googlebadgeWe hope you’re enjoying the power and mobility that Google Mail, Google Calendar and Google drive bring to your working lives. Every day, we’re hearing great stories from people who are finding new features in the Google products and applying them to the way that they work.

As the Google products are very new to the University, we want to pro-actively reach out and trial holding ‘Google Clinics’ at regular intervals over the next few weeks.  The idea of a Google Clinic is you can come along and ask anything you want – about any of the Google products or the way you use them. They won’t be formal training sessions, just simple drop in sessions designed to give you quick fixes or new ideas.

You can find the Google Clinics at the following times/locations:

  • Tuesday 30th April, 12-2pm (Senate House reception)
  • Wednesday 8th May, 12-2pm (Chemistry cafe area)
  • Wednesday 15th May, 12-2pm (Langford Cafe)


We’ll be wearing our blue Google tshirts so will be easy to spot and we look forward to meeting you!


Mally Mclane
Communication and Collaboration Services Manager
University of Bristol

The date for the main staff migration to Gmail, Thursday 28th March to Wednesday April 3rd, is rapidly approaching and because we are migrating over a holiday weekend, people are asking what happens to Out of Office?

For those moving to Gmail over the Easter weekend please note that  the Out of Office function will be disabled.

Staff migrating over the Easter weekend (majority of staff)

Please setup your Out of Office as normal in ‘smartsieve’ on Thursday,  March 28th. Once the email migration has finished (expected to be Wednesday, April 3rd), we will transfer across your Out of Office reply to Google. If you log into Gmail over the Easter weekend, please do not set up an Out of Office reply until the Wednesday.

This means that you will not have an Out of Office reply from Friday March 29th to Wednesday April 3rd. This is because as emails are migrated, each email transferring across would trigger an Out of Office to be sent, regardless of the email’s age.

Early adopters / pilots of the Gmail Service

You need to take no special action, you can continue to set your Out of Office reply in the Gmail interface as usual. For those who don’t know how to do this, you can find instructions at:

Both sets of users

When you return, you will need to turn off your Out of Office in Gmail. You can do this from the yellow banner displayed across the top of your inbox, or from the ‘General’ page in Gmail settings.

The Google products have been built from the ground up with great features baked right in from the start, but they are also extendable. This blog post will look at 4 of the more popular extensions available for you to install.

(Whilst easy to use, these extension unfortunately come with no support from the University)


This plugin is like a project management system, just for your email. You can assign priority levels and group emails into projects, so you can focus on the projects/people, rather than the emails. One feature we particularly like is scheduling emails to appear at a time more suitable to you is a simple task manager that syncs across iPhone, iPad, Android and as a Chrome extension. It allows you to keep track of what tasks you have and at the beginning of each day, plan the day ahead.

Boomerang can send emails on a schedule you define, whilst monitoring replies and chasing them, automatically, if needed

  • IEmultitab – Display IE only webpages, inside Chrome –

Encountered a website that needs IE, but you’re using Chrome? There are some even within the University, but now you can use the IE browser to display them without even leaving Chrome.




There are many, many more available through the Chrome webstore: If you are interested in any, please make sure to check out their privacy policies and conditions of use before installing them.


If you have discovered a useful Chrome extension, let us know in the comments below!




On Wednesday, April 3rd, staff and postgraduate research students will be able to access their new Gmail accounts for the first time. Following on quickly, they’ll then be able to access their Google Calendar accounts for the first time on Monday, April 15th

We’re aware that while many use Gmail and Google Calendar at home some do not; and the way we manage work and home emails isn’t necessarily the same.

To help you familiarise yourself with these new systems, we encourage you, where possible, to take some time on the launch days to work through the University guides, which will be available for both Gmail and Google Calendar. These guides will be available in both PDF form and a printed version that will be delivered locally to you.

If you want to find out more about how email and calendar data will be migrated or to see a demonstration of Gmail and Google Calendar, come along to one of the Roadshows in March:

You may also be interested in attending one of the introductory ‘top tips’ sessions available via the Staff Development website:

Further information about the email and calendar project, including a series of FAQs, and links to support information for Google applications, can be found on the project website at:

During the implementation period there will be additional support provided via staffed Information Points in main University buildings and the IT Service Desk. You’ll receive further information on this before the move.

