An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

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August 24, 2015

Quickly Copy Google's Translations

Google Translate added a few years ago a "select all" button that automatically selected the translation, so you could easily copy the text and paste it in an email message, a document or somewhere else. In Chrome, the "select all" has been replaced with a new "copy" button that selects the entire translation and copies the text to the clipboard. The nice thing is that this feature uses HTML5, not Flash. Unfortunately, the new feature is only available in Chrome and all the other browsers still get the old "select all" button.


You can still click the star button to save a translation to the phrasebook or copy the URL generated by Google Translate, which includes the original text.

{ Thanks, Alireza Eskandarpour Shoferi. }

YouTube's Red Settings

To make it more obvious that a certain option is enabled, YouTube player's settings menu changes the color of the menu item to red. For example, if annotations are enabled, the "annotations" menu item is red.


Mouse over a red setting and it temporarily becomes black. Disable the setting and it switches to black. Previously, only the radio box was red and I think it looked better.

August 19, 2015

Google's Blue Tabs

Google lets you switch between its specialized search engines and check image results, video results, news articles, books, Google Maps results and more. The active tab was red, but now it switched to blue.

Here's a screenshot that shows the blue tab:


... and a screenshot that shows the old red tab:


Back in June, I posted about a Google Mobile Search experiment that tested an oversized header and the active tab's color was blue.

Inline Search Results in Mobile Google Search?

Google's goal used to be sending users as quickly as possible to the best sites that answered their questions. Smartphone's popularity changed this and Google started to show detailed answers that used information from other sites. On-the-go users don't have much time to check multiple search results and find their answers, many sites aren't optimized for mobile, mobile data is still expensive and users have to deal with slow Internet connections.

Brandon Giesing noticed an interesting question from Google Opinion Rewards: "Imagine you're Googling on your phone. Compared to tapping on a regular search result, would tapping on a result that expanded to reveal content below where you tapped would be... much worse/worse/similar/better/much better?" It looks like Google considers adding a feature that loads the content of a search result inline, probably from Google Cache.


{ Thanks, Brandon. }

August 18, 2015

Help on Social: Answer Questions About Google

The more you think about it, the more you realize that Google's next acquisition could be Twitter. Why not buy Twitter, now that Google+ is an also-ran and Facebook is more powerful than ever?

After integrating Twitter with Google Search, now Google launches Help on Social, "a new way to ask and answer Google questions on Twitter". Help on Social is powered by Conversocial and brings together Google product questions from across Twitter so you can ask questions or help others. You can add #gHelp to your question to make sure that it's spotted by Help on Social, but the site shows Google-related tweets even if they don't use the hashtag.

If you want to answer questions in Help on Social, you need to create a profile, connect your Twitter account and select the Google products that interest you. You can then find tabs with answered, unanswered and pinned questions. Why would you answer questions about Google? You can win points and become a Top Contributor.



{ Thanks, Stefan and David. }

Google OnHub: Smart Router for Internet of Things

Google is all about the Web: it develops the most popular browser and mobile operating system, it has a public DNS service, it provides broadband Internet (Google Fiber) and wireless service (Project Fi). So why not build a router to improve your Internet connection and make your router as smart and easy to use as your smartphone?

Google partnered with TP-LINK to build OnHub (TGR1900), a next-generation router for the Internet of Things. It's not the fastest router (AC 1900 Mbps), it's not the most expensive router ($199.99) and it's not the best router for power users. Instead, Google focused on providing the best experience for regular users, much like Apple and its AirPort devices.


"We replaced unruly cords and blinking lights with internal antennas and subtle, useful lighting, so you'll be happy placing OnHub out in the open, where your router performs its best. A unique antenna design and smart software keep working in the background, automatically adjusting OnHub to avoid interference and keep your network at peak performance. You can even prioritize a device, so that your most important activity — like streaming your favorite show — gets the fastest speed," mentions Google.


