Meet Ben Hundley--a fraternity president who keeps his chapter moving with a little help from Google Docs. 

We want to know how you use Google Docs, too, so share your own examples at +GoogleDocs or @googledocs with the hashtag #mygoogledocs. -Ed.

Hi Ben! Tell us a little about yourself and Delta Upsilon WSU. 
 My name is Ben Hundley and I am the current President of Delta Upsilon WSU. We are a small chapter between the size of 30-40 guys currently and we are based off of the four founding principles of: Promotion of Friendship, Development of Character, Diffusion of Liberal Culture and the Advancement of Justice. Our organization recently celebrated 120 years on our campus and we are extremely proud of the continued tradition and benefit our members offer to the community.
How does Google Docs fit into your chapter’s day to day? 
We as a chapter use Google Docs primarily with our executive board and recruitment team. The executive board has 8 sitting members and the recruitment team has 5 sitting members. For the executive board, we are able to keep documents saved via a house Google account. This allows us to ease the transition each year during officer elections.

This summer we have been using Google Docs heavily in order to allow the executive board to give input on the restructuring of our organization's bylaws. It has made it significantly easier for us to discuss changes and execute those changes in a timely manner because we can have multiple people addressing the same issues or action points without having to be in the same city or state. Our recruitment team is able to coordinate our recruiting efforts through Google Sheets. The lifeblood of any collegiate organization is recruiting new members and therefore, having an easily accessible spreadsheet to track who is calling who and which people have already been contacted is vital.

What are 3 tips you’d give to other fraternities & sororities who use/would consider using Google Docs? If our chapter had to give 3 tips to other greek life, they would be:
  1. Host a training session!! Although Google Docs are easy to navigate, it is still essential to ensure everyone is on the same page. 
  2. Don't forget to learn the ins and outs of privacy and sharing documents 
  3. EXPERIMENT! Try out features and see if they can be adapted to your chapter's needs.

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)

The tradition of ringing in each New Year with resolutions (whether we stick to them or not) is always an opportunity to reflect and start the year ahead on the right foot. As students and teachers around the world return to campuses and classrooms this fall, we’re embarking on a different kind of fresh start: a New (School) Year. And we want to help you make the most of it. So we’ve put together a few resolution ideas, plus tips to help you stick to them. We’ve also made a resolution of our own: to bring the best of Google technology to education.
The best of Google, for education
Like many resolutions, ours might sound familiar—and that’s because the Google for Education team has been working on it for a while. Over the last few years, we’ve spent a lot of time with teachers and students, witnessing firsthand how technology is helping in the classroom and learning about challenges that are yet unsolved. With feedback from schools, we’ve improved products like Google Apps for Education and Docs, building in new features specifically useful for education. We’ve also created new learning experiences like Google Classroom—a sort of mission control for teachers and students, offering a single place to keep track of all class materials, eliminating paperwork and making it easy for teachers to collaborate with students, and students to collaborate with each other.

So as part of our resolution this school year, we’re launching some new features in Google Classroom. Teachers can now easily ask students questions in Classroom, alongside all the other class materials in the stream. Teachers also told us that they want more ways for students to engage with each other, and flex their critical thinking muscles. So now students can comment on each other’s answers in Classroom and have open-ended discussions. In the next month, we'll also make it possible for teachers to add assignments, due dates and field trips to a shared calendar.

So what’s your resolution?
We’re sure you’ve already set some big goals for the year ahead—from acing AP Bio to landing that killer internship. Whatever your plans, it can be tough to stick with those goals once assignments and social commitments start to pile up. So we’ve collected 50+ tips from more than 15 Google products to help you follow through with your resolutions. Here are some ideas:
Resolution 1. Get (and stay) organized
When you’re bogged down by clutter, it can be tough to get stuff done. Make this your year to be more organized. Never miss another study group with help from Google Calendar. Use Google Sheets to keep all your classmates' info in one place, and better manage your inbox by emailing everyone at once with a Google group.

Resolution 2. Get (mentally) fit
Push yourself to take your studies to the next level. Teach yourself how to code with Made with Code. Make the most of language class by saving your most used words and phrases with Google Translate or magically translating webpages with Google Chrome.

Resolution 3. Get some worldly perspective
Not studying abroad this year? No problem. You can still unleash your inner explorer with Google Maps Treks and visit the Pyramids of Giza or the Great Barrier Reef without leaving your room. Or bring your art history class to life by seeing those masterpieces up close and in perfect detail with Cultural Institute.

We hope these give you new ideas for how you can make this school year your best yet. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be announcing more tips and other updates—so follow along with #GoogleEdu and on Google+. We’ll be doing our homework to stick to our resolution, so we can hopefully give you what you need to do the same. Now go hit those books! 

Posted by Miriam Schneider, Google for Education

Meet Kaitlin Kominsky--a publicist from New York who considers Google Docs to be her best kept secret to keeping on top of her busy personal and professional schedules. 

We want to know how you use Google Docs, too, so share your own examples at +GoogleDocs or @googledocs with the hashtag #mygoogledocs. -Ed. 