If you have any questions please contact us via


Mally Mclane
Communication and Collaboration Services Manager
University of Bristol

googlebadgeWe’re pleased to say that we are now in a position to announce that Google Calendar will go live to all staff and Postgraduate Research students on Monday, April 15th. At this point, Oracle Calendar will no longer be the University corporate calendar and any events/meetings must be booked in Google Calendar. Google calendar will be accessible alongside Gmail and Google Drive using the Google Chrome web browser.

Planning the migration from Oracle Calendar to Google calendar has involved extensive work to capture staff needs and current use of calendar. We’ve also spoken to other Universities to see what their experiences of both migration and use has been like. We’ve done considerable work on the technical means to migrate our existing data from Oracle to Google.

However, despite our best efforts, our testing has shown that there are a small number of specific circumstances where some data transfers incorrectly. Other institutions have also encountered these problems when migrating from Oracle and there are no known fixes.

In particular, we have identified the following issues:

  • Meetings with complex repeating rules : the repeating link may break and some events may be missing. To help you identify missing entries, we will be logging these during the migration process and we will then contact the event creators to inform them.
  • Meetings created in Outlook : Some of them will migrate with the word ‘TENTATIVE’ prefixed to the meeting title, even if they were not initially added as tentative.
  • We have also noted that a very small number of meetings may have duplicate entries, particularly those with lots of attendees

In any of these cases, Oracle is available as read only for you to identify such instances.

Additionally, you should be aware that we are unable to automatically migrate:

  • Calendar Attachments
  • Tasks
  • Personal notes
  • Event and project calendars
  • Contacts/Address book

We recommend that everyone takes some time in the first week of using Google Calendar to check the accuracy of your future meetings. Oracle will be available for reference purposes until at least August 2013.

We have information about the migration process and how Calendar will work on the project FAQs:

We also have a calendar support website which provides additional information on getting started and how to use Google calendar:

We strongle recommend that you attend one of the roadshows  taking place in March to find out more about the process and how Google calendar will work.

As with Gmail, Google calendar is fairly intuitive and we don’t expect that most people will need any formal training. However, we will be offering short (2 hour) hands-on sessions so that staff can familiarise themselves with Google calendar. You can find these on the Staff Development website.

During the the launch you’ll have access to FAQs and training materials on the calendar support website, a printed guide and access to staffed Information Points in key University buildings providing support. You can also contact the IT Service Desk with questions.

If you have any questions at this point and can’t find the answer on the FAQs please email

Mally Mclane
Communication and Collaboration Services Manager
University of Bristol

googlebadgeAll staff to get Google in early April 2013!

Over 2 years of planning (and a few changes on the way),  three whole schools and departments have migrated to Google as formal pilots, along with numerous informal  early adopters across the University. We now have over 600 staff using Gmail, and can announce the timetable for rolling out Google services to all remaining staff and research postgraduates.


We’ll be launching with Gmail and Google Drive across the weekend beginning Good Friday, March 29th. We will carry out the final stage to migrate old email into Google that weekend, with the aim that all staff will have their emails in Gmail by first thing on Wednesday, April 3rd.

Access to both new incoming and old email will be available over that weekend, however we are advising staff to avoid using the email system if possible. This is to prevent potential confusion whilst their migration completes.  Every effort has been made to pick the ‘best’ time for the University as a whole, but we understand that this may cause issues in particular areas. If you have serious concerns in relation to work commitments on that weekend please contact the project team using the email address below for further clarification.

Google Calendar

We will be launching Google Calendar to all staff shortly after the Gmail launch, with the exact date to be confirmed soon.  Past events from 1 August 2012 onwards and all future events will be migrated from Oracle Calendar to Google Calendar.  No action is needed by staff at this time, staff should continue to book meetings using Oracle Calendar, and these will be copied across into Google.