There are mobile apps for Android and iOS which let you setup the router, change the settings and check the stats. A Google account is required and Google saves all the settings online, except for the WiFi password. Google's OnHub downloads and installs new versions of the firmware automatically and the best thing is that the router doesn't restart, so it doesn't interrupt your connection

OnHub is designed for Internet of Things and it supports Bluetooth Smart Ready, Weave (Nest protocol for the Internet of Things), IEEE 802.15.4 (a standard that focuses on low-speed connections between devices). The router has a dual-core 1.4GHz processor from Qualcomm Atheros (it's based on Snapdragon S4), 4GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, one USB 3.0 port, a 3W speaker, a WAN port and a single LAN port (both are Gigabit ports). You'll need a switch if you want more Ethernet ports.

You can pre-order OnHub from Google Store, Amazon and other sites in the US and it will ship in the coming weeks. It will also be available for sale in retail stores in the U.S. and in Canada. Google plans to release a second OnHub device later this year, in partnership with ASUS.

Many people will wonder if Google monitors the sites they're visiting. There's a help center article about this, which mentions that Google collects some data about your Internet usage (data speeds, historical network usage, network status, connected devices, network settings) and associates some of them with your Google account, but you can disable this in the settings. Google DNS is used by default, but you can change the DNS settings.

So why isn't OnHub a router for power users? It has a single WAN port, it uses mobile apps for setup and changing settings, it's complicated to connect multiple OnHubs because OnHub has a fixed subnet IP address that currently can't be changed.

August 17, 2015

Organize Albums in Google Photos

There are many Google+ Photos features that are missing from Google Photos. You can remove a few features from the list: reordering photos in an album, changing the album's cover and editing the timestamp for photos.

Just click the new "edit" button when opening an album and reorder photos using drag and drop. You can also add photos from other albums.


Open a photo, click the info icon and then click the edit button next to the date and time if you want to change them.


Another recently added feature: changing the album cover. Open a photo from an album, click the 3-dot menu icon and select "use as album cover".


{ via +GooglePhotos }

Standalone Google Hangouts Web App

Now you don't have to open Gmail or Google+ to use Google Hangouts: just go to hangouts.google.com in your favorite desktop browser and check the new standalone web app for Google Hangouts. The site redirects to talkgadget.google.com, so you can use this URL too.


"We are launching another way to use Hangouts today. From our new site you'll be able to take advantage of the best of Hangouts in the browser, along with an inspiring image to get you through the day," says Google's Jordanna Chord.

It's actually a slightly different interface for the Hangouts feature from Gmail, except that Gmail has been replaced with a wallpaper you can't change, the Hangouts roaster is bigger and there's a navigation menu.

August 14, 2015

Google Photos Card Shows More Results

In 2013 Google added a cool feature that allowed you to find your photos directly from Google Search. You could search for [my photos], [my photos of beaches], [my photos from New York], [my photos from 2011] and many other similar queries.

At that time, Google displayed small thumbnails for some of the search results. It looks like Google has updated the photos card and now shows a lot more photos, bigger thumbnails and it also includes some information about the photos (date, location). For some of my queries, Google displayed more than 100 results.


Google shows the search results from Google+ Photos and individual links send you to the Google+ Photos pages, but the link below the search results is for Google Photos. For some searches, Google Photos returns fewer results, since it doesn't include images from Blogger and photo spheres.

Google's Sign In Card

If you're not signed in, but you search Google for information from other Google products, you'll now see a special card that suggests to sign in. For example, if you search for [my packages], Google shows this message: "Looking for your orders? Sign in to see your package orders from Gmail."


When you search for [my photos], you'll get a similar message: "Looking for your photos? Sign in to see photos from your account."


Other queries that trigger the "sign in" card: [my events], [my agenda], [my calendar], [my mail], [my files], [my drive], [my documents], [my spreadsheet], [my presentations], [my bills], [my reservations], [my hotel reservations], [my restaurant reservations], [track my package], [my flights], [my tickets].