People

Nine top tricks from Google’s productivity guru

These productivity tips were voted as some of the best by Google employees. Now they're yours.

Nine top tricks from Google’s productivity guru

Google Workspace, G Suite's successor, has plenty of integrations to take advantage of.

Image: Google

Each Friday, Google's top productivity expert, Laura Mae Martin, sends a note to more than half the company globally describing ways that different departments are using their own tools to be more efficient. Here's a list of the favorites, as upvoted by Googlers themselves.

Read more about how Martin coaches Google's top execs to work smarter.

  1. Group your tabs in Chrome. Tab grouping, a feature available in Google Chrome, allows you to color-code and collate tabs at the top of your browser. By right-clicking, you can name tab categories and make sure you don't accidentally click on a tab of sports scores when you're trying to pull up a spreadsheet on a video call.
  2. Swipe-to-switch in Gmail mobile. For those managing multiple Google accounts, Martin advocates taking advantage of the account-switching features Gmail offers on your phone. On an iPhone, by clicking your email address in the hamburger menu in the top left corner, you can jump from alias to personal and back.
  3. Change your default reminder time in Calendar. Tired of being reminded for events 15 minutes ahead of time? Martin suggests catering Calendar event notifications to fit the way you work instead of only relying on the default settings. When editing a calendar event, you can click the pencil icon and add an additional notification as well as remove any other notification preferences.
  4. Spice up Slides with a virtual laser pointer. If your forearm is tired from using your cursor to circle figures in a slide deck, Martin suggests taking advantage of the laser pointer in Slides. In the app's present mode, the toolbar at the bottom has a pointer button between notes and captions that can draw attention to a part of the screen without the workout.
  5. Watch your audience when presenting. "Anyone? Anyone?" During a presentation, you might want to know that you're coming off better than Ferris Bueller's teacher. Martin highlights that it's possible to share your screen on Google Meet while still looking at your colleagues around the "room." As with Zoom, you can reposition the gallery to whichever view best suits you.
  6. Open attachments while video conferencing. A common theme in the features Martin points to most are ones that cut down on context switching. With Google Meet, you can open attachments that are shared within the app so people don't need to hunt through an email thread to find a relevant document. By attaching materials to a calendar invite, the relevant Sheets, Docs or Slides will be available to the meeting's participants if they hover over the bottom left corner of their screen.
  7. Integrate everything. Google's broader focus on integrating its products means that, in each app, you can do a little bit of everything else too. The slim right rail that now can be found in Google Workspace products lets you access some of the basic functionality of the entire product suite to save you from switching tabs. If you're writing an email and are reminded that you need to schedule a meeting, you can do it right there. Same goes for making notes in Keep when you're in a Calendar tab, or really any other permutation.
  8. Test your Gmail links. Another favorite of Martin's is testing Gmail links without taking the time to click out to every site while you proofread; if you hover over the link, you can see the preview instead. In link-rich environments, like a company-wide newsletter, Google sees this as a time-saver where the seconds really add up.
  9. The .new shortcut. Lastly, creating a document, presentation or spreadsheet Is a one-step process In a Chrome browser. Instead of opening a blank document through Drive, Martin just types one of the following: "doc.new," "sheet.new," or "slides.new."








Enterprise

Microsoft Exchange Online users face a key security deadline Saturday

The company will start disabling a highly vulnerable login option, known as "basic authentication," beginning on Oct. 1 — though customers will have one chance to buy more time to transition off the system.

Microsoft has been seeking to prod businesses to move off basic authentication for the past three years, but "unfortunately usage isn’t yet at zero," it said in a post earlier this month.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Microsoft is about to eliminate a method for logging into its Exchange Online email service that is widely considered vulnerable and outdated, but that some businesses still rely upon.

The company has said that as of Oct. 1, it will begin to disable what's known as "basic authentication" for customers that continue to use the system.

Keep Reading Show less
Kyle Alspach

Kyle Alspach ( @KyleAlspach) is a senior reporter at Protocol, focused on cybersecurity. He has covered the tech industry since 2010 for outlets including VentureBeat, CRN and the Boston Globe. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and can be reached at kalspach@protocol.com.

