Google Cloud: Energy efficiency in the cloud

According to Google

At Google, we’re obsessed with building energy efficient data centers that enable cloud computing. Besides helping you be more productive, cloud-based services like Google Apps can reduce energy use, lower carbon emissions and save you money in the process. Last year, we crunched the numbers and found that Gmail is up to 80 times more energy-efficient than running traditional in-house email. We’ve sharpened our pencils again to see how Google Apps as a whole—documents, spreadsheets, email and other applications—stacks up against the standard model of locally hosted services. Our results show that a typical organization can achieve energy savings of about 65-85% by migrating to Google Apps.

Lower energy use results in less carbon pollution and more energy saved for organizations. That’s what happened at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which recently switched its 17,000 users to Google Apps for Government. We found that the GSA was able to reduce server energy consumption by nearly 90% and carbon emissions by 85%. That means the GSA will save an estimated $285,000 annually on energy costs alone, a 93% cost reduction.

How is the cloud so energy efficient? It’s all about reducing energy use for servers and server cooling. Here’s how it works:


A typical organization has a lot more servers than it needs—for backup, failures and spikes in demand for computing. Cloud-based service providers like Google aggregate demand across thousands of people, substantially increasing how much servers are utilized. And our data centers use equipment and software specially designed to minimize energy use. The cloud can do the same work much more efficiently than locally hosted servers.

In fact, according to a study by the Carbon Disclosure Project, by migrating to the cloud, companies with over $1 billion in revenues in the U.S. and Europe could achieve substantial reductions in energy costs and carbon emissions by 2020:

  • US companies could save $12.3 billion and up to 85.7 million metric tonnes of CO2
  • UK companies would save £1.2 billion and more than 9.2 million metric tonnes of CO2
  • French companies could save nearly €700 million and 1.2 million metric tonnes of CO2

We’ve built efficient data centers all over the world, even designing them in ways that make the best use of the natural environment, and we continue working to improve their performance. We think using the super-efficient cloud to deliver services like Google Apps can be part of the solution towards a more energy efficient future.

Posted by Urs Hoelzle, Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure

(Cross-posted on the Google Green Blog)

How to Use Google Cloud Print Apps

Google Cloud Print has a new homepage with more information about the service, a helpful video and a list of products that work with Cloud Print.

“Using Google Cloud Print, you can make your home and work printers available to you and anyone you choose, from the applications you use every day. Google Cloud Print works on your phone, tablet, Chromebook, PC, and any other web-connected device you want to print from,” explains Google.

It’s interesting to notice that not many Google products integrate with Cloud Print. By default, you can only print documents and Web pages in Chrome using Cloud Print if you have a Chromebook. There’s an unofficial extension that adds support for Cloud Print in Gmail, Google Docs and for some local documents. If you have an Android or iOS device, you can use Cloud Print in the Gmail and Google Docs mobile apps. For Android, there’s an unofficial app that lets you print files from your phone using Cloud Print. For iOS, there’s an advanced app that offers a lot of print-related features, including Cloud Print support, but it costs $9. Google needs to add native support for Cloud Print in Android and to develop an iPhone app for Cloud Print.

For more information about Cloud Print, watch this video:

{ Thanks, Herin. }

User Managed Storage now available for Google Apps domains on the new account infrastructure

User Managed Storage is a service that has allowed users to purchase more storage space when they fill the allotted quota on their personal Google Accounts. Over the next couple of days, we will be rolling this service out for Google Apps users as well, allowing the purchase of extra storage for Google Docs, Picasa Web Albums, and photos from Blogger. Any of these products that is over its storage quota can use the extra storage on a first-come, first-served basis. Users that upload lots of files to Google Docs, sync their Office documents to the cloud using Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, or store and share pictures using Picasa or Blogger can now expand the storage space available for these files.

Additional User Managed Storage cannot be pooled or transferred to another Google Apps account and cannot be used for Gmail.

User Managed Storage is enabled or disabled by the domain administrator, and the end user purchases additional storage using his or her Google Checkout account at the domain. Data stored within User Managed Storage is subject to the same ownership policy as other data in the Google Apps account.

Please note that this functionality is only for Google Apps domains that have already transitioned to the new account infrastructure for Google Apps accounts. This change does not affect any domains that have not yet transitioned to that infrastructure.

– In order to allow end users to purchases individual storage, administrators must first enable the service ‘User Managed Storage’ in the ‘Organisation & Users’ -> ‘Services’ section for their administrative control panel. Google Checkout must also be enabled for the domain so that end users can purchase the storage.
-If the ‘User Managed Storage’ service is allowed, end users can purchase additional storage at https://www.google.com/accounts/b/0/PurchaseStorage.
– Google storage purchases are non-refundable. You can upgrade storage plans for the pro-rated difference at any time but paid storage for one Google Account cannot be transferred to a different account.

Teach your old docs new tricks with Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office

Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office is now available to download for all Google Apps domains. With this plugin, you can now share, backup and simultaneously edit Microsoft Word, PowerPoint®, and Excel® documents with co-workers without the need for sending attachments back and forth.

Features:
– Simultaneous editing for Word, PowerPoint and Excel files when using Microsoft Office.
– Google Docs sharing URLs for each Microsoft Office file.
– Revision history for Microsoft Office files, stored in Google Docs.
– Offline editing with smart synchronization of offline changes.
– No Microsoft Office upgrade or SharePoint® deployment required.

How to access what’s new:
– Make sure your system meets the system requirements for the plugin. Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office supports Microsoft Office 2003, Office 2007, or Office 2010.
– Ensure that Google Docs is an activated service in your Google Apps control panel.
– Allow users to install the plugin themselves or distribute it on your network using an .msi file.
Download page
Deploy Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office

Note: Google Cloud Connect is not available for Macs. Unfortunately due to the lack of support for open APIs on Microsoft Office for Mac, we are unable to make Google Cloud Connect available on Macs at this time. We look forward to when that time comes so we can provide this feature to our Mac customers as well.

For more information:
http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/02/teach-your-old-docs-new-tricks-with.html
Admin Help Center and supported features.