Participants from throughout the Columbia Gorge attended “Googlefest” in The Dalles Tuesday, participating in a variety of educational workshops geared toward helping nonprofits, educators and small businesses make use of Google’s offerings in their work.
More than 300 people registered for the event held at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center/Columbia Gorge Community College.
“Small businesses, nonprofits and educators are the heart of our community and we want to make it easier for them to succeed at their passions by sharing some of ours,” said Dave Karlson, site director for Google’s Data Center in The Dalles.
The day-long workshops were offered on three tracks, with the largest attendance in the forum that addressed the needs of small business. A smaller group explored the needs of nonprofits, and a third group explored tools offered by Google for education.
The sessions began with a presentation about tech trends and what happens at Google’s data center in The Dalles. Groups then received customized training from Google experts on how they can use and tailor tools like Google Apps, AdWords, Analytics and YouTube to tell stories and enhance their online presence.
Presenters included Angela Larkin, program manager for “Google for Education,” from Mountain View, Calif., Anthony Phalen, Google account executive from Google’s Cambridge office, Alden DeSoto, manager of Google’s analytics team and others.
Wasco County Commission Chair Rod Runyon, State Representative John Huffman, Nate Stice with the Oregon governor’s office and The Dalles Mayor Stephen Lawrence gave opening and closing remarks for the day. Wasco County Commissioner Scott Hege was also in attendance.
The day ended with an opportunity for attendees to check out product demos, share their perspectives and even pose for photographs with a giant Android mascot.
Google products for small businesses and nonprofits are not new in Oregon. In 2015, approximately 31,000 Oregon businesses used Google advertising tools, such as AdWords, one of the products explored in the nonprofit workshops. The company also provided $5.78 million in free advertising to Oregon nonprofits in 2015, according to a news release.
Google also helped provide $1.21 billion of economic activity for Oregon businesses, website publishers and nonprofits in 2015, the release said.
This year’s event was the second annual Googlefest and was co-sponsored, with Google, by the Columbia Gorge Community College Small Business Development Center and The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce.