Get started with Currents

Overview

Currents enables organizations to connect knowledge, ideas, and people at scale. It may help your organization spur innovation through collaboration, break down information silos, and transform its culture.

This guide covers how to set up your organization to use Currents,  the strategy for deploying these enterprise-focused features to your users, and information on upcoming changes to Currents.

 Table of Contents

 

Part 1: Deploy Currents to your organization

Before you enable Currents, ask yourself how you want to deploy Currents,

  • Will you take a phased approach to your rollout?
  • How many users will you add in each phase?
  • Which groups or teams will test the new experience to first? For example, will certain departments or countries start testing before the rest of the organization?
  • When do you want to deploy Currents for your entire domain?

When you have a plan in place, Enable Currents for your users.

Part 2: Set up Currents features for your organization

Currents includes a set of administrative controls you can use to help shape the conversations and content on the platform. You can grant these privileges to select users so they can use Management Tools features below.

2.1 Add Currents Content Administrators for your organization

You can give content administrator privileges to relevant stakeholders in your organization. Typically these are people who understand company initiatives, leadership goals, and the organization’s cultural norms for communications (ex: Internal Communications, Human Resources, IT).

Note: Super Admins will already have this permission enabled.

Create a custom Currents Content Administrator role for non-Super Admin accounts

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using an account with super administrator privileges (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Admin roles.
  3. Click Create a new role.

  4. Enter a name and description for the role (such as “Currents Content Administrator”), then click Create.

  5. On the Privileges tab, scroll to Currents and click the down arrow.

  6. Check Access tools to manage streams, tags, and leaders.

  7. Click Save changes.

Assign the custom Content Administrator role to users

2.2 Moderate content on Currents

G Suite administrators and Currents Content Administrators can moderate Currents content by removing posts (for example, posts that violate company policy) that they have access to via their streams or a link.

Note: Even if a user blocks a G Suite administrator or Currents Content Administrator, they can still moderate that post as long as it was created in a space the administrators have access to. However, administrators will not be able to moderate posts in spaces they don’t have access to (such as a private community they’re not members of).

Deleting a post is permanent and can’t be undone. If you’re not sure if you should delete a post, you can ask the post author (such as through chat or email) to revise or remove this content.

Remove a post from Currents

  1. Open the post in Currents.

  2. Click More "".

  3. Click Delete.

2.3 Manage tags for your organization

Tags are a quick way to explore, follow, and categorize content for topics you’re interested in. Before deploying Currents, you can upload tags to your domain. This establishes a baseline of common topics at your organization and can prevent tag fragmentation.

The tag name must start with a letter and can only include letters, numbers, -, and _. The maximum length of a hashtag is 128 characters.

Tag promotion allows Currents to auto-complete tags for users and  allow users to follow tags created in Currents. Tag promotion is enabled by default. You can disable tag promotion from the admin control panel. To learn how to disable tag promotion read, Manage tags in your organization.

Note: Any user can create a new tag whenever they post or comment.

Common use cases for creating tags:

  • Create tags for popular topics within your domain, such as organization-specific terms or items from your company glossary or product catalog.

    Examples: #LeadershipAnnouncements, #QuarterlyReview

  • Create tags for topics with widespread appeal from your organization’s forums and communities (such as existing Google Groups or Currents Communities). You can use tags to communicate with large groups of people and Communities to communicate with small groups of people.

    Examples: #HealthAndWellness, #GSuiteTips 

Manage tags for your organization

  1. On the Currents home page, in the Main menu, click Management tools.

  2. In the Tags tab, you can:

    • Browse or search for all tags—Scroll to browse the tags currently used in your organization. At the top of the page, under the Tags tab, click the Search icon to search for tags.

    • Bulk upload and manage tags—In a .txt file, add the tags (with or without the #) you want with one tag per line. Tags cannot contain spaces or special characters and must begin with a letter. Then, in the Tags tab, click Upload Tags, select your .txt file, and click Upload.

    • Demote a tag—To prevent a tag from appearing as an autocomplete suggestion or a trending tag, check the box next to a tag and click Exclude. Note: Users can still type a tag you previously demoted when they post or comment.

    • Proactively demote a tag—After uploading a tag, immediately check the box next to it and click Exclude.

    • Reverse demotion of a tag—Check the box next to a demoted tag and click Allow.

2.4 Create custom streams for your organization

Streams allow you to scan, explore, and engage with relevant company or department-wide news. Users can find their streams on the Currents Main menu.

You can set up custom streams to raise the visibility of certain types of content in your organization, or to target content to specific users. These streams can pull content from sources such as communities, user profiles, and tags. They can also be short-term (ex: for temporary campaigns like “Holiday Giving”) or long-term (ex: for ongoing company-wide announcements like “Customer Successes”).

