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Organizing the World's Data with Google and Relativity

Maks Babuder

In the world of data management, Google plays such a significant role that commands like “Google this,” "send that to my Gmail,” and “upload this to Google Drive” have become part of our daily routine. Google handles an astonishing 40,000 petabytes (or 40,000 million gigabytes!) of data every day, a number that continues to grow.

While traditionally viewed as a consumer tool, Google Workspace is gaining traction among organizations, intensifying the competition in enterprise productivity tools. At Relativity, Google-generated data now represents 10 percent of all data ingested into RelativityOne, presenting new challenges in effective data management within the e-discovery world.

As data increasingly shifts toward short message and ephemeral formats, the need for effective, defensible disposition strategies becomes critical. Managing data is far from simple, and stringent timelines can lead to costly delays and errors when not met.

Our recent integration between Google Vault and RelativityOne addresses these challenges, offering a streamlined solution for preserving, searching, reviewing, and exporting data. This is great news for Google users trying to mitigate the risk of spoliation from improperly stored and preserved data—a risk that has increased 560 percent since 2015!

How Preservation and Collect Works with Google Data

Previously, Google Vault users faced difficulties in preserving data, requiring manual extraction and import into a third-party tool. Now, users can conveniently preserve their Google Workspace data in-place, while creating holds and matters directly within Legal Hold in RelativityOne. This eliminates the need to log into Vault, initiate projects, and export data separately, protecting the security of critical information.

This integration also syncs with your active directory, allowing you to create and close holds on individual user accounts across the Google suite of products such as Gmail, Drive, and Chat—with the peace of mind that you’re pulling from the most up-to-date employee information.

Leveraging APIs between Relativity and Google Vault, users can seamlessly perform all necessary steps for a successful hold directly within the RelativityOne interface, including the creation of matters and holds, adding custodians, releasing custodians, and exporting/transferring data.

This end-to-end integration comes with a host of benefits, including:

  1. Reduced business disruptions: By integrating with Google Vault, teams can automatically preserve Google data without the need to collect data into another system—minimizing steps and the data footprint.
  2. Speed to preservation: No more waiting on the IT team to finish a ticket or for data to be collected; automatically select custodians and data sources from RelativityOne and automate the Google Vault matter and hold creation process.
  3. Legal Hold integration: Automatically integrate with your Relativity Legal Hold communications process by selecting custodians and data sources in one location and kicking off the automation process one by one.
  4. Cut redundancies across teams: Stop filing multiple tickets for different steps of the process. Creating matters, adding custodial holds, releasing custodian holds, adding other holds and custodians, and even releasing can all be done from RelativityOne.
  5. Reduce costs and errors across systems: With manual ticket filing there is the opportunity for errors in communication. By using RelativityOne, you’ll reduce the opportunity for errors and allow other team members to focus on other high-value work in IT.
  6. Create consistency in process: By leveraging Relativity's templates and onboarding workflows, you’ll know you’re preserving data the proper way and for the proper custodians for each and every matter.
  7. Quickly collect data: To cap it off, you’ll be able to quickly collect the data you’ve preserve in RelativityOne by leveraging Collect in RelativityOne’s integration with Google Vault.

Of course, the challenges don’t stop once the data is collected and pulled into RelativityOne. For instance, the metadata for Google data isn’t always stored on the native document itself (such as file folders being tags). This can cause confusion downstream, but RelativityOne addresses this issue by automatically collecting tag data and overlaying it during the data processing phase.

Reviewing Google Data

As workplace communication evolves, the ability to preserve and review short message data will be a key component of your investigation. However, Google Chat data exports from Google Vault in .msg format, causing difficulty in review scenarios. To solve this problem, RelativityOne automatically converts Google Chat data into Relativity Short Message Format (RSMF) for near-native review, providing clarity on who said what, when—and the context of the discussion—while retaining critical metadata, reactions, and attachments.

Another challenge in reviewing Google data is in the unique way Google threads emails. Email threading identifies relationships between messages, such as email threads, parties involved, attachments, and duplicate emails. However, traditional email threading techniques are not optimized for Gmail outputs, making the review process cumbersome and confusing. Our integration gathers forwards, replies, and reply-all messages, while extracting and normalizing critical metadata and packages them in an easy-to-understand manner. By grouping email replies with their original message, users can easily retrieve messages in order, facilitating context-gathering or refining search results. 

The integration between Relativity and Google Vault is all about efficiencies during the discovery process, and now Google customers also have the ability to leverage all the AI capabilities that RelativityOne offers—like aiR for Review, our new generative AI tool designed to quickly identify the most impactful content across thousands of documents.

Ready to learn more about how Relativity and Google are working together to help legal professionals manage their most critical data? Watch our on-demand webinar on how you can drive defensible outcomes with the platform.

Graphics for this article were created by Sarah Vachlon.

Driving Defensible Data Outcomes with Google and Relativity

Maks Babuder is a product leader at Relativity, where he helps guide the development of products that help legal teams mitigate risk, reduce costs, and manage growing tidal waves of data.

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