The cloud demystified: How it works and why it matters

The cloud demystified: How it works and why it matters

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Whether you’re backing up photos or streaming our favorite TV shows, you may know it’s all made possible by the cloud. But for a lot of us, that’s where the understanding ends. With Next ’19, Google Cloud’s annual customer conference, this week, it’s a good time to ask: What is this cloud, anyway?

Before cloud, businesses maintained fleets of computers (known as “servers” in tech speak) to create websites and apps, and to equip employees with the software needed to build them. Those computers stayed in a server room or a nearby data center, connected by an internal network and to the broader internet. A company’s IT team had to monitor all those computers, network cables and other equipment—and keep it all working for employees, under budget. So that meant that every few years, the IT team bought new computers and took care of any maintenance and upgrades, like adding a new networking line or new software.

Cut to today: we have faster computing speeds and better internet connectivity, and these have made it easier for computers around the world to connect quickly. It’s no longer necessary for businesses to own servers and data centers. Since Google already has a massive global network—made up of things like our own data centers and undersea cables—we can provide that infrastructure to businesses so they can build products and services. In a nutshell, that’s what Google Cloud is—access to Google’s global infrastructure and all the state-of-the-art tools we’ve created over time to serve Google’s billions of users.

This new way of building in the cloud has resulted in changes to the way that companies use computers and other technology.

Why is the cloud such a big deal?

The cloud took the tech world by storm, and it keeps growing for consumer and business uses. Companies want to use the newest, fastest technology, which isn’t possible when you’re only buying new computers every few years.

Public cloud providers allow companies to use the newest technology without having to buy and maintain it themselves. Google Cloud, for example, maintains complicated networks that can quickly move data around the world. Keeping information secure, a challenge for businesses, is also easier with the cloud, since encryption is built in. Plus, the huge scale of cloud means it can run apps faster.

Cloud companies can also be more efficient with space and power. At Google, we buy enough wind and solar to offset the electricity we use, so our customers can get sustainability benefits they might not get on their own.

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Cooling towers at a data center in Belgium

How does cloud affect your everyday life?

When businesses started using the cloud, their customers started using the cloud, too. It makes lots of what we do on our phones, tablets, and laptops possible. For example, Gmail became popular pretty quickly, because it offered a lot more storage so you could keep all your emails—even ones with large attachments. Gmail works because instead of storing emails on one limited server somewhere, a giant network of servers stores those emails. When you check your email, a server in one of those data centers is finding and downloading your newest emails and routing them to your computer or phone. Plus, because Gmail is cloud-based, this opens up opportunities for machine learning to help you in ways you might not notice, like blocking phishing and spam attempts to your inbox.

What do people talk about at a cloud conference?

When 30,000 or so people converge in San Francisco at Google Cloud Next ’19 this week, they’ll be choosing from hundreds of sessions, panels, and tutorials to learn about cloud computing. Some attendees may be just getting started with the cloud and need to learn the basics, while others are exploring advanced concepts like AI and machine learning. Lots of the sessions explain how Google Cloud-specific products can be used. There are sessions on connecting products from outside of Google Cloud into ours and showing business users how to move their data into the cloud.

That’s your start to understanding cloud. If you want to learn more, tune in to our Next livestream all week.

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                                <br><a href="https://www.blog.google/products/google-cloud/the-cloud-demystified-how-it-works-and-why-it-matters/">Source link </a>

Master your email with these essential Gmail tips

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Your email can feel like a never-ending to-do list. And in a world where technology makes you more connected to work than ever before, how do you set ground rules to keep your energy up, your focus sharp and your sanity intact? As a productivity expert at Google, I help Googlers use products like Gmail, Google Drive and Google Calendar to get more done during their busy days. Email in particular can be a source of stress, but it doesn’t have to be.

Gmail had its birthday earlier this week, and for 15 years, it’s been a helpful sidekick for billions of people around the globe. Part of my job is sharing Gmail-related tips with fellow Googlers—here are my top 10 email management tips for you:

