Google publishes hundreds of fascinating research papers on a variety of topics each year. My roommate recently sent me one on an internal analysis of Google’s collaboration in the cloud using the Google’s docs suite: ‘Collaboration in the Cloud at Google’.There are two fascinating graphics in the paper:
A visualization of Google’s global employee base and worldwide collaboration. You can’t see management hierarchies. You can’t see top down information dissemination. Everyone works with everyone. Global and collaborative workforces aren’t anything new, but to see it visualized is striking.
A visualization of mobile vs. desktop engagement. The graphic below is a heatmap colored according to the average number of employees working in Google Docs for a given time and day of the week. Desktop and laptop usage peak during conventional working hours (9am to 11am and 1pm to 5pm), while mobile device usage peaks during conventional commuting and other out-of-office hours (7am to 9am and 6pm to 8pm). Mobile also shows significantly higher engagement on the weekends.
Mobile applications enable us to utilize otherwise dead time. Some of that dead time is now taken up with games, but there is also a clear desire by some who want to use the time for productive outlets and to keep in-sync with new developments on projects. I am going to guess that the vast majority of mobile engagement is viewing vs. editing, but even still, passive engagement with business applications is just as important on mobile as consumer applications. I don’t think we should underestimate some employees desire to check in on their business or team while watching TV on the coach or on the sideline of their kids soccer match.