Archive for the 'Google' Category

Google Task List + Android Phone

I just started using Google Tasks with my Motorola Droid and I’m finding it pretty helpful. It’s actually my favorite task list so far.

I’ve been playing around with two different methods of viewing the Google Tasks from the Droid:
1. Point the Android browser to google.com/tasks. If you have tasks installed in your GMAIL account, your task list will automatically appear here. I put a shortcut to my bookmark for Google Tasks on my phones desktop. Since this is pulling the list straight from GMAIL over the internet connection, there is no need to sync the tasks.
2. The other option is to use the app called GTASKS. It is a wrapper for the TASKS. At this point, you have to sync the task list on your phone. Even though you have to sync the list I think this is my favorite option.

Why is this my favorite task list so far?

1. It’s easily available from GMAIL – which is central to everything I do. It’s simple to quickly type a task while I’m reading an email.
2. I can access my task list from anywhere to add or remove tasks from my phone.
3. I can have multiple task lists! It’s easy to switch between lists and to move tasks from list to list.
4. You can schedule due dates and they appear on your Google Calendar.  Nice.

It’s not a fully featured as most of the task lists I’ve used, but I’m not interested in a bunch of bells and whistles that makes using a task list more of a task in itself.

Simple is better.

Shapewriter Keyboard for the Android Phone.

Shape Writer Keyboard

Shape Writer Keyboard

If you have a Google Android powered smart phone, go out and download the software based “Shapewriter” Keyboard Application.

It’s a different way to type on your phone. Instead of pecking out your message, simply slide your finger around the keyboard screen and draw out your word.

After I got used to it, I noticed a definite increase in my texting speed.

Nice application.

How to Transfer Profiles in Google Analytics.

Google AnalyticsIt’s simple, you can’t transfer profiles from one account to another in Google Analytics.

I’ve been waiting for them to implement the ability to do this for ages, still no dice.

I know there are many folks out there like me who started several different accounts when Google Analytics first started up, now it’s impossible to merge all of the accounts together or break them into separate accounts, which you might want to do for individual clients.

Google Analytics developers, hear my cry! Please add the ability to transfer profiles between accounts!

Google Picasa.

Google PicasaI decided to start using Picasa. The implementation of their name tag feature got me interested, and next thing you know, I have almost 25,000 photos and videos being indexed in Picasa 3.

I went ahead and started syncing some photos with Picasa Web Albums. I burned up the FREE 1GB that Google gives you free pretty quickly, so I went ahead and dropped $50.00 to upgrade to 200GB of storage. I’m supposed to be getting a free 4 GB wifi Eye-Fi SD card in the mail from the signup too.

There are several things I really like about Picasa. I’ve used Flickr and SmugMug pretty extensively in the past. Picasa is the only photo sharing utility that combines a local photo organizer (Picasa 3) with a online web album (Picasa Web Albums). I really like being able to organize locally with Picasa and sync with the web albums to share and backup my photos.

The facial recognition / name tagging is a fantastic feature. It becomes addictive going through photos and labeling people.

I love the tie to GMAIL and the GMAIL contacts that syncs your face tags with your GMAIL contacts.

The inclusion of video in Picasa is great, especially since I picked up the new Kodak Zi8. I love that Picasa allows videos up to 1GB.

Here’s a couple of things that Google Picasa is definitely missing, and I hope to see them add soon:
I want to be able to search ALL of my photos by the meta information. Both Flickr and Smug Mug make it easy to find EVERY picture taken on a specific date regardless of what albums the photos are broken into.

I only have a small portion of my photo uploaded to Picasa Web Albums so far, and the number of albums I’m creating is growing at an alarming rate. I can only imagine the mess I’ll have in 10 years. Picasa needs to allow the ability to nest albums. I would love to create an album labeled 2009, and then nest albums under it for any special occasions. Again, this is a feature I was used to in SmugMug.

I want better photo sharing tools. I like the fact that Picasa web albums uses the gmail contacts and groups to manage sharing, but i would like to select multiple albums at a time to set the sharing on. It takes an inordinate amount of time to set sharing on albums one at a time. Also, I would like to be able to set sharing without sending an email to the person I am sharing with. Emailing everytime a make a sharing change seems very spammy.

I want to be able to use Picasa on my own domain name, the same way I use Google Apps. Let me direct my friends and family to a subdomain like photos.techytechygeekygeeky.com.

All in all, I am really enjoying Picasa. I am waiting for Google’s development to catch up with my desires. I’m sure I will find other ‘missing’ features as I dig in deeper, but overall it is a very nice way to sort and share photos and videos.

Google Introduces GMAIL Voice and Video Chat.

I’ve never been a big fan of the “Video Phone” concept, so I doubt I’ll be using this new feature when I’m chit-chatting with friends and co-workers.

However, I can see how this might be a useful business tool, so I am going to pick up a couple of new web cams and give the new GMAIL Video Chat a try this month. I can see how I might want to jump from a chat session with a colleague from another office to a video chat session to show off an “Important Visual”.