  1. Cut down on notifications: Don’t bother your brain with notifications for every new email—proactively check your email instead. On your phone, you can set up notifications for certain emails—say, the ones from your boss. This will help you identify important emails and disconnect when you want to.
  2. Respond within 24 hours, even if it’s only to check in:You probably can’t get to all emails within 24 hours, but you can avoid getting another follow up email from a coworker. Giving a status update—“Hi, I got this email but not going to get to it until later this week!”—is a great way to set expectations and show them you’re on it.
  3. Close out your email 1-2 times a day: Email is necessary to get your job done, but it’s also the ultimate distraction. Most people leave it open all day and check it every 30 minutes (if not more). Try closing your email tab when you have time to do deep work: the ability to focus without distraction on a demanding task.
  4. Don’t click on an email more than twice: If you read an email then mark it as unread, you’ll have to read it again to remember what to do with it. Read it once to scan and tag your future action (for example, labeling it as “must respond,” or “to do this week,”) then one more time when you answer it.
  5. Sorting, reading and answering emails should be separate activities:Most people bounce between sorting one email for later, reading one, answering one and repeating. We lose so much energy switching between these activities. Instead, tell yourself “right now I’m sorting everything.” Then when you’re done, read everything you need to read.
  6. Keep emails that require clear action—otherwise archive or delete:When your inbox contains emails without clear action items, it gives your brain the false sense of having too much to do. Be ruthless about deleting, archiving, or snoozing emails that don’t require an immediate action from you in some way.
  7. Skip some emails: Every email you see takes a tiny piece of your energy, so each item in your inbox should be something you need to look at. Gmail lets you create filters so that certain emails “skip your inbox” and won’t appear as new emails. For example, if you get a lot of email newsletters, set up a filter with “Has the words:unsubscribe”—now, those emails won’t distract you, but you can search for them later.
  8. Don’t mix your read and unread emails:Combining read and unread emails in your inbox is a recipe for anxiety. New emails should come into one section and emails that you’ve already read and require an action should be in a different section. You can create a Multiple Inbox pane or “move” emails to different label that denotes a specific action (such as “To Do” or “Follow Up”).
  9. To stay focused, keep new email out of sight. It can be hard to answer pressing emails when  you’re constantly tempted to open the bright and shiny new emails that just came in. Open up a section like your “Snoozed emails” (emails that you’ve saved for later) or your “Starred emails” (your high-priority emails) so you can stay focused on those tasks, instead of getting distracted by new email.
  10. To find what you need, just search: Email labels can help you stay organized, but think about how Google got its start … Search! Searching your email—instead of digging through labels—is actually a faster way to find the email you’re looking for. You can search by date, sender, subject (and more) and you can get even more specific with queries like “has:attachment” or “older_than:6m” (m=months).

For those of you new to using G Suite, there are loads of ways to stay productive in email. Learn more or try it out for yourself. Now go forth, and tackle that email.

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                                <br><a href="https://www.blog.google/products/gmail/master-your-email/">Source link </a>
Hitting send on the next 15 years of Gmail

Hitting send on the next 15 years of Gmail

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Back in 2004, email looked a lot different than it does today. Inboxes were overtaken by spam, and there was no easy way to search your inbox or file messages away. Plus, you had to constantly delete emails to stay under the storage limit. We built Gmail to address these problems, and it’s grown into a product that 1.5 billion users rely on to get things done every day. Today, on Gmail’s 15 birthday, we’re taking a look back and sharing where we’re headed next.

Different from day one

On April 1, 2004 we launched Gmail (despite the timing, not a joke). It had the power of Google Search built right in and grouped your messages into conversation threads, making it easier to find and reply to them. You could also store 1GB of data for free—nearly 100 times what was available at the time. No wonder the world thought it was a prank.

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In the mid-2000s, email spam was a serious issue. Gmail blocked spam before it ever reached your inbox, and created a way for people to report suspected spam when they saw it, to help make email safer. Over the years, we’ve enhanced our spam filtering capabilities with artificial intelligence and today, AI helps us block nearly 10 million spam emails every minute.

Video of four benefits of a Gmail account…as told by puppets

This video from 2007 demonstrates how Gmail fights spam.

When Gmail launched, the first Android-powered smartphones were still years away. As mobile devices became ubiquitous, Gmail evolved from being desktop-only to also work on your phone or tablet, helping you get more done on the go. Gmail’s tabbed inbox feature was the first of its kind, helping you organize messages by category, so you can see what’s new at a glance. AI-powered features like Smart Reply and Nudges helped you reply faster and stay on top of your to-dos.

What’s next for Gmail

Gmail has evolved a lot over the past 15 years. Before we blow out our birthday candles, here’s a rundown of new features coming your way.

First off, we’re making Gmail more assistive. You may have already used Smart Compose, an AI-powered feature that helps you write emails quicker. It’s already saved people from typing over 1 billion characters each week—that’s enough to fill the pages of 1,000 copies of “Lord of the Rings.” Today, we’re updating Smart Compose to include more languages (Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese) and bringing it to Android (previously, it was only available on Pixel 3 devices), with iOS coming soon.

