28 November 2014

New Gmail Categories



Gmail automatically categorizes messages. Right now, there are only 4 categories available: social, promotions, updates, forums and they match Gmail's inbox tabs. Even if you disable Gmail's inbox tabs from the settings, you'll still see the list of categories in the right sidebar.






When you click the 4 categories, Gmail adds the following queries to the search box: [category:social], [category:promotions], [category:updates], [category:forums].



If you used the new Google Inbox app, you probably noticed some other categories: travel, purchases, finance.






They're also available in Gmail, but you have to manually search for: [category:travel], [category:purchases], [category:finance]. Travel groups email confirmations from sites like Booking.com or Expedia, the purchases category shows order receipts from sites like Amazon or eBay, while the finance category shows bills, PayPal payment updates and more.






You can create labels that show messages from the new categories using filters. How to create a Purchases label?



1. Go to Gmail's inbox

2. Click the small arrow from the search box that shows advanced search options

3. Type category:purchases in the "Has the words" box

4. Click "Create filter with this search"

5. Check "Apply the label", pick "New label" from the list and type "Purchases"

6. Check "Also apply filter to matching conversations"

7. Click "Create filter".






Use the same steps to create labels for Travel and Finance, but replace Purchases with Travel or Finance in step 3 and 5.

Android's Email App Links to Gmail



Now that the Gmail app for Android lets you add non-Gmail accounts and works like a generic email client, the Email app is no longer necessary. When you open it, the app shows this message: "Email has moved. The Gmail app now lets you view all of your email accounts." You can tap "Take me to the Gmail app" and check "Always do this".






There are a few advantages for Google: it only has to bundle a single mail app from now on, the Gmail app is constantly updated in the Play Store, there's a consistent interface for both Gmail and the mail client.



Gmail could already import messages from other accounts using Mail Fetcher, but that's a tool for power users who fiddle with Gmail's settings. "Gmail's Mail Fetcher feature first imports all your old messages to Gmail and then continues to bring in new messages sent to your other account. You can add up to 5 accounts, including Gmail and other email providers."



Email is another AOSP app that bites the dust and is replaced by a closed source Google app, just like Music, Calendar, Browser, Camera and more.

27 November 2014

Find Your Purchases Using Google



Google uses confirmation messages from Gmail to show helpful information about your purchases in Google Now, Google Search and other Google services. That's not a new feature, but there are some ways to make it even more useful.



If you're signed in to your Google account, you can search for [my purchases] and Google shows your latest purchases from sites like Amazon, eBay, Google Play and more. Click one of the items to find more details, including tracking links, prices and links to email receipts. Click "show 10 more results" to see more orders.






You can filter your purchases. For example, you can search for [my purchases amazon de] to find your amazon.de orders.






You can also search for [my purchases from June 2013], [my purchases from last month], [my purchases from yesterday] and more.






This also works for searching purchases by name: [my purchases led], [my purchases shirt], [my purchases Samsung].






How to find your receipts from Gmail? Just search Gmail for [category:purchases] and you'll find all the confirmation messages detected by Gmail. It's interesting to notice that not all of them are used by Google Now and Google Search.

26 November 2014

YouTube HTML5 Loop



YouTube's HTML5 player uses some tricks to hide the standard menu that's displayed when you right click a HTML5 video. This menu includes features like looping videos, enabling browser controls or saving videos.



I've found a way to enable this menu in Chrome: just right click the video twice in the same place. The first right click will trigger YouTube's contextual menu, while the second right click will display browser's menu. Features like "save video as", "copy video URL" don't work, but you can use this trick to watch videos on repeat. Just click "loop" and you can watch your favorite YouTube video over and over again. To deactivate repeat, right click the video twice and click "loop" once again.






Obviously, this only works for YouTube's HTML5 player, but it's enabled by default in Chrome and most YouTube videos use it.



There are other ways to loop YouTube videos: from adding videos to playlists to using the "loop" parameter, installing extensions or using sites like Infinite Looper.



To enable the menu in Firefox, you can Shift click the YouTube player. There's no loop option, but you can find features like "save snapshot as", "view video" and more.





