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2018-01-16T15:10:56.530Z
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Introducing the all-new Voice Dictation v2.0, a speech recognition app that lets you type with your voice. There’s no software to install, there’s no training required and all you need is Google Chrome on your Windows PC, Mac OS or Linux.

Dictation can recognize spoken words in English, Hindi, Español, Italiano, Deutsch, Français, and all the other popular languages. Another unique feature of Dictation is support for voice commands that let you do more with your voice. For instance, you can say a command like new line or nueva línea for inserting lines. You can add punctuations, special symbols and even smileys using simple commands in most languages.

This YouTube video will walk you through the Dictation app.

Open Dictation

How to use Dictation for Speech Recognition

Dictation stores everything in your browser locally and not a byte of your data is uploaded anywhere.  Speech recognition will be more accurate in a quiet environment and the built-in microphone of your computer should be good enough.

Open dictation.io in Google Chrome and choose your native language from the drop-down. Then click the microphone icon (or tap the Start button) to activate web speech and start speaking.

The first time you use Dictation, you would need to allow permissions to the website to access your microphone.  Also, make sure that no other browser tab is using Speech Recognition at the same time.

Audio can bring your presentations to life especially in a kiosk setting where slideshows play unattended in a continuous loop. If you have recently made the switch from Microsoft PowerPoint or Keynote to Google Slides, the one important feature that you might be missing inside Google Slides is audio.

Both Keynote and PowerPoint make it extremely easy for you to add audio to a presentation. You can embed MP3 music files that play in the background for the entire presentation or you can record your own voiceover narration that is synchronized with the timing of each slide.

How to Add Audio to Google Slides

Google Slides do not support audio files but you do have the option to embed videos inside the individual slides. The workaround, therefore, is simple – place the video file on a slide, make it invisible and turn on the auto-play mode.

Demo: Google Slides with Audio

Step 1: Prepare the Audio File

You can use free tools like FFmpeg or Audacity to convert your audio files into video. Then upload the converted file to either Google Drive or YouTube. I would prefer Drive since the playback won’t include any pre-roll advertising.

Step 2: Put audio inside Google Slides

Open Google Slides, go to the Insert menu and choose Video. Here you can either select the file from your Google Drive or switch to the...

Audio hosting websites like SoundCloud or Anchor.fm make it easy for you to embed audio files in your web pages and blogs. Just upload your file – like an MP3 song or an audio podcast – to any of these sites and they’ll provide the HTML embed code that you can copy-paste in your web template. Simple!

If you have been storing your MP3 files inside Google Drive, you can embed the files directly from Drive without having to upload them to another website. The Drive MP3 player can be embedded on any website that supports IFRAME and the list includes Blogger, WordPress, Medium or even the new Google Sites.

Also see: Embed YouTube as Audio Player

Step 1: Upload the MP3 to Google Drive

Open drive.google.com and upload the MP3 to your Google Drive. After the file is uploaded, right-click to share and set the sharing permission to “Anyone on the Internet can find and view”.

Step 2: Generate the Player Embed Code

The Google Drive URL will have the following structure:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1234xyz/view?usp=sharing

Now all you have to do is replace /view with /preview and wrap the modified URL in an IFRAME tag as shown below:

<iframe 
  frameborder="0" 
  width="400"     
  height="200"
  src="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1234xyz/preview">    
</iframe>

Here’s a live example. The embedded MP3 player has volume controls, play/pause buttons, seek bar, no Google branding, it works on mobile and the play also...

TallTweets was created in 2010 to get around the 140-character limit of Twitter. You could write a note of any length and TallTweets would squeeze it into a single tweet by posting your text as an image. Now that Twitter offers a native solution in the form of threaded tweets, it is time to pivot.

Introducing the all-new Tall Tweets app for Google Slides. It will help you convert your presentations into high-quality animated GIFs that you attach in an email, embed on a web page or share on Twitter right within the Tall Tweets app.

Watch the video tutorial to get started.

Tweet Google Slides with TallTweets

To get started, open talltweets.com, sign-in with your Google account and select any existing deck from Google Drive. The TallTweets app can convert an entire deck into an infinitely looped GIF or you can choose to convert individual slides of the presentation into PNG images.

You have several options to customize the generated GIF images. You can specify the width of GIF images (the height will be calculated automatically to preserve the original aspect ratio) and you can also speed up or slow down the GIF slideshow by changing the time interval between slides.

Skip or Re-order Slides in GIF

One unique feature of the GIF maker is that it gives you an option to change the sequence of slides in the generated...

Here are our picks for the best Android apps from the Google Play Store that we use every day. Whether you are looking for a perfect app to scan your documents, take notes or edit videos, we have a recommendation for you.

