14 June 2014

Google Shows Step-by-Step Instructions

I mentioned a few months ago that Google now answers complicated questions. Depending on your query, you might see a long answer obtained from a web page.

Google's answers also include lists. Here are some examples from a Gmail support page and an Apple support page:

When searching for [gmail export contacts], Google now lists the steps right on the search results page, so you don't have to click the search result and find the answer.

Here's a similar example for [icloud restore]. Notice how Google removes some of the text from the article to keep it brief.

The answers aren't limited to tech-related queries. You can also find [how to remove a popcorn ceiling], [how to install a toilet], [how to change a tire], [how to boil eggs] and more.

13 June 2014

Save your Google Voicemail to Google Drive as MP3 Files

When you receive a voicemail message on a phone number connected to your Google Voice account, the text transcription of the voice mail is emailed to your Gmail account along with a link to play the audio message on your phone or desktop. Now you can automatically save that voice mail to your Google Drive as an MP3 file.

Google Voicemail as MP3

I have written a little web app that scans your Gmail mailbox for any voicemails from Google Voice and it will save the audio in a specific folder on your Google Drive. The app attaches the voicemail transcript to the MP3 file as well thus making it possible for you to search your voice mails from within Google Drive.

To get started, click here and authorize why the app to access your Gmail and Google Drive accounts. On the next screen, click the Google Voice button and wait for the app to initialize. That’s it. The app will run in the background and monitor your Gmail account for any messages from Google Voicemail.

It creates a new folder called Google Voice in your Google Drive and all the voicemail MP3 files are saved in this folder. Also, once a voice mail has been processed in Gmail, a new label called MP3 is applied to that message to prevent the app from reprocessing that email message.

The app is powered by Google Scripts and the entire source code is available below. You can stop the script anytime using the uninstallation link that would have arrived in your Gmail account when you authorized the app.

Google Script – Save Voice Mail as MP3 in Google Drive

/* Written by Amit Agarwal amit@labnol.org */
/* Tutorial: http://ift.tt/1qEMTAp */

var folder, folder_name = "Google Voice";
var archive, gmail_label = "MP3";

/* Find Google Voice messages in Gmail */

var filter = "from:voice-noreply@google.com -label:" + gmail_label;
var threads = GmailApp.search(filter, 0, 10);

if (threads.length) {

/* Google Drive folder where the MP3 files will get stored */
var folders = DriveApp.getFoldersByName(folder_name);
folder = folders.hasNext() ? folders.next() : DriveApp.createFolder(folder_name);

/* Gmail Label that is applied to processed voice mails */
archive = GmailApp.getUserLabelByName(gmail_label) ?
GmailApp.getUserLabelByName(gmail_label) : GmailApp.createLabel(gmail_label);

for (var x=0; x<threads.length; x++) {


var msg = threads[x].getMessages()[0];

/* Find the link to play the voice mail message */
var url = msg.getBody().match(/https?:\/\/http://ift.tt/1qauxtx);

if (url) {

/* Find the name of the voice sender (or their phone number) */
var file_name = msg.getSubject().match(/new voicemail from (.*) at /i);

/* Add the voice mail date to the file name */
var file_date = Utilities.formatDate(
msg.getDate(), Session.getScriptTimeZone(), "yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm");

if (file_name) {

/* Extract the audio file and save as an MP3 file */
var mp3 = url[0].replace("/voice/fm/", "/voice/media/svm/");
var file = folder.createFile(UrlFetchApp.fetch(mp3).getBlob());

/* Save the voice mail transcript with the audio file */
file.setName(file_name[1] + " [" + file_date + "]" + ".mp3");


[*] The script triggers every 15 minutes and processes 10 voice mail messages in the batch starting with the most recent ones. If you have too many old voice mails in your Gmail account, it may take a while to process all the emails.

[**] The web app requires permissions to access your Gmail and Google Drive. I have shared the full source code of the app but if you aren’t convinced yet, just make a copy of the above code in your Google Drive and run it manually.

Also see: Save Gmail Attachments to Google Drive

This story, Save your Google Voicemail to Google Drive as MP3 Files, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 13/06/2014 under GMail, Google Drive, Internet

09 June 2014

How to Record Streaming Audio with Audacity

Would you like to record streaming music from Internet radio stations like Pandora or iTunes? Are you looking for a simple way to save the audio from a live webinar that’s playing on your computer? Or maybe you are trying to capture the background sounds of your favorite video game.

Recording “What You Hear” – Step by Step

Here’s an extremely easy and inexpensive method that will let you record any sound coming from your computer speakers. There’s no complex configuration required and all you need is Audacity, a popular audio editing software (freeware) and some common computer cables. The steps are similar for both Windows and Mac computers.

Step 1. Get the Software Cables

Cables for Recording Computer Sound

You’ll need a pair of headphones that you already have, a stereo audio cable (3.5mm male to male) and a jack splitter (3.5mm male to two 3.5mm female splitter). With the splitter, you can connect two headphones to your iPhone or iPod and thus both you and your friend can listen to music at the same time.

Step 2: Connect the cables to the computer

This video clip explains how you can connect the cables to the computer for recording system audio.

The male end of the jack splitter goes into the audio output port of the computer (often colored green). Plug one end of the loopback cable into the jack splitter and other end into the line-in port on the computer (often colored blue). Finally, plug your microphone jack into the other vacant female port of the splitter.

[*] If you have a newer Macbook that doesn’t have the audio input port, you can still capture the audio of Mac using Audacity without needing any cables.

Step 3. Start the recording

Open the Audacity program on your computer and under preferences, set the recording input as Built-in Input (it maybe listed as Line In or Microsoft Sound Mapper Input as in this screenshot). Now play any media file on your computer, or play music on a streaming site, switch to Audacity and hit the Record button. If you see a moving waveform, the audio is getting recorded.

When you are done, stop the recording in Audacity and export the audio as an .wav file. You can also download the LAME encoder to save the audio in MP3 format or use FFMPEG to convert the audio manually.

This story, How to Record Streaming Audio with Audacity, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 08/06/2014 under Music, Software