Trending February 2024 # Google Adds New Home And Privacy Features To Voice Assistant # Suggested March 2024 # Top 6 Popular

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At this year’s CES, voice assistants were big business. Amazon is seemingly adding Alexa to anything it can, from toilets to cars. Not to be outdone, Google was also keen to crow about its own voice assistant, even revealing Google Assistant usage stats for the first time ever.

According to Google, 500 million of us are talking to its voice assistant every month. It’s no surprise, then, that Google is continuing to roll out new features.

The latest feature upgrades focus on home life and that all important word, privacy. Yes, in an attempt to make us feel more comfortable sharing our thoughts with an AI, Google is giving us more tools to control how our data is used.

There are also new features that will extend Google Assistant compatibility with third-party products, as well as schedule devices to start at certain times.

New Google Assistant Privacy Features

Perhaps the most important addition for many, it’s worth looking at what Google has done to appease fears of it listening in to our everyday conversations. You’d be right to be worried too, with 2023 seeing a lot of headlines about the handling of voice recording data. Companies believe the key to our trust is in giving us more control.

“How do I keep my data private?”

Google Assistant will already give you the answer to questions such as “How do I keep my data private?” – it lists off the ways in which you can be assured you aren’t being snooped on, and the precautions that you may want to take. Now it’s, adding some further new features.

“Google, are you saving my audio data?”

The first extends the information sharing aspect by letting users ask “Google, are you saving my audio data?”, which will prompt the device to reveal exactly how it’s using the data. It will also prompt a settings menu where you can make changes to what is and isn’t captured.

“Hey Google, that wasn’t meant for you.”

Another new function is the ability to say to a device “Hey Google, that wasn’t meant for you.” Presumably, this is designed for those awkward moments when you’re mid-argument with your spouse about why the Cheerios haven’t been put away, and Google merrily wakes up wanting to join in. It’s a neat option, especially for those nervous about having their offline conversations captured.

“Google, delete everything I said to you this week”

It’s also worth remembering that you can say “Google, delete everything I said to you this week.” This will erase the AI assistant’s memory banks in one swoop.

Updated Family Features

A couple of new family friendly features have also been added to Google’s voice assistant. We’d struggle to call them essential, but we can see their appeal.

The first is a virtual sticky note, designed to be used with devices that have displays. If you’re the sort of family that struggles to find a pen in a hurry, then this could be a welcome feature. As the name suggests, users can leave a virtual note on the homescreen on a Google Assistant enabled device for all to see. They don’t even need to be logged in, which surely could lead to some abuse when your friends visit and get rowdy. All you need to do is use the voice command “Hey Google, leave a note that says…”

The other feature is the ability to share your essential contacts on a family device with a speed dial function. This allows any user to quickly access important numbers, even if they don’t have them in their own address book.

Google’s Home Services

Google has announced that its assistant will soon work with more third-party devices than ever. It’s quite a list, and far too many to go into here, but includes Philips Hue, August Smart Locks, Telus Wi Fi hubs, and MerossSmart’s garage door opener.

If juggling all these devices seems like hard work, then good news. Soon, Google will intelligently recognising when you set up a smart device with the company’s own app, and prompt you to link it to the Google Home app. Then it’s a case of just linking the new device in the app, without having to enter all the details again.

Another new feature is the ability to schedule devices for certain times through Google assistant, with Scheduled Actions. Have a connected AC unit that you want to kick in five minutes before you get home? Not a problem. This granular approach to smart devices feels like an innovative way to juggle smart home tech, especially as it’s all do-able from within Google’s native Home app, rather than having to access each dedicated app individually.

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Latest Office Build Adds New Features In Excel And Powerpoint

Latest Office build adds new features in Excel and PowerPoint

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Microsoft has released a new Office build for for Insiders in the Fast Ring.

The new Office version 1909, build 12026.20000, brings a lot of fixes and improvements, but also some new features for Excel and PowerPoint.

