06 August 2015

Convert Notes to Documents in Google Keep for Android

The latest version of the Google Keep app for Android lets you export your notes to Google Docs, just like the desktop site. Open a note, tap the menu button and pick "copy to Google Doc".

You can also select multiple notes and use the same feature to export your notes to a Google Docs document.

If you don't have the latest version of the Google Keep app yet (3.1.313), you can download the APK file from APK Mirror. According to Android Police, "the APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app".

Export All Your Google Keep Notes

How to export all your notes from Google Keep? One option is to use a feature that converts one or more notes to a Google Docs document.

1. Select all your notes: go to Google Keep and press Ctrl+A (or Cmd-A for Mac).

Important: This only selects the notes from the current view, so archived notes aren't included. You can repeat these steps for archived notes or select all your archived notes and unarchive them.

2. Click the 3-dot icon from the top of the page and pick "Copy to Google Doc".

3. Wait a few seconds and you should see a link at the bottom of the page that says: "Open doc". Click that link to open the document that includes all your notes.

05 August 2015

A Lynx-like Text Browser that Runs on Google Servers

Text Browser is a Lynx-inspired browser that lets you read the web in text and strips all JavaScript, images, videos and other rich content that maybe embedded inside a web page. Unlike Lynx that require installation and run locally, Text Browser is a web app and runs in the Google cloud.

Text Browser

To get started, click here and authorize the web app with your Google Account. It requires authorization to sign-in and also for fetching web pages on your behalf. It will neither track your browsing activity nor will have access to any of your Google Account data.

Once a page loads inside the Text Browser, any of the internal links will also open inside the same browser automatically.

Text Browser as a Proxy Server

Why would anyone want a basic text browser? Well, you can also use the Text Browser as a proxy server to access news articles and other text-only content on the Internet that may otherwise be inaccessible at your workplace.

When you request a web page through the app, the underlying Google Apps Script will fetch the page on Google’s servers and then renders the content on your screen using Google Apps Script. Thus, even if a site is restricted, you should be able to view the page indirectly through the Google cloud.

And if a website is down for you, use the Google text browser to confirm if the page is really down for everyone or it is just your Internet connection.

The story, A Lynx-like Text Browser that Runs on Google Servers, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 04/08/2015 under Proxy Server, Internet.

04 August 2015

YouTube Only Updated The HTML5 Player

There's something interesting about the latest YouTube player update: it's the first time when YouTube only updates the HTML5 player.

Since it's no longer that easy to force YouTube to switch to the Flash player, I've used an old version of Firefox (22.0). YouTube defaulted to the Flash player, the same old player before the recent update.

I've switched to the HTML5 player using youtube.com/html5 and YouTube displayed the new player, just like it does in the latest versions of most desktop browsers.

It's obvious that the Flash player has been deprecated and it's still used for older browsers. If you're using the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, the HTML5 player is used by default and you can't even switch to the Flash player.

YouTube's New Desktop Player, Available for Everyone

After a few months of testing, the new desktop player for YouTube replaces the old one. The new HTML5 video player uses a transparent control bar that hides when you're not using it and has new buttons and dropdown menus.

"Our new player design has a bit more polish, gets out of the way of your video playback, and scales to any screen or embed size," informs YouTube. The TestTube page no longer lets you switch back to the old player and it only shows this message: "This browser is using the new YouTube player".

Delete Recommendation History in Google Play Music

Google Play Music's desktop site has a new feature that lets you delete history. At the bottom of the settings page, there's a new section called "delete recommendation history". According to Google, this "removes the history used to give you recommendations and customize radio. This will not remove ratings and play counts on individual tracks."

Google shows a long list of recommended radios and albums and you can manually remove them by clicking "not interested" for each radio and album. After using the new "delete recommendation history" feature, I expected to see that all recommendations are removed and Google will start to show new suggested albums and radios based on the songs you play from now on. Unfortunately, that's not the case: Google still shows similar recommendations.

Speaking of historical data, it's surprising that Google Play Music still doesn't have a feature that shows all your recently played songs. It should be an auto playlist, just like "last added" and "thumbs up" and users should be able to export it.

