Google’s geeky. Its homepage has always been spartan, and even the shade of blue used on its links are tested for performance. Its HQ is known for group bikes, indoor slides, yards mowed by goats and filled with inflatable deserts, the representatives of the web giant’s robot-themed mobile OS.
But Google’s also successful, wildly so. It’s a rare day when any internet connect human doesn’t touch at least one Google products. Not because we’re forced to, but because we want to. Google Search just works, and its popularity got us to try the rest of their apps. And you know what? Google Maps, Gmail, Docs, Chrome and more all work so good, most of us choose them because they work great. They may be spartan, but they sure do the job.
That’s not enough. The new Google, one increasingly infused with Google+ DNA since its launch 2 years ago, is focusing harder than ever on design. And features. And glasses, and driverless cars, and beating Dropbox, and more. It’s a busy — and shiny — new search giant, and that’s on showcase more than ever at this year’s Google I/O developer conference.
Adobe Flash used to be an essential part of our daily internet experience, but today, it feels more like a relic of the past. No major mobile device today ships with Flash — Apple notably never included it in iOS, and then Adobe itself dropped mobile Flash on Android last August. Microsoft even curtailed Flash in Windows 8, limiting it to running Flash on a pre-approved sites in the new Modern IE.
Even still, on the desktop you’ll often find that you need to use Flash. That’s why our writer Nathan Snelgrove just wrote an article on our sister site Mac.AppStorm on the best ways to avoid using Flash on your Mac.
It’s aimed mainly at Safari users, and even recommends using Chrome for Flash since it’s built-into Chrome. But, if you’re an IE or Firefox user on a Windows or Linux PC who’d rather get around using Flash, it’s got enough tips that you might find some of them helpful.
The world’s not lacking for note apps; there’s tons out there, enough that when Google recently released a new one, the world collectively yawned. There’s just so many ways to keep notes already. There’s the plaintext geek favorite Simplenote, the always stylish Springpad, and Microsoft’s OneNote — the desktop app that made quite the nice transition to the web.
You’ve likely got a notes app built-into your OS of choice, too. And another in your email client. Even Dropbox itself makes a pretty compelling choice, as you can store plain text files in it and edit them as notes anywhere.
And yet, Evernote remains the crowd favorite. It lets you take notes about anything, throw in files, pictures, web clips, and more, and search through it all effortlessly. It lives in the web, but also has native apps for practically ever OS out there. It’s even in a Samsung fridge. It seems cluttered, with everything in one place, formatted text mixed with plain text and PDFs and everything else. And yet, it works – and is beloved by millions.
So, for those of you who swear by Evernote, what is it about the service that you love the most? We’d love to hear your thoughts — or your dissenting views if you hate Evernote — in the comments below.
If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then surely a video is worth a few thousand. But sometimes, you still need to add more. Whether it’s the names of the people in your video clip, comments and highlights on special parts of the video, or links to sites mentioned in the video and social media buttons, there’s a lot extra you should be able to add to your videos. And now, with Clickberry, our sponsor this week, you can.
Clickberry lets you add those extras to your videos, and share them online with your audience. You can share the very best pieces of video – whether it’s top highlights, tagged friends, interesting things worth buying, or memorable moments. Curating and archiving the best video from around the web has never been easier.
Clickberry is a delightful, new way to share the moments that move you. Highlight dramatic moments, interesting things & friends and quickly bring stories to the world’s attention. It’s fun, simple, and free!
Go Get It!
Ready to start adding annotations and more to your videos? Then go download the Clickberry Tagger extension for Chrome or Firefox so you can add annotations to videos already online in YouTube. You can also download Clickberry app for your Mac or PC to create interactive videos and upload them to share. Or, you can download the free Clickberry Tagger app for your iPhone to take videos on the go, add the tags you want, then upload and share the videos with your friends.
Google Reader’s imminent demise has left most of us scrambling to find a new feed reader that hits the spot for us. For developers who were planning new RSS reader apps, it’s been a bigger rush to the market than any of them could have predicted months ago. We’ve gone through tons of RSS apps over the past few weeks in our reviews, many of them brand new apps while others are older services that have matured and added features recently. RSS apps went from a stagnant market dominated by Google to a market of diverse, exciting apps of all shapes and sizes, which if anything is a good side effect for us all.
