19 June 2014

Hangouts Integration in Google Search

Some of the phone numbers from Google's Knowledge Graph cards are now linked and open Google Hangouts. When you search for a local business, Google usually displays the phone number next to the address. Click the phone number and you can call directly from your browser using Google Hangouts, which opens in a pop-up window and informs you about the fees. Calls made to the U.S. and Canada are free.

For searches like [john radcliffe hospital phone number], Google shows a separate card that includes the phone number.

It's interesting to notice that not all phone numbers are clickable. Phone numbers from local search results or from ads don't have links. Another exception: customer service numbers.

{ via Search Engine Roundtable }

Chromecast Support for YouTube Live Streams

Chromecast is now even more useful: you can watch YouTube's live streams. This should work in YouTube's mobile apps and in Chrome for Android.

Here's a screenshot from YouTube's app for Android:

"With Chromecast available in 18 countries and YouTube live streams happening on the regular, we wanted to share one of our favorite ways to use Chromecast. Head to one of the live streams in the YouTube app, just press the cast button, then kick back and enjoy these live events from the comfort of your living room," informs Google.

Here are some live streams you can watch:

* ASP World Tour (surfing)

* Adidas Dugout live from Rio (football / soccer)

* Birds, puppies, cats and more streaming live @ The Pet Collective

* other live streams

Apparently, "YouTube Live streams cannot be viewed from Germany." Here's an explanation: "because of the German law (RStV), you must have a broadcast licence from the media authorities when you make a live stream that can reach more than 500 people at the same time. Not getting one would result in a fine of up to 500000€. "

18 June 2014

Sync Any Folder on your Mac with Dropbox

Cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive allow you to have only one folder on the computer the content of which will always remain in sync with your online account. Any files that you place in this particular folder can be accessed from the web or any of your other computers and mobile devices.

Dropbox for Mac Sync

If you would you like to store files from other local folders in your Dropbox, you can either move these folders inside the main Dropbox folder or you can get hold of a free utility called MacDropAny. This app will allow you to sync folders outside your main Dropbox folder with Dropbox but without you having to move these folders anywhere.

To get started, download MacDropAny and copy it to your Mac Applications folder. Now launch the app and it will ask you select a folder on your Mac that you would like to sync with Dropbox (or Google Drive). Next select the folder inside your main Dropbox folder where you would like this external folder to go. You may even choose the root Dropbox folder here.

There’s an alternate way as well. Just drag any Mac folder, drop it over the MacDropAny icon and choose the location of the Dropbox folder.

That’s all it takes to add any external Mac folder in your Dropbox queue. What the MacDropAny application just did is it created a symbolic link, or soft link, in your Dropbox folder that points to the external folder. Advanced users can directly run the command “ln -s” inside the shell terminal to create these links manually without requiring any app.

MacDropAny is available for Mac only and works with Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and other cloud storage services that impose the one-folder-only restriction. Windows PC users may download the free SyncToy utility from Microsoft to backup external folders with Dropbox.

This story, Sync Any Folder on your Mac with Dropbox, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 18/06/2014 under Apple Mac, Dropbox, Google Drive, Software

17 June 2014

How to Download Auto Awesome Photos

Auto Awesome is one of the best features of Google+ Photos. It's a good reason to upload your photos to Google+ instead of choosing a different service: you get something in return. Auto Awesome photos and videos use your photos and videos to create something new. Some of them improve your photos, others are funny, while some of them would normally require professional software.

Just because they're so nice, I decided to backup my Auto Awesome. Here's how to download them:

1. open this page: http://ift.tt/Jxfozp (or go to Google+ Photos and search for #AutoAwesome)

2. click "show all" below the first photos from that page

3. select the first photo: mouse over the photo and click the tick icon.

4. use your browser's find-in-page feature (Ctrl+F or Command+F on a Mac) and search for from your circles. That's a different section which shows Auto Awesome photos from your circles and that's where your Auto Awesome gallery ends.

5. Shift+click the last photo above the "From your circles" section and you should see a message like "230 selected".

6. click "more" in the navigation bar and select "download".

