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Showing posts from October, 2019

Weekly Update - October 26, 2019: Halloween, Meet, Search

This week there are some new tricks and sweet treats for Android users, web searchers, meeters, photographers, mappers and more. Reminder: If you have a G Suite for Education account with a suspended Brand Account and you are NOT a student, your admin has until November 1st to request an extension . Suspended Brand Accounts will be deleted November 15th. “OK Google, get spooky.” Your Google Home, Nest and Assistant are ready for Halloween . Google has reported on how they are using machine learning to improve how they understand search queries, with a new advancement they describe as “ one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of Search” . Their natural language processing technique “BERT” (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), tries to understand words in the context of a sentence. That means Google can give better search results, especially for longer, more conversational queries. If you just want to get down to basics, Google has posted a brief vide

G Suite accounts no longer able to set separate Gmail profile picture

If you have a work or school Google account, the option to set a different profile photo for Gmail is being removed. You can choose to use your Gmail profile photo, current Google profile photo, or upload a new profile photo in your account's " About Me " settings. By default, Gmail uses your Google account profile photo. G Suite accounts for work or school also had the option to use a different profile photo for Gmail than the rest of their Google account. These Gmail "My Picture" settings are going away. Note that if you have a consumer Google account with a email address, Gmail is already using your Google account picture. Update August 27, 2020: users with two separate profile photos were migrated to a single phot o, your Google Account photo. You can find all previous profile photos in your Album Archive . Select a Profile Photo for your G Suite Google Account You can set a profile photo in your Google account's About Me setting

Weekly Update - October 19, 2019: Pixel 4, Blogger app, Recorder

This week Google announced the new Pixel, Pixelbook, and Nest devices, with an updated Assistant and smart features for audio transcription, photography and more. Plus there are updates for Google Books readers, Bloggers, YouTubers and we learned more about Google’s shifted focus from VR to AR, the demise of Yahoo Groups and Mark Zuckerberg’s thoughts on free expression. With the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, I reflected on what the experience was like trying to find information from thousands of miles away , and how it might be different today. I also tried out the MyShake app, which is tied to the California Earthquake Early Warning system , and designed to give a quake warning as much as “tens of seconds” before it hits. Unfortunately, as it runs in the background it used a lot of battery power. I’m hoping there will be updates to improve that. This week was Google’s annual fall hardware “Made by Google” event. They announced the Pixel 4 phone , new Pixel B

Remembering the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake

Thirty years ago today, I was living in Boston. Working into the evening, the radio was tuned to Game 3 of the so-called "Bay Bridge World Series", between the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants. I grew up in the Bay Area, and have always been an A's fan, but I wasn't paying attention to the pre-game chatter. So when one of my colleagues exclaimed that there was an earthquake, my first thought was that he was joking. There had been some joking about that possibility during the series, and I thought maybe he was just giving me some grief. But it was real. At 5:04 PM Pacific time, on October 17, 1989, the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake struck. The double-decker Cypress Freeway in west Oakland collapsed, killing dozens of commuters in their cars; the landfill under San Francisco's Marina district liquified, causing fires and houses to crumble; the Bay Bridge was severely damaged; and buildings collapsed throughout the region. In those first hours, t

The Blogger Android app gets a much-needed update

Google is rolling out an updated version of the Blogger Android app, with a fresh new look. The app is still pretty simple, but it runs smoothly without crashing. That may seem like a low bar for excitement, but the last version was released in early 2016, which is a long time in mobile app years. That old version would crash repeatedly on my phone running Android 10.  So besides the shiny interface changes, it's been updated under the hood.  "What's New" in the Google Play Store listing just says "minor bug fixes", which doesn't really convey the update. The app is still very basic, designed to let you post, edit, save, and view blog posts. Blogger is also testing out a new mobile-friendly design for , but that is not yet available for the post editor, so the mobile app will make it much easier to post from your phone. The app works on devices running Android 5.0 or higher. You must have an existing blog created at www.blogger

Weekly Update - October 12, 2019: Maps, Feedburner, Search Console

It was relatively quiet this week, with a few announcements for Google Maps, YouTube, Webmaster Search Console, Feedburner, small business owners, and more. For Google, it’s the calm before their annual hardware showcase event next Tuesday.  As some of you may know, I live in Northern California, which this week had widespread planned power outages to prevent sparking wildfires in the windy dry weather. Fortunately, my lights didn’t go out (even though my neighbors’ did), but even so I spent a fair amount of time preparing for what could have been several days without electricity. It was sobering to realize how poorly prepared we, local governments, and PG&E - all of us - were. The next time (and there’s sure to be a next time) will hopefully be less disruptive. For World Mental Health Day , Facebook introduced new Stories filter and Messenger sticker packs. Pinterest is offering emotional well-being activities, pins with resources for suicide prevention and parent resou

Feedurner "Socialize" RSS feed posting to Twitter deprecated

FeedBurner announced today that the "Socialize" service that links to Twitter and a utomatically tweets new posts has been deprecated. Existing Twitter connections will removed from Feedburner after October 30, 2019. FeedBurner is Google's rarely-updated service for distributing blog and other feeds. If you have "subscribe by email" enabled for your Blogger blog, that is managed through FeedBurner. Linking FeedBurner to a Twitter account has been broken for some time now, so this will only affect you if you set up "Socialize" posting to Twitter a long time ago. If you aren't sure whether you have Twitter linked to your FeedBurner account, you can check: 1. Sign in to FeedBurner ( ) 2. Click your blog or feed name 3. Click the Publicize tab at the top 4. Click Socialize  on the left menu 5. If you have a Twitter account connected, that will show on that page. Automatically Share Blog Posts to Twitter

Weekly Update - October 5, 2019: AdSense, Password Checkup, Photo Frames

Happy Cybersecurity Awareness Month ! All this month there will be tips and updates for keeping your accounts secure. There are new privacy features for Google Maps and YouTube, a new messaging app for Instagram Close Friends, plus tips and updates for YouTubers, AdSense publishers, webmasters, business owners and much more. To keep your accounts secure, you can run a password checkup , right in your Google Password Manager . That will find passwords that have been compromised in a third party breach, passwords used on multiple sites, and weak passwords. Incognito mode is now available in Google Maps . That means places you search for and other maps activity won’t be saved to your Google account and won’t be used to personalize your Maps experience. Soon you will be able to delete your Google Assistant activity using Google Assistant commands. You can now set your account to auto-delete your YouTube History after 3 months or 18 months. If you don’t want your YouTube history