Google Technology User Groups (GTUGs)

So you want to start a GTUG...

Decide what you want out of GTUG

    • A Google Technology User Group should be about
      • Meeting to discuss and learn about Google Technologies, pure and simple.

    • A Google Technology User Group should not be about
      • Starting a new business - A GTUG is not a startup.
      • Purely a social get together - Should be technology focused - not a cocktail party.
 
   If the above matches your criteria, then let's get started!

Housekeeping

   Assuming you've checked the chapter list, and there are no other groups in your area, start declaring your intentions and getting some housekeeping out of the way.

   GTUG Manager's Google Group
  • Apply to be on the gtug-manager Google group (http://groups.google.com/group/gtug-managers). This is a closed forum meant for GTUG managers to network and collaborate.
  • This is partly a self service group, i.e. GTUG managers helping each other out, and partly monitored by Google. So if you have a question for Google, we'll be able to respond via this group.
   GTUG Naming / Logo
  • Decide on a short and catchy name. The de-facto standard that we ended up using is of the form <general location>-GTUG. So if you are located in Berlin Germany, it could be Berlin-GTUG, or something similar. The location doesn't have to be a city name. It could also be a region such as SV-GTUG, where "SV" stands for Silicon Valley.
  • Also as a part of your naming process, you'll want to double check that the name you choose is available as an internet domain. For example "berlin-gtug.org" would be a logical internet address for a GTUG based in Berlin, Germany.
  • You can also create a custom logo - the easiest one being the official GTUG logo along with text of your region.
  Website
  • As a GTUG manager you are encouraged to create a website that incorporates your name such as http://chico-gtug.org.  Your website should convey enough information for you to successfully host meetings such as meeting dates, locations etc. GTUG managers are of course encouraged to use Google technology on their websites such as:
    • Google Sites, Maps, Calendar, Ajax Search/Feed, Blogger, Documents, etc.
    • Even more advanced technologies such as GWT, and OpenSocial are encouraged. 
  • As a GTUG leader, you'll have an Internet presence which can possibly cause some confusion where people may think you are directly affiliated, supported or even part of Google. We strongly recommend putting a small disclaimer on your website so as to negate this possibility. Here's a possible disclaimer you could use.
    • "The ***-GTUG is an independent user group with an interest in Google technology and the content from this group is entirely independent from Google, the corporation."
Recruiting
  • Sites like Meetup.com can make it easy for people in your area to find you.
  • If you're involved with other local user groups, send out an email to look for interest.
  • Attend other local developer events, look for a 'shameless plugs' section

Location
  • When the group is just getting started, you may want to just start by meeting at someone's house or a public place. After that, look for space at universities, community centers, or offices.
  • Google can possibly help with meeting space providing: 1) We have an office near your location, and 2) There is space available. If possible, you can try working with a local Google office near your group to provide a meeting room. This is on a case by case basis though.

Topics/Discussions
  • There is a vast array of Google developer technologies, and many individuals and businesses that have worked with them. You can put out a call in your group and local community to have people speak about their experience, or you can re-use some of our existing materials. There are many workshops and codelabs that you can use for more of a hands-on meeting, and many slides/talks that you can give. You can even just get together and watch YouTube videos of past Google talks together. Check the Resources page for more info.
  • Google may also be able to help with sending speakers, particularly as your meetings grow in size (for example: above 100). This is entirely dependent on location and the speaker's schedules. You shouldn't feel that you require a Google representative at a meeting, though - just getting together to talk about Google technology makes you a GTUG.
Misc

  Budget
  • In some cases, Google may be able to provide some basic sponsorship funding, such as helping with some initial setup costs. This is done on a case by case basis.
  • What many user groups often do as they grow, is that they form their own non-profit organization in order to raise money for paying for GTUG related expenses such as room rental, food, etc.
    • For some international advice on setting up non-profit organizations, see:
      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-profit_organization

DISCLAIMER
  • Google is highly supportive of groups of developers getting together to discuss Google related technologies. There are various ways that Google and local Google offices may be able to help a GTUG, but a GTUG should never be reliant on Google involvement. Your group should be self-sufficient and motivated by a pure love/interest in Google technology. In our experience, this is the recipe for long-lasting and successful user groups.