Geek Squeak: New Features Are Coming To Google Calendar On The Web

December 11, 2017

Google is taking a lot of what you know and love from Calendar’s mobile application, like the modern color palette and sleek design, and bringing it to the web with a responsive layout that auto-adjusts to your screen size. After finding out about the new look, I went into my online Google Calendar and was (right away) provided an option to switch to the new look… READ MORE


SOURCE: Google Calendar Blog


ROLLING OUT SOON – Estimated Restaurant Wait Times On Google Search (and Maps)

November 9, 2017

Google is rolling out a new feature that will allow you to gauge the wait times at your favorite restaurants. How this works is that the wait time estimates are based on anonymized historical data, similar to how Google computes the previously launched Popular Times and Visit Duration features.

To see wait times for nearly a million sit-down restaurants around the world that allow walk-ins, just search for the restaurant on Google, open the business listing, and scroll down to the Popular Times section. There you’ll see the estimated wait time at that very moment. And by tapping on any of the hour bars, you’ll see the estimated wait for that time period. You can even scroll left and right to see a summary of each day’s wait times below the hour bars–so you can plan ahead to beat the crowds.


SOURCE: Google – Skip the line: restaurant wait times on Search and Maps


What is Google Home Mini?

October 26, 2017

You may have seen the commercials on TV advertising the Google Home Mini and wondering what is the Mini? I was curious as well and decided to find out.

The Google Home Mini is, quote: “About the size of a donut, it has all the smarts of the Google Assistant and gives you hands-free help in any room of your house”. 

If you have an Android phone, you may be familiar with Google Assistant on your phone where you simply say “OK Google” and the assistant will launch; at which point, you can ask Google a question. It works very, very well. I am also seeing that you will soon be able to also prompt Google Assistant on your phone, by saying “Hey Google”. You can already do that with the Mini.

The one thing I was curious about, and my question has been answered, is the Mini as smart as the full-fledged Google Assistant(?); and, it is. The Mini is a pared down version of the Assistant making it more accessible in any room.

It’s sleek and smooth, with no corners or edges, and about the size of a donut. Its fabric enclosure is durable, yet transparent enough to let through both light and sound. The LEDs under the fabric light up to show you when your Assistant hears you. And it projects 360-degree sound so you’ll never miss a beat. With far-field microphones, Mini can hear you even when there’s music playing or there’s other noise in the background. Mini comes in three colors—Chalk, Charcoal and Coral. At $49, Google Home Mini works on its own or you can have a few around the house, giving you the power of Google anywhere in your home.


SOURCE: The Official Google Home Blog


Check your internet speed by typing into Google “Internet Speed Test”

October 17, 2017

Did you know that an easy way to determine if your internet speed is up to par is to perform an internet speed test by simply going to Google and typing, “Internet Speed Test”?  Not only does this work on your computer, it will also work on your smartphone and tablet. The test and the results are provided by a company called M-Lab (for which Google has a partnership).

The graphics below and information is courtesy of Google to help you understand how this works and what the results mean. This is a good way to determine if you are getting the bandwidth speed you are paying for.

How the test works:

The test takes about 30 seconds. It figures out your Internet speed by measuring how much data can move through your connection in that time.

Understand the results:

The Internet speed test measures your connection’s download speed, upload speed, and latency. The best Internet connections have high download and upload speeds but low latency.

  • Download speed is how fast information can be transferred to you. It affects things like how long it takes to download large files or display webpages with lots of images. Download speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
  • Upload speed is how fast information can be transferred from you. It affects things like how long it takes to post pictures to social media. Upload speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
  • Latency measures how quickly you get a response from the server. Low response times are important for real-time apps, like video calls and online gaming. Latency is measured in milliseconds (ms).

SOURCE: Google – Internet Speed Test


Did you know you can “Voice Type” in Google Docs?

October 1, 2017

Google Docs is a very powerful word processor that is available (for FREE) to anyone who has a Google (Gmail) Account. One feature in Google Docs that you may be interested in trying is the “Voice Type” feature where you can type and edit by speaking. This feature not only works in Google Docs, but also works in the Google Slides speaker notes. Voice Type only works when opening Google Docs through the Google Chrome web browser and you will need a working microphone connected to your computer. The newer notebook PC’s have mic’s built in.

To try Voice Type, follow the instructions below:

  1. Turn on your microphone.
  2. Open a document in Google Docs.
  3. Click on “Tools”; then “Voice Typing” (a microphone box will appear)
  4. When you are ready to dictate or speak, click on the microphone icon.
  5. Speak clearly using a normal volume and speed.
  6. When done, click on the microphone icon.
  7. After you start voice typing, you can use commands to edit and format your document. For example, “Select paragraph,” “italics,” or “Go to the end of the line.” (Note: There are numerous commands you can use to edit and format a document.  To get a listing of these commands, “CLICK HERE“).

SOURCE: Google Docs


Gmail Can Now Convert Text To Interactive Links (whenever phone numbers, addresses or emails are detected)

September 19, 2017

Gmail on the web, Android and iOS can now convert text to interactive links whenever a phone number, address or email is detected. If a phone number is detected in Gmail, you can now click on the phone number and the default phone app will launch to initiate the call. If a postal mailing address is detected in Gmail, you can now click on the address and Google Maps will be launched. If an email address is detected in Gmail, you can now click on the email address and the default email app will launch. The objective of this new feature is to save you time from having to copy/paste this information from one application to another.


SOURCE: G Suites Updates Blog


Control, Protect and Secure Your Google Account Information, ALL IN ONE PLACE

August 22, 2017

If you have a Gmail (Google) account you need to bookmark the link provided below that gets you to a dashboard (called “My Account”) that gives you quick access to settings and tools that let you safeguard your data, protect your privacy, and decide how your information can make Google services work better for you. You can even use the dashboard to help find your phone if you lose it; or,  to see how much Google Drive space you have left.

Many Gmail (Google) account users are unfamiliar with this dashboard. I highly recommend that you put this one on your bookmark list and periodically visit the dashboard site to review your settings.

From the “My Account” dashboard you can manage (and control) things such as:

Sign-in and Security – Control your password and Google Account access (Signing in to Google, Device activity & security events and Connected apps & sites).

Personal Info and Privacy – Manage your visibility settings and the data we use to personalize your experience (Your personal info, Manage your Google activity, Ads Settings and Control your content).

Account Preferences – Set language, accessibility, and other settings that help you use Google (Language & Input Tools, Accessibility, Your Google Drive storage and Delete your account or services)

Security Checkup – Protect your account in just a few minutes by reviewing your security settings and activity.

Privacy Checkup – A quick checkup to review important privacy settings and adjust them to your preference.

Find Your Phone – Whether you forgot where you left it or it was stolen, a few steps may help secure your phone or tablet.

My Activity – Discover and Control the data that’s created when you use Google Services.


SOURCE: Google – My Account