, .HTML, .PHP, .C, .CPP, .H, .HPP, .JS)

  • Sync or upload video files up to 10GB in size
  • Sync or upload video files in the following formats:
    • WebM files (Vp8 video codec; Vorbis Audio codec)
    • .MPEG4, 3GPP and MOV files - (h264 and mpeg4 video codecs; AAC audio codec)
    • .AVI (MJPEG video codec; PCM audio)
    • .MPEGPS (MPEG2 video codec; MP2 audio)
    • .WMV
    • .FLV (Adobe - FLV1 video codec, MP3 audio)
  • View all of your videos at a glance

  • Sync or upload file types in the following formats: .jpeg, png, .gif, .tiff, .bmp
  • View all of your images at a glance

Search your uploaded files

You can search for text in PDF and image files by:

Search for images

After you select Images, you can type a search operator and keyword in the box at the top to search within your images only. For example, to find an image that Frank uploaded and shared with you, type "owner:Frank."

Using Google Goggles and Optical Character Recognition technology, you can also search for images even if they don't have any text. For example, searching for "Mount Everest" will show all your photos of Mount Everest and any documents that contain text about Mount Everest. If you narrow your search to "Mount Everest Nepal," you'll only see images taken from the Nepal side of Mount Everest.

Convert files to Google Docs

If you chose to convert to Google formats these are the file types that can be converted to Google Docs:
  • For spreadsheets: .xls, .xlsx, .ods, .csv, .tsv, .txt, .tab
  • For documents: .doc, .docx, .html, plain text (.txt), .rtf
  • For presentations: .ppt, .pps, .pptx
  • For drawings: .wmf
  • For OCR: .jpg, .gif, .png, .pdf

Grid view mode for thumbnail views

View all of your files, folders, and Google Docs as thumbnails instead of viewing them as a list.  Grid view in Google Drive on the web shows thumbnail previews of your files, folders, and Google Docs. These small images can help you see all of your content without having to open each individual item. To enter grid view, click the grid icon in the top right of Google Drive on the web. Switch back to list view at any time by clicking the list icon.

Google Apps - the right pieces for collaboration

Google Apps Script
Fusion Tables
Custom Search
Picasa Web Albums

… and more

Google Drive on your browser, Mac, PC, or mobile device gives you a single place for up-to-date versions of your files from anywhere. In addition, to any file type you choose to upload, Google Docs are also stored in Google Drive. Share individual files or whole folders with individual people, your entire team or even customers, vendors, and partners. Create and reply to comments on files to get feedback or add ideas.

Google Drive is also connected directly to Gmail. If you receive an attachment in Gmail, you can click the ‘View’ link, which will display that file attachment through the Google Drive viewer.

What’s new in Google Docs 

Google Drive for your android device

Google Docs Overview

MMY Consulting your Google Apps Deployment Partner

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Data in Motion (a Cloud Story)

Data in Motion
A Cloud Story

Firms have begun to talk about the benefits of their investments in Cloud Computing Services. According to a survey conducted by a large Cloud Service Provider, the biggest area of measurable financial return has been collaboration. The majority of their larger installed clients who responded have seen collaboration as the most important result of their migration into the cloud.

If collaboration was the expressed benefit for migrations to the cloud, during 2011, then I think we will see the next wave to be within workflow. You might term workflow as the art acting upon data in motion. I believe that we will see benefits within workflow for the same reasons companies exploited the cloud for collaboration: mobile devices are everywhere and the cloud allows you to exploit those devices.

Originally Cloud Computing was seen as an outsourcing play. Outsourcing had the traditional business “value” of being a service that you could buy cheaper than you could build. The better Cloud Solution Providers made the data center investments to demonstrate their reliability, recoverability, and security. As an example you can learn about Google’s Data Centers by clicking the link. This allows you to see how your data’s file name is hidden, how your file is broken into noncontiguous sub-components or sharded, how data center security is enforced, and how energy conservation is managed.

The collaborative power of the cloud became evident as users began to securely access cloud infrastructures with any device and from any Internet reachable location. The Cisco Corporation’s Mobile Data Traffic Forecast quantifies what we all have seen - users have gone mobile. Smart phones, tablets, laptops, and public PCs are being used by business employees from every imaginable location. The delivery of services from cloud providers who have integrated support for multiple mobile devices has freed employees to do business from any location. This “connected - mobility” finally gave the push organizations needed to remove location as an excuse for fully participating in the work value chain. Not since the introduction of the pager has the “office” been so aware of where the employees are.  Not since the widespread adoption of the mobile phone have we (as employees) been so available for collaboration. With the right cloud delivered service I am able to conduct a live webinar, participate in a group video chat, edit a document with a team of other remote workers, update my crm, and check my email.  

It is this same “connected - mobility” that will power the next benefit of cloud delivered services. An application delivered via a cloud infrastructure can reach any mobile device carried by any member of a business’ value chain no matter for whom that person works, this allows firms to process data in motion.

As an example of “data in motion”: there are cloud applications that automatically grade quizzes; deliver the detailed quiz results to the student; create metric reports for the teacher; and update the grade book. The teacher creates the quiz and the data is processed as it comes in from students. That application will work equally well if those students are in one classroom or spread across the world.  
Imagine the application that will let each of your disparate sub-contractors confirm receipt and completion of their work asynchronously from mobile web apps. Here is an example: Your call center schedules a client appointment; the application automatically assigns the appointment to the nearest service sub-contractor. The application presents a confirmation request to that sub-contractor; later, when that sub-contractor performs their work they interact with the application to indicate the activities that were completed. The call center gets a pop-up for a client follow-up call; the invoice is generated, and service timeliness’ reports are produced.  
These applications exit today but, with “connected - mobility” you are able to deliver these applications to individuals involved in any workflow no matter what device they carry. Your firm doesn’t have to code to a particular device. Your firm is not even responsible for the cost of the end device. Sub-contractors and partners who want to be part of your value chain bring the mobile device of their choice to the party, and you provide a browser based web app to grab data input as they move through their day. Your process automation extends across the entire workflow with no concern for organizational boundaries. With the right cloud platform, you will have the ability to securely deliver your application screens to any device anywhere and have the ability to process data in motion that is input into you application, or accessed from other data sources that are present in local or cloud provisioned data repositories.

The move to the cloud is a platform decision that goes beyond the build vs. buy decision. Your return from a migration to the cloud will be broader than a reduction in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). You will financially benefit from TCO, collaboration, and from “data in motion”. Some of the factors that go into the platform evaluation are:
  • Data/service availability, recovery, protection, and security
  • Support for document collaboration
  • Integrated support for the mobile devices used by your organization and its collaborative partners
    • iPad, iPhone, Android tablet, Android Phone, PC, laptop
  • The application development environment
    • Scalable to workload
    • Data input and output APIs to allow connections to other systems and data repositories
    • Integrated mobile device support
    • Secure device connections
    • Code that runs independently of the end users device
    • Secure data repositories

I wish you luck as you look for business impacting workflows to automate utilizing the connecting power of the cloud. The devices are out there it is time to play catch-up.