01 August 2015

A Renewal Reminder


Google has recently sent notifications about some domains that are about to expire. "Your registration of domain.com is about to expire. This means that users will no longer be able to access your website at that time."

The domains were registered using Google Domains, but they were set to automatically renew, so Google's message was confusing. Google realized that it was a mistake and sent another message:

"An automated email was sent out to you earlier in error with the subject 'Your domain registration is expiring'. Please discard the erroneous message. Since your domain is set to auto-renew, your domain will be renewed on the expiration date as expected. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused."

Unfortunately for Google, the message was sent to 1664 people and all the email addresses were added to the "to" field, so everyone can see them. Whoops!


31 July 2015

More Related Images in Google Image Search for Mobile


Google Image Search has a new mobile interface. When you tap a thumbnail, Google shows the image result, a link to the page and a long list of related images.


Below the search result, you can find a list of similar images. You can still swipe left or right to go to the previous or the next image result. Tap the image to hide everything else.




30 July 2015

How to Save your Gmail to Google Drive Automatically


Introducing Save Emails, a new Google Docs add-on that will help you easily save email messages and file attachments from Gmail to your Google Drive automatically. The emails threads are converted and saved as PDF files in Drive while the attachments are saved in their native format.

You can use the Google add-on to save images, videos, Office documents, project backups and everything else from Gmail to your Google Drive. It also supports the Gmail size search operator so if your mailbox is running out of space, use the add-on to quickly move the large file attachmetns to Drive and delete the corresponding email from Gmail.

Download Gmail Attachments & Emails to Google Drive

The YouTube video will help you get started in 2 minutes.

All you have to do is visually create a rule, similar to how your create filters in Gmail, and then specify a folder in your Google drive. The add-on runs in the background and will automatically download the matching emails to the corresponding Drive folder. You can choose to save the email message only, the included attachments or both.

The add-on runs every hour but if you would like to speed up things a bit, you can manually start the downloads as well. While you are inside the Google Sheet, go to Addons, Save Emails and Attachments and then choose Manage Rules. Now pick any of available rules that you have previously created and tap the Run button to instantly download the matching emails to your Google Drive.

Once an email thread is added to Google Drive, a label “Saved” is applied to the message in Gmail to indicate that the thread has been processed by the add-on and it won’t be processed in the next iteration.

Save Gmail Attachments to Google Drive

Download Save Emails

Internally, there’s a Google Script that is doing all the hard work. It connects to your Gmail, pulls the matching threads and saves them to Drive via the various Google Apps Script APIs.

The add-on is completely free but there’s a premium version as well that offers a few additional benefits. With premium, you can create unlimited number of mapping rules, the Gmails are saved to Drive at a much faster rate (within 10-15 minutes) and you get email support as well.

If you are wondering why use an add-on where you have services like Zapier or IFTTT that offer similar features, here’s a clue. The Save Emails add-on can process both new (incoming) email as well as old messages in your mailbox. It converts your email messages into high-quality, print-ready and searchable PDF files. And you can run the add-on manually to save emails on demand.


The story, How to Save your Gmail to Google Drive Automatically, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 30/07/2015 under GMail, Google Drive, Internet.

Google's Visual Translation Supports 20 New Languages


Google bought Word Lens last year and brought a very useful feature to Google Translate: real-time visual translation. Use a phone or a tablet running Android or iOS, point the camera at a sign or text in a foreign language and Google will translate the text almost instantly, while preserving all the other details. It's like using a magic camera that translates text and lets you read street signs, restaurant menus, user manuals, newspaper articles even if they're written in foreign languages.

Visual translation now supports 20 additional languages. "You can now translate to and from English and Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. You can also do one-way translations from English to Hindi and Thai." Back in January, the feature was launched with only 7 supported languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.



This feature requires to pick the right languages before tapping the camera button and one of the languages must be English. You'll probably be prompted to download a small language pack, since you can use Word Lens offline.

Google Research Blog has more information about Word Lens. After finding the text regions in the picture, Google recognizes the letters using a convolutional neural network. "Letters out in the real world are marred by reflections, dirt, smudges, and all kinds of weirdness. So we built our letter generator to create all kinds of fake 'dirt' to convincingly mimic the noisiness of the real world—fake reflections, fake smudges, fake weirdness all around." After recognizing the letters, Google translates the text taking into account that text recognition might include mistakes, then it "renders the translation on top of the original words in the same style as the original". Google actually erases the original text using the colors surrounding the text and draws the translation using the initial foreground color. It's quite clever.

29 July 2015

Popular Times Added to Google's Local Search Cards


Google has a new feature for local search cards. When you search for restaurants, stores, museums and other places, you can now see the busiest times of the day or week. The new "popular times" section shows when it's a good time to go to a certain place and when it's best to avoid it because it's too crowded.


