25 October 2014

How to Schedule your Gmail Messages with a Google Sheet



Have you ever wanted to write an email now but send it a later date and time? Maybe you are sending birthday greetings and would like the email message to be delivered on the exact day. Or you have written the reply to an email but would like to schedule delivery in the recipient’s time zone when the message is more likely to get read.


Microsoft Outlook has a built-in scheduler to help you delay the delivery of email messages. After you are finished writing an email message and hit the Send button, the message isn’t delivered immediately — it stays in your outbox and is sent at the specified time automatically.


Gmail doesn’t let you schedule a later delivery of email messages but there are browser extensions — like Boomerang and Right Inbox — that let you specify a future send date for your outgoing email messages.


These are however subscription based services that allow you to send only a limited number of scheduled email messages for free per month. The other concern is privacy – you will have to grant read and write access to your entire Gmail account to a third-party to use scheduling inside Gmail.


How to Schedule & Send Gmail Messages Later with Google Sheets


If you are reluctant to provide access to your Gmail account to another service, there’s an alternative – Google Sheets.


What you can do is compose all your emails that you would like to be delivered later in Gmail and then specify the exact delivery date and time for these messages in the Google sheet. The messages would be delivered automatically at the time chosen by you. Internally, there’s a little Google Script that takes care of sending the messages at the appropriate date and time.


Schedule Gmail Messages


Schedule your Gmail – Step by Step


Go to your Gmail mailbox and compose a few test messages that you would like to be delivered later. Your draft messages can have rich formatting, you can add attachments, signatures and even inline images. Make sure that you have included the recipient’s email address in the TO field of the drafts.



  1. Click here to make a copy of the Gmail Scheduler sheet (v2.0) in your Google Drive.

  2. Change the default timezone of your Google spreadsheet. The emails will get scheduled in this timezone.

  3. Inside the sheet, choose Authorize under the Gmail Scheduler menu and grant the necessary permissions. This script is running in your own Google Drive and none of your data is accessible to anyone else.

  4. Choose Gmail Scheduler -> Fetch Messages to import all the draft messages from your Gmail account into the Google Sheet.

  5. Set the scheduled date and time for individual messages in column D of the sheet. You can double-click a cell and use the date picker or you can manually enter the date and time as m/dd/yyyy h:mm:ss in 24 hour format.

  6. Go to Gmail Scheduler -> Schedule Messages and run the scheduler. You can close the spreadsheet and it will send messages at the specified time automatically.


Video Tutorial – Schedule Gmail Messages


Here’s a detailed video tutorial (download) that will walk you through the steps.



Scheduling Gmail messages with Google sheets is easy. Please do note that once a message has been scheduled, you should not edit the corresponding Gmail draft message else that particular message would be removed from the queue.


If you wish to edit the draft or need to change the delivery time once the messages have been scheduled, you can repeat the steps #3 to #5 and reinitialize the queue.


Awesome Google Scripts → Custom Google Scripts →


How to Change the Spreadsheet Timezone


The scheduled date and time that you specify in the cells use the default timezone of the spreadsheet. If you wish to send mails in a different timezone, open the spreadsheet and pick a different timezone under File -> Spreadsheet Settings menu.




This story, How to Schedule your Gmail Messages with a Google Sheet, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 24/10/2014 under GMail, Internet

23 October 2014

Inbox by Gmail



Reinventing email is not an easy task, especially when you have a successful service like Gmail. 10 years after creating Gmail, Google is back at work to bring "an inbox that works for you". The new service is called Inbox by Gmail and it's not just a new interface for Gmail, it's a productivity service that helps you get things done.






"We get more email now than ever, important information is buried inside messages, and our most important tasks can slip through the cracks — especially when we're working on our phones. For many of us, dealing with email has become a daily chore that distracts from what we really need to do — rather than helping us get those things done," says Sundar Pichai.



Inbox syncs with your Gmail account and uses all your labels and filters, but adds some new labels that automatically categorize mail: travel, finance, purchases. Google groups messages from the same category into bundles, so you can quickly review them.



There are some new concepts: pinning messages, marking them as done, sweeping messages, highlights, snoozing messages.



* Pin emails you need to get back to: Google moves them to your inbox and they'll stay there even when you mark all the emails as done.



* When you're done with an email, mark it done to move it out of your inbox.



* Sweep marks all unpinned emails in a section as done.



* Snooze emails to remove them from the inbox until later: you can pick a time when they'll be added back to the inbox or you can snooze emails until you you arrive at a place (for example: home).



* Highlights show important content from emails directly in your inbox: images, documents, events, flight information.









In many ways, pinning replaces starring, mark as done replaces archiving, but they're something new. They're the building blocks of a smarter inbox. You can create reminders and Google adds them to your inbox and sync them with Google Now.