Note: The Spotlight stream will appear once you choose your leaders and a leader makes their first Spotlight post. 

Common use cases for creating streams:

  • Announcement corner for leadership, company-wide or regional communications, or human resources teams.

  • Space for new hires to introduce themselves.

  • Help desk or a space for employees to ask questions and get tips from colleagues.

  • Company culture focused campaigns, such as:

    • Social initiatives (ex: volunteer opportunities, donation drives) .

    • Wellness (ex: physical, emotional, or financial wellness).

    • Social or fun-based (ex: Pets of ABC Company, local talks).

  • Short-term campaigns, such as “Wellness Week” or “Going Green.” Set up a stream with the parameter to pull content from your campaign’s hashtag, then publicize the tag in your marketing materials to encourage people to use it.

Create a custom stream for your organization

  1. On the Currents home page, in the Main menu, click Management tools.

  2. In the Streams tab, click Create stream.

  3. Add the following information:

    • Stream name—Users will see this stream name in their Currents Main menu.

    • Description— Describe the purpose of this stream and what type of content will appear. Users will see this description when they click the stream.

    • Search query used to create stream—Add the terms and keywords (such as individuals and tags) for content you want to include in the stream. You can add or combine any of the Currents search operators. For example, you can set the following parameters:

      • Pull all posts from an individual using their profile ID at the end of the profile’s URL (such as “from:12345678912345678912”). Tip: If you’re building a custom stream around certain individuals’ posts, let them know in advance.

      • Pull posts from an individual when they use a particular tag (such as “from:jo@company.com AND #wellness”).

      • Pull all posts with a specific tag or set of tags (such as “#wellness OR #healthandwellness”).

      • Pull content from a community or set of communities using the community ID at the end of the community’s URL (such as “in:123456789123456789123 OR in:987654321987654321987”).

    • Stream position—Set the order of the streams in your users’ Currents Main menu. Choose one of the following options:

      • To place your stream at the top, select None.

      • To place your stream after an existing stream, select that existing stream.

    • Stream will be visible to—Set who can see this stream. Choose one of the following options:

      • To show the stream to your entire organization, select Everyone.

      • To show the stream to one or more Google Groups, click Select Group. Then, in the Show stream to these groups box, add the Google Group(s).

  4. (Optional) If you’re ready for your stream to go live, check the box to Activate this stream when it’s created. If you don’t check the box, your stream will be saved as a draft in the next step.

  5. Click Create stream.

  

Edit an existing stream

  1. On the Currents home page, in the Main menu, click Management tools.

  2. In the Streams tab, check the box next to a stream.

  3. Click Edit "" .

Have a post appear in a stream

You cannot post to a stream directly. To have a post appear in a stream, the post must match the search criteria for the stream.
For example, if a stream only contains posts from two users, then a new post must be created by one of those two users to appear in that stream.

Example: Wellness stream

A “Wellness” stream might include content from the following teams:

  • People & Culture team if they frequently post about wellness at your organization.

  • Human resources team if they post about wellness benefits and opportunities.

  • Physical fitness team if they post about onsite gym information.

 

You can also include company-specific or wellness initiative tags at your organization, such as:

  • #WellnessAt[Company Name]

  • #WellnessWednesday

  • #Wellness

  • #HealthAndWellness

  • #MantraMonday

  • #YogisAt[Company Name]

  • #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth

  • #PushUpChallenge

  • #OnsiteGym

2.5 Assign recommended leaders

To raise the visibility of content from your organization’s leadership, you can highlight posts from a designated set of leaders. Leaders can include C-level executives, mid-level management, thought leaders, or other people. By posting and being active participants, leaders can show that using Currents is encouraged for work use by your organization’s culture.

Posts from recommended leaders may show in your users’ relevant streams (such as a custom stream or the Currents home page) whether or not they follow that leader. However, only posts shared to the entire domain will show in users’ home streams; posts shared to communities will not show in all users’ home streams unless they belong to that community.

Assign a recommended leader

  1. On the Currents home page, in the Main menu, click Management tools.

  2. In the Leaders tab, click Add Leader.

  3. In the Add leaders and influencers window that opens, add a Google Group with your leaders or your leaders’ individual emails separated by commas.

  4. Click Add.

  5. (Recommended) Notify your recommended leaders.

Post to the Spotlight stream as a Leader

Note: Only assigned leaders can post to the Spotlight stream. Leaders’ posts will only appear in the Spotlight stream if they click Spotlight. On mobile devices, “Spotlight” posts have a Spotlight "".

