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 29, 2014

Redesigned YouTube Buttons

YouTube's experimental layout with simpler buttons is rolling out to everyone. The like and dislike buttons have merged with the number of likes and dislikes, YouTube no longer uses tabs, "add to" opens a drop-down menu and there's a "more" menu for features like "report", "transcript" and "statistics".



Google Docs Tooltip Shows Page Number

When you scroll a document in Google Docs, Google now shows a tooltip that includes the number of the page you're currently reading or editing and the total number of pages. It looks like this: "2 of 3". The tooltip is also displayed when you mouse over the scrollbar.


You can also check the number of pages using print preview or the word count feature. Another option is to insert page number and page count using the features from the Insert menu.

{ Thanks, Daniel Fletcher. }

YouTube Autoplay Experiment

YouTube tests a feature that automatically plays related videos after the video that's currently playing. You can disable this feature by clicking the "autoplay" toggle placed in the right sidebar, next to the list of related videos. "When autoplay is enabled, a suggested video will automatically play next," informs YouTube.



While the autoplay feature may sometimes be useful, I think it's a bad idea to enable it by default. YouTube's suggestions aren't always great and constantly disabling "autoplay" gets annoying. In YouTube's experiment, the autoplay feature is enabled by default every time you open a new video, even if you have previously disabled it.

Here's how you can enable the experimental feature. If you use Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari or Internet Explorer 8+:

1. open youtube.com in a new tab

2. load your browser's developer console:

* Chrome or Opera 15+ - press Ctrl+Shift+J for Windows/Linux/ChromeOS or Command-Option-J for Mac

* Firefox - press Ctrl+Shift+K for Windows/Linux or Command-Option-K for Mac

* Internet Explorer 8+ - press F12 and select the "Console" tab

* Safari 6+ - if you haven't enabled the Develop menu, open Preferences from the Safari menu, go to the Advanced tab and check "Show Develop menu in menu bar". Close Preferences and then press Command-Option-C to show the console.

* Opera 12 - press Ctrl+Shift+I for Windows/Linux or Command-Option-I for Mac, then click "Console".

3. paste the following code which changes a YouTube cookie:

document.cookie="VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=j1l-QY6DlXg; path=/; domain=.youtube.com";window.location.reload();

4. press Enter and close the console.

Open a random video to see the autoplay feature. To disable the experiment, use the same instructions, but replace the code from step 3 with this one:

document.cookie="VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=; path=/; domain=.youtube.com";window.location.reload();

{ via Rubén }

August 28, 2014

Google Tests New Site Search Box

For navigational searches like [amazon], [white house] or [stanford], Google displays a search box that lets you search the top search result. Google now tests a completely new site search box. The updated search box is bigger, it's placed below the top search result and Google shows a list of suggestions when you type the query.


For Amazon, Google makes an exception and uses Amazon's internal search, instead of Google Search. Let's say you start typing "smart" and click "smart power strip". Google sends you to Amazon's search results page for "smart power strip". If you don't pick a suggestion and press Enter or click the search button, Google still sends you to Amazon's search results page. The only way to get Google's results is to click "results for" in the list of suggestions.



Amazon seems to be an exception. For searches like [microsoft], [youtube], [imdb], Google shows its own results.



{ Thanks, Rubén. }

August 27, 2014

Special Characters Search Engine in Google Drive

Google's Drive desktop apps have an updated dialog for inserting special characters. If you open a document, spreadsheet or presentation, go to the Insert menu and click "Special characters", you have many ways to find a special character: use categories, search by keyword (example: arrow), enter the Unicode code point (example: 2195) or draw the character.



"We have launched a new version of the special character picker in Google Docs, Slides, and Drawings, making it easier for people to find characters and symbols — like arrows, shapes, or non-Latin characters — to insert into their content. The new picker now supports keyword search as well as free form input, so editors can draw the symbol that they have in mind and the picker will return available characters that resemble the drawing," informs Google.

Here's another example from Google Drive's Google+ page:

Hangouts Contacts Tab in Gmail

If you use Google Hangouts inside Gmail, you may have noticed a new icon at the bottom of the page. It lets you switch to the new contacts tab that shows your chat buddies starting with the ones who are online, just like in the old Gmail Chat/Google Talk. The small green circle next to the profile picture shows that your chat buddy is online. "Available contacts (those with the green circle) will show in an alpha-ordered list first, followed by a second alpha-ordered list of unavailable contacts," explains Google.


