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

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December 16, 2014

Add Google Drive Files as Gmail Attachments

You can now attach Google Drive files to Gmail messages. When you compose a message, click the Drive button, pick a file and select "insert as attachment" at the bottom of the pane. Then click "insert" and the file is added as an attachment, not as a link. You can only use this feature for files that haven't been converted to Google's formats.


Here's an example of attachment from Google Drive:


If you pick a file that's too big, you'll get this error message: "Your message could not be saved because it exceeds the maximum size of 25 MB. Try removing an attachment."

"There are now more ways to share Drive files with friends and family through Gmail, without having to worry about accidentally removing their access. By selecting the 'Insert as Attachment' option from Drive you'll be able to attach non-Google files directly to your Gmail message. Now you can be sure your friend will always have that great candid photo from your weekend getaway, or the PDF for your aunt's fruitcake recipe (do people actually eat Fruitcake?) even if you delete it from your Drive," informs Google.

Google Zeitgeist 2014

Google announced the list of the top trending searches in 2014: Robin Williams, World Cup, Ebola, MH370, ALS, Flappy Bird, Conchita Wurst, ISIS, Frozen and Sochi. There's a site that shows more information about these topics and you can check Google Trends for more charts.



The top trending consumer electronics products in 2014: iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5, Nexus 6, Moto G, Samsung Note 4, LG G3, Xbox One, Apple Watch, Nokia X, iPad Air. According to Google Trends, Chromecast is the fifth most popular tech gadget in the US, while "Okay Google" is the 8th fastest rising tech query in Germany. Ironically, iPhone 6 is the most popular IT-related query in South Korea.

Google Slides Imports OpenDocument Presentations

Google Drive's support for OpenDocument files has never been a priority for Google. Until today, you couldn't even open .odp files in Google Slides. "We now offer support for importing all three major ODF (Open) file formats: .odt files for documents, .ods for spreadsheets, and .odp for presentations," informs Google.


An interesting article from Computer World UK offers more information about Google's support for ODF:

"Magnus Falk, deputy CTO for HM Government, told the audience that the decision to adopt ODF (alongside HTML and PDF) as the UK government's required document format is now well in hand. (...) As a result, Google faces significant pressure securing government business in the UK – including in the health and education sectors – now that ODF is a requirement. The support for ODF in Google's products is weak and uneven. (...) Chris DiBona, head of open source at Google, told the PlugFest audience that support for exporting ODS and ODT files in ODF 1.2 format (the one used by all modern suites including MS Office and LibreOffice) is now under development. He also said that support for ODP presentations was under development and could be ready as soon as summer 2015. (...) DiBona explained that Google's internal metrics suggest to product groups there is little use of the existing ODF facilities, but he admitted that may be because of both the poor quality of the import and export, the weakness of the viewer implementations (which fail to display many aspects of ODF documents) and the lack of integration of the collaboration mechanisms into ODF."

Google+ Notifications Sidebar

The new icon for Google+ notifications is not the only change: previously read notifications can only be found in Google+, which now has a notifications sidebar. "Use the tray on the right to browse through your Google+ notifications," informs Google.


You can pick between all notifications, unread notifications or other notifications. When you click a notification, Google sends you to the Google+ post, Blogger post or YouTube video and doesn't show a preview inline.


Here's the notifications tray from Google's navigation bar. "Looking for your previously read Google+ notifications? They can now be found in Google+," informs Google.


Showing two bell icons is confusing. I'm not sure why previously read notifications were removed from Google's navigation bar. Maybe Google wants to drive more traffic to Google+.

Update: Google switched back to the old interface. "We’ve realized that there were a few shortcomings in the new desktop Google+ notification tray, so we're reverting back to the original notifications experience for now," says Balaji Srinivasan, from Google.

{ Thanks, Neil Capper. }

December 15, 2014

New Google+ Notification Icons

There's a new Google+ notification icon in Google's navigation bar. When you have one or more notifications, Google only shows the red circle, which is now bigger.


If you don't have notifications, you'll see this new bell icon:


Here's the old bell icon:


{ Thanks, Alfredo Hernández. }

December 12, 2014

Gmail Updates Right-Click Menu

Angelo Giuffrida spotted a small Gmail update and I wanted to share it with you:

"Not really groundbreaking, but interesting to note that Google updated the Gmail right-click menu. The line between Delete and the other options is new as it was previously just a 3 option menu without any additional spacing near Delete (or a line to separate that functionality)."


The menu divider separates non-destructive actions like "archive", "move to inbox" and "mark as read" from "delete".

{ Thanks, Angelo. }

10 New Languages in Google Translate

Google Translate now supports 90 languages and there are 10 new languages: Chichewa, Malagasy, Sesotho, Malayalam, Myanmar (Burmese), Sinhala, Sundanese, Kazakh, Tajik and Uzbek. "These 10 new languages will allow more than 200 million additional people to translate text to and from their native languages," informs Google.


The Translate Community feature helped Google improve its algorithms for some of the new languages. Regular users can help Google translate words and phrases, evaluate translation quality, validate translations and choose a better translation. In fact, one of the indicators for adding a new language to Google Translate is: "Speakers of the languages are eager to partner with us and offer their language expertise through Community tasks".



{ Thanks, Emanuele Bartolomucci. }

Christmas Decorations in Google Search

Just like last year and many years before, Google shows some special decorations when searching for [Christmas], [Hanukkah], [Kwanzaa], [Festivus]. Christmas decorations are animated.




"A festivus miracle!" is added next to the number of search results when searching for the Seinfeld holiday. "Festivus, a well-celebrated parody, has become a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 that serves as an alternative to participating in the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season."

December 11, 2014

Offline YouTube

One of YouTube Music Key's features lets you download music videos and watch them offline. Unfortunately, it doesn't even work for all music videos. If you're in India, Indonesia or Philippines, you'll be able to download other popular videos and you don't have to subscribe to YouTube Music Key.

"This feature lets you take videos offline to watch later during short periods of low or no internet connectivity. For videos where this feature is available, you can choose to add the video for offline viewing by tapping on the offline icon. Once taken offline, videos can be played back without an Internet connection for up to 48 hours, so you can enjoy YouTube videos without worrying about slow connections," informs YouTube.


But why limit this feature to 3 countries? "Asia has proven itself to be a mobile-first world in terms of smartphone adoption, but access to high-speed, affordable data remains a big challenge. Making these popular videos available for offline playback will help people move past the challenges of data connection, speed and cost to enjoy a smooth, buffer-free version of their favorite content," explains Jay Akkad, YouTube Product Manager.

The offline feature is available in the YouTube app for Android and iOS. For now, the catalog of offline-enabled videos is limited to some Hindi movies, music videos and some other popular videos. "To help monetize this initiative, this feature will be ad-supported, and ads will also show up in offline mode," informs BGR.

Google Maps Promotes Google's Santa Tracker

When opening Google Maps, Google shows a card that promotes its own Santa Tracker. There's also a countdown: "X days till Santa takes off".


"On Christmas Eve we'll be proudly showcasing a Santa's dashboard, the technology that powers his sleigh during his around-the-world journey. We've received this special preview from one of Santa's many developer elves, who are hard at work in the North Pole helping Santa prepare for his big day. Santa's dashboard - featuring the latest and greatest in Google Maps technology and sleigh engineering - will allow you to follow his progress around the world, and also learn a little about some of his stops along the way," informs Google.