20 Dec 2014

feedGoogle Operating System

Word Origin Google Search Card

Last year, Google updated the dictionary card and added a lot of useful features, including etymological information, a translation box and a graph that shows the use of a word over time. If you only want to find the origin of a word like "basilica", you don't have to search for [define basilica], expand the card and scroll to the word origin section. You can search for [basilica origin] or [basilica word origin] and Google shows a special version of the dictionary card that highlights etymological information.

20 Dec 2014 11:16pm GMT

Reduce Data Usage When Playing YouTube Music Videos

YouTube doesn't offer yet an audio-only version for the desktop, but there's a simple way to save bandwidth when playing a YouTube video in a different tab or in the background.

Let's say you're listening to a 2-hour concert while reading a book. Since you only care about the audio, YouTube wastes bandwidth by streaming the entire video. YouTube now uses adaptive streaming (DASH) and there are separate streams for audio and video.

I mentioned in a recent post that the mobile YouTube app for Android downloads only the audio files when playing music videos in the background. The desktop site doesn't do this, but you can save bandwidth by switching to the lowest quality option that's available: 144p. Click the player's settings button (the wheel icon) and pick 144p from the "quality" dropdown.

It may not seem obvious, but YouTube uses exactly the same audio stream, whether you're watching 144p, 240p, 360p, 480p, 720p or 1080p videos. You can check this by right clicking the player, selecting "stats for nerds" and watching the DASH section when switching to other resolutions. The first numerical value is the ID (itag) of the video stream, while the second one is the ID of the audio stream. You'll notice that the audio ID is the same: 140.


Here's an example: the 2-hour David Gilmour concert from the screenshot above uses 237MB for the 360p stream and 94MB for 144p stream, while the audio stream uses 111MB. That means you can save more than 140MB by switching from 360p to 144p.

Please note that this only works if you're using the Flash player or you're using YouTube's HTML5 player in a browser that supports Media Source Extensions (Chrome, Opera, Safari, IE11).

20 Dec 2014 10:01pm GMT

19 Dec 2014

feedGoogle Operating System

Gmail Links to Google Inbox

Gmail now promotes Google Inbox. If Inbox is enabled for your account, you might see this message in Chrome: "Good news - Inbox by Gmail is enabled for this account. To use it on the web, go to inbox.google.com. You can always use Gmail at mail.google.com."


Gmail also shows a promotional link for Google Inbox at the bottom of the page: "Take me to Inbox".


If you click "x", Gmail hides the link and shows this message: "You dismissed the Inbox link." Click "Don't show this again" to permanently hide the Inbox link.

19 Dec 2014 10:18pm GMT