  1. On the Currents home page, at the bottom right, click Compose "".

  2. Type your post.

  3. (Optional) Add a link, file, photo, or poll.

  4. In the top corner, click Spotlight. Posts with a Spotlight may be ranked higher than other posts in your users’ Currents home page.

  5. Click Post.

2.6 Customize post analytics

For post analytics, administrators have the ability to customize the aggregation level for individual user’s posts. Level 1 corresponds to the highest reporting level (for example, the CEO). The default aggregation level is 2, meaning Currents will break down view, comment, like, and re-share counts by each organization that report up to the CEO.

Note: In the Post Analytics menu, the listed Organization Name is not the name of your organization, but the name of the top-level user for your organization.

Change your post analytics settings

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using an account with super administrator privileges (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenG Suiteand thenCurrents.
  3. Click Advanced settings.

  4. Scroll down to the Aggregation level reporting section and click the Aggregate at level dropdown.

  5. Select the desired level for post analytics data. 

  6. Click Save changes.

Part 3: Train your users on Currents

Now that you’ve set up your organization to use Currents, you might want to prepare communications to your users.

You can include information such as:

  • Links to Google help resources such as Get started with Currents guide for G Suite users.

  • Internal support resources for your users, such as an internal Google Site, Intranet, or Currents community.

  • A timeline for upcoming changes to who has access to Currents if you're planning a gradual rollout.

(Optional) Part 4: Create content to increase Currents engagement

As your organization uses Currents, you might find that certain types of content work better than others. It can take time to build new organizational habits, so some benefits may be immediately obvious while others may take time to emerge. Try some of the recommended content types below to help spark employee engagement on Currents, and adjust your strategy as needed.

4.1 Plan and try different types of content

Leadership posts

To show Currents as a source of new and interesting information, try moving messages from leadership and domain knowledge experts out of email and into Currents. You may also see more engagement in the form of likes, comments, and analytics.

Company culture posts

Look for opportunities to engage people with fun, simple content. Even when the content is not directly work-related, it can impact how connected employees feel to the company and to each other.

Examples:

  • Memes

  • Professional talks happening around the office or in your town

  • Musical events

  • Fitness classes

  • Baked goods at your desk or in the office break room

Weekly tip posts

Share a weekly tip (ex: #TuesdayTip) that teaches your organization how to best use Currents or how to improve core operations.

Examples:
  • How to use tags to increase a post’s audience
  • Ways to create more engaging content
  • Software shortcuts
  • Help for new hires
  • Best practices for running effective meetings

Social learning posts

Similar to the weekly tip, social learning posts share compelling educational content, such as an ongoing deep-dive into a particular subject. Take advantage of domain experts in your organization who may have ideas for regular posts.

Example:

If your company is rolling out a new process, use weekly posts to introduce it in bite-sized chunks over the course of a quarter. Use the post comments to allow people to discuss each part of the process more easily.

Recognition posts

To recognize great work and show what success at your organization looks like, consider giving kudos or small rewards to the best contributors or team.

4.2 Manage Currents content with an editorial calendar

  1. Plan your editorial strategy. Consider the following:

    • How often do you want to post each type of content?

    • Who would be the appropriate owner for each type of content?

  2. Create an editorial calendar. For example, you can create a copy of this Currents editorial calendar template.
  3. Set a weekly reminder in Google Calendar for your posting schedule.

What's new in Currents (6/3/2020)

Changes to Notifications

We’re simplifying the notifications that you get from Currents. When Currents launches you will no longer receive the following notifications,

  • Circles and collections
  • +1’s
  • Reshares
  • Poll voting
  • Community highlights

Other notifications for community, stream, and comment will remain the same.

Note: Removed notifications you’ve received will still show up in search. For example, you can still find highlight notifications from highlights you received before the update.

Changes to Communities

Changes are coming soon to public communities ahead of the launch of Google Currents.

All public communities that aren't a part of a domain have been deleted, and they can no longer be created. Public communities that are a part of a domain are now treated as private communities. The only way a user can be invited to one of these newly created private communities is through an invite from a member. After converting, users who don't have access to the original post will lose access to re-shared posts that contain polls.

Photos in formerly public communities can still be accessed by other Currents users. This is for both domain and non-domain restricted posts and communication. Photos can also be accessed through direct links to an album archive.

Changes to Collections

Collections will be removed from Google Currents within the next few months. Once collections are removed, all posts within a collection will be grouped with a system generated tag. The tag will be a globally unique tag with the name of the collection, and will be inserted into the start of collection posts. Any follower of a collection will automatically follow the generated tag. Once this process has completed, owners of posts in a collection will be able to edit their posts and the post's tags normally.
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