In total staff will get access to a range of Google Applications, including:

  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Drive/Docs
  • Google Chat
  • Google Contacts
  • Google Forms

These are all accessed in one online location providing an integrated suite of communications and collaboration tools that are always up-to-date and accessible from wherever you are.  We are recommending that staff access Google services online via the Google Chrome web browser, which will be deployed to all UoB PCs.  This provides the best and most  integrated experience of using the full range of Google services.

Staff using Google have provided very positive feedback, with comments such as: “love it!”, “Well done… this is a real step forward!”, “lowered my stress in dealing with email in volume…brilliant many thanks”.

We’ll be sending out information next week on the training and other support that will be available prior, during and after the launch. In the meantime see the list of  Roadshow dates ( and select the most suitable one for you. The Roadshow will provide all the information you need to know about your migration, including  a  demonstration of the Google services and also advice on additional support.  You’ll also have the chance to ask any questions you may have.

We know you’ll have a load of questions and some concerns.  We’ve tried our best to predict them and we would ask that you check the FAQs on the project website  You’ll also find a countdown clock to the Gmail launch!

If you have any questions that you can’t find an answer to via the project website and you’re unable to attend a Roadshow  then please contact the project team on

Many thanks

Nick Skelton

Assistant Director IT Services (Infrastructure)










Google Drive is the product from Google that allows you to store any file type safely, have it accessible from anywhere through a web browser and, in the case of ‘Office Documents’, collaborate in realtime with multiple people from both internal and external sources. Google Drive is available to all our Google users at the University and is covered under the contract we have signed with Google.

Today, they have launched a new feature that allows you to preview, in Drive, any 1 of 30 different file types, simply by right clicking the filename. From within the preview window you will be able to watch a video, or flick through an Office document without needing any further software on your PC.




Google have more information on this new feature at their own blog post:





A lot of the questions the project receives revolve around security and privacy. We take the questions seriously and have tried to cover this both in our FAQs, our road-shows as we go around the University and  also in a previous blog post.

To tie all this together, we spent over a year working with the University Secretary’s Office and Google to write a contract that gave significant data security/privacy provisions  over and above their standard business  contract – this contract is now being used by JANET/Google as a basis for a national contract for all UK HE institution’s. In our efforts to be  as open and transparent as possible, you can read the contract online at:

But all of the above is action the University has taken to protect it’s staff. Google themselves also take pro-active action in protecting their infrastructure and users against attacks.

Physical Security

Google operate many data centres to provide the services they do and to offer the security and reliablity guarantees that they can. To back this up they have undergone and achieved several independent/industry recognised security certifications, you can find more details on them at Google’s own site:


Compared to five years ago, more scams, illegal, fraudulent or spammy messages today come from someone you know. Although spam filters have become very powerful—in Gmail, less than 1 percent of spam emails make it into an inbox—these unwanted messages are much more likely to make it through if they come from someone you’ve been in contact with before. As a result, in 2010 spammers started changing their tactics—and Google saw a large increase in fraudulent mail sent from Google Accounts. In turn, the Google security team has developed new ways to keep you safe, and dramatically reduced the amount of these messages.

Spammers’ new trick—hijacking accounts 
To improve their chances of beating a spam filter by sending you spam from your contact’s account, the spammer first has to break into that account. This means many spammers are turning into account thieves. Every day, cyber criminals break into websites to steal databases of usernames and passwords—the online “keys” to accounts. They put the databases up for sale on the black market, or use them for their own nefarious purposes. Because many people re-use the same password across different accounts, stolen passwords from one site are often valid on others.

With stolen passwords in hand, attackers attempt to break into accounts across the web and across many different services. We’ve seen a single attacker using stolen passwords to attempt to break into a million different Google accounts every single day, for weeks at a time. A different gang attempted sign-ins at a rate of more than 100 accounts per second. Other services are often more vulnerable to this type of attack, but when someone tries to log into your Google Account, the Google security system does more than just check that a password is correct.

How Google Security helps protect your account
Every time you sign in to Google, whether via Chrome once a month or an email program that checks for new mail every five minutes, Google performs a complex risk analysis to determine how likely it is that the sign-in really comes from you. In fact, there are more than 120 variables that can factor into how a decision is made.

