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


Set Up Reminders With Google Keep

October 8, 2017

Google Keep is Google’s cross-platform note keeping app that is an electronic version of sticky notes. If you don’t use Google Keep, you are missing out on a great application. It is one of the most used apps on my computer and smartphone.

One feature I personally use (especially on my smartphone) is the reminder feature built into Google Keep. After I create a note and set the reminder (see steps below), the reminder will pop up in the notification section of my phone when the reminder comes due. I have a note called “Reminders” that I have configured to pop up every day at 8AM to jostle me in completing various tasks.

You can set a reminder from your phone (Android and iOS), but the easiest way is from your computer.

How To set up reminders for your notes:

Go to keep.google.com.

Click a note.

At the bottom left, click Remind me Remind me.

You can set reminders to go off at a certain time or place:

Time reminder: Click one of the default times, or click Pick a date & time Pick a date and time. You can also set the reminder to repeat.

Location reminder: Click Pick place Pick a place. Then enter the name or address and click Done Done. You’ll need to let Keep access your location.

Click Save.

To close your note, click Done or click outside the note.

To change your reminder, click the reminder time or place at the bottom of the note.

Tip: To delete a reminder, in the bottom right, click Delete reminder Delete reminder.

View upcoming reminders:

Go to keep.google.com or open the Keep app.

At the top left of Keep, tap or click Menu Menu > Reminders.

You’ll see all notes with upcoming reminders.

Change default reminder times

You can change the pre-set reminder times for morning, afternoon, and evening. Learn how to change your default reminder times.

You do need a Google account in order to use Google Keep. As I indicated, Google Keep is a cross platform application and will run from your computer, Android smartphone and iOS smarphone. Once installed on your computer and other devices, the notes are kept in sync.


SOURCE: Google Keep


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


A Quality Chromebook For Work Or School

August 11, 2017

Chromebooks are often described as a “browser in a box” due that they run the Google Chrome operating system and browser where the apps are internet dependent. Chromebooks are often seen in the schools these days due to their low cost and ease to maintain (and use). The Chromebooks I have tested boot fast, have long battery life, brighter screens and built in protection against malware and viruses. I have always loved the Windows operating system, but Chromebook computers makes great computers for grandparents due to their simplicity.

A Chromebook I am looking at is the ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA-DHM4. This Chromebook is on the high end when it comes to price and specs. If you want to explore cheaper Chromebooks, then CLICK HERE

The two reason I am looking at the ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA-DHM4 is that it is one of the first Chromebooks that comes with native Android app support and the fact that ASUS builds great computers. This particular brand of Chromebook is an Amazon Choice and was most recently featured at ZDNet. Also, this Chromebook is, so far, carrying great customer reviews at Amazon.

ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA-DHM4

  • Flexible 360 degree hinge and 12.5” Full-HD touchscreen lets you use the C302 in tablet or laptop mode.
  • Extremely lightweight at 2.65 pounds with the protection of a sleek aluminum metal body.
  • Unlock the power of Chromebooks with access to your favorite Chrome Web Store apps like Google Docs and it is Google Play Store/Android app ready.
  • Starts up in seconds and lasts all day, thanks to a long battery life rated up to 10 hours*.
  • Work anywhere online or offline regardless of your internet connection. Enjoy your favorite games, entertainment, and keep up with work, wherever you go.
  • Intel Core Processor with 64GB storage and 4GB RAM for fast and efficient performance.

SOURCE: Amazon – ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA-DHM4