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Preview: Google Operating System

Google Operating System



Unofficial news and tips about Google. A blog that watches Google's latest developments and the attempts to move your operating system online.



Updated: 2017-03-28T11:58:48.099-07:00

 



Gmail Blocks JavaScript Attachments

2017-02-19T02:41:42.175-08:00

If you try to send a JavaScript attachment using Gmail or if you want to download a attachment, you'll get a new anti-virus warning: "Blocked for security reasons", "1 attachment contains a virus or blocked file. Downloading this attachment is disabled".

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.JS has been added to the long list of file types that are blocked by Gmail for security reasons. The full list: .ADE, .ADP, .BAT, .CHM, .CMD, .COM, .CPL, .EXE, .HTA, .INS, .ISP, .JAR, .JS (NEW), .JSE, .LIB, .LNK, .MDE, .MSC, .MSI, .MSP, .MST, .NSH .PIF, .SCR, .SCT, .SHB, .SYS, .VB, .VBE, .VBS, .VXD, .WSC, .WSF, .WSH. "To prevent against potential viruses, Gmail doesn't allow you to attach certain types of files, including: certain file types (listed above), including their compressed form (like .gz or .bz2 files) or when found within archives (like .zip or .tgz files), documents with malicious macros, archives whose listed file content is password protected, archives whose content includes a password protected archive."

The GSuite Blog informs that "for inbound mail, senders will get a bounce message explaining why the email was blocked. If you still need to send files for legitimate reasons, you can use Google Drive, Google Cloud Storage, or other storage solutions to share or send your files."

You can still send JavaScript files using Gmail if you change the extension. What about downloading old attachments? Try the workarounds from this post.(image)



Google Image Search Shows Colorful Suggestions

2017-01-25T13:55:50.260-08:00

Google Image Search has a different way to display suggestions: it now shows a long list of colorful boxes with related searches. You can click one or more boxes to dynamically refine search results.

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For example, when searching for [sportswear], Google shows suggestions like: [women basketball], [tennis], [badminton], [golf], [volleyball], [nike woman], [alexander wang], [adidas], [fashion], [performance], [vintage], [trendy], [urban], [school], [gym], [90's], [70's], [vogue], [luxe], [avant garde], [korean], [italian], [french] and more. It's interesting to notice that each category of suggestions has a different color.

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Here's the old interface, which had fewer suggestions and displayed thumbnails next to suggestions:

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Google Image Search Starts Playing YouTube Videos

2017-01-16T02:55:36.398-08:00

Google Image Search's mobile interface tests a new feature that starts playing snippets from a YouTube video at the top of the search results page. It's not disclosed as an ad, there's no sound and you can't stop or hide the video, which continues to play on repeat.

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Right now, the experiment seems to be limited to fashion-related queries like [men jackets], [lookbook], [winter outfit], which match videos from YouTube channels like New Look and River Island. "New Look is a South African-owned British global fashion retailer with a chain of high street shops. (...) The chain sells womenswear, menswear, and clothing for teens," according to Wikipedia.

Google only shows labels like: "New Look on YouTube", even though this looks like an experimental ad format. I hope it will never become a regular feature, as it's pretty annoying and it wastes Internet bandwidth.(image)



YouTube Desktop Notifications, Now For Everyone

2017-01-13T06:08:57.439-08:00

It looks like YouTube's notification experiment is now a regular feature and you can no longer disable it by clearing cookies. When sign in to your Google account, YouTube's desktop site no longer shows Google+ notifications in the navigation bar: it replaces them with YouTube notifications.

"Your notifications live here. Subscribe to your favorite channels to get notified about their latest videos," informs the new notification box.

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YouTube Notifications in the Navigation Bar

2016-12-29T04:24:10.038-08:00

YouTube has recently started to experiment with replacing Google+ notifications in the navigation bar with YouTube notifications. You get notifications for recently uploaded videos from your subscribed channels, but only if you've enabled notifications for those channels. For example, you can go to the subscription manager and click the bell icon next to a channel to enable or disable notifications.