The latest feed reader on the block is Feed Wrangler, a project that’d already been in the works for several months prior to Google’s announcement and that’s now ready for use. It’s simpler to use than many feed readers, though also more geeky with ways to make your own dynamic feeds from the sites you’re subscribed to. Let’s take a look.
Adobe is best known for expensive professional apps that only run on OS X and Windows, though they’ve made a number of rather awesome free web apps over the years over the years as well. At one point, I thought they had a solid shot at being a leader in the office web apps market with their beautiful Acrobat.com web apps. But alas, they died a premature death and barely made even the slightest dent in the market.
Since then, though, Adobe’s refocused on native web coding — and seems to be distancing itself more and more from Flash. They’ve bought out Typekit but kept its free plan, and even made their own free web font library for unlimited use on any site. They also have a number of useful web apps, for everything from basic photo editing to a surprisingly robust screenwriting web app (which we can’t figure out why they made as a web app after killing their office web apps).
We just rounded up a dozen free apps and tools from Adobe over at Mac.AppStorm, and you should take a minute to check it out. There’s a number of web apps in the list, as well as native Mac and Windows apps (and even one for Linux) for everything from photo syncing to web coding.
Ever get tired of typing everything that you need to write down? How about save your fingers a bit of work and use speech recognition to write for you? Better yet, how about do it in Chrome, for free, on any platform?
It might sound too good to be true, but Chrome now has speech recognition built-in, and there’s a new app from Digital Inspiration — Dictation — that makes it easy to put it to use. You might never have to type in your notes again online!
Google has tried so hard to get into the social networking game, but its first attempts were little more than failures. Let us count the ways:
- Google Wave, which promised to reinvent how we collaborate. Dead.
- Google Buzz, a social network inside Gmail. Dead.
- Orkut, an outright social network. Practically unknown outside of Brazil.
So then, Google practically had to redesign their entire company around their final social offering: Google+. It launched with fanfare, and even had some nice features, but ultimately wasn’t enough different to drag most of us away from Twitter and Facebook. Just about the only standout feature was Hangouts, group video chats inside Google+.
But Google has forged it deeply into Google search, making a Google+ profile rather necessary if you want your site’s search results to show off your author info. Plus, if you buy into Google’s other products like the brand-new Glass, you’ll get the best built-in sharing experience with Google+.
So, are you still using Google+? Or has your account languished without any recent updates?
Of course, if you do use Google+, be sure to follow us on Google+!
There’s plenty of plain text writing apps on the web. If you need a place to bang out some text, there’s plenty of options. There’s even starting to be a selection of collaborative writing apps, and blog engines that are focused on plain text. It’s a nice time to be a plain text geek on the web.
But what if you want to do more with your text? Perhaps, make outlines, collapse sections, display markdown as you’re writing, and move lines of text around? Then you’ve got to check out Oak Outliner.
Are you ready to have all your data in one place, so you can grow your business and take care of your customers? Are you tired of having to go to all your different web services to get to YOUR data? Then you need Leftronic, our sponsor this week, to make a graphical dashboard that’ll show all of your team’s data in one place.
Leftronic makes it easy to build a dashboard with your key metrics. You can be up and running and tracking real-time data in just a few clicks. Start with templates to quickly create dashboards that connect to the data sources of your choice, including:
- Google Analytics
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- New Relic
- …and more!
You can connect to all your data, no matter the source: whether it’s in the cloud, on your server, or in your Excel spreadsheet. You can even your own custom data with Leftronic’s API or Spreadsheet tool. Then, Leftronic has lots of widgets to display your data in insightful ways.
Leftronic was designed for large screens in mind, so display your dashboards on a big TV in your office or lobby, or next to the water cooler. Or you can just share your dashboards online with built-in unlimited sharing with read-only links so anyone can see your dashboards from their computer.
Get a Dashboard for Your Team Today!
Ready to get a dashboard to show all of your team’s data? Then get started with a 30 day free Leftronic trial today! Then, you can keep using it after that to keep your team in touch with your business data starting at $42/month for up to 2 screens.