Spent the day today at Google's headquarters in London at the inaugural meeting of the European Customer Advisory Board. Very good meeting - and an amazing place - would love to work there! As you might expect, lots of bright colours, open spaces, deckchairs, places for a power nap... And the food - lots of it - unlimited supply of snacks, cereals, smoothies and sweeties. And that's just in the "micro-kitchens". The canteen is something else.
Main business of the day was a look at the road map for the development of Google Apps, especially as it relates to education. Lots of cool things on the way which I can't tell you about because we were there under an NDA. But I was very impressed with some of the development work going on, especiallly around collaboration.
One thing I can tell you about is something that's already live - Google translate for apps. It can translate instantly between 51 languages, and is available for web pages and docs. The most impressive demonstration was it translating live chat - I can see a use for this not only in academic departments, but also in support services. Helping International students with IT problems for example.
We also had a long discussion about data - where is it stored, how secure is it, who has access to it - which are some of the questions we get asked whenever we mention to the possibility of rolling out Google Apps to staff. Answers to most of the questions are already available, but today we got a lot more details and a lot more reassurances especially around security and resilience.
It was good to meet folks from other Universities who have rolled out Google Apps, especially many colleagues from Europe, and I look forward to more such meetings.
So, the meetings over and I'm in my tiny hotel room, about to go out and see Priscilla Queen of the Desert - can't wait. I love a good show - especially one full of drag queens!