The settings button sends you to the Notifications section from YouTube's Settings page and the 3-dot icon next to each notification lets you turn off notifications from the corresponding channel.

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If you don't like this experiment, you can always clear cookies for youtube.com in your browser's settings and opt out.(image)



Google's New Mobile UI for Recipe Search

2016-12-29T04:07:51.818-08:00

Just in time for New Year's dinner, Google has a new mobile interface for recipe search. I searched for [avocado mayo] and noticed a long list of keywords below the search box and ads: salad, chicken, shrimp, vegan, bacon and more. You can select more than one keyword and this helps you refine the results.

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When selecting a related search, you get a completely different interface that only shows recipes: bigger expandable cards, bigger thumbnails, infinite scrolling.

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Google Translate's 5000 Character Limit

2016-12-08T10:21:39.839-08:00

For some reason, Google Translate now has a limit of 5000 characters per translation. There's even a character counter at the bottom of the input box. If you happen to paste a long text that has more than 5000 characters, you'll get an error message ("maximum characters exceeded: X characters over 5000 maximum") and a "translate more" option that lets you translate the rest of the text.

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I don't understand the purpose of this restriction, considering that Google doesn't impose any limitation when translating web pages. It's worth pointing out that Google Translate's API has a similar limitation: "the maximum size of each text to be translated is 5000 characters, not including any HTML tags". Google's translation card from Google Search has a different limit: about 2800 characters.(image)



Google Tests Movie Ratings

2016-12-08T03:51:25.714-08:00

Google's knowledge graph card tests a feature that lets you like or dislike movies and TV shows. For example, when you search for "It's a Wonderful Life", you can click like or dislike and check the percentage of Google users who liked it.

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The same buttons show up when you search for a TV show like "Saturday Night Live".

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Search Engine Land reports that Google confirmed this experiment, which was first spotted last month.(image)



Google's Holiday Decorations

2016-12-06T06:29:18.239-08:00

When you search Google for [Christmas], [Hanukkah], [Kwanzaa], [Festivus] or other related queries, you'll see some special decorations related to each holiday. Festivus is "a holiday celebrated by those seeking an alternative to the commercialism and pressures of the Christmas holiday season."

Christmas trees, Santa Claus, the Christmas star adorn the Google search page and bring the hoiday spirit.

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The Hanukkah menorah and Kwanzaa's Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles) are lighting up Google's search pages.

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Here are the decorations from 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011.(image)



New Interface for Google Search

2016-12-06T06:03:59.740-08:00

Google's desktop search pages have a new interface for navigating between search results. The search box is bigger, there's a new search icon and Google now only shows 2 or 3 specialized search engines next to "all", down from 4. Apps and shopping seem to be missing from the list of search engines, so you can only pick from image search, video search, Google News, Google Maps, Google Flights and Google Books.

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The settings dropdown is now placed below the search box and it includes the option that lets you hide private results. You can still change search settings, languages, turn on or turn off SafeSearch, use advanced search options, open Web History or go to the help center.

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Search tools are now simply called tools and they include the same options: search by date and verbatim.

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Image search lets you quickly go to the saved images page and change SafeSearch setting.

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Google Shopping is broken. While the homepage still loads, when you click a product image or search for something, Google shows an empty page.

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Here's the old Google Search interface, via Wikipedia:

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Random Facts About Animals in Google Search

2016-10-17T14:11:22.017-07:00

Did you know that "male lions defend the pride's territory while females do most of the hunting"? Did you know that "the name humpback whale describes the motion it makes as it arches its back out of the water in preparation for a dive"? What about this one: "ostriches have the largest eyes of any land living animal and they measure 50 mm (2 inches) in diameter"?

Google now shows random facts about animals in the "did you know" section of the Knowledge Graph card. They're extracted from various sites and Google actually links to the source.

