Tech Talks to begin in Oct.

The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce has been campaigning to get local business on the Google map for over a year, and are now offering a series of Tech Talks, offering information and one on one help from Google employees. Above, a T-shirt and other items of “swag” distributed during events by the chamber.

The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce and Google are launching a first of its kind educational series for the community called “Tech Talk” on Oct. 5.

The idea was sparked at this year’s Googlefest at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center, which introduced members of the business, nonprofit and educational community to Google tools and techniques that might benefit their work.

“People were looking for one-on-one follow up,” explained chamber marketing and communication coordinator Tiffany Hardin. “They were introduced to all the tools, but were asking, ‘How do I implement that?’”

The new Tech Talks, planned for every four months, are designed to help local individuals, nonprofits and small businesses learn how to take advantage of available technology. Attendees will learn tips and tricks for using free Google tools such as Gmail, Calendar, Hangouts and Google Docs.

The first Tech Talk is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 5, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and will focus on Gmail. The event will be held at Route 30 Bottles and Brews, 317 E. Second Street, The Dalles, with happy hour food and drink available for purchase.

Attendees should plan to bring their laptop for this hands-on event, Hardin said. After a presentation on Gmail, local Google staff will be available for one-on-one assistance and support.

The chamber has already co-hosted two “Google my Business” workshops, and the Tech Talk events will also give those attending the opportunity to validate their business and get it on the Google map of The Dalles.

“Getting your business on the map involves an approval process through Google by proving ownership, which allows business owners to edit the information presented by Google.

“It gives people the opportunity to keep their information updated,” she said. “Your business will have a pin, you are right there on their map, when someone looks at a Google map of town.”

The two Google map workshops attracted about 60 people each. The process can be done online, which combines online information with postal confirmation, but if you provide proof you own your business at a workshop you can be approved on the spot, Hardin explained.

Business owners must bring original proof of ownership documents such as utility bills, tax letters, and/or business registration certificates. Registered agents of the business may also bring photo identification and have ownership verified through the Secretary of State’s website.

Attendees should RSVP by Sept. 30 with TheDallesChamber.com. The subsequent Tech Talk is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2017, with the location to be announced. Future events are planned to span a range of time frames, so those who can attend in the morning, at noon or evening will have a chance to attend an event that fits their schedule.

October’s topic, Gmail, was one a lot of people were asking about that during Googlefest, Hardin said.

Hardin added that she has had a lot of positive feedback from the business community on the chamber/Google sponsored events. “Our local business community is very responsive to this,” she said.

Over time, the chamber and the business community have developed a strong relationship with Google, which operates a growing data center at the Port of The Dalles.

“We have an amazing relationship with them, they are super open to any idea we might have,” she said. “It’s great having them in our backyard, and willing to work with the community.”

The Dalles may even help start a bigger trend: “We will be the first community to offer this,” she said of the Tech Talk forum.

She believes the one-on-one portion of the event will be especially helpful. “It’s not every day you get to sit down with a Google professional to get help.”

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