You can now use XLOOKUP and save slides as SVG files

Excel gets a new XLOOKUP function that comes as an improvement for the older VLOOKUP. It has the ability too look vertically, but also horizontally, which means that it replaces HLOOKUP, as well.

With XLOOKUP you’ll only need three arguments: lookup_value, lookup_array, and return_array.

As for PowerPoint, from now on you’ll have the ability to save an illustration or a slide as SVG.

Because SVG is a vector-based image that does not use pixels to render and instead uses vectors, you’ll be able to save charts, shapes, icons, or slides as a scalable vector graphic (SVG) for a cleaner and sharper image.

New Office v1909 build 12026.20000 brings a lot of changes

Here’s the full list of fixes and improvements to all the Office suite apps:

Excel

We fixed an issue which prevented CSV from appearing as a supported file type

We fixed an issue that occurred while working on a shared workbook when trying to save.

We fixed an issue when Excel only lists the first 16 addins located in the ‘ExcelAdd-in Manager’ registry values.

We fixed an issue where the function Frequency returns incorrect results.

We fixed an issue where the name of some fonts were not displayed correctly.

We have significantly improved the performance of filtering by color.

We fixed an issue which prevented keyboard navigation in the Find/Replace dialog box.

We fixed an issue where the keytip for Sensitivity was conflicting with another keytip.

We fixed an issue to prevent GeometryCommand from putting a non-connector shape type in the Geometry of a Connector.

We fixed an issue that caused a problem  when using dock/undock from multiple external displays.

PowerPoint

We fixed an issue which would affect the rotation orientation of a 3D Turntable.

We fixed an issue which prevented some hyperlinks from working if they contained special characters.

We fixed an issue to prevent GeometryCommand from putting a non-connector shape type in the Geometry of a Connector.

We fixed an issue that caused a problem  when using dock/undock from multiple external displays.

Project

We fixed an issue which could sometimes cause a crash after printing a Team Planner view.

Word

We fixed an issue where Japanese post card and greeting card related add-in resources are not found when the user takes action in the add-in wizard.

We fixed an issue where multi-byte characters in vertical text box are shown overlapped in reading view.

We fixed an issue where Word would occasionally crash in AListMarkerUtility.SetListDomAttributes.

We fixed an issue to prevent GeometryCommand from putting a non-connector shape type in the Geometry of a Connector.

We fixed an issue that caused a problem  when using dock/undock from multiple external displays.

Outlook

We fixed an issue which prevented HTML content from appearing for some POP3 users.

We fixed an issue to remove non-functional ‘Planner’ link from the overflow menu in the contact card when working in environments where it is not available.

Access

We fixed an issue where users could receive an “inconsistent state” error when using a shared database.

We fixed an issue which could cause the date picker to appear when it shouldn’t.

It’s worth mentioning that OneNote and Visio didn’t get any new changes. Also, there are no known issues with any of the Office apps.

The update should roll out automatically, but you can also manually check for updates to see if you’re on the latest version.

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How To Collect More Emails With Google Forms New Features

Google Forms is a useful tool for collecting data in a variety of ways. One of the most typical applications for Google Forms is the collection of email addresses. This can be great for marketing, customer service, or simply maintaining in touch with your target demographic. Google Forms has received a lot of new capabilities in recent years that make it easier to collect more emails. We’ll go through these new capabilities and teach you how to use them to collect more emails with your Google Forms in this article.

Google Forms Introduces New Email Collection Features

Google Forms has changed the way it collects email addresses. Previously, there was a simple toggle option to collect email addresses automatically with form submissions.

Now, there are three different options for collecting email addresses:

Verified email collection.

Responder input, and

Do not collect.

Verified email collection: Previously known as automatic email collection, this option asks users to validate their email address before completing the form by ticking a checkbox. This validates that the email address is correct and has been confirmed.

Responder input: Also known as manual email collecting, this option allows respondents to manually enter their email address into a specified field. Select Responder input under the “Collect email addresses” options to use this option.

