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How About a Little Gmail Efficiency

Friday April 18, 2014

I took some time this week to answer some of my readers' questions about Gmail.

If you've got a cluttered inbox, here's one way to clear out an entire tab's worth of messages all at once.

The other question is how to forward all your Gmail messages to another account. Wait. Isn't Gmail so awesome that you'd just want to read it there? Well, not for everyone, but even if you love Gmail, you might want to forward all your messages if you have a student Gmail account.

Want to Buy Google Glass?

Saturday April 12, 2014

Google is having a one-day sale of their not-quite-ready-for-mainstream-launch product, Google Glass. Or, as they phrase it "becoming a Google Glass Explorer." On April 15th, they'll allow a limited number of people (in the US only) to purchase a pair for $1500 and essentially pay to join their beta testing program. Google Glass now includes shades or frames, so that's an improvement over what initial beta testers received.

I used to be very enthusiastic about Google Glass, and I may regain that enthusiasm again, but having seen the product in person and in use, I'm mostly blown away that people would spend more than the price of a decent laptop for one right now. It's still too heavy and too awkward and not quite as capable as a phone. They'll get it right eventually, but there's no point in rushing into it unless you've got a specific use case in mind.

Do You Need to Reset All Your Passwords?

Thursday April 10, 2014

If you re-use the same password for everything, the answer is automatically yes. I'll give you the same answer whether or not there happens to be a massive vulnerability called Heartbleed out there. As it happens, there is such a vulnerability. I've heard a lot of people urging you to change all your passwords. All of them! That's a lot of passwords. Some of them are on sites that were never vulnerable. Besides, if you change the password before the site has been patched to fix Heartbleed - you're not actually helping anything.

So I say now is a great time to introduce one of my favorite Chrome extensions and Android apps, LastPass. LastPass is a password locker that can also be used to generate random secure passwords. I switched to LastPass a couple years ago when there was another security breech. They've introduced a very handy tool for you to check to see if a website is vulnerable to Heartbleed and whether or not it has been patched. Yahoo! was vulnerable and has now been fixed, for example. So has Google. That means you should go change your passwords for those sites now.

Amazon Fire TV

Wednesday April 2, 2014

No April Fooling, Amazon has thrown down a gauntlet at streaming TV players like the Roku, Chromecast, and AppleTV. It's also making a challenge to huge gaming platforms like the Xbox and PlayStation. Today they announced the Fire TV for $99. The streaming player has voice search (through the remote, or "voice search that actually works" as they put it, which reminds me of all the times I've been able to use Xbox navigation to launch a video app but not actually navigate to a specific show.) It also plays games, which can use either the included TV remote or A more traditional platform gaming style controller (sold separately).

As with the Fire tablet, this is an unbranded Android device with no Google services. Google better step it up if they want to compete.

All the Google Pranks

Tuesday April 1, 2014

Here is the list of this year's pranks from Google (that I have found) along with many many pranks from years gone by. Auto Hoffsome photobombs are by far my favorite, but YouTube trends is a very close second. There's also Chromecast for squirrels, Google Apps for Business Dogs, and AdBirds. So many choices! Check them out.

Emoji Translate

Tuesday April 1, 2014

Want to see your text translated directly to emoji? On April 1, Google can make that happen.

Waze Dates

Tuesday April 1, 2014

What do you get when Google's new social driving navigation app buys a dating app? (This part really happened, by the way. Waze owns SingleSpotter. ) What you get is Waze Dates. An end to lonely car driving.

Nest Total Temperature Control for Airplanes

Tuesday April 1, 2014

Now that Google owns Nest, it can be part of Google Christmas, aka April Fools' Day. Today they announced personal Nest devices that would let you control your personal temperature on Virgin America flights. Check out the video.

Magic Hand

Tuesday April 1, 2014

Feeling too lazy to work your phone? Not to worry. Google Japan came up with Magic Hand, a way to update your phone. Check out this and many other pranks in my list of Google pranks here.

How to Auto #Hoffsom

Tuesday April 1, 2014

Image by Marziah Karch. Auto Hoffsom by Google.

If you're uploading new photos to Google+ today, there's a new "feature" that adds a photobomb from David Hasselhof. I've seen a lot of attempts at doing this, and I've made several myself, so here's what I've learned:

Upload new photos into Google+ on April 1, only. (They can be old photos from somewhere else - just new to Google+)

You don't have to publish them. You don't have to tag them. You don't have to do anything. Some of the photos may get an auto awesome photobomb. You'll get an alert through Google+ when this happens. Then you can share your photo.

I suspect part of the prank is watching people try to upload and share photos with nothing happening to them. Well played, Google. Well played.

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