All Android apps mentioned the list can be downloaded from the Play Store for free though some do offer inexpensive in-app purchases for unlocking premium features. Also, the list of essential apps skips commons apps like Google Drive, Google Photos, WhatsApp, Google Maps or Gmail since they are factory-installed on most newer phones.

Also see: Alternatives to Top Android Apps

The Best Android Apps of all Time!

Authy Authy generates 2-Step Verification codes on your phone. If someone manages to know the password of your online account, they still can't get in without the generated code. Cast Box A free podcast app with a super clean layout and a better discovery engine for finding new podcasts. It includes in-audio search and your podcast subscriptions get synced to the desktop. Connections Quickly add notes and to-dos against your contacts and these notes will pop up on your screen the next time you receive or make a phone call to that person. Quickly Put...

Looking for a simple and free alternative to popular live chat software like Intercom or Zendesk chat? Well, the new customer chat widget from Facebook Messenger is here and anyone can embed these widgets on their website to engage with visitors in real time.

Facebook Customer Chat widget, if you are new, lets people chat with businesses without leaving the website. The widget works on both desktop computers and mobile phones. The business owner needs a Facebook Page and all the visitor needs is a regular Facebook account.

There’s no learning curve or complex installation. The visitor clicks the Facebook icon on your web page, type their message and you (the business owner) get an instant notification on your Facebook Page. If you are online, you can carry on the conversation with the visitor on the Facebook website or inside the Facebook Pages Manager app on your phone.

If you would like to give Facebook Customer Chat a try, go to Digital Inspiration, wait for the page to load and click the Facebook messenger icon in the lower right corner to start a conversation.

How to Embed Facebook Customer Chat

Step 1: To get started, go to developers.facebook.com and click the “Add a new app” button to create a new Facebook app.

Step 2: Give your app a name and click the Create button to get your own App ID. It is simple sequence of digits like 1839871239373637.

Step 3: Go to your Facebook Page,...

Introducing Document Studio, a powerful Google add-on that lets you effortlessly generate documents and reports using merge data stored inside Google Sheets. It can also create documents with live data from Google Forms submissions. The generated documents can be automatically sent inside personalized email messages using built-in Mail Merge.

There’s zero learning curve and you can work inside the familiar Google Docs environment. The documents can be produced in PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and several other formats. The generated files are uploaded to your Google Drive, they can be instantly shared and there’s also an option to send files directly to the printer via Google Cloud Print.

The uses cases are endless. Businesses can streamline workflows and send professional looking invoices to customers. A school teacher can print individual exam certificates of every student in her classs. An instructor can generate personalized training handouts for attendees.

Getting Started with Document Studio

It takes 3 easy steps to get started.

  1. Create a template inside Google Docs, Google Sheets or Google Slides and add placeholders, such as {{Name}} or {{Address}}, for merge fields.
  2. Create a Google Sheet with the source data. The column headings will correspond to the placeholders in the template while the rows represent the records.
  3. Install the document merge add-on and follow the wizard to produce the documents. Document Studio will create one document per row in the sheet.

Document Studio includes a WYSIWYG email editor to help you send the merged documents to...

You have been invited to a meeting that would last really long. You cannot say “no” but secretly wish that someone calls your phone in the middle of that never-ending meeting and rescue you from the boring situation.

Well, you can take the help of a human friend or use IFTTT, the versatile automation app available for both iPhone and Android. With IFTTT, you can easily create a workflow (applet) that would simulate a fake phone call to yourself at the scheduled time and help you smoothly exit that meeting.

What’s new then? The phone calling service has been part of IFTTT for some time now but it was earlier limited to the U.S. region only. The latest version of the IFTTT app brings phone calling to everyone outside the U.S. as well. Let’s get started.

Schedule an Automated Phone Call to Yourself

Create a free account at IFTTT and enable the Date Time service and the VoIP Call service.

Next, create a new applet and choose Date Time for the “this” condition. The trigger should be set to “Every day” and then choose the time when you want your phone to ring. If you wish to receive multiple calls, you’ll need to setup multiple applets, one per call.

For the “that” action, choose the VoIP call service and specify any text message. The calling service will speak the message when you receive the call. That’s it. Make sure your phone is connected to the...

Google Domains, if you are new, is a domain registration service where you can buy new domain names or transfer your existing domains from another registrar into the Google service. There’s no official announcement yet but Google Domains are now available in India without you having to use any hacks or proxy servers.

I own about a dozen-odd domains and they have been mostly purchased through Gandi, GoDaddy, Dreamhost, and BigRock. Last week, I purchased a new domain reverse.photos through Google Domains and, like most other Google products, loved the overall experience.