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Some example of queries that return random facts: [cat], [lion], [tiger], [alpaca], [giraffe], [ostrich], [duck], [elk], [raccoon], [shark]. It's worth pointing out that you can get another random fact by reloading the page or searching again for the same animal.(image)



Found in Related Searches

2016-10-15T00:34:47.350-07:00

Google Knowledge Graph has more than one billion entities and more than 70 billion facts about these entities (people, places, things). It's huge and it brings a different dimension to search: understanding concepts and the relation between them.

Mobile Google Search now has a section called "found in related search", which shows a few entities frequently mentioned in other related searches. For example, I searched for [ethanol molar mass] and Google showed 2 lists of organic and inorganic compounds: one of them was found in the related search [properties of alkanes] and the other was for [polar solvents]. Ethanol is a polar solvent which can be obtained from alkenes, while alkenes can be derived from alkanes, so Google's suggestions are somewhat useful.

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This feature is not limited to chemistry, it also works for other topics. Here's a different query: [tour eiffel design], which shows other "towers of the world" and "tourist attractions in France".

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Google Converts Queries Into Questions

2016-10-14T15:29:57.015-07:00

I noticed an interesting Google Search experiment in the mobile/tablet interface. When searching for [alcohol with the highest boiling], Google converted my query into a question: "Which alcohol has the highest boiling point?", then it tried to answer the question using a snippet from a web page and then it added a "more results" link. Google's link sent to me to the search results page for the question inferred by Google.

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Google's Card for Directions

2016-10-14T14:33:58.352-07:00

When you search Google for [directions] or [get directions], you get an error message: "No results for that place. Try entering it below to get suggestions." Google shows a special card for directions with cool features like autocomplete, but the error message is out of place because you haven't typed a location.

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Suggestions aren't very smart. For example, I typed "Brisbane, Australia" as the starting point and then I started to type "Mel" as the destination. Google suggested 3 places from California, strictly based on my location, while ignoring that Melbourne is a much better suggestion.

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Google shows directions inside the card and you can pick between driving, walking, cycling or using public transportation.

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To see the directions, just click the text that describes your favorite route. If there is only one route, pick that one. Another option is to click "directions" and go to the Google Maps site.

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Add Home Screen Shortcuts to Google Maps Directions

2016-10-14T13:52:29.494-07:00

I'm not sure if this is a new feature, but it must be pretty recent. Google Maps for Android lets you add home screen shortcuts to directions directly from the app. Just search for directions, tap the menu icon and pick "add route to Home screen". This works best when you select the current location, but it's not a requirement.

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You may also see this message: "Go here often? Add this route. Tap here to add a Home screen shortcut to this route."

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Another option is to add the directions widget, which lets you pick the shortcut name, whether to start turn-by-turn navigation and more.(image)



Google Color Converter

2016-10-10T05:19:55.925-07:00

Google has a special card that's both a color picker and a color converter. For example, you can search for HEX color codes like #123456 and Google shows the color and converts it to other formats: RGB, HSV, HSL, CMYK.  Google's card also shows up when you search for RGB values like rgb(255,0,255). The most interesting feature of the card lets you pick a color interactively.

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Other queries that trigger Google's card: RGB to HEX, color picker.

This is not a new feature, but it's worth pointing out that Chrome has its own color picker and converter in the developer tools. Click a color in the styles tab to open the color picker and shift-click a color to convert it to a different format.

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{ via Android Police }(image)



Google Will Shut Down Panoramio

2016-10-08T12:49:44.106-07:00

Google intended to discontinue Panoramio back in 2014, shortly after Google Maps Views was launched, but a lot of users complained and Panoramio continued to exist. Now Google announces that Panoramio will become read-only on November 4th and it'll be shut down one year later, in November 2017.

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"Today, with photo upload tools in Google Maps and our Local Guides program, we are providing easy ways for you to share your photos with an active and growing community. As such, we've decided to move forward with closing down Panoramio," informs Google. If you've linked your Panoramio account with a Google account, you'll be able to find your photos in Google Album Archive and they'll not use your storage quota. You can also export your photos in Google Takeout.

