Chrome + LEGO

Wow! Who knew that you can now build virtually anything Lego from within Chrome! This is actually VERY cool and I know some grandkiddos who might enjoy this. Details & video from the Google Official Blog and a special bonus at the end!

Chrome + LEGO: You can build whatever you like

Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Think back: you’ve just dumped a bin of LEGOR bricks onto the floor with a satisfying crash, and you have the whole day ahead of you to build whatever you want. There’s something pretty amazing about being able to piece together your ideas with just a collection of colorful bricks.Well, we think the creative freedom of LEGO bricks shouldn’t be limited to plastic bins—which is the idea behind Build with Chrome, a collaboration between Chrome and the LEGO Group that brought these colorful bricks to the web using WebGL, a 3D graphics technology. It was originally built by a team in Australia as an experiment, and now we’re opening it up to everybody. So now you can publish your wacky creations to any plot of land in the world.

We’ve added a few new features to make it easier to build and explore this digital world of LEGO creations. To start, you can now sign in with a Google+ account to help find stuff that people in your circles have created. A new categorization system for completed Builds will help you sort and filter for specific types of structures.

To hone your engineering skills and prepare for the upcoming “THE LEGOR MOVIETM,” you can explore the Build Academy, a series of short tutorials and challenges featuring characters and structures from the film.

If it feels more natural to use your hands—rather than a mouse—you can build your creations using a touchscreen on your phone or tablet with Chrome for Android support for WebGL on devices with high-end graphics capabilities.

As big fans of LEGO, we’re excited to see what you come up with to fill this new world. Share your creations on Google+ and we’ll reshare the most inventive ones.

Posted by Adrian Soghoian, Product Marketing Manager and Beginning Builder

Bonus

Take a look what I found on some random street – a first!
Build with Chrome

Use Your Voice with Google and Chrome

This is actually very cool! If you use Chrome as your browser (you should) and you use Google to search (who doesn’t?) then add this extension! Details from GeekWire:

Google launches new Chrome extension that lets you search with just your voice

Google launches new Chrome extension that lets you search with just your voiceIf you need to Google stuffing recipes while you’re elbow-deep in your Thanksgiving turkey, a new browser extension is here to help.

In a post to the company’s official Google+ account, first spotted by 9to5 Mac, Google announced the Hotword extension for Chrome, which allows you to use the search engine’s speech recognition search simply by saying “Ok Google” on any of Google’s search pages, including Chrome’s default new tab page.

While the company already offered the ability to search by voice, that feature required clicking on a small microphone in the Google search box.

The interface is reminiscent of Google’s voice search functionality on mobile, but doesn’t have all of the capabilities that Google Now boasts, like the ability to compose email and place phone calls.

It will be interesting to see what companies like Apple and Microsoft do in response to Google’s move. Adding Siri to OS X seems like a logical next step, and Microsoft has its own voice recognition solution for Xbox One and Windows Phone.

You can find the Google Chrome Hotword extension in the Chrome Web Store.

Mikey Adds Mega-Useful Files, Links, and Images Tabs to Gmail

Google made some changes to GMail recently. Some people like the new TABS – others, including yours truly, do not! It is pretty easy to remove Google’s: let me know if you need tips on how to do that.

BUT – wait there is more! – now Mickey has created their take on GMail tabs and I really like it! If you use GMail and Chrome (you you should 🙂 ) details from AddictiveTips:

Have Chrome Sort Gmail Emails, Files, Links & Images In Separate Tabs

Have Chrome Sort Gmail Emails, Files, Links & Images In Separate Tabs

For many, Gmail has now become the de facto email service but despite being powerful, customizable and fairly intuitive, there are a few features Gmail fails to offer out of the box. Though that’s where a number of Google Chrome extensions fill the gap, with Mikey For Gmail being the newest one in this genre. If you fancy Gmail’s new tabbed interface, you’re gonna love Mikey, as the extension allows you to quickly find things in your account by sorting them out under relevant tabs. It does this by indexing results in your Gmail and presents images, links and files from sent and received emails under their pertaining tabs. No, it doesn’t add a search box or anything of the sort, but the extension is just designed to present things separately from one another.