Everything is tied to your main Google account so there’s one less set of credentials to remember and the account is already secured with 2-factor authentication.

Google Domain includes intelligent and powerful search that will not only suggest domain names based on exact keyword matches but related words too. So a search for “blue widgets” will check the availability of “blue widgets” as well as “color widgets”, “white widgets” and “blueplugins”.

Google Domains aren’t cheap (see pricing). The average 1-year domain registration fee is certainly higher than what other companies offer but a big advantage is that they do not charge you extra money for making your postal address and phone number private in the public WHOIS database.

There’s no transfer fee if you decide to move your web domain from another registrar to Google Domains but, as per ICANN rules, you’ll have to extend the registration period of your domain for an additional year. This additional year...

Google Reverse Image Search helps you quickly discover visually similar images from around the web. Upload a photograph from your desktop to Google Images and it will show you related images used on other websites and also different sizes of the same photo almost instantly.

Journalists can use the reverse search option to find the original source of an image or to know the approximate date when a picture was first published on the Internet. Photographers can use ‘search by image’ feature to know about other websites that are using their photographs.

Reverse Image Search on Mobile Devices

Google’s ‘search by image’ feature is only available for desktop computers and not on mobile devices and tablets. Thus, if a friend has sent you an image on WhatsApp or Facebook that you’d like to verify, you’ll have to first transfer the photograph to a desktop and then perform a reverse search. Too much work, right?

Reverse Image Search

Not anymore. Meet Reverse Photos, an online tool that lets you perform reverse image searches on mobile phones. Go to reverse.photos on your mobile phone, click the “Upload Image” button and choose an image from the photo gallery of your phone. Next click “Show Matching Images” and it will feed your photo into Google’s image database and show visually similar photos.

The Form Notifications add-on sends the Google Forms data in an email message each time a respondent submits then form. It can also send automated emails to the form respondents immediately after they complete your Google Form.

The notifications add-on for Google Forms add-on has been updated and it can now send push notifications to your mobile phones as well. That means when respondents complete and submit your online Google Form, you’ll get an instant real-time notification (sample) on your iPhone or Android phone. The notification text can also include answers from the Google Form.

A fast response time is a key to success, especially in areas like customer service and closing sales leads, and mobile notifications will ensure that your important form entries are never lost in the daily deluge of emails.

Setup Mobile Notifications for Google Forms

It takes a few easy steps (video tutorial) to get up and running.

  1. Install the Email Notifications for Google Forms from the Google store.
  2. Install the IFTTT mobile app on your Android or iPhone.

Next, we need to create a connection between our Google Form and the IFTTT app so that mobile notifications are triggered on the mobile phone immediately after the form is submitted.

1. Configure IFTTT

Open ifttt.com on your desktop and create a new applet. Choose the Maker Webhooks service for if-this condition and set the Event name as the name of your Google Form. For if-this-then-that action, choose...

Most people use LinkedIn to get email alerts for new job postings that match their interests but did you know that LinkedIn can also help track new hires made by a company? You can easily keep an eye on new employees joining your own company or a competitor.


Also see: The Best Email Alerts Services

How to Set People Search Alerts on LinkedIn

Similar to job alerts, you can set up people alerts in LinkedIn and they will send you an email when new employees join the tracked company. You can track new hires by the parent company (e.g., Amazon) or limit your employee searches to a regional office of that company (e.g., Amazon India or Amazon’s Bangalore office).

To get started, open the LinkedIn website, click the search box, type the name of the parent company and choose the “people search” option from the autocomplete list (see screenshot above).

On the search results page, expand the Locations section and check the regions that you would like to track. You can select the country name, city,  geographic region or even make multiple selections.

Next click the “Create Search Alert” button and LinkedIn will send you a weekly email listing all the profiles that have joined the specified company in that week.

The service obviously depends on the employee joining the company and he would have to update their existing profile for LinkedIn to know that they have made the move.

Looking for good SMS app for Android? The Google Play Store lists a gazillion texting apps that can do SMS, MMS, and so much more. The most popular options include Facebook Messenger that has texting as a side feature, TrueCaller that can identify senders and then there’s Android Messages, Google’s own SMS app that also includes audio chats, emojis and location sharing.

I prefer minimal apps that do one thing and do it really well. After testing all the popular texting apps for Android, the one I absolutely love is SMS Organizer from Microsoft. If the app is not available in your country, get the APK from apkpure.com or apkmirror.com and sideload on your phone.

SMS Organizer is a pure SMS app, simple and efficient but with no extra bells and whistles. Here’s a list of useful features that make this Android app a must-have.

