Check out this quick list of Google things you likely didn’t know existed. Read the article below from theinquirer.com to find out more about these little-known features you need to see. Click here to see the original article and photos.
6 of the most useful Google things no one uses
Don’t let them get discontinued
By Holly Brockwell
GOOGLE DOESN’T EXACTLY have a publicity problem. But it does have a product problem, in the sense that since it puts its name to a bazillion products, some of them inevitably fall under the radar, and not necessarily through any fault of their own.
That wouldn’t matter, except that the Powers That G have a bad habit of killing features and services that don’t get enough love. Can I get an “amen” for Google Reader? Yeah.
So in the interests of hanging onto the products I use and need, here are the top 5 Google things you should all start using so they don’t discontinue them. Thanks. Appreciate it.
- Gmail Undo Send
Everyone’s sent an email and immediately wished they could take it back. Gmail has the best system for doing this – rather than one of those weird “this message was recalled” emails, the Undo Send feature holds your email in the outbox for your choice of five to thirty seconds before sending.
This gives you ample breathing space to spot typos, realise you’ve clicked ‘reply all’, or worst of all, used the phrase “kind regards.”
Undo Send used to be one of the Gmail Labs features, meaning an experimental thing that you could choose to switch on. But it was so brilliant that it made it into the main product, so you’ll now find it under Cog > Settings > General > Undo Send. You can choose 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds for the wait period – I’d recommend the full thirty. Sometimes you don’t notice you’ve put “hope your well” until the 29th second.
- Gmail Labs in general
Now that Undo Send has graduated from Gmail Labs to the General settings, it’s made room for other great ideas to take its place. Labs is the sandbox for fully-fledged features, and you can find some handy features in there that might improve the way you use email.
They change a lot, and Google provides a big disclaimer that they might break or vanish any time. But – touch wood – I haven’t had any problems yet.
Things you can currently turn on in Labs include a Mark As Read button (for people who hate having unread emails but don’t want to open all the stuff they’ll never read), Unread Message Icon (for the opposite people: this adds a little message count to the Gmail icon in the title bar), and even a thing that moves the chat box from the left to the right, like Facebook’s. Mmm, so much tinkering goodness.
- Google Docs templates
No one should spend a single precious moment of their life trying to make their CV look halfway professional when these exist. Google’s made heaps of useful templates that they really don’t advertise, and unlike the Microsoft Office ones of old, they don’t mostly date from the same time as terms like “clip art” and “desktop publishing.”
There are different templates for each product. In Google Docs (ie their Microsoft Word-alike), you’ll find the CV templates as well as reports, meeting notes, newsletters, even lesson plans. But the best ones, in my opinion, are in the Excel-competitor Google Sheets.
In the Sheets templates, you’ll find a wedding planner, annual and monthly budgets, to-do lists, travel planners, team rotas, timesheets, invoices – and they’ve been prepopulated with wizardry that adds all the totals up for you.
Annoyingly, Google’s hidden them really well. To see the templates for your product of choice, go into Google Drive, click New, then choose Docs, Slides or Sheets and move across to the next menu. Click “from a template” and enjoy.
- Google Keep
I bang on about this a lot, because it pretty much changed my life. Google has its own free to-do/notes app, and it is amazing. If this one’s ever discontinued I’m going on Google strike forever.
Keep has free Android and iOS apps, and works in web too. This means you can easily jot down something you want to remember and it’ll sync across all your devices instantly. You can make to-do lists with proper, working tick boxes. You can colour-code and add clickable hashtags (!) and drag to rearrange and pin things to the top and add voice memos and pictures and drawings and oh god it’s the best, please use it so it never goes away. Thank you.
- Send and archive
Another well-hidden feature of Gmail. This adds an extra button to reply emails, so instead of just “Send,” you also have “Send and archive.” This magical button – as the name suggests – sends your reply and files the conversation at the same time, so it vanishes out of your overstuffed inbox (but of course, isn’t gone forever).
Since I turned this on in all my email accounts, replying to people has been somehow much more fun. It feels like throwing the ball back, and on a psychological level it’s made me feel much better about the sisyphean task that is email. Until they reply, of course.
- Word Lens
At this point, I think I should get commission for showing people Word Lens. Google paid $$$ for the technology, implemented it into Google Translate, and then basically didn’t tell anyone. Word Lens lets you hold up your phone camera to something written in another language, and see it right there on your screen in English. It is ridiculously sci-fi and cool, and has saved me from ordering black pudding on business trips several times.
The homepage looks dead fancy in Spanish
As with all these products, Google needs to get way better at publicising them. Apple would be shouting about this feature from the rooftops, it’d have some fancy PR name like Understandroid (I don’t work in marketing, OK?) and they’d demonstrate it ad infinitum in their presentations, ads and product videos. Google just whacked it into the existing Translate app, put out a blog post and wondered why people don’t get enthused the way they do by Apple stuff.
To use it, just open the normal free Google Translate app (Android or iOS) and tap the camera icon below “tap to enter text.” Download the dictionary for the country you’re visiting before you go on holiday, and everyone will be your best friend when you get there.