"Now, you can avoid the wait and see the busiest times of the week at millions of places and businesses around the world directly from Google Search. For example, just search for "Blue Bottle Williamsburg", tap on the title and see how busy it gets throughout the day," informs Google.

For now, it seems that this feature is only available in the US and it's limited to the mobile interface. Google says that the data is based on historical visits, so I assume it uses Location History and other location services for mobile devices. Google Maps has a similar feature that shows typical traffic.

Google Photos Search Filters


Google+ Photos has a few search filters that are pretty useful. You can find them if you click the small arrow from the search box: Auto Backup, Hangouts, Google Drive, Posts, Auto Awesome, Videos and more. The nice thing is that most of them are also available in Google Photos.


Google Photos has a search page that shows a few filters: Creations (replaces Auto Awesome), Google Drive, Video, Recently Added. Here are some searches you can use to bring back the filters from Google+ Photos:

#AutoBackup - shows all the photos automatically backed up from your mobile devices and desktop computers

#Desktop - shows the photos automatically backed up from your desktop computers

#Posts - shows the photos added to your Google+ posts

#All - shows all your photos

#PhotosOfYou - photos you've been tagged in

#CAMERANAME - replace CAMERANAME with the your camera's model or brand to see all the photos taken with that camera. Some examples: #Nexus5, #Canon, #iPhone.


28 July 2015

Evernote Drops Email-to-Note for Free Accounts, Alternative


Your Evernote account has a unique and secret email address. Any email messages forwarded to this address are automatically saved as notes in your Evernote notebook. The feature has been around for a while and is particularly handy for quickly archiving email messages and included file attachments into Evernote that can be retrieved later from any device.

Earlier this month, Evernote made a little change. The Email to Evernote feature still exists but only if you have a premium account. From the support page:

After July 15, 2015, you can continue saving up to five more emails into Evernote. After you send your fifth email, you won’t be able to save any additional emails into Evernote until you’ve upgraded to Evernote Plus or Premium.

In the meantime, Evernote has introduced a new Email Clipper for sending your Gmail messages to Evernote but it only works inside desktop browsers. How do you send email messages to Evernote from a mobile device?

A good alternative is IFTTT. Assuming that you have activated the Evernote and Gmail channels in your IFTTT account, here are the 2 recipes that will help you email notes into Evernote but without having to upgrade to premium.

  • Recipe 1 – Forward any email message to trigger@recipe.ifttt.com with #Evernote in the subject line and it will create a note in your default Evernote notebook.
  • Recipe 2 – Apply the label Evernote to any email message inside Gmail and it will magically appear in your Evernote notebook via IFTTT.

You will however miss the option to create reminder notes via email nor can your redirect notes to different Evernote notebook based on the subject line.

See more Evernote Tips & Tricks


The story, Evernote Drops Email-to-Note for Free Accounts, Alternative, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 28/07/2015 under Evernote, Internet.

Embedded Tweets can be Easily Faked


You can easily embed tweets in your website by adding a little HTML snippet to your site’s template. The embedded tweets are interactive in the sense that they’ve a follow button, they show live retweet counts, and you also use CSS to change the formatting of tweets.

Now CSS does help you control the tweet’s appearance but you may be surprised to know that it is also possible to change the other elements of an embedded tweet. For instance, you may modify the actual text of the tweet. The favorite & retweet counts can be altered as well. Let me illustrate that with an example:

This is the original tweet:

This is the same tweet, but altered with JavaScript:

Notice any difference? Well, there are quite a few.

The altered tweet uses a different font family, there’s minimal Twitter branding, the favorite & retweet numbers are made up, some extra words were appended to the tweet itself and the date has been replaced with custom text. And it is not a fake screenshot.

Embed Tweet

Also see: Learn Coding Online

How to Alter an Embedded Tweet

Twitter allows you embed tweets with JavaScript and when you take this route, you not only gain control over how the tweets are rendered but also over what’s rendered inside the tweet.

Here’s the complete JavaScript snippet that allows use to modify most of the elements of an embedded tweet.