Smart Compose is also getting, well, smarter. It will personalize suggestions for you, so if you prefer saying “Ahoy,” or “Ello, mate” in your greetings, Smart Compose will suggest just that. It can also suggest a subject line based on the email you’ve written.

Next up, you can decide when your email gets delivered to someone else’s inbox. Today, we added a new feature that lets you schedule email to be sent at a more appropriate date or time, which is helpful if you’re working across time zones, or want to avoid interrupting someone’s vacation.

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Lastly, you can now take action without leaving your inbox. You can respond to a comment thread in Google Docs, browse hotel recommendations and more, directly within emails. This way you don’t have to open a new tab or app to get things done.

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We may have launched Gmail on April Fools’ Day, but the last 15 years have been no joke. And we’re looking forward to what’s to come.

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                                <br><a href="https://www.blog.google/products/gmail/hitting-send-on-the-next-15-years-of-gmail/">Source link </a>
Take action and stay up-to-date with dynamic email in Gmail

Take action and stay up-to-date with dynamic email in Gmail

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Over the past decade, our web experiences have changed enormously—evolving from static flat content to interactive apps. Yet email has largely stayed the same with static messages that eventually go out of date, or are merely a springboard to accomplish a more complex task. If you want to take action, you usually have to click on a link, open a new tab and visit another website.

Starting today, we’re making emails more useful and interactive in Gmail. Your emails can stay up to date so you’re always seeing the freshest information, like the latest comment threads and recommended jobs. With dynamic email, you can easily take action directly from within the message itself, like RSVP to an event, fill out a questionnaire, browse a catalog or respond to a comment.

Take commenting in Google Docs, for example. Instead of receiving individual email notifications when someone mentions you in a comment, now, you’ll see an up-to-date thread in Gmail where you can easily reply or resolve the comment, right from within the message.

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Businesses have also already started using dynamic email to make their emails more actionable and relevant, like Booking.com, Despegar, Doodle, Ecwid, Freshworks, Nexxt, OYO Rooms, Pinterest and redBus. Check out examples below—you’ll start to see these dynamic emails in the next few weeks.

First, Pinterest has made it easier to discover new ideas and save them to boards:

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Next, with OYO Rooms, you can browse recommended hotels and rentals, and view details in fewer clicks right from the email:

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And with Doodle’s dynamic email, you can respond to meeting without opening another website:

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Like the rest of Gmail, dynamic email is safeguarded by best-in-class privacy and security protections. To ensure added security, those who want to send dynamic email have to be reviewed by Gmail first before they can get started.

Dynamic emails will begin rolling out to Gmail users on the web today. Mobile support is coming soon. If you’re a G Suite customer, you will be able to enable dynamic email for your organization in the Admin console in the next few days. Heads up: if you’re using another mail app with Gmail, you’ll simply see the static version, and you can always revert back to it in Gmail, if you prefer.

Lastly, if you’re a developer and would like to learn how to build and send emails like these, check out this blog post for inspiration.

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                                <br><a href="https://www.blog.google/products/gmail/take-action-and-stay-up-to-date-with-dynamic-email-in-gmail/">Source link </a>

Making Gmail on mobile better for you

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If you’ve used Gmail on the web in the past year, you probably noticed its new features that were designed to help you get things done quickly.

With machine learning, Gmail can help you draft emails faster using Smart Compose, or reply to messages quicker with suggested responses generated by Smart Reply. It can also “nudge” you to follow up on emails with subtle reminders in your inbox, and notify you to reply to threads so that you can prioritize what’s important or overdue.

Today, we’re kicking off the year with a new look for Gmail on mobile, too. As part of the new design, you can quickly view attachments—like photos—without opening or scrolling through the conversation. It’s also easier to switch between personal and work accounts, so you can access all of your emails without breaking a sweat. And just like on the web, you’ll get big, red warnings to alert you when something looks phish-y.

This update is part of a larger effort to make G Suite look and act like a family of products, designed in the Google Material Theme with ease-of-use in mind. We’ve already updated the web experiences for Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and most recently Google Docs and Sites. In the coming weeks, you’ll see the new mobile design in Gmail on Android and iOS, with more G Suite mobile apps to follow later this year.

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                                <br><a href="https://www.blog.google/products/gmail/making-gmail-on-mobile-better-for-you/">Source link </a>

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