{ Thanks, Camilo Moreira. }

03 August 2015

Google Updates Ad Settings

Google has recently updated ad settings pages, which have a new design and more information about your options. You can still disable ads based on your interests from both Google sites and third-party sites. When you do that, you'll still see ads, but they "will not be based on data Google has associated with your Google Account, and so may be less relevant".

It's interesting that Google replaced the section titled "Google ads across the Web" with a new section for signed-out ads, which has 2 separate settings for "ads based on your interests on websites beyond google.com" and "Google Search Ads based on your interests". Google uses your previous searches and browsing history to improve search ads, but you can disable this feature. AdSense ads also use your browsing history and anonymous demographic details to improve ads.

{ Thanks, Herin Maru. }

Get Fare Estimates for Uber Taxis on Twitter

How much will it cost if you are take an Uber taxi from point A to point B? Uber’s mobile app has a built-in fare estimator but you can now also Twitter to calculate the fare. Write your query in plain English (see example), send it to @WhatTheFare and the bot will let you know the approximate fare for your ride in less than a minute.

@WhatTheFare is a new Twitter bot that will help you estimate the cost of your Uber trip. You’ll get to know the fare as well the different types of Uber taxis that are available on that route. And you can use the bot to estimate fare for trips anywhere in the world where Uber service is available.

The bot’s response will also include a deep-link (see example) to Uber’s mobile website and it will directly populate the pickup/drop-off co-ordinates should you decide to book a taxi with Uber.

You can use the bot from anywhere in the world but the Uber prices are always provided in the currency of the pickup/drop-off address. Here’re some sample tweets that used the @WhatTheFare bot to know Uber prices.

Internally, like DearAssistant, the Uber bot is also written with Google Scripts.

It uses the Google Maps API to geocode postal addresses found in your tweet request, fetches the list of Uber taxis available for that route via the official Uber API and then tweets the response using the Twitter API. The taxis icons in the tweet are standard Unicode emojis supported by Twitter.

The story, Get Fare Estimates for Uber Taxis on Twitter, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 03/08/2015 under Twitter, Uber, Internet.

How to Create a Retweet and Favorite Bot for Twitter

This tutorial explains how you can easily make a Twitter bot that will automatically favorite and/or retweet tweets that contain particular keywords or #hashtags. You need absolutely no coding knowledge and your Twitter bot will be up and running in few minutes.

Before we get started, you may be wondering why would anyone write a twitter bot that mindlessly favorites or retweets tweets? Yes, bots are often used for spammy behavior but, if used right, they can also help grow your Twitter network. For instance, when people share a link from your website on Twitter, you can favorite that tweet and it will give an hint to the original poster that you are author of that page. A brand may like to retweet tweets that contain positive mentions of their product. The list goes on.

Twitter Retweet Bot
Also see: How to Write a Useful Twitter Bot

The first thing you need to do is define a search phrase and any matching tweets will be retweeted or favorited by the bot. Add as many search conditions as possible to keep spam tweets away from your list. Some examples:

1. Tweets containing links to your website, sans retweets
example.com min_retweets:5 OR min_faves:5 -RT

2. Mentions of particular hashtag, but no links
#WhatAnAwesomeHashtag -RT -filter:links

3. All tweets sent from a particular location
#hashtag near:”New York, NY” within:15mi

OK, next we need to build our Twitter bot app. I suggest creating a separate Twitter account to test your automated bots.

  1. Go to apps.twitter.com and create a new application. Fill in the mandatory fields (name, description, URL) and click the Create button. Next go to Keys and Access Tokens and click the Create my Access Token button. Twitter will generate the Consumer Keys & Access tokens that we will need in the next step.
  2. Click here to copy the Twitter bot script to your Google Drive. Replace the search phrase and Twitter keys that were generated in the previous step.
  3. Go to the Run menu and choose StartBot to initialize your Twitter bot.

That’s it. The bot will run in the background, every 10 minutes, and favorite / retweet matching tweets. It will fave/RT a maximum of 1 tweet per minute. If you wish to stop the bot later, go to Run again and choose StopBot.

Also see: How to Save Conference Tweets to a Spreadsheet

Use with care and, as always, the full source of the Twitter retweet bot is available on ctrlq.org under the “do whatever you like” license.

The story, How to Create a Retweet and Favorite Bot for Twitter, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 03/08/2015 under Twitter, Internet.