Hi Kaitlin. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! My name is Kaitlin and I live in Brooklyn, New York. I’m a publicist at an agency called M18 PR that specializes in global media relations and brand strategy for clients in the intersecting fields of hospitality, real estate and design. I work with a roster of restaurants, bars and hotels - and it’s my job to make sure their stories are told.

How did you first get introduced to Google Docs?
When I moved to New York, my first job was interning at a hotel in Tribeca and helping with event production after my college classes. Every night, the hotel would host a few different parties on property, including film premieres, live concerts, tech conferences and art openings. Each event had a different guest list, and I was tasked with editing them throughout the day as RSVP confirmations came in. Google Docs made it easy for me to keep each list up to date, which seems like a small task, but is actually very important (Have you ever been denied entry because “you’re not on the list”?) It also allowed me to pull up my class notes while working late, between checking in guests at the door on my tablet. Thanks Google, for helping me graduate.

I hear that you’ve been using Google Docs for a long time, in a lot of different ways. Tell us more about this.
It’s important for me both personally and professionally to stay organized. Working in a field that requires a lot of travel and socializing beyond the desk, I’m often bouncing between the properties I work with, meetings with press, and late night events. Google Docs not only make it easy for me to access important documents and schedules on the go, but also to create a common space to connect with my colleagues when we are in different cities. Because I work in real time with the news cycle, my presentations and meeting materials are constantly in flux. I often find myself updating case studies and press reports in my cab with the Google Docs app, minutes before meeting with a client (but shh, that’s a secret).
Beyond the office, I like to create a checklist each week of things to do, articles to read, and people to see. Though I like the idea of keeping a beautiful, leather-bound planner, it’s just not feasible for my lifestyle. My checklist, which I create in Sheets (“Sheetz To Do”) is an informal and non-fussy way for me to ensure I’m managing my time. Depending on my mood, I may throw a horoscope or ironic .gif in there too. If “Do Your Laundry” has been carried over for more than a week, I know I’m in trouble.

I also have a running summer calendar with my roommate of things to do around the city. We update it as we hear of outdoor shows & movies, new restaurants, art openings, and readings. I’m more artistic while she’s more literary, and because we can both update it, it often inspires me to check out a part of her world that I wouldn’t normally be inclined to. It also helps eliminate the “What are we going to do tonight?” problem. Well, sometimes at least... I’m a Libra.

What are 3 tips you’d give for other people who use/would consider using Google Docs?
  1. Download the app! It’s easy (and free, very important). 
  2. Make use of the “Personal Dictionary” tool, it puts Word’s ‘synonyms’ button to shame. 
  3. Share with your colleagues, friends and family! The best feature about Google Docs is that it provides a platform to contribute and communicate.

<Cross-posted from the Google for Work blog>

Google Slides helps you share your big ideas with the world, but sometimes presenting these ideas can be challenging. In June, Slides added support for Chromecast and Airplay, which made it easier to project your slides on the big screen. Now there’s another new way to share your work: easy presenting to Hangouts video calls.Teammates, partners, clients and classmates can see your ideas, even if they’re on the other side of the planet.
  As you get ready for the big meeting, all you need is your Android phone or tablet. With one tap of the present button, you’ll see the option to present to a Hangouts video call. Meetings that are scheduled on your calendar will automatically be listed, so you can be up and running in no time. 

You’ll also get a handy look at who's on the call before you start presenting. Once you’re ready to rock, you can use your mobile device to advance slides, view speaker notes and stay on track with a built-in timer.

Presenting just got even easier with Google Slides on Android, available starting today and rolling out over the next few days.

Posted by Fenil Shah, Software Engineer, Google Slides

Meet Jessica Scheer, an Executive Director at a non-profit, who as a team of one, uses Google Docs to help her keep things running smoothly. 

We want to know how you use Google Docs, too, so share your own examples at +GoogleDocs or @googledocs with the hashtag #mygoogledocs. -Ed

Hi Jessica! Tell us a little about yourself and what you do. 
I'm the Executive Director for the EB Research Partnership. We are the largest organization in the U.S. dedicated to funding research for EB, a group of rare and life-threatening genetic skin disorders affecting children from birth.
As the first and sole staff person for this dynamic organization, I’m focused on raising funds, communicating with our community, and building the organization. I need easy ways to keep our founders, families, board members and volunteers engaged and informed and Google Docs addresses that need in a way that no other tool can.
How does Google Docs fit into your work with EB Research?
Google Docs is instrumental to what we do. I use Google Drive and Docs for our communication pieces, event planning documents, grants management- everything really! One of the best uses of Google Docs to date was when we recently created a quick survey with Forms, prior to one of our Community Council webinars. I built a beautiful form that I then embedded into our website. That data helped us frame an important discussion about Advocacy with our community.

What are 3 tips you'd give for other organizations like yours who use/would consider using Google Docs?
It’s been noted before, but it helps to familiarize people with the tool whenever you can.
If your team isn't familiar with Docs yet, let them know that they will receive an email when comments are made. This helps orient them to a live editing process and keeps your communication about the doc on track.
You can use comments to provide context about the set-up of a Doc, Sheet or Slide. I found it helpful to explain why I color-coded rows by people’s ownership in a Sheet.

