Hey Mary — How Do You Google?

Mary Golab is the Director of Information and Privacy Office at the University of Alberta. Take a few minutes to see how G Suite shapes her life.

Mary Golab is the Director of Information and Privacy Office at the University of Alberta. She and her team are responsible for maintaining compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act and the Health Information (HI) Act across campus (with the exception of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, which has their own dedicated resource).

Take a few minutes to see how G Suite shapes her life.

Q: What does an average workday look like for you?
A: Email, email, and email. We get lots of questions regarding the applications of the FOIP and HI acts, and people tend to communicate with us via email. We’re one of those centralized units on campus that has responsibility for complete compliance. It’s a very responsible office. 

Q: How do you use Google in your role?
A: Primarily it’s email and calendaring. I use Google Calendar as almost my bring-forward system. I put everything in there. I love the way it provides me with reminders, and I can colour-code everything. Meetings are purple, urgent follow-up tasks are red, and tasks that are tentative and waiting are yellow.

Q: What is your favourite feature in Google?
A: Calendar, absolutely. Right now I think I’d be completely lost without Calendar, because I put everything in there. 

Q: How has using Google changed the way you work?
A: Coming from the Government of Alberta, it’s made me work more electronically. I was kind of in a hybrid system at my government job, where it was paper and electronic, but the master record was mostly paper. Here, you can work pretty fluidly electronically, and you can master the whole lifecycle of a file electronically, which I haven’t experienced before.

Q: If you were a Google app, which one would you be and why?
A: Calendar, because it is my life force right now. It’s the way to keep multiple priorities in play. At some point, when everything is urgent, nothing is urgent, so the only way I can manage that is by sorting it and colour coding it and sending reminders, and that’s what Calendar is great at.

Q: When you first started using Google, what surprised you over other applications?
A: Its functionality. It went beyond just email. It’s more of a management suite. You can manage records throughout their lifecycles, so you have drafts, you have final documents, you can share them in a digital environment. It’s this virtual system that I have not encountered before.

Q: If you were introducing someone to G Suite, what tips would you give them?
A: Take as much training as you can, because I think it’s one of those things where you can learn maybe 5% of what Google can do on your own. It’s got this huge functionality, and I don’t think everyone’s tapped in to the majority of those resources. So take some training so you can learn how to use Google better and more efficiently.

Note: anyone interested in training can check out the G Suite Learning Center or the Technology Training Centre’s Google courses.

Q: What is one final thing you want people to know about G Suite?
A: With great power comes great responsibility. It’s a great, powerful tool, it can do many things. But use it responsibly. You don’t necessarily have to keep every email; make sure you know who you’re sharing files with; know whether it’s appropriate to share that kind of information; if it’s highly sensitive, is there another safeguard that should be applied to it? Think about that when you’re making and sharing documents. 

Who do you know that’s doing something cool with Google on campus? Send their info to istcomms@ualberta.ca and they might be featured in an upcoming article! Until then, keep reading Information Services & Technology’s (IST) latest Google news.