1. OTP Detection

When you log into a website that requires 2-factor authentication, your bank for example, they send a one-time-password (OTP) to your mobile phone in a text message. You open the message, copy the digits and paste into the login screen.

SMS organizer makes this process a lot easier for you. It detects if a text contains an OTP and give you an option to copy the code directly from the notification menu. No need to even open the message.

2. Google Drive Integration

Microsoft SMS Organizer can automatically backup SMS messages to your Google Drive. You can perform the backup manually and let the app...

The files in your Google Drive are either private (only visible to you) or they can be seen by specific people with whom you have chosen to explicitly share the file. In the case of folders, any file contained inside a shared folder can be seen by all users who have access to the folder.

Let’s consider a slightly different scenario where you have a shared folder in Drive any you don’t want other users to see a particular file inside that folder.

A simple option is that you move the file outside the folder. There’s an alternate workaround as well that will help you easily hide files in Google Drive folders through ‘camouflage’ without requiring any add-ons or extensions.

Hide Secret Files in Google Drive

The trick is simple.

Google Drive allows you to store multiple versions of a file and if you upload a new version of a file, the previous version is preserved as well. The file versions can be of different mime types so you can upload a PDF file first and then replace it with an image or a video file.

The old PDF file would still be available in Google Drive though hidden in plain sight. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

  1. Go to drive.google.com and upload the file that you wish to hide from other users.
  2. After the file is uploaded, right-click the file in Drive and choose Manage Versions.
  3. Choose Upload New Version and upload another file –...

You are working inside a Google Spreadsheet where a formula needs to copied down to the last row of the sheet. There are several ways to solve this problem.

The easiest approach to copy down formulas is to use the fill handle in Google Sheets. Write your formula in the first row of your spreadsheet, and then point your mouse to the lower right corner of the formula cell.

The pointer changes into a fill handle (black plus symbol) that you can drag to the last row of the sheet. The fill handle will not just copy down the formulas to all the adjacent cells but also copies the visual formatting.

If you need to copy the formulas across cells but sans any formatting, select the cell that contains the formatting and press Ctrl+C to copy it to the clipboard. Next select the range where that formula needs to applied, right-click, choose Paste Special and Paste Formula only.

Apply Formula to the Entire Column in Google Sheets

If you have hundreds of rows in a Google Spreadsheet and you want to apply the same formula to all rows of a particular column, there’s a more efficient solution than copy-paste – Array Formulas.

Highlight the first cell in the column and type the formula as earlier. However, instead of specifying a single cell as a parameter, we’ll specify the entire column using the B2:B notation (start from cell B2 and go all the...

YouTube, the second largest search engine after Google, offers extremely powerful search commands but there’s one important search functionality that YouTube is yet to include in its mobile app for both Android & iPhone.

You cannot search for videos within a specific YouTube channel while using YouTube on a mobile phone or tablet. For instance, if you would like to search for Tesla videos that were uploaded on the MKBHD channel, you simply can’t do that from your mobile phone.

This search-within-channel feature has been available for long on YouTube’s desktop website – see screenshot – but none of the YouTube apps have it yet. This is surprising considering the fact that more than half of video views on YouTube now come from mobile devices.

That’s where our mini YouTube search engine can help. Sign-in with your YouTube account, enter a search query, select any YouTube channel that you are subscribed to and it will show a list of all matching videos within the selected channel.

The app builds a list of all channels that you are currently subscribed to and prepares a nice drop-down with the channels sorted by name. The drop-down also features the channel icons so it is easier for you to find the channel you are looking for.

Also, if you have multiple YouTube accounts, you can click the “Logout” link to sign-out from the current account and log in to any other account. The...

You have lots of files in your Google Drive and it can take some effort to find that elusive file you’ve been looking for. For instance, how do you quickly find the sales presentation that James shared with you last week? Or how do you locate a specific resume among the hundreds of other PDF files in your Google Drive folders?

Like Gmail and Twitter, Google Drive supports a plethora of advanced search operators that will help you quickly find the exact file you’ve been looking for. You can use search operators on the Google Drive website and the Drive mobile apps. Chrome users can type drive.google.com in the search bar, press tab and enter the search query.

How Search Works in Google Drive

Google Drive, by default, will return files where the search query matches the file’s title, the content or the file’s description. It can also identify objects inside photos so a search for “birthday” may retrieve images of cakes in your Drive.

Drive will also perform a OCR and search for text inside images and scanned PDFs. I have stored a scanned copy of my Aadhaar card in Google Drive. I only remember the first few digits of my Aadhaar number but that is sufficient to locate the scanned image of the card in Drive.

How to Find Files in your Google Drive

You can use search operators to filter your search results in Google Drive.  Multiple search operators can be combined with boolean...