If a sign-in is deemed suspicious or risky for some reason—maybe it’s coming from a country oceans away from your last sign-in—we ask some simple questions about your account. These questions are normally hard for a hijacker to solve, but are easy for the real owner. Using security measures like these, Google have dramatically reduced the number of compromised accounts by 99.7 percent since the peak of these hijacking attempts in 2011.

In the future

The Universtiy is investigating the use of ‘2 Factor Authentication’, where as well as your username/password, you enter in a unique one time code that you generate using your mobile phone. This gives further security to your Google account, but is one of only several security products we are currently researching.


We hope this blog helps to explain that both the University and Google take security very seriously. If the blog has generated any thoughts or questions, we’d be keen to hear them! You can contact us via email:


Mally Mclane
Communication and Collaboration Services Manager
University of Bristol


googlebadgeLangford is our 3rd pilot migration to Google Apps and the Go-Live date for them is Monday, February 25th.

This pilot will be a complete mirror of the way we intend to do the migration of the main bulk of staff later in the year. The processes for migrating users, migrating email, installing software onto PCs, running support – everything is the same – it’s a big test!

We’ve now completed 3 road-shows at Langford and the reception and welcome we received from Langford staff about the project was very positive. There is a lot of excitement on the Langford site for the Google Apps we’re launching with (Gmail and Drive, Calendar following very soon) and we’re sure we’ll live up to the promise!

For those who were unable to attend any of the roadshows you can download the powerpoint or a PDF from Google Drive: – you’ll also find a reminder of various items below.


What happens when?

  • Legacy email becomes read-only: evening of Friday, February 22nd 
  • Email access is emergency only: Saturday, February 23rd and Sunday, February 24th
  • Google Access is available: 9am, Monday February 25th


What do I get access to?

  • Google Mail (Gmail)
  • Google Drive
  • Google Contacts
  • Google Talk
  • and, a short time later, Google Calendar


How do I log on and access services?

  • By clicking the UoB Staff Email shortcut in your start menu
  • or, if it’s not there, by opening Google Chrome and going to and clicking the Staff login link button.


How do I access support?

  • All our support is accessible online, via We are trialling a 3rd party support tool called the Cloud Skills Academy and we would appreciate your feedback on it. You can access it via by clicking ‘Cloud Skills Academy’ from the link above.
  1. Getting Help in Google Apps using the Cloud Skills Academy

Monday 25th February, 3 PM

  1. Getting Help in Google Apps using the Cloud Skills Academy

Tuesday 26th February, 3 PM


  • If you think you need further help, please log a ticket via the Service Desk in the usual way.


Will you be offering your ‘Top Tips’ sessions and mobile help drop in sessions?

Yes! Details and a registration form have been sent to staff in the Pilot group.

  • Tuesday, February 26th @ 10am-11am [FULLY BOOKED]
  • Wednesday, March 6th @ 10am-11am
  • Wednesday, March 6th @ 1pm-2pm



If you have any questions at all, please do not hestiate to email us! Our email address is


Mally Mclane
Communication and Collaboration Services Manager
University of Bristol





googlebadgeWe are well advanced with our preparations for the third and final pilot with staff at Langford (see the previous posts for details). This pilot is a complete replica of processes which will be used for the all staff move to Google Services when we migrate all staff.

Our survey on shared mailbox use, in preparation for the move to Google delegated accounts closed this week. In total, we have surveyed over 1,000 shared mailboxes to work out their suitability to move to Google delegated accounts. The plan is to move those still in current use to Google at the same time as personal mailboxes.

We are refining our support materials, working on the production of guides for Gmail and Google Calendar, and putting road-shows and training sessions into place. We’ll also be setting up a number of information points around the University in the first few days of Google to give you quick access to support.

At the end of February, when we complete the pilot at Langford, we’ll have a very clear idea of where we are with preparations for the full implementation of Google services to all staff. We hope to be able to announce at that time the date for implementation and begin to advertise the road-shows for you to attend.


As ever, if you have any questions, please drop us an email on!


Mally Mclane
Communication and Collaboration Services Manager
University of Bristol

Next Page »