Inbox by Gmail is a work in progress. There's a desktop web app and there are mobile apps for Android and iOS/iPhone. You need an invitation to use Inbox, but you can get one by sending an email to inbox@google.com. "Starting today, we're sending out the first round of invitations to give Inbox a try, and each new user will be able to invite their friends," informs Google.






Inbox doesn't replace Gmail yet, it's more like a new take on email for power users. Mobile optimized, context aware and task oriented.

22 October 2014

New Google+ Share Button



The share button from Google's navigation bar looks different: it now uses an icon instead of text and it's more compact. It's interesting to notice that Google used a text label only in the English interface.









Here's the old Share button:





Google Play Music Adds Songza Radio Stations



Google bought Songza and now it brings its features to Play Music, but only for All Access subscribers. The Listen Now section recommends radios based on moon, time of the day or activity. You can play music for working out, unwinding, having friends over, spending time with your family and more. "Each station has been handcrafted—song by song—by our team of music experts (dozens of DJs, musicians, music critics and ethnomusicologists) to give you the exact right song for the moment," informs Google.






I picked Unwinding and then Electronic Chillout and Bedroom Chillout.









Google creates a regular radio station and you can remove songs, reorder them, create playlist or listen offline.






"As part of this update, we’ve also redesigned the 'Listen Now' page so you can more easily discover new music. Now you’ll see cards for all of your recently played music, new releases you might be interested in, and radio stations based on what you like to listen to. You'll also notice that the new app uses Google’s material design, with bigger images, bolder colors and slick transitions," explains Google.






Songza-powered radio stations are only available in the US and Canada, probably because Songza is restricted to these countries. You can find the new radio stations in Google Play Music's web interface and the mobile apps for Android and iOS.



{ Thanks, Theo Winter. }

20 October 2014

Make Screencast Movies of your iPhone or iPad with QuickTime



Did you know that your Mac ships with a screencasting software that can be used for quickly recording movies of your computer screen? You can record the microphone audio along with the video, there’s an option to show or hide the mouse clicks during the screen recording and the movies can be exported in HD formats. This very-capable app is called QuickTime Player.


And it just got better. If you have upgraded your Mac to OS X Yosemite, you can use the same QuickTime Player software to record the screen of your iOS device in 2 easy steps. All you need is an iPhone or iPad running iOS 8 and a Lightning to USB cable – it is the same cable that you are currently using to connect your iOS device to the computer or the charger.


Record iPhone Movie


QuickTime as an iOS Screen Recorder


Step 1: Connect the iPhone to the computer through the 8-pin Lightning to USB cable. This will not work with older iOS devices that use the 30-pin connector.


Step 2: Open the QuickTime Player on your Mac (Yosemite) and choose “New Movie Recording” from the File menu (screenshot). If you are to record screencasts of your desktop, choose the “New Screen Recording” option.


Step 3: Click the arrow near the red record button and choose iPhone or iPad as the source camera. You can also select your device name in the Microphone section to record any audio coming out of your iOS device.


Once you are done recording the iOS screen, you can use the File -> Export menu in the QuickTime Player to save the movie in .mov format at 720p or 1080p resolution that can be uploaded to YouTube without conversion.


Also see: How to Record Android Screencasts


iOS Screencasting without the Mac


The iOS screencasting feature is only available with QuickTime on Mac OS X Yosemite and requires a relatively newer device running iOS 8 or later.


If you are however using Windows, or running an older version of Mac OS X, you can still record iOS screencasts with the help of apps like AirServer, Reflector or X-Mirage. AirPlay is built into iOS and Mac OS X and these apps use the the same AirPlay technology to mirror anything on your iOS screen to your Mac or Windows computer over a wireless local network. No cables required.




This story, Make Screencast Movies of your iPhone or iPad with QuickTime, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 20/10/2014 under Apple Mac, IPad, IPhone, Screencasting, Software

Upgrade your Macs without Using all your Monthly Bandwidth



I have almost exhausted my download bandwidth for this billing cycle and, lest you assume anything, I haven’t downloaded any torrents or movies from the Internet. All I have done is updated the Macs to the recently released OS X Yosemite and also downloaded the latest version of Apple iMovie, Keynote and other Mac software.


The Mac OS X Yosemite installer is about 5 GB in size and, for some unknown reason, the Apps Store doesn’t always support resumable downloads. So if your Internet connection goes down while the installer is getting downloaded or if there’s a problem connecting with Apple servers, you get the “unknown error has occurred” message and you’ve to download the whole thing again. I have to upgrade two Apple computers – an iMac and a Macbook – so the downloads are even a bigger hit on the monthly bandwidth.