Do not collect: This option allows form developers to completely disable the collecting of email addresses.

These changes provide more flexibility and control for form creators when it comes to collecting email addresses in Google Forms.

How to collect email addresses with Google Forms

To collect email addresses in Google Forms without adding a specific email field, just follow these steps:

Log in to your Google account.

Open a new Google Form.

In the “Responses” section, enable the option to “Collect email addresses.”

Go to the “Responses” tab.

That’s it! You can make any other edits to the form as needed. When you share the form with respondents, they will be required to provide their email address before submitting their responses.

Setting your Forms to collect Email Addresses Automatically

It’s quite common to send out a Google Form and later realize that you forgot to include a way to collect email addresses. Depending on how you plan to use the collected information, you might need to start over if you don’t receive the email addresses from the respondents.

You can avoid this mistake by using automatic form settings. This ensures that every form you send out will prompt respondents to provide their email address before submitting the form. Here’s how you can set it up:

Log in to your Google account.

Open a new form.

Enable the “Collect email addresses by default” option.

By using this method, you can modify the default settings to automatically collect email addresses in all your future forms. However, please keep in mind that this change will only apply to forms you create in the future, not the form you are currently working on.

If there are specific instances where you don’t require email addresses, you can manually adjust this setting for individual forms. Changing your default form settings is a reliable way to ensure that you consistently collect the necessary data.

Gathering Emails from Submitted Forms

To collect and manage email addresses and responses from Google Forms, you can use Google Sheets. Follow these steps:

Open a form and go to the “Responses” tab at the top.

Choose where you want the responses to be stored by selecting your preferred response destination.

In Google Sheets, you can view and edit the collected data, including all the email addresses from form respondents.

Alternatively, you have the option to download the respondents’ email addresses and other form responses as a CSV file.

Also Read: Google Slide AI: Smart Way to Create Images for Presentation

Conclusion

How To Use Google Assistant Routines On Android

In today’s fast-paced world, finding ways to simplify and streamline our daily routines is more important than ever. Enter Google Assistant routines, a powerful tool designed to make your life more efficient and convenient by automating a series of actions with a single voice command or scheduled event. Today, we’ll explore the world of Google Assistant routines, how to set them up, and how to customize them to fit your unique needs.

What Are Google Assistant Routines?

Google Assistant routines are a series of automated actions that can be triggered by a single voice command or scheduled to occur at specific times. These routines enable users to streamline their daily activities and interactions with smart devices, making their lives more efficient and convenient.

By linking multiple tasks together, such as adjusting smart home settings, playing music, or providing weather updates, routines allow users to perform a wide range of actions with minimal effort. Google Assistant offers several pre-built routines, such as “Good Morning” or “Bedtime,” which can be customized to suit individual preferences.

Additionally, users can create their own custom routines tailored to their unique needs and schedules. Overall, Google Assistant routines simplify the process of managing various tasks and devices, providing a seamless and personalized smart home experience.

How to Use Google Assistant Routines

Until fairly recently, the only option that you would have to create and use Google Assistant Routines was to create a Personal Routine. However, here are the options that you now have, along with Google’s description of each:

Personal Routines: You create and edit Routines for yourself.

Household Routines: Any home member can create and edit Routines that work for everyone in the home.

With that in mind, here are the steps you’ll need to take if you want to create a Personal Routine on your Android phone:

Unlock your phone.

Activate Google Assistant.

Tap the Explore icon in the bottom right corner.

Tap your Profile picture in the top right corner.

Under the Popular Settings section, tap Routines.

Tap the New button in the top right corner to start from scratch.

Tap the Pencil icon next to “Untitled” to change the name of your new Routine.

Select how the Routine will start by tapping the + Add starter button.

When I say to Google Assistant (Like “Hey Google, start…”)

At a specific time (Like 6:00 PM on weekdays)

At sunrise or sunset (Like 1 hr before sunrise)

Select which actions will be performed during the Routine by tapping the + Add action button.