Meet Dara Castiglione, a wedding planner from New Jersey. After reading one of her tweets about Google Docs, we chatted to better understand how she uses the family of products to run her wedding planning business. 

We want to know how you use Google Docs, too, so share your own examples at +GoogleDocs or @googledocs with the hashtag #mygoogledocs. -Ed. 

Hi Dara! Tell us a little about yourself and what you do. 
Hi! My name is Dara and I am the Owner of Castiglione Events, a boutique wedding and special events planning company in New Jersey. I plan around eight weddings a year in New Jersey and New York, as well as other small parties. My primary focus is to keep my clients organized and on schedule during the hectic planning process, which typically lasts about a year. I do have assistants, but the day-to-day tasks and the bulk of the major planning are done by me alone. Google Docs is a great tool that helps to keep myself and my clients organized.
How does Google Docs fit into your wedding planning business? 
There are many contracts, budgets, spreadsheets and timelines that are used during the planning process. They have to stay organized or you’ll go crazy trying to piece everything together. I offer full service planning, but the majority of my work is partial planning/day of coordination. With this type of service, clients are very involved in the planning process. So the use of Google Docs is imperative to ensure we’re always on the same page. I collect pertinent information from clients through shared spreadsheets which allows all of us to go in and modify in one shared, organized space. Most of my clients live far away and work full-time, so in lieu of meetings and constant phone conferences that no one today really has time for, we work together in a shared space that allows a constant stream of communication. We work on wording for menu cards, ceremony programs, and even ceremony scripts and readings through Google Docs as well. Commenting is key because it allows all parties to address a question, concern, or issue head-on as opposed to writing a whole email about it. We can work together right there in the document. It’s a definite time-saver!

What are three tips you’d give for other wedding planners about using Google Docs? 
Show clients how to use it if they’re unfamiliar! Don’t just settle for them not knowing how. It will seriously make your life (and theirs!) so much easier and they will thank you for it. It’s worth taking the extra time to give them a quick lesson.

Don’t forget about revision history. It allows you to view all changes and additions that have been made by you and the person you’re sharing with. Check every once in a while. You never know if something they typed in and erased out of uncertainty is actually important info or an incredible idea!
Invite vendors to join in working this way. I’m always collaborating with DJ’s and caterers to establish the perfect timeline and flow for each event. I send draft timelines in Google Docs, which allows them to add in specific elements important to them, or comments in areas they need revised to fit their requirements after they see my proposed timeline.

Meet Marie Forleo. Named by Oprah as a thought leader for the next generation and one of Inc.’s 500 fastest growing companies of 2014, Marie's mission is to help people realize their greatest potential and their gifts to change the world. She’s the creator of the award-winning show MarieTV, founder of B-School and has been featured in Inc. Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine among others. After reading one of her tweets about Google Docs, we chatted to better understand how she uses the family of products to run her business. 

We want to know how you use the Google Docs family of products, too, so share your own examples at +GoogleDocs or @googledocs with the hashtag #mygoogledocs. -Ed. 

Hi Marie. First, tell us about who you are and what you do. 
I’m an unshakable optimist. I believe in a world where the vast majority of people wake up everyday excited to use their gifts to create a kinder, more meaningful life for all. My job is to help you reach your highest potential and use your unique talents to change the world. I do that through writing, teaching, and speaking each week on our show MarieTV, and through our online courses and programs.

How do you guys use Google Docs? 
As a virtual company, our team spans from Hawaii to Los Angeles to New York and more cities in between. And 99.9% of everything we create happens first in Google Docs. We constantly collaborate online and it’s all powered through Google Docs. We write our show scripts, craft and edit newsletters, generate all of the ideas for our free and premium content, brainstorm and execute strategies, track our priorities and goals, and review customer feedback. I’m not kidding when I say Google Docs powers our entire company. We love it and could simply not function at the level we do without it. We have a running joke that if anyone has an idea or initiative they want to bring to life, the first step is “Start a Google doc about it!”

What are three suggestions you’d have for other folks who are using or thinking about using Google Docs to run their business? 

  1. Make sure everyone on your team understands Google Docs and is comfortable with how the basics work (sharing, formatting, adding and replying to comments, etc.). A few minutes spent training each other prevents frustration early on and leads to massive gains in productivity down the line. 
  2. Be aware of who your documents are shared with. Realize everyone can see comments so be conscious of how you frame feedback to avoid upsets and misunderstandings. 
  3. Hot Tip: If you’re collaborating in real time in a super long document, you can quickly and easily “hop to” where a fellow collaborator is writing within the document by clicking on their icon in the upper right corner. It will bring you to exactly where their cursor is. This trick saves us a lot of time and helps us (literally) stay on the same page as each other while working in a virtual environment. 

Do you use Google Docs for anything in your personal life or around the house? 
Oh my goodness, yes. I use Google Docs for everything from tracking family expenses, mapping out home renovation strategies, brainstorming vacation plans and working on personal visions and goals. I seriously LIVE in Google Docs and I love it.