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Your Guide to the Best Google Apps Events

David Politis

October 31, 2013

4 minute read

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Tomorrow is BetterCloud’s two-year anniversary and over the last two years we’ve established close relationships with many of our customers, some of whom have taken on very active and outspoken roles in the Google Apps administrator community.

While it’s encouraging to see some admins willing to share (and in some cases establish) best practices for operating on Google Apps, it’s typically the same fifty to sixty participating in forums, online communities and speaking at local and regional events.

We think there’s a huge opportunity and need for more admins to share their best practices for managing, securing and administering a Google Apps domain. After all, Google is constantly releasing new features and products that no one in the enterprise has seen before. Take for instance the launch of Google+ three years ago. When the new social network came out it didn’t come with a set of best practices for the enterprise – and there’s still really no set formula for deploying Google+ in a business or EDU environment. We need more active involvement from the community of Google Apps administrators to really propel Google Apps adoption and expertise forward.

In-person and online events that occur throughout the year give admins an opportunity to share with and learn from the community at large and are a great way to give back to other admins new to Google Apps.

There are several events that occur year round – here are some of our favorites:

Google Apps Regional Groups

Fast Facts:

  • Run by Google
  • Open to business, EDU and non-profit customers
  • Held globally

Google Apps Regional Groups were formed after Northwestern University, Brady Corporation and Motorola Mobility came together to form the Google Apps Northcentral User Group. These groups are open to all Google Apps customers, from 100,000 user business to small non-profits. Google’s goal with these groups is to bring users and admins together to learn and share best practices, custom solutions and resources from each other through discussion forums, events, and webinars.

Use the map below to find the group in your region:

North America mailing list for all regional groups in the US and Canada

Northwest
US: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming
Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, Yukon

Southwest
Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah

North Central
US: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin
Canada: Manitoba, Ontario, Nunavut

Southeast
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee

Mid-Atlantic
District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia

Northeast
US: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont
Canada: New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec

Australia – New Zealand

Europe

Google Apps Meetups

Fast Facts:

  • Free and casual events run by the Cloud Alliance for Google Apps
  • Occur monthly
  • Held in five cities

Started by BetterCloud in New York with sponsorship from the Cloud Alliance for Google Apps, other Cloud Alliance member companies are bringing these casual yet informative meetups to major cities around the country. Meetups feature speakers like experienced IT admins and leading Google Apps resellers and provide great opportunities for networking and sharing tips and tricks with other Google Apps admins. While these meetups are not officially sponsored by Google, we often have Google Enterprise employees in attendance. Meetups are held monthly.

Find the meetup in your city:

New York City
Boston
Austin
Atlanta
San Francisco

Google in Education Global Summits


Fast Facts:

  • Open to EDU customers
  • Held globally
  • Run by an independent organization in partnership with Google

Google in Education Global Summits offer unique opportunities for EDU admins to come together around the world. Events are put on by EdTech Events, a global network of educational technologists, in close partnership with Google in Education. These events are held at different times all over the world in cities including Sydney, Dubai, Brisbane, Vancouver, Maryland, Hong Kong, California, Maine, Colorado, Fairfax and New York City.

To find a summit near you, visit gafesummit.com.

Google I/O


Fast Facts:

  • Open to the public, paid admission by online lottery
  • Occurs annually
  • Free giveaways

While Google I/O isn’t specifically a Google Apps or even Google Enterprise focused event, it’s the single largest event put on by Google all year. While I/O features impressive keynotes from Google execs, product releases and giveaways, the three-day conference also includes breakout sessions on topics relevant to enterprise customers and related feature announcements. Take for instance the Google Apps / Enterprise related releases launched at Google I/O this year:

  • Admin SDK
  • Google+ API for Business
  • Gmail Quick Action Buttons
  • Revamped Google Hangouts

For more on the updates, read What Google I/O 2013 means for Google Apps.

While it’s great to witness new product launches and receive a cool new gadget (this year Google gave away 6,000 Chromebook Pixels), we love I/O because of the sense of community you feel – some of the biggest Google enthusiasts in the world attend I/O – and the inspiration you come away with.

If you’re not lucky enough to score a ticket to I/O (admission is based on a first-come first-serve online lottery), you can join one of the many Google I/O Extended events that occur around the world.

Google Developer Groups


Fast Facts:

  • Geared towards developers
  • Events include demos, tech talks and hackathons
  • Held in over 100 countries

Google Developer Groups or GDGs are geared towards developers who are interested in Google’s developer technology including Android, App Engine and Google Chrome platforms as well as product APIs like the Maps API, YouTube API and Google Calendar API.

A GDG can take many forms – from just a few people getting together to larger gatherings with demos and tech talks, to events like code sprints and hackathons. But, at their core GDGs are focused on developers and technical content.

Again, while not specifically geared towards Google Apps admins, it’s important that admins stay abreast of new updates to tools they currently use or might seek to implement later on. Moreover, if you’re using a third-party tool that integrates heavily with Google Apps, it’s likely running on one of Google’s various developer technologies.

GDGs are currently located in more than 100 countries with 420 chapters and thousands of yearly events. If you’re based in the Atlanta, GA area, you can join BetterCloud’s own GDG or to find a GDG near you, visit developers.google.com/groups.

On Air Events

Fast Facts:

  • Free events
  • Search Google+ to find events
  • Held online only

If you’re not based in an area with easy access to one of the above events, there are dozens of On Air events that occur throughout the year. Hangouts and webinars, while not as personal as in person events, still provide a great forum for admins to get together to share best practices. For an upcoming On Air event, check out:

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