Get info and reminders (Latest weather, your commute, reminders)

Communicate and announce (Make announcements, send and read texts)

Adjust Assistant Volume (Set volume when Routine is run)

Adjust Home Devices (Adjust lights, plugs, thermostats, and more)

Adjust Phone Settings (Mute ringer, turn on Do Not Disturb, and more)

Play and control media (Play your favorite music, news, and more)

If applicable, scroll down and tap Delay Start if you want to use a Time Adjustment action.

Follow the on-screen instructions for creating and setting the action that you want to use.

Once complete, tap the Save button in the bottom right corner.

Create a Household Routine

Sharing your custom automation with other household members is a highly convenient approach to maximizing the benefits of a Google Assistant-powered smart home. After setting up your smart lights and other devices, let’s explore the process of creating and utilizing Google Home Household Routines:

Open the Google Home app on your Android phone or iPhone.

In the bottom toolbar, tap Automations.

Tap the + Add button in the bottom right corner to create a new Household Routine.

From the Choose a type of Routine page, tap Household.

Tap the Pencil icon next to “Untitled” to change the name of your new Routine.

Select how the Routine will start by tapping the + Add starter button.

Select which actions will be performed during the Routine by tapping the + Add action button.

Once complete, tap the Save button in the bottom right corner.

How to create a shortcut for a Google Assistant Routine

While it’s nice being able to access, create, and use Google Assistant Routines, the company doesn’t make it exactly easy to do so out of the box. However, Google has made it possible for you to add a shortcut to the Routines landing page, along with specific Routines that you might want to access from your Home Screen.

Unlock your phone.

Activate Google Assistant.

Tap the Explore icon in the bottom right corner.

Tap your Profile picture in the top right corner.

Under the Popular Settings section, tap Routines.

Scroll down to the Your routines section.

Tap the Phone with an arrow icon in the top right corner.

When prompted, tap the Add button.

If you don’t want or need shortcuts to specific routines, but would prefer to access your Routines without jumping through a bunch of hoops, you’re in luck. There’s also a Phone with an arrow icon in the top right corner from the main Routines landing page. Just tap this, then tap the Add button to confirm that you want to add the shortcut to your home screen.

How to delete a Google Assistant Routine

Whether you want to change things up or just want to get rid of created Routines, it’s nice knowing that you have the ability to do so. The steps are pretty easy, but it’s important to point out that you can only delete a Google Assistant Routine if you created it yourself. This means that the pre-popular options can’t be deleted, but they can be edited and modified to your needs.

Unlock your phone.

Activate Google Assistant.

Tap the Explore icon in the bottom right corner.

Tap your Profile picture in the top right corner.

Under the Popular Settings section, tap Routines.

Scroll down to the Your routines section.

Tap the Trash Can button in the top right corner.

When prompted, tap the Delete routine button.

Conclusion

Google Assistant routines are an incredibly versatile and powerful tool for simplifying your daily life and managing your smart home devices. By taking the time to set up and customize your routines, you can create a more efficient and personalized experience that saves you time and effort. So, why not give Google Assistant routines a try and see how they can transform your daily routine?

5 New Features Coming To Google Search Console (And 7 That Are Getting Removed)

Google announced a series of updates are coming to Search Console in the next couple of months.

Along with these updates, Google has also made a “hard decision” to drop some legacy features in Search Console.

Here’s an overview of all the changes that are on the way.

New Features in Search Console

Google says the following new features will be fully implemented in Search Console toward the end of March.

Crawl Errors in Index Coverage Report

In an effort to make the list of crawl errors in Search Console more actionable, Google is shifting the focus toward issues and patterns used for site indexing.

With crawl errors being moved to the Index Coverage report, Google believes sites owners will be able to find and fix issues much faster.

Sitemaps Data in Index Coverage Report

The Index Coverage report will also be the new home for sitemaps data. Google says this will make it easier to focus on URLs that site owners care about.

