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

googlebadgeWe hope that the move to Gmail has gone well with yourself and your colleagues. Please remember that support is still ongoing to help with any issues.

 The project wanted to take this opportunity to inform you of the plans for the migration of calendar content from Oracle Calendar and the launch of Google calendar from Monday 15 April.


On the evening of Thursday 11 April we will begin the final migration of Oracle Calendar content to Google calendar.  This work will be completed by the morning of Monday 15 April.



  • No new events in Oracle calendar 
    From 5pm Thursday no new events should be added to Oracle Calendar. 
    You can add new events to Google calendar from Thursday 11 April (but before 15 April please check Oracle Calendar for any potential clashes).
    Access to Google calendar
    You can access Google calendar via the login page on the Calendar support website or via the Calendar link in the top toolbar in Gmail.
    • Make sure that you are only looking at your calendar. Under ‘My calendars’ on the left, select your  calendar name and click the drop-down arrow that appears to the right and chose ‘Display only this calendar’.

    Migration of existing Oracle calendar data will not be complete until Monday 15 April

    The migration of Oracle date will not be complete till Monday 15 April so calendars will not be complete until that time.
    Please refrain from deleting or replacing duplicate or missing events until migration is complete on Monday 15 April.
    Known issues
    There are known issues with migration of data from Oracle Calendar resulting in the the creation of some duplicate events and missing events.Please wait for the completion of the data migration on Monday 15 April before checking events.
    • From 15 April please take some time to check the accuracy of your future meetings.
      • Do not delete duplicates unless you are the ‘Owner’ of the event to avoid any confusion. Visit the known issues with migration link above for advice on identifying duplicates to remove.
    • ‘Owners’ will have been informed that some meetings have not migrated and they should be responsible for recreating those meetings in Google Calendar.
    • This duplication will only affect migrated events and will not happen to events you put in Google calendar in future.
    Please note that no data will be lost. Oracle Calendar will be available to view till at least the end of August 2013.
    Advice & support

Nick Skelton

Assistant Director, IT Services


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)











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


It won’t be long until all our staff have use of Gmail, Google Drive and Google Calendar. We thought it would be useful to keep in touch and provide an update on progress so staff can get a better sense of when things are happening.

Earlier this week we completed our 2nd of 3 pilots – Human Resources. Human Resources is a department of 80 users, spread across the University. We chose HR as they are both a support service and non technical so are a typical use case of a lot of the University.

Our first pilot was IT Services – chosen because they will be the ones supporting the University at large and they need to gain familiarisation with the products. Also, as a technical user group, they give us feedback from a different viewpoint to HR.

Overall, the processes we have for migration to Google Apps and the products we offer such as Gmail, Drive and, in the near future, Calendar, are being very well received. Users are liking the large quotas, the productive features in Gmail/Drive and the fact it is easily accessible everywhere, even from a mobile device.

Our 3rd and last pilot will be our first major academic pilot and our biggest to date – the entire Langford site, taking in departments such as Veterinary Science and Farm Science. We’ve chosen Langford as being a self contained academic site, they are typical of another large part of the University and will provide us with feedback from another viewpoint.


What does this mean for the migration of the University at large?

We’re still working towards and confident we can achieve the same date we’ve advertised for some time – Q2 of this year. We can’t be as exact as we’d like to be yet, but when we are in position to make the go go go decision, we’ll make it with a bang and make sure people know!

In the very near future we’ll be holding roadshows in locations across the University. These are not formal training sessions, but informal demos and updates,áiming to give you a flavour of Gmail, Drive and Calendar before we go live – please come along!

In the meantime, if you have any questions/queries for the project, please drop us an email:


Mally Mclane
Communication and Collaboration Services Manager
University of Bristol

When delivering a roadshow in Langford last week, a question that came up was “now everything is based in the web, what happens if I lose my network connection?“. The simple answer is, your email is stille there, any documents you were working on are still there and your calendar entries are still accessible.


Gmail Offline

The install of Google Chrome that we are rolling out includes Gmail Offline. You need to enable it first (in your gmail settings), but then it works by syncing your email to your computer – meaning that if you lose a network connection (e.g. you turn your laptop off and go take a train), then you will still be able to send new email and read synced mail. The interface is slightly different, but should be familiar to Gmail users

Gmail offline













Google Docs (now known as Google Drive) Offline

For those who don’t know, Google Drive is a rich, collaborative document editing package that is online. Take the major features of Microsoft Office, add in the ability to have multiple people working one the one document at the same time, and make it accessible through a web browser – that’s Google Drive. Again, if you lose network connection, you don’t lose the ability to edit or read documents, you carry on as normal. As with Gmail, you need to make a concious decision to turn it on (as it syncs data to your local PC, this is stop it syncing data to PCs you don’t normally use), but any changes you make offline will be synced back as soon as your network connection comes back.


Google Calendar Offline

In Chrome, Google Calendar is also available offline for it’s major features. This means you can read your current schedule and RSVP to any invitations – all without a network connection. Any changes you make are then automatically synced back next time you’re online. You again need to consciously turn it on by clicking the ‘cog’ icon and choosing offline, but then it will always be available offline to you.


All of the features and more often require Google Chrome. Google put their newest and best features into Google Chrome first. Along with the strong security and privacy features of Chrome, along with other benefits that you can see at:, the rich feature-set is one of the reasons we are deploying Google Chrome throughout the University.


Mally Mclane
Communication and Collaboration Services Manager
University of Bristol

(Today, January 28, is Data Privacy Day, when people around the world try to raise awareness and promote data privacy education. It is currently ‘celebrated’ in the UK, United States, Canada, and 26 other European countries.)


Prior to beginning to put people onto Google Mail, Drive and Calendar, we spent a year negotiating a contract (find it linked here: ) with Google to give you greater data security and privacy privileges over and above their standard contract. However, Google, just like the University itself, has a legal obligation to comply with legitimate requests served on it.

Though these requests are rare (for email data I can count on one hand the amount we’ve had in the past year), they do happen and it’s important we know what our suppliers reaction to them is.

Google are addressing this in 3 ways:

  • They are active in lobbying for changes to various laws around the world, ensuring that a users privacy rights remain at the forefront of any laws used to provide lawful access to their data.
  • They have one of the strictest processes in the industry for dealing with such requests.
  • They provide regular updates and statistics on requests from Government/Law Enforcement along with details on countries censoring their services in the Google Transparency Report.

Although it’s written around American law (which we are subject to with Google as a US based supplier, but protected by Google’s adherance to the Safe Harbor principles), they have published an interesting blog post around their processes and procedures:

They apply the same strict procedures to requests served on them under UK law.

You can find the Google Transparency Report at


Mally Mclane
Communication and Collaboration Services Manager
University of Bristol


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