7. You'll get a Photos.zip archive with both photos and videos. The filename includes the type of AutoAwesome effect. The archive should also include the "year in review" video titled 2013-MOVIE.m4v.

Google Keep's Debug Tools

Google Keep for the desktop shows an interesting feature in the menu: a "debug tools" section with a single item: "show client log".

Google Keep opens a dialog that shows some information about your notes, some details about "upsync", "downsync", preloaded chunks and app init. If you enable "Show user text content", the debug page will also include the text of your notes.

I'm not sure if Google actually intended to show this debugging option in Google Keep's navigation menu. This looks like an internal debugging feature that's used by Google employees. Google Keep's Chrome app and Android app don't include this feature.

Google Account History

Google Settings page has a new section called "account history". The section shows some links that let you manage Google search history, Google location history, YouTube search history and video history (the videos you've watched).

Google also includes "pause" buttons for all the 4 data streams. When you click "pause", Google shows black-and-white pictures and tells you what you'll be missing.

"Pausing Google Search History may limit or disable features such as Google Now, more accurate search results and predictions, and saved searches on mobile devices. Pausing Google Location History will limit the functionality of some Google products over time, such as Google Maps and Google Now. Pausing YouTube Search History does not delete existing history. To view your history, remove individual items, or clear your entire history, go to your YouTube Search History page."

Here's what happens when you pause Google search history, Google location history, YouTube search history and video history: the colorful images are converted to black and white.

YouTube's video history is really useful because it shows all the videos you've watched from any device, as long as you are logged in. Unfortunately, YouTube doesn't provide a search feature, so you have scroll until you find the right video. YouTube's video history is the most important source for YouTube's recommendations, so you should delete some of the videos if you see unpleasant recommendations. Google also uses video history to improve ads, but you can opt out of interest-based Google ads.

YouTube's search history is used to show search suggestions and to improve recommendations:

Google search history is used to show search suggestions, to personalize search results, to improve ads and to provide data for some Google Now cards. There's an important distinction between YouTube search history and Google search history: YouTube only saves your queries and the video history is saved separately, while Google search history includes both your queries and the search results you've clicked on.

Location History started as a Google Latitude feature, but it's still available, even if Google Latitude was discontinued. To understand Location History, you need to know what Location Reporting is.

"Location Reporting allows Google to periodically store and use your device's most recent location data in connection with your Google Account. Location History allows Google to store a history of your location data from all devices where you are logged into your Google Account and have enabled Location Reporting."

Both features are related to mobile devices and they're used by Android/iOS apps like Google Maps, Google Search and Google+. Location History requires Location Reporting, but you can use Location Reporting while disabling Location History. Google uses your data to improve Google Maps search results based on the places that you've been, to show some Google Now cards and to show your data on a map.

{ Thanks, Herin Maru. }

16 June 2014

Feeling Lucky in Google Flight Search

A few days ago, Google Flight Search added some really cool features that help you find destinations you may enjoy. Pick one or more airports and Google shows a list of recommendations.

You can expand the map and "enter a full-screen exploring experience".

There's an "I'm feeling lucky" button that picks a destination for you. You can restrict the results, depending on your preferences. Choose the number of stops, a price range, an airline, times and duration. Click "I'm feeling lucky" again to see a different destination that matches your filters. Google shows photos for each city and helps you find the best dates for your trip.

Google Flight Search now lets you enter the name of a continent (South America) or a region (Central Africa) and shows a list of popular destinations.

Startup Tips From a Former Googler

Thomas Korte worked at Google for almost 9 years and he's now running AngelPad, a startup incubator. Thomas shared some of the things he learned at Google and could be useful for a startup:

* hire great people

* hire for the company, not for the job

* ask "why not?" instead of "why?"

* use data, not opinions

* put users first, money last

* share company information with employees

* build a culture that lasts

* give a license to dream (Google's 20% time - the permission from the company

to do things that are outside the normal scope of what you are doing)

* ask for forgiveness, not for permission (Google Books started as a service for scanning catalogs and Google didn't ask for permission to scan them).