Google's top developers, managers and engineers recently shared their favourite software hacks for the products they helped create. From Android's inbuilt device finder to Gmail's 'undo email' tool, here are 21 tricks you definitely need to try.
To celebrate the company's 20th anniversary, the Google Blog shortlisted three tips for Google’s most-used products, straight from the people who helped build them. If you're a dyed-in-the-wool Google fan, you probably know most of these tricks already. But for the casual user, there are some amazing tools here that you probably didn't know existed. Here they are, in no particular order.
Lost and found: "If you’ve misplaced your Android phone, Find My Device lets you locate it by signing into your Google account. Or you can call it directly from a browser by typing “find my device” on Google. Lock your phone rethehmotely or display a message on the lock screen, so if someone finds it they know who to contact. If you’re convinced it’s lost for good, you can erase all your data."
Always reachable: "Don’t miss any urgent phone calls and messages from important contacts like close family members or your child’s school, even when you have Do Not Disturb turned on. Just add a star to people that matter to you, and then allow calls and messages from “starred contacts only” in Do Not Disturb settings."
Use your voice: "You can ask your Google Assistant to handle tasks on your Android phone (running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or later). Start by saying “OK Google,” then try “take a screenshot,” “turn on flashlight,” or “open WiFi setting.” You can even ask to “take a selfie” — this will open the camera app and start a countdown."
Access history across devices: "Open Chrome and click on “History.” From the drop down menu, click “Full History” and “Tabs From Other Devices.” If you’re signed into the same Google account on both your phone and your computer, you’ll see the article you were just about to finish on your way into work."
Keeping tabs on your tabs: "You can save eight days of time per year using keyboard shortcuts. Try this one in Chrome: jump between tabs at light speed by pressing Ctrl and the tab number you want to go to (i.e., Ctrl+1, Ctrl+2, Ctrl+3)."
Emoji text field: "Right-click in any text field for a shortcut to access emoji on any platform Chrome can be found."
For lovers of covers: "Try searching for a song and then tapping “other recordings” for different renditions."
Don’t burn daylight: "Make the most of your daylight hours by knowing when the sun will go down. Search [sunset] to get the time the sun will set today."
For content connoisseurs: "If you’re a fan of bingeable TV shows or a movie buff, you can see all the places to stream any show or film by searching [watch] followed by the title. (Head’s up: this is available in the U.S., Great Britain, Australia, Germany and India)."
Beat the crowds: "Use Google Maps to find out the estimated wait times and popular times to visit your favorite restaurants and businesses."
Don’t get lost in the parking lot: "If you’ve ever spent way too long searching for your parked car, this tip’s for you. After navigating to your destination, tap on the blue dot and then “Set as parking location” so you can always find your way back to your parking spot."
Quickest route to the airport snacks: "If you’re flying to a new place, you can use Google Maps to help you find your way around an airport. A quick search for an airport terminal name, say “SFO Terminal 1,” will show you the lay of the land, including nearby gates, lounges, restaurants and stores."
The ultimate to-do list: "Open Tasks in your side panel within Gmail, then drag and drop emails to turn your messages into action items."
Shhhh: "Declutter your inbox with Gmail’s mute feature, which pushes the entire conversation to your archive and any future conversations on the thread bypass your inbox to be automatically archived as well."
Take it back: "Don’t fret over embarrassing typos, unintentional reply-alls, or other email taboos. In your Gmail settings, just implement a 5-30 second cancellation period on your sent emails and once you’ve fired one off, you’ll receive a prompt to “Undo.”
Give your docs a gold star: "Find your favorite Drive items by starring your most important docs within the Drive main menu, and then bookmarking your Starred page."
File_name_V2: "Freeze moments in time by naming different versions of the docs you edit frequently. In a Doc, Sheet, or Slides go to File > Version History > Name current version. Name any version then access it easily from "Version history" by name."
Your search is our command: "Google Drive makes the text within all of the images and PDFs you upload searchable. Try searching for a phrase that you know is inside a picture or PDF, which is especially helpful when you can’t remember your filename."
When you’re good with faces, but not names: "Just hit pause on your movie, tap the circle around the actor or actress's face, and learn more about them and what other movies they’ve been in."
Read like a superhero: "When you’re reading a comic on your phone, tap on a voice bubble and use your volume buttons to zoom in on the dialogue between two characters."
What you wish for: "You can create a wishlist to keep track of items you want to install or purchase on Google Play."
[Via Google Blog]