22 May 2015

feedGoogle Operating System

Discontinued Service in Google's App Launcher

For some reason, Google's app launcher doesn't let you remove Google services. You can add Google products, change their order, move them to the "More" section, but you can't delete them.

Helpouts was discontinued last month, but it's still included in Google's navigation menu. If you've added the Helpouts shortcut to your navigation menu, you can still click it and find that "Helpouts is no longer available."


Fortunately, there's a Chrome extension that lets you add almost any Google service to the app launcher and also remove shortcuts.

22 May 2015 2:17pm GMT

From Google Webmaster Tools to Google Search Console

Google Webmaster Tools has a new name: it's now called Google Search Console. Why change the name? "It turns out that the traditional idea of the 'webmaster' reflects only some of you. We have all kinds of Webmaster Tools fans: hobbyists, small business owners, SEO experts, marketers, programmers, designers, app developers, and, of course, webmasters as well," explains Google.


Google Search Console will continue to offer the same features, including Google Search analytics, information about external and internal links, mobile usability issues, crawling and indexing issues, security and spam.

There are some other consoles for Google services: Google Play Developer Console for Android, Google Developers Console for projects that use Google APIs and Google Cloud, Google Admin Console for Google Apps.

{ Thanks, Mukil Elango. }

22 May 2015 1:47pm GMT

21 May 2015

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Tone

Google Tone is an experimental Chrome extension for sharing the URL of the current tab with other computers. It doesn't use Bluetooth, NFC or WiFi: it only sends audio tones. "Google Tone turns on your computer's microphone (while the extension is on) and uses your computer's speakers to exchange URLs with nearby computers connected to the Internet."

For some reason, Google requires to be logged in to a Google account and to be online. Your Google Profile name and picture are displayed next to the notification. I'm not sure why this feature isn't optional.


Google Research Blog has more information about this experiment. "Tone provides an easy-to-understand broadcast mechanism that behaves like the human voice - it doesn't pass through walls like radio or require pairing or addressing. The initial prototype used an efficient audio transmission scheme that sounded terrible, so we played it beyond the range of human hearing. However, because many laptop microphones and nearly all video conferencing systems are optimized for voice, it improved reliability considerably to also include a minimal DTMF-based audible codec. The combination is reliable for short distances in the majority of audio environments even at low volumes, and it even works over Hangouts."

The extension doesn't work all the time, so make sure to turn up your volume, turn on your computer's microphone and unplug your headphones. When it works, it's a cool way to share the current tab with all the computers around you, assuming that they use Chrome and this extension is installed.

21 May 2015 7:59pm GMT