Users will be able to track URLs submitted in sitemap files by selecting and filtering data in the Index Coverage report.

Fetch as Google via the URL Inspection Tool

Site owners can now use Search Console’s revamped URL inspection tool to check and review URLs on their website.

In addition to offering ‘Fetch as Google’ capabilities, the URL Inspection tool shows information such as HTTP headers, page resource, and the JavaScript console log.

The tool can also be used to submit images for re-processing in order to get them updated in search results as soon as possible.

User-management is Now in Settings

Search Console’s user management interface has been merged with the Settings section. This replaces the user-management features in the old Search Console.

Old Features Getting Removed

The following features are getting removed from Search Console. Some are being replaced, and some are going away altogether.

Old Crawl Errors report: With crawl errors being included in the Index Coverage report, the old report is going to be removed.

Crawl Errors API: Google is deprecating the crawl errors API, which was based on the same internal systems as the old crawl errors report. There is no replacement at the moment.

HTML suggestions: As Google’s algorithms have gotten better at showing and improving titles over the years, Search Console will no longer show information about short and duplicated titles.

Property Sets: This feature will be removed because it’s only being used by a small number of users. As a replacement, Google will soon add the option of managing a Search Console account over an entire domain.

Android Apps: This feature will be removed as most of the relevant functionality has been moved to the Firebase console.

Blocked Resources: This standalone section will be removed as blocked resources can now be found in the URL inspection tool.

Structured Data reporting: Structured Data types that are not supported with Rich Results features will not be reported in Search Console anymore.

Google welcomes feedback in its help forums regarding any of these changes.

More Resources

Hands On: Glide Adds New Micro

TransMedia, creator of the Glide cloud computing OS and suite of apps, will Wednesday announce the latest addition to its app set—Glide Engage, a micro-blogging tool with a lot of social media sharing functionality layered on.

Compared to the Twitter community, the Glide community is tiny. But Glide,TransMedia CEO Donald Leka tells me, now hosts just over a million users and is adding about 2,000 more every day. As with Twitter, as you begin posting messages, links, media, etc., some of those community members might find you “engaging” and then start following you. Of course you may begin to notice the same users posting stuff you like, and then begin following them. In short, using Engage feels a bit like using Twitter, but with a lot more control and functionality happenning in the background.

Engage also provides an impressive collaboration workspace, called Meeting, where you and your invitees can call up any type of file, view it, discuss it and make changes to it. During the demo today, Mr. Leka pulled up both a music and a video file, played them, then began both a text-based chat and a video/voice chat with me to discuss the media in real time.

As in the micro-blogging and discussion groups functions, you can set exacting permissions around who may do what with the files you share. Some users may only read the files, while others may be given permission to edit them, but only in a certain time frame, for instance.

The Austria of Cloud Computing

Glide’s OS- and device-agnostic approach really pays off in the new Engage app. For instance, if you share a QuickTime media file through Engage with a friend using a Windows Media mobile device, Engage automatically transcodes the QuickTime file into a Windows Media file that will display nicely on the mobile device. The reverse is true, too. Similarly, if you share a Microsoft Word doc with a Mac user via Engage, Engage will convert the file to an Open Office document that will work nicely on a Mac. It will also convert documents for use on an iPhone.

Syncing Up

Glide also provides a syncing app that allows you to make your files in the cloud a constant mirror image of your files on your home, work or mobile PC. For instance, if you modify one of your “Glide” documents using your smartphone on the train ride home, your changes will be reflected in the version of the file on the Glide servers (i.e. “in the cloud”) and on the versions of that same file residing on your home and work computers. And it works even if your home computer is a Mac, your work computer is PC and your mobile device speaks Android, provided that all three have the syncing app installed.

About TransMedia, Glide

At any rate, Glide’s vision of a neutral, cloud-based OS and application suite that may be setting the benchmark by which other bigger cloud computing players may be measured (attention Google Wave Development Team). And from what I’ve seen so far it’s a high benchmark.

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