Google encourages Panoramio users to join the Local Guides program for Google Maps and share photos, add reviews and information about places. "It's all about that warm feeling you get from helping others discover new, enriching experiences. That, and the benefits. Every place you improve on Google Maps gets you closer to unlocking something new - from early access to new products to exclusive contests and events."

If you don't like Google's options, you can delete your Panoramio photos or go to Panoramio's settings page and delete your account.

Google acquired Panoramio in 2007. It was a Spanish startup which had a site that enabled "digital photographers to geolocate, store and organize their photographs and to view those photographs in Google Earth and Google Maps."(image)



More Related Searches in Mobile Google Search

2016-10-08T01:42:31.474-07:00

Google's mobile search interface shows a new box with related searches after clicking a result and going back to the search page. There's a list called "people also search for", which shows queries that are related to both the original search and the search result you've previously visited. Swipe left to see the entire the list.

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Tap a different search result and you'll get different suggestions:

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Google tested this feature back in June and now it's no longer an experiment.(image)



Android 7.1: Pixel-Only, For Now

2016-10-06T14:16:13.619-07:00

Pixel phones will ship with a new Android version: 7.1. It looks like many of the important Nougat features have been left out from the 7.0 release.

Android 7.1's unofficial changelog published by Android Police has many Pixel-specific features, including a new launcher, a new camera app, Google Assistant, a support tab in the settings, solid navbar icons, Smart Storage that removes old backed up photos and videos when storage is full.

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There are also some features that aren't restricted to Pixel devices: night light (filters blue light), fingerprint swipe down gesture, seamless A/B system updates, Daydream VR mode, support for app shortcuts and circular app icons, keyboard image insertion, manual storage manager and more. Unfortunately, Nexus devices and Pixel C will only get a dev preview by the end of 2016, so the stable release will be available in 2017. So much for buying Nexus devices to be the first to get the latest Android updates.

Google Assistant won't be a Pixel exclusive for long, since it's a core Google feature that needs wide adoption. I assume that the launcher and camera app will be also available in the Play Store at some point.(image)



Why Google Can't Sell Expensive Products

2016-10-06T13:19:05.741-07:00

Google announced its first phone and many people wondered why it's as expensive as an iPhone. Nexus phones were sometimes inexpensive (Nexus 4: $299, Nexus 5: $349, Nexus 5X: $379) and sometimes more expensive (Nexus One: $530, Nexus 6: $649, Nexus 6P: $599). Now the 5-inch Pixel costs $649 in the US, while the 5.5-inch Pixel XL costs $769, which is more than any other Nexus phone.

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Obviously, Google's pricing was more aggressive when it wanted to sell more products and less aggressive when sales numbers mattered less. The truth is that Google only managed to sell products in high volumes if the price was low enough to make them good value. Chromecast was successful because it offered a lot of value for the money. Nexus 5 was a flagship phone at half the price, so millions of people bought it. Nexus 7 was good enough for $199, but Google's bigger tablets were more expensive and their flaws were more striking.

Google is a "value" brand. Most people associate Google with free ad-supported online services that offer great features. There's no paid Google software for consumers, as Google only sells digital content and subscription services (storage, music). Google is not a lifestyle or luxury brand, so people don't expect to pay much for Google products.

There's a lot of risk associated with Google products, since Google doesn't stand behind them all the time. Some of them are experiments, others are quickly discontinued and forgotten. I still remember that Google stopped selling Nexus One only 6 months after the launch or when Logitech's CEO said back in 2011 that Google TV was a huge and costly mistake. Android One was a flop, Google Play Edition failed, Motorola was acquired by Google and later sold to Lenovo.

Google's commitment issues, its high appetite for releasing beta products, its lack of planning and foresight - all of these problems alienate consumers and make them think twice before buying a Google product. Premium brands are all about image, trust, credibility, heritage.(image)