Important Visual

Important Visual

Sometimes playing a little “show and tell” can be useful during a business meeting.

Here’s a video Google posted on YouTube.com showing a little more detail:

Google Analytics adds New Features!

On October 22nd, Google announced that they would begin rolling out new features for Google Analytics.

They are:
Advanced Segmentation
Custom Reports
Data export API (private beta)
Integrated reporting for AdSense publishers (private beta)
Multi-dimensional data visualizations called “Motion Charts”
Updated user and administrative interface.

The feature I’ve been most anticipating is the addition of the Integrated reporting for Adsense. Unfortunately this is an invite only feature at this time and Google hasn’t deemed me worthy yet. (Google, if you’re reading this, hook me up!)

If you have an AdSense account, eventually you should receive the option to “integrate your AdSense account with Google Analytics”. The option will appear at the top of the Overview page once you login to Adsense.

Watch for your Invitation

Watch for your Invitation

AdSense Overview Screenshot

AdSense Overview Screenshot

Here is the video that Google posted on YouTube giving a peek behind the curtain:

Google Chrome Plugin – Download You Tube Videos.

This is actually a bookmarklet.

“A bookmarklet is an applet, a small computer application, stored as the URL of a bookmark in a web browser or as a hyperlink on a web page.” – Bookmarklet as definded by Wikipedia.org.

1. In order to use the bookmarklet you will want to make sure that your “bookmarks bar” is tured on. This can do this in the “Customize and Control Google Chrome Menu”. That’s the long name for the little wrench icon in the upper right hand corner of the Chrome browser. Once you click on the little wrench, theres an option to “always show bookmarks bar”. Turn it on.

2. Now right click somewhere on the bookmarks bar and select “Add Page” from the download menu that appears.

3. The “Edit Bookmark” window will appear. In the “Name” field, write a descriptive name for the bookmarklet. I named mine “You-NOW-BE-My-Tube”.

4. Here’s the magic part. In the “URL” field, paste the following code:

javascript:window.location.href = ‘http://youtube.com/get_video?video_id=’ + swfArgs['video_id']+ “&l=” + swfArgs['l'] + “&sk=” + swfArgs['sk'] + ‘&fmt_map’ + swfArgs['fmt_map'] + ‘&t=’ + swfArgs['t'];

5. Click “OK”. There should now be a link in your “Bookmark Toolbar”.

6. Visit YouTube.com and find a target. My first download was the Obama Victory Speech.

7. Once the video starts playing, click the bookmarklet. At this point you should notice the download starting in Google Chrome’s download status bar at the bottom the the Chrome Browser window.

8. If you haven’t changed the Google Chrome download location, once the download is complete, you will find the video in your “MyDocuments\Downloads” folder.

9. The format of the file is “.flv” (Flash Video File), so you will need a viewer capable of playing .flv files to watch your new acquisition. One of my favorite FREE players out there is the “VLC Media Player“. It plays the .flv extension along with just about anything else. Another option is “PlayFLV” that enables Windows Media Player to playback FLV files.

Getting Things Done.

Like everyone else in the world, I’m slammed with to many “to do’s.” My system for keeping things organized is overwhelmed, and my Email inbox is always about 2 emails away from ready to explode.

I remember reading a book a couple years ago that helped me get organized called “Getting things Done” by David Allen. So I figured, let’s see if anyone has designed a Gmail plugin to follow the rules David set up in “Getting Things Done.” Sure enough, I found what seems to be a pretty nice Gmail little plugin called GTD Inbox.

I’ve been playing with it for the last couple hours, and my email inbox is reduced to ZERO and I have a nice little list of actions on the left side of my screen. So far so good.

Anyway, if you would like to give it a try, check out:
http://gtdinbox.com/

or

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3209

Add Google Analytics to your Blog. Do it Now.

It’s simple to take advantage of Google Analytics on your blog by simply signing up for a FREE Analytics account (http://www.google.com/analytics).

Once you have your analytics account setup, be sure to go out and install “Google Analytics for WordPress” from Yoast.com.

“Paste Special” in Google Spreadsheets.

I’m a fan of Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets. I love having access to important spreadsheets and documents from ANYWHERE. I also use Microsoft Excel for more advanced spreadsheets that Google can’t handle yet.

I am a big fan of the “Paste Special” Option that you get when you right click in excel. It lets you paste just the values of cells and not the formatting. I just now discovered how to use the Google Spreadsheets equivalent of this function.

It’s not a full featured as EXCEL’s paste special function, but it gets the job done when you want to just paste just your values or just your formatting.

1. Cut or Copy your values
2. Click on the “Paste Button / Icon”. It’s on the edit tab.  It looks like a little clipboard with a piece of paper on it.
3. Three options will appear: PASTE, PASTE VALUES ONLY, and PASTE FORMAT ONLY.
4. Select the one you want!  Viola!