You can also mouse over a contact, click the small arrow icon and pick one of the options: pin to top, start video call, send email or hide. Pin to top moves the contact in a new section at the top of the list.


There's also the regular Hangouts tab that shows your conversations sorted by date. Gmail remembers the most recently clicked tab.

"Starting today it's easier to see which of your chat buddies are currently online, thanks to a new tab in Hangouts in Gmail. In this new tab, friends who are online are shown first, followed by those who aren't. Of course, you can still send your offline friends a message and they'll get it the next time they check Hangouts on their computer, phone or table," informs Google.

For now, Google still lets you switch between the old Gmail Chat and Google Hangouts, so you can always click "Try the new Hangouts" to switch to Google Hangouts and then "Revert to old chat" to go back to Gmail Chat if you don't like Hangouts.

Google Teapot Easter Egg

Google has a funny error page at google.com/teapot. It says: "418. I'm a teapot. The requested entity body is short and stout. Tip me over and pour me out." If you click the teapot, you'll see a nice animation.


So what's this 418 error? You may have noticed HTTP status codes like 404 (page not found) or 403 (forbidden). There are many other 4xx error codes, but 418 was only used for an Easter Egg. "This code was defined in 1998 as one of the traditional IETF April Fools' jokes, in RFC 2324, Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol, and is not expected to be implemented by actual HTTP servers." Here's the text from the document: "Any attempt to brew coffee with a teapot should result in the error code '418 I'm a teapot'. The resulting entity body MAY be short and stout."


{ via Search Engine Land }

August 26, 2014

64-Bit Chrome for Windows in the Stable Channel

Chrome 37 has been promoted to the stable channel. This means that the 64-bit Chrome for Windows is ready for primetime. You won't be upgraded to the 64-bit version even if you use 64-bit Windows 7 or Windows 8, so you have to manually install the 64-bit Chrome 37 from this page. You can also click the "Windows 64-bit" from Chrome's download page.


"64-bit Chrome offers many benefits for speed, stability and security. Our measurements have shown that the native 64-bit version of Chrome has improved speed on many of our graphics and media benchmarks. For example, the VP9 codec that’s used in High Definition YouTube videos shows a 15% improvement in decoding performance. Stability measurements from people opted into our Canary, Dev and Beta 64-bit channels confirm that 64-bit rendering engines are almost twice as stable as 32-bit engines when handling typical web content," informs Google.

So why is 64-bit Chrome opt-in? It doesn't support 32-bit NPAPI plugins. This may be an important downside for some users, but Chrome will remove NPAPI support in the coming months anyway. Until then, the 32-bit Chrome will still be the default.

Chrome's "known issues" page informs that the 64-bit plugins for Java and Silverlight work properly, while the plugins for Google Earth and Google Voice don't work because they're 32-bit plugins. You can switch between the 32-bit and 64-bit Chrome versions from Chrome's download page.

{ Thanks, Dilraj. }

Upload Google+ Videos to YouTube

YouTube now lets import your videos from Google+. Just go to the upload page and click the "import" button from the right sidebar.


You can select one or more Google+ videos and upload them simultaneously. This is a great way to upload your videos from desktop computers, Android and iOS devices if you've enabled the Auto Backup feature.


Google+ is better suited for uploading and managing photos. Even if Google+ uses YouTube's infrastructure for videos, Google doesn't provide embedding options for Google+ videos.

{ spotted by Nedas Petravičius. }

August 25, 2014

Edit Office Files in Docs, Sheets and Slides for iOS

Google released the Slides app for iOS and added native Office file editing to Docs, Sheets and Slides for iOS.

"You can truly get stuff done from any device — your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Any change you make on any of these devices is saved automatically, so you can pick up right where you left off any time, anywhere that you can sign in. The Docs, Sheets and Slides apps come with offline editing built right in. Just make the files you want to edit available offline. Any changes you make offline get automatically synced when you reconnect, just like when you make offline edits from your computer. And while converting Office files to Docs, Sheets and Slides is a cinch, the new iPhone/iPad apps also let you edit Office files directly - just like on the Android apps and the web," informs Google.



Native Office editing using the Office Compatibility Mode is a great feature and now Google's productivity apps for iOS are more powerful and can better compete with Microsoft Office.