Sponsored Content

Great products are built on strong patents

Experts say robust intellectual property protection is essential to ensure the long-term R&D required to innovate and maintain America's technology leadership.

Every great tech product that you rely on each day, from the smartphone in your pocket to your music streaming service and navigational system in the car, shares one important thing: part of its innovative design is protected by intellectual property (IP) laws.

From 5G to artificial intelligence, IP protection offers a powerful incentive for researchers to create ground-breaking products, and governmental leaders say its protection is an essential part of maintaining US technology leadership. To quote Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo: "intellectual property protection is vital for American innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Keep Reading Show less
James Daly
James Daly has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, including understanding various audiences and targeting messaging accordingly. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, particularly in launching new ventures and building passionate audiences. Daly has led teams large and small to multiple awards and quantifiable success through a strategy built on teamwork, passion, fact-checking, intelligence, analytics, and audience growth while meeting budget goals and production deadlines in fast-paced environments. Daly is the Editorial Director of 2030 Media and a contributor at Wired.
Fintech

Gavin Newsom shows crypto some California love

“A more flexible approach is needed,” Gov. Newsom said in rejecting a bill that would require crypto companies to get a state license.

Strong bipartisan support wasn’t enough to convince Newsom that requiring crypto companies to register with the state’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation is the smart path for California.

Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Vox Media

The Digital Financial Assets Law seemed like a legislative slam dunk in California for critics of the crypto industry.

But strong bipartisan support — it passed 71-0 in the state assembly and 31-6 in the Senate — wasn’t enough to convince Gov. Gavin Newsom that requiring crypto companies to register with the state’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation is the smart path for California.

Keep Reading Show less
Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers crypto and fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Google Voice at (925) 307-9342.

Workplace

Slack’s rallying cry at Dreamforce: No more meetings

It’s not all cartoon bears and therapy pigs — work conferences are a good place to talk about the future of work.

“We want people to be able to work in whatever way works for them with flexible schedules, in meetings and out of meetings,” Slack chief product officer Tamar Yehoshua told Protocol at Dreamforce 2022.

Photo: Marlena Sloss/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dreamforce is primarily Salesforce’s show. But Slack wasn’t to be left out, especially as the primary connector between Salesforce and the mainstream working world.

The average knowledge worker spends more time using a communication tool like Slack than a CRM like Salesforce, positioning it as the best Salesforce product to concern itself with the future of work. In between meeting a therapy pig and meditating by the Dreamforce waterfall, Protocol sat down with several Slack execs and conference-goers to chat about the shifting future.

Keep Reading Show less
Lizzy Lawrence

Lizzy Lawrence ( @LizzyLaw_) is a reporter at Protocol, covering tools and productivity in the workplace. She's a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where she studied sociology and international studies. She served as editor in chief of The Michigan Daily, her school's independent newspaper. She's based in D.C., and can be reached at llawrence@protocol.com.

LA is a growing tech hub. But not everyone may fit.

LA has a housing crisis similar to Silicon Valley’s. And single-family-zoning laws are mostly to blame.

As the number of tech companies in the region grows, so does the number of tech workers, whose high salaries put them at an advantage in both LA's renting and buying markets.

Photo: Nat Rubio-Licht/Protocol

LA’s tech scene is on the rise. The number of unicorn companies in Los Angeles is growing, and the city has become the third-largest startup ecosystem nationally behind the Bay Area and New York with more than 4,000 VC-backed startups in industries ranging from aerospace to creators. As the number of tech companies in the region grows, so does the number of tech workers. The city is quickly becoming more and more like Silicon Valley — a new startup and a dozen tech workers on every corner and companies like Google, Netflix, and Twitter setting up offices there.

But with growth comes growing pains. Los Angeles, especially the burgeoning Silicon Beach area — which includes Santa Monica, Venice, and Marina del Rey — shares something in common with its namesake Silicon Valley: a severe lack of housing.

Keep Reading Show less
Nat Rubio-Licht

Nat Rubio-Licht is a Los Angeles-based news writer at Protocol. They graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in newspaper and online journalism in May 2020. Prior to joining the team, they worked at the Los Angeles Business Journal as a technology and aerospace reporter.

Latest Stories
Bulletins