Chromebooks Bring 1 TB of Free Google Storage



If you planned to buy Google storage, you might decide to buy a Chromebook instead. When you buy a Chromebook, you now also get 1 TB of storage for 2 years if you redeem the offer by January 31, 2015. You would have to pay almost $240 for 1 TB of Google storage and the most affordable Chromebook costs $199: Acer Chromebook 11. You get the Chromebook for free and you still save about $40.






Until now, Google only offered 1 TB of storage for Chromebook Pixel users. Chromebook Pixel is the most expensive Chromebook and still costs $1299 when you buy it from the Google Play Store.

25 November 2014

Chrome Will Remove NPAPI Support in 2015



Google hoped to remove the support for NPAPI plug-ins this feature, but that will have to wait until next year. The NPAPI support will be completely removed in September 2015.






Chrome whitelisted some of the most popular NPAPI plug-ins like Silverlight or Google Talk. As their usage continued to decline, the whitelist will be removed in January and users will have to manually enable the plug-ins.



As you can see from the table below, the only plug-in used by more than 10% of the Chrome users is Silverlight and it's followed by Google Talk, which is still used by 7% of the Chrome users. Java usage declined from 8.9% to 3.7%, Facebook's plug-in usage declined from 6% to 3%, while Unity is only used by 1.9% of the Chrome users, down from 9.1% in September 2013.






In April 2015 NPAPI support will be disabled and Google will unpublish from the Chrome Web Store the extensions that require NPAPI plugins. Power users and business users will still be able to enable NPAPI using Chrome flags or Enterprise Policy, but only until September 2015, when NPAPI support will be completely removed. There's a deprecation guide for developers which offers a few alternatives to NPAPI, including HTML5, WebRTC, Chrome APIs for apps and extensions and Native Client.



NPAPI is a legacy technology that enabled a lot of powerful features, back when browsers couldn't play videos, handle video calls or run games. You had to install QuickTime or RealPlayer to play videos, install plug-ins for Google Talk or other video calling apps, install Java or Flash to play games. Now browsers are a lot more powerful and the features that are still not supported by Chrome can be enabled by more secure NPAPI alternatives like PPAPI and Native Client, which are unfortunately still only available in Chrome.

Create a Tree View of your Google Drive



If you have ever worked with DOS or Linux before, you’ll be familiar with the “tree” command that recursively lists all the files and folders in the current directory in a tree like format. Most of us prefer visual navigation through Windows Explorer or Mac Finder but a unique advantage with the tree command is that you can save and print the directory structure.


Google Drive - Folder Tree


Tree Command for your Google Drive


I have written a little Google Script that is much like running “tree” but against your Google Drive. It creates a hierarchical tree diagram of all the files and folders in your Google Drive that you can save for offline reference or even print.


To get started, click here and authorize the script to access the files in your Google Drive. Once the authorization is complete, it may take a minute to generate the entire Google Drive tree. You’ll then get a link to download an HTML file that mirrors your Drive structure. You can directly send the file to the printer as well.


Internally, all the script does is recursive traversal and the tree itself is sylized through simple CSS. In the current version, only the folder names in the tree are linked to their corresponding location in your Google Drive though the script can be easily extended to create a more data-rich tree that includes details like file URLs, sharing permissions, file sizes, file types and so on.


The process may take slightly longer if you have a large drive with tons of file and folders. Also, as soon as you authorize the Google Drive Tree script, you’ll get an email from Google with instructions on how to revoke access. You can do so as soon as the tree has been generated.




The story, Create a Tree View of your Google Drive , was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 25/11/2014 under Google Drive, Internet.

23 November 2014

YouTube Videos in Google Play Music



A side effect of the YouTube Music Key service is that the Play Music app for Android/iOS and the desktop site started to show relevant YouTube music videos for the songs you are playing. There's a "watch video" button placed on top of the album art and a "start video" menu option (it's called "watch video" in the iPhone app).















Google Play Music for Android shows the video inside the mobile app, so it doesn't launch the YouTube app. Google Play Music for iOS opens the YouTube app.






In the desktop site, the YouTube player is overlaid. Press Esc or click outside the player to hide it.






I've checked a long list of songs and the "start video" option is available for many popular songs that have music videos. You can also find YouTube videos when searching for artists and albums.