<div id="tweet"></div>

<script src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script>

<script>
  twttr.ready(function() {

    twttr.widgets.createTweet(
      
      // Replace this with the Tweet ID
      'TWEET ID', document.getElementById("tweet"))
      .then(function(el) {

        var e = el.contentDocument;

        // Change the tweet text
        var html = e.querySelector(".Tweet-text");
        html.innerHTML = "[How-to Guide] " + html.innerHTML;

        // Hide the Follow Button
        e.querySelector(".FollowButton").style.display = "none";

        // Change the retweet count
        e.querySelector(".TweetAction--retweet .TweetAction-stat").innerHTML = "123";

        // Change the favorites count
        e.querySelector(".TweetAction--favorite .TweetAction-stat").innerHTML = "999";

        // Replace the date with text
        e.querySelector(".dt-updated").innerHTML = "Contact the author of this tweet at amit@labnol.org";
      });
  });
</script>

You pass the tweet ID (line #11) and also specify the DIV element where the tweet will be rendered.

After the tweet is rendered, you can use standard DOM methods to change the various inner elements based on class names. For instance, you can change the innerHTML property of the element with the Tweet-text class to modify the tweet text. Similarly, if you set the display property of class FollowButton to none, the follow button is hidden.

Fake tweets are known to have crashed markets so the next time you come across an embedded tweet with unbelievable retweets or favorites, it may be a good idea to verify the numbers.


The story, Embedded Tweets can be Easily Faked, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 28/07/2015 under Embed, Twitter, Internet.

Google+ Profiles, No Longer Required


After so many years of promoting Google+ and integrating it with other services, Google realized that Google+ doesn't mean a lot for many Google users and it started dismantling Google+. Google Photos is now a standalone service and other Google+ features will follow suit.

In a blog post, Google announced that Google+ profiles will no longer be required and YouTube will be the first service that will make this change in the coming weeks. "A Google Account will be all you'll need to share content, communicate with contacts, create a YouTube channel and more, all across Google. Your underlying Google Account won't be searchable or followable, unlike public Google+ profiles. And for people who already created Google+ profiles but don't plan to use Google+ itself, we'll offer better options for managing and removing those public profiles."

A lot of YouTube users complained when YouTube switched to a new commenting system which required Google+ profiles, but YouTube comments are much better today. Now YouTube comments will no longer appear on Google+ and Google+ posts that share a YouTube video will no longer be added as YouTube comments. "In the coming weeks, YouTube will no longer require a Google+ profile when you want to upload, comment, or create a channel," mentions the YouTube Blog.

Google claims that Google+ will continue to exist and will become "a place where people engage around their shared interests". It's a much smaller goal for a service that used to tie all the other Google services, add unified sharing and identity information. Google+ used to be more than a service, it was a layer that was supposed to make Google products work together.

Here's what Bradley Horowitz said back in 2011:

"Until now, every single Google property acted like a separate company. Due to the way we grew, through various acquisitions and the fierce independence of each division within Google, each product sort of veered off in its own direction. That was dizzying. But Google+ is Google itself. We're extending it across all that we do — search, ads, Chrome, Android, Maps, YouTube — so that each of those services contributes to our understanding of who you are."



Bradley Horowitz is now the Google VP of Streams, Photos, and Sharing. That's "Streams, Photos, and Sharing" and not Google+. Ever since it was launched back in 2011, Google+ meant 2 things: the stream and the sharing platform. It looks like Google+ now focuses on the stream, which was less successful than the sharing platform.

It's not clear how Google+ will continue to exist if Google removes important features like photo sharing and starts to remove the integration with YouTube and other Google services. It just makes it easier for Google to discontinue Google+, now that fewer people will use it.

27 July 2015

Gmail's Mobile Site Promotes Inbox App


I'm not sure if this is new, but I've noticed that Google now promotes the Inbox app when opening Gmail in the mobile browser. "Get Inbox by Gmail, a new email app from the Gmail team," suggests the interstitial page, which still lets you "go to the mobile Gmail site".

Here's a screenshot from an iPad:


And another screenshot from a Nexus 5:


Google used to promote the Gmail app.

YouTube's Updated Notifications


YouTube has recently changed the settings for notifications. When you subscribe to a channel, there's a box that says "Send me all notifications for this channel". The settings page has a new label for the email digest checkbox: "Occasionally notify me of new videos and activity from my subscriptions" and you can choose if you want email notifications, mobile notifications or both email and mobile notifications.


Mobile apps for Android and iOS have a notification section in the settings, which lets you disable or enable notifications, customize notification types (subscription activity, recommended videos, comments and replies) and also see all your notifications.


Named Places in Google Maps


The latest version of the Google Maps app for Android lets you add private names for places. Search for an address or drop a pin on the map, tap the 3-dot menu icon and pick "Edit name". You can add a name that lets you quickly find the place on the map, just like you can find "home" or "work". The private name is saved to your Google account and you're the only one who can see it.

Here's an example for a local business (this feature is even more useful for places that don't have a name in Google Maps):





To edit a name or delete it, open the side menu and tap "Your places". At the top of the section, you can find the named places, including "home" and "work".