A few things to keep in mind before getting started: needless to say, Mikey requires access to your Gmail account in order to index content, for which it also stores your data overs its own SSL AES-256 encrypted server. While a service like this might raise a few privacy questions , the developers claim that this is the only way they can index content from your Gmail, and your information is not only encrypted but can also be deleted upon your request anytime you want, by sending an email. More details can be found under the FAQ section on Mikey’s website.
To get started, install the extension from Chrome Web Store. Once ready, sign in to your Gmail account that needs to be tied with Mikey. A small pop up automatically appears in your inbox, prompting you to connect Mikey to your Gmail. You may also go through the FAQ, or click ‘Not right now’ or ‘Never this account’.

Mikey for Gmail

Clicking ‘Connect’ takes you to the permissions screen, showing you the permissions it requires. To proceed further, you must grant these permissions.

Mikey For Gmail Permission

Mikey then automatically creates four additional tabs at the top of Gmail’s newly introduced tabbed UI. These include Email, Files, Links and Images, all of which are pretty much self-explanatory; simply click your desired one to see the underlying content. It’s worth mentioning here that Mikey requires a few hours to index all your emails (both sent and received), and the total time it takes to index everything depends on the number of items in your account.

Mikey For Gmail Inbox

The Files tab displays a list of all the file attachments from your emails. Likewise, the Links section carries all the links found in your emails, and the Images section aggregates all the images sent and received from your account.

Images

You can download Mieky For Gmail via the download link provided below. Testing was carried out on Windows 8 Pro.

Install Mikey For Gmail from Chrome Web Store

Shortcuts for Gmail Teaches You to Use Shortcuts by Reminding You When You Don’t

I’ve always wanted to learn more about the powerful keyboard shortcuts within gmail – and now there is a Chrome extension to help! Pretty cool – details from Lifehacker:

Shortcuts for Gmail Teaches You to Use Shortcuts by Reminding You When You Don’t

Chrome: Gmail has tons of great shortcuts, but they’re only as good as how often you remember to use them. Shortcuts for Gmail is a Chrome extension that will let you know every time you do something that you could have done with a shortcut by displaying the shortcut on-screen. With luck, you’ll remember it for next time.

Shortcuts for Gmail is much like previously mentioned Eve, a Mac app that does the same in the OS. Every time you perform an action for which there’s a Gmail shortcut, a pop-up alert like the ones in the image above will appear in the lower-right corner of your Chrome window, letting you know how you can do the same thing without taking your hands off the keyboard. You’ll have to have shortcuts enabled in Gmail (under general settings and “keyboard shortcuts”) for Shortcuts for Gmail to work.

The extension is available now in the Chrome Web Store, and it’s from an validated publisher, but be warned: the permissions it needs to work are pretty hefty (although they make some sense) so that may put some people off of it. If you’d rather learn the hard way, remember you can always press “?” in any Gmail window to bring up an overlay with every Gmail shortcut listed in it.

Shortcuts for Gmail | Chrome Web Store via The Next Web

Google Cloud Print: It’s Actually Awesome, and Here’s How to Set It Up

This is very slick – I use Google Cloud Print from my iPhone and iPad and from my two desktop PCs (even from different locations). It is easy to set-up with these instructions and tips from Lifehacker:

Google Cloud Print: It’s Actually Awesome, and Here’s How to Set It Up

Google Cloud Print is an under-appreciated service that can send print jobs from virtually anywhere to a connected printer in any other location. Normally that involves tedious configuration on your network, but Cloud Print can do it in just a few minutes. It’s really easy to set up, and there are a few things you can do to extend its support beyond the browser to make all your printing tasks a lot easier. Here’s a look at what it can do, how you can set it up, and how to make it even better.

