One of the great things about Google Drive is its ability as a collaboration tool. Within moments you can share material with colleagues across the room or across the planet. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget (I know, I’ve done it) that not all of the world shares the same business hours – or even daylight hours! Sometimes (before trying to start a hangout, for instance) it’s useful to check what the time currently is for your intended collaborator.
I’m guessing that most people who use Google Drive and associated Apps will be doing so via Google’s Chrome browser.
Chrome is written to be a robust, fast and efficient browser. I’m not going to venture too deeply into the geeky underworld of how it actually works (you can always check out the source code of it’s open-source sister, Chromium, if you like), but one of the techniques it uses to prevent one hinky page from crashing the whole browser is to separate different tasks into separate processes. This is like having a number of separate programs all running at once, each looking after its own resources (such as memory allocation, calls to the BIOS, and so on). There’s a process for each tab you have open, and one for each extension you have activated.
Users of Google Slides can now add slide numbers to their presentations.
This is a useful addition for both presenters and audiences, enabling you to refer unambiguously to parts of your presentation.
Up to now, when creating a new email message in Gmail, you’ve been able to include documents stored in your Google Drive account by clicking on the Insert files using Drive button.
The trouble is, of course, that if you subsequently remove that file from Google Drive, you also remove access to it for the recipients of your email.
You may not have realized that Gmail offers some quick methods of filtering mails, and connecting with your contacts, that can be accessed simply by hovering over a name in a list of mails.
The pop-up shows the identity of your contact, but also has a few more links and icons along the bottom edge.
Google seem to be constantly building new tricks and tools into their search interface. It’s becoming a real Swiss Army Knife for the office, workshop or classroom.
Here’s another little trick that couldn’t be simpler to use – an on-screen countdown timer.
There’s a new Devices and Activity dashboard that gives you additional information about the devices that have recently accessed your Google account.
The page shows a summary view of all devices that have been active on your account within the last 28 days, including all those currently signed in.
Finally we have the ability to merge the cells of a table in Google Docs. A table with merged cells has cells that can span multiple rows and/or columns.
To merge table cells, highlight the cells to be merged in your table:
Many people don’t realize that the search field in Google Maps has access to Google’s sophisticated search technology. Of course, you can simply enter a place name or street address and have Google find it for you – but you can also use search strings much as you would in a regular Google Search, and have Google do its best to return a relevant geographical answer: