Blog Archives

NoteSync Is a Lightweight Note-Taker that Syncs with Google Docs [Downloads]

Windows/Mac/Linux: NoteSync is a lightweight application that allows you to manage notes easily, and offers two-way sync with Google Docs to keep your notes updated and always accessible. More »

GDrive Is Here-ish: Google Docs to Allow Users to Upload Any File-Type [Gdrive]

Google users will soon be able to upload any file type to Docs (as long as it's under 250MB)—as opposed to the very limited slate of document types currently supported (like images, Word docs, PDFs, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations).

Photo from TechCrunch

Because Google Docs now supports files up to 250 MB in size, which is larger than the attachment limit on most email applications, you’ll be able to backup large graphics files, RAW photos, ZIP archives and much more to the cloud. More importantly, instead of carrying a USB drive, you can now use Google Docs as a more convenient option for accessing your files on different computers.

Tech news blog TechCrunch quotes Google Docs product manager Vijay Bangaru emphasizing that this is not the much speculated GDrive, but they appropriately point out that—regardless of what they're calling it—it sure sounds like the GDrive people were expecting. Users will get 1GB of free storage to hold whatever they want, and they can buy more storage space for $0.25 per GB.

Export All Your Google Docs to a ZIP File [Backup]

Google Docs has officially thrown open their data doors, allowing users to back up all their documents to whatever formats they choose and compressed into a ZIP file. It’s serious peace of mind for those concerned about the cloud.

The feature seemed to arrive very recently without any official blog post or explanation, but it seems to be working for more than just a select few testers. The only catch to using it is selecting all your files, as the Google Operating System blog explains. I frequently "hide" (or basically archive) documents I'm not using frequently, so I only had to head to the "Hidden" view in the left-hand view selector—those with more complex filing schemes should try the "All Items" view, or a wildcard asterisk search to pin down what they want.

Once you’ve selected or searched for what you want to export, you’ll have to scroll all the way down until all the documents are exposed, then hit the checkmark box to select them all. Finally, right-click somewhere in your selected docs, choose “Export,” and tell Google how to export your word, spreadsheet, and PDF files.

While you’re securing your Docs data somewhere other than on Google’s servers, take a peek at other free tools to back up online accounts—you'll feel a bit less tethered to the whims of various server administrators and account security representatives.

Google Docs Batch Export [Google Operating System via Digital Inspiration]

Automatically Open PDFs and PowerPoint Presentations with Google’s Doc Viewer [Downloads]

Most web browsers: Google’s Doc Viewer allows you to view any PDF, PPT, and TIFF directly in your browser without downloading the file and launching another heavy desktop application, and this user script streamlines that process.

After installing the script (which works with Greasemonkey for Firefox and should in theory work with the dev build of Chrome, Opera, Safari with GreaseKit, and IE with IE7Pro), it will convert any link pointing directly to a download of PDF, PPT, and TIFF files to a link to view those files in the Google Doc Viewer. If the idea sounds familiar, we highlighted a bookmarklet that could do the same thing on a case-by-case basis, but this user script will do the trick every time.

Google Docs Viewer Bookmarklet Makes PDFs Less Freeze-y [Bookmarklet]

Clicking a PDF and waiting, waiting, waiting for it to load, or possibly crash your browser, is an inescapable web annoyance of bad-stand-up-comedy proportions. Unless you convert all of a page’s PDF links to open with Google Doc’s streamlined viewer.

Joen Asmussen coded the one-click bookmarklet converter because he himself was tired of waiting to see whether Adobe or another PDF plug-in would bring up a document, or force him to use his browser’s session restore feature.

It’s just as simple to use as any bookmarklet: drag it into your browser’s bookmarks or bookmark toolbar, click it on a page with any PDF links, and they’ll be converted to show you the document in Google’s own online document viewer, which then offers download and printing links. As Philipp at Blogoscoped notes, this would be a great candidate for a simple Greasemonkey script. Any takers?

Use Google Docs to Convert Images to Text [Documents]

It’s not an official feature (yet), but Google Docs can perform OCR image-to-text conversions on high-resolution files you upload to it. They have to be pretty darned clear and crisp, but it’s a nice freebie.

Those with webapps or services that upload to Google Docs can use this URL parameter to accept PNG, JPG, and GIF files for conversion, listed as an “experimental” feature at the moment.

Users, in the meantime, can try out a conversion using their own accounts at the Google Code Samples link. I tried uploading PNG screen grabs of Lifehacker and Wikipedia to Google Docs for conversion. Docs returned nothing with Lifehacker’s text, and a somewhat muddled take on the Wikipedia entry for “life hack” with both PNG and JPG uploads (the full-quality JPG conversion, not pictured, fared just a bit better). Those were taken using nothing more than Ubuntu’s screen capture tool and GIMP, however, so if you’ve got a better screen capture tool, or an actual camera shot of some relatively clear text, you’ll probably do better.

Tell us how automatic Google Doc OCR might help you out in the comments.

How to Integrate Your Google Apps

Google apps piecesThe information you keep in Google apps like Gmail, GCal, Reader, and Voice doesn’t just live in one place. There are a few easy but non-obvious ways to plug different Google apps together and share their data and features.

Thanks to things like Labs and gadgets, you can get your Calendar in Gmail (and vice versa), Docs in Calendar and Gmail, Profile info in Google Reader, Google Voice SMS in your Gmail, and just about everything on iGoogle. Here’s how.

Read the rest at Lifehacker »

Seven Easy Ways to Integrate Your Google Apps [Google Apps]

The information you keep in Google apps like Gmail, GCal, Reader, and Voice doesn’t just live in one place. Check out a few easy but non-obvious ways to plug different Google apps together and share their data and features.

Get Your Calendar in Gmail

One of the most useful integrations available for Gmail and GCal users, the Google Calendar gadget puts upcoming events on your email sidebar. To turn it on, just enable the Google Calendar gadget in Gmail Labs. Click on the Options link to configure which calendars you want to display events from, and schedule events directly from Gmail using the gadget’s Add link. (Gmail Labs offers lots of other app integrations, like YouTube previews in Gmail, the ability to create a Google Doc from an email conversation, Picasa image previews, Google Docs as well as a Google web search gadget.)

Put Your Gmail Messages on Your Calendar

Gmail Tasks’ killer feature is how it can act as a bridge between your email inbox and your calendar. If you add a Gmail message to your Tasks list (just choose “Add to Tasks” from the “More Actions” drop-down) and add a due date, that task shows up on your Google Calendar on that date. Even if Gmail’s Tasks module isn’t your primary to-do list app, this is an easy way to “schedule” email you don’t need to deal with right now but does have a deadline in the future.

Get Google Docs in Your Calendar and Gmail

Courtesy of Google Calendar Labs, you can easily attach Google Docs to any event—like the batting lineup for the company softball game next week. In GCal's Labs area (in Settings), just enable the "Attach Google Docs" feature.

Gmail has had built-in integration with GDocs since back in 2006; any time you have a Word document or spreadsheet email attachment in a message, Gmail gives you an “Open as a Google Document” link next to it. You can also convert an entire Gmail conversation to a Google Doc by enabling the Gmail Labs’ “Create a Document” feature.

Get Google Profile Feeds in Google Reader

Google’s newish Profiles tool offers an interesting integration into Google Reader: the ability to associate people with the feeds they create. When you configure your Google Profile and enter the web sites where you've set up shop, the feeds available for those sites appear on your profile—as well as in Google Reader. When you're following someone in Google Reader, you can easily see their blog and social network feeds alongside their photo and bio thanks to Google Profiles. From the ever-so-specifically-labeled "Browse for Stuff" section in Google Reader, click on the "People You Follow" tab to browse the folks you care about and subscribe to feeds they're creating.

Get Your Google Voice Text Messages via Gmail

Just this morning the Google Voice team added email integration with your text messages. As Kevin reported, you can now get your GV text messages forwarded to your email (Gmail or not) and respond to them from there, without ever touching your Google Voice tab or your phone.

Get All Your Google Apps on iGoogle

You can't mention integrating Google apps without giving iGoogle a nod. GApps addicts' homepage of choice, iGoogle offers Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Gmail Tasks, and Google Voice gadgets for the ultimate, all-in-one, Google apps jumping-off spot. (In fact, last week during the Gmail outage, iGoogle's Gmail gadget was still working—even when the proper Gmail webapp was down.)

…Not to Mention Integration Add-ons and Your Browser Sidebar

Beyond in-webapp ways to access Google apps data across products, you can also hook up browser extensions like Integrated Gmail or iGoogleBar for Firefox. Alternately, for easy Google apps access no matter what web site you’re on, put your browser’s sidebar to good use.

What other ways do you use one Google app’s data in another? Shout it out in the comments.

Gina Trapani, Lifehacker’s founding editor, likes finding new ways Google Apps inform one another. Her weekly feature, Smarterware, appears every Wednesday on Lifehacker. Subscribe to the Smarterware tag feed to get new installments in your newsreader.

Folder Sharing in Google Docs

For some reason, Google decided to release a new version of the Google Docs List API before adding the features to the interface. One of the most important new features is folder sharing.

I’ve used a Python library to test the new version of the Google Docs API and I’ve managed to share a folder. As you can see, the “play” folder from the screenshot displayed below has a new icon.

Unfortunately, the shared folder didn’t show up in the collaborator’s Google Docs interface, but he was able to find it by visiting this hidden section.

Sharing folders is more efficient than sharing a large number of files one by one and the best thing is that folders are treated just like documents. You can share folders as “read-only”, but you can also allow collaborators to add new files and to edit documents.

For now, folder sharing is only available using the Google Docs API, but it will be added to the interface very soon.

{ via Google Data APIs Blog }

Google Docs Automatically Translates Documents into 42 Languages [Google Docs]

While most of us don’t frequently find ourselves needing to translate our documents to various languages on-the-fly, Google Docs just announced a new feature that’ll be great for those who do: The service now automatically translates docs in 42 different languages with a few mouse clicks.

Translating docs is a breeze: Just hit up the Tools menu, select Translate document, then choose the language you want to translate to. Docs will open the translated document in a new window, then offer to replace the original document with the translation or copy the translation to a new document. It’s probably not for everyone, but it’s a nice feature, nonetheless, and yet another example of Google’s continued march toward integrating their various services.

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