What You Can Do With Google Cloud Print

Google Cloud Print makes it possible to send any document or image to a printer from any location. For example, if you wanted to print out a letter at home while at work, you could use the service to send that letter to your home printer and have it waiting for you when you get back. Normally this kind of setup requires a tedious network configuration, but with Google Cloud Print you just click a few buttons and you’re done. The service can also print web pages and other documents to PDF format and save them in your Google Docs account. This is can be especially handy if you’re keeping your account synchronized with all your computers using a third-party service called InSync (more info here). Basically, if you want to print anything from any device to practically any location, Google Cloud Print can make that happen.If you want to get started with Google Cloud Print, here’s what you’ll need:

  • The Google Chrome web browser.
  • A regular or internet-enabled printer. (Virtually any printer is fine, but the setup process varies depending on the type of printer you have.)
  • An active, internet-connected computer that the printer is connected to if it is not an internet-enabled printer.
  • A Google account. (If you don’t have one, sign up for one here.)

Once you’ve got all of that ready to go, you can start setting it up.

How to Set Up Google Cloud Print

Google Cloud Print: It's Actually Awesome, and Here's How to Set It UpThere are two ways to set up your printers with Google Cloud Print. A handful of newer printers have internet connectivity built in and so you can connect them to Google directly. This process varies by printer, so visit this page to learn if your printer is compatible and, if so, how to set it up. If you have a traditional printer that’s connected to your computer, however, the setup process is always the same. Just follow these steps:

  1. First, make sure everything is in place. You’ll need Google Chrome installed on your computer. Also, ensure that your printer is connected to your computer, it’s currently on, and you can print from it normally. (Note: You’ll only be able to send print jobs to this printer when it is connected to your computer, so it’s best to set this up on a desktop machine where the printer will always remain connected and powered on.)

  1. Once you have everything in place, open up Google Chrome and click the wrench icon in the upper right corner, choose “Options” (“Preferences” on a Mac), and then click the “Under the Hood” tab. Alternatively, just click this link. Now scroll down to the Google Cloud Print section towards the bottom and click “Sign in to Google Cloud Print.”
  2. In the resulting window, sign in with your Google Account. This will enable the Cloud Print Connector on your computer.
  3. When a new message appears with a button labeled “Finish printer registration,” click it.
  4. You’ll receive a confirmation if everything worked properly, and it’ll offer a link called “Manage your printers.” Click on it to verify all the printers on your computer are now listed.

To test out your new setup, try printing something from within Google Chrome (such as this web page). When the printing options appear, choose “Print with Google Cloud Print” from the Destination menu. Click the “Print” button and you’ll be asked to choose one of your cloud printers. Pick the one you want and, assuming everything is working correctly, your printer should print out a document.

Do More with Google Cloud Print

If you followed the instructions in the previous section, you already know how to print from a web page, but there’s still more than you can do. Currently there are plenty of ways you can print from your smartphone, and even from your Mac desktop (if you prefer to avoid using Chrome for the task).

Print From Your Smartphone

Google Cloud Print: It's Actually Awesome, and Here's How to Set It UpGoogle Cloud Print has an tons of support in Android, of course, with a dedicated Android app and cloud printing support in the Google Docs Android app. You can also use third-party apps such as PrinterShare™ Mobile Print and Easy Print to get even more printing support out of Android. iOS users can check out PrintCentral Pro for iPhone and iPod touch or iPad to print with Google Cloud Print as well. Any mobile device can utilize cloud printing services by simply using Google’s mobile web apps. Just visit m.google.com on your mobile device to get started.

Print from Your Mac

Google Cloud Print: It's Actually Awesome, and Here's How to Set It UpStrangely, there is no Windows app for Google Cloud Print but there is one for Mac OS X. It is aptly named Cloud Printer, and you can download it for free on the Mac App Store. It’s not a perfect application, as it can only handle documents that Google Docs can view. Also, it doesn’t function like an actual printer and instead requires you to choose a file you want to print from the dedicated app. You can, however, follow these instructions to use Automator to set up a virtual printer if you really want to use the standard print dialogue. Even with these disadvantages, it’s still a simple (and free) way to print from your Mac without the aid