Mac OS X Yosemite


If you are like me and have more than one Mac to upgrade, here an obvious tip that will help you save data – upgrade the OS and apps of one Mac and use the same offline installers to upgrade the software on your other Mac computers.


After some Twitter hunting, I figured out a Dropbox page where you can download the standalone offline installer of Mac OS X Yosemite. This is better than downloading from the Mac Store since the Dropbox client will automatically download the file to my Mac and it can resume broken downloads automatically.


Download and extract the zip file and double-click the yosemite.app file to run the installer on your Mac. The upgrade takes about 20-30 minutes and goes through without a hitch. If the progress bar at the OS X installation screen isn’t moving, you can press the CMD+L key to open the installation log and you’ll know if anything is happening in the backgroud.


The next step is to upgrade your existing Mac apps like iMovie (2 GB), Keynote (0.5 GB), Garageband (1.2 GB) and others. They are huge file and thus, in order to save data, you can upgrade them on one Mac and transfer the apps to your other Mac computers through the LAN or a USB drive.


Here’s what I do. My iMac and Macbook are connected to the same network and thus I can easily access each other’s files through the Finder. Say I have upgraded the apps of Mac A and need to transfer them all to Mac B. I will go to Mac A and temporarily share the Applications folder. I’ll launch Finder on Mac B and open the shared Applications folder of Mac A. I can now drag and drop the upgraded .app files from A to B. It will ask for the administrator password and the files are copied. You can’t do it the other way though (copying to B from A computer).


Copy Mac Apps


This is the easiest approach to copy applications from one Mac to another (and perfectly legal* if you own both the computers) but a downside is that your settings aren’t transferred. In that case, you’ll also have to manually copy the associated application folders from ~/Library/Preferences and ~/Library/Application Support/ to your other Mac.


[*] Apple says that “Apps [downloaded] from the Mac App Store may be used on any Macs that you own or control for your personal use.”


This story, Upgrade your Macs without Using all your Monthly Bandwidth, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 20/10/2014 under Apple Mac, Software

Google Inbox?



Ryan Goldstein, a reader of this blog, noticed a new addition to Gmail's SSL certificate: a reference to inbox.google.com in the Subject Alternative Name field. Subject Alternative Names allows you to secure multiple host names with a single SSL certificate.






When visiting inbox.google.com, Google redirects to http://ift.tt/1vQcQma and returns a 403 Forbidden error message. This suggests that the site exists, but it's not yet publicly available.






It's not clear if inbox.google.com will be a used for a new Gmail interface, for a different service that uses Gmail data or for something else.



{ Thanks, Ryan. }

19 October 2014

Remove Images From Google Maps Views



If you've added photos to Google Maps Views and you'd like to remove them, Google offers a few options: removing photos from Google Maps Views and Google Maps or deleting photos from all Google products, including Google+. Photos are stored in Google+, not in Google Maps.






Open the photo page in Google Maps Views, click "Remove from Google Maps and Views" and you'll see this confirmation dialog: "Your image will remain in Google+, but will be removed from Google Maps products. This may take up to 24 hours."






If you click the "delete" button instead, your photo is deleted from Google+ and all the Google services that use it.






"When uploading your photos to Google Maps Views, your content will be publicly visible to other users. Geolocated photos that are shared on Google Maps may also be displayed in a variety of Google products and services, such as Google Maps for mobile, Google Earth, Google Search, Google+, Google+ Local, and third party sites using embeddable widgets or the Google Maps API," informs Google.



There are other ways to remove photos from Google Maps Views: make the Google+ album private or uncheck the "Show location data" setting in the album properties.



{ Thanks, Jordan. }

Earth View, New Tab Page Powered by Google Maps



"Earth View displays a beautiful and unique Satellite image from Google Maps every time you open a new tab." It's a Chrome extension that replaces the new tab page with a random Google Maps image.






If you want to find more the satellite image, click the globe icon at the bottom of the page and you'll open the current view in Google Maps.



While the Earth View images are fascinating, you'll probably miss some of the features from the standard new tab page: bookmarks bar, frequently visited pages, Google's doodles and navigation links. Earth View only shows a link to Chrome's apps page.





Translate Selected Text in Chrome



Chrome has a built-in translation feature, so why would you install an extension for Google Translate? You can select text from a page, click the small Google Translate icon and get the translation almost instantly.






You can also click the extension's button and type some text you want to translate or click "translate this page".






The nice thing about the extension is that you can change your primary language in the extension's settings without changing your browser's interface language or your operating system's language. For example, Chrome for Mac "determines the browser interface language by the Language & Text setting in System Preferences."






"The Translate team is working hard to connect people by breaking language barriers across computers, mobile devices and Internet browsers. Our users make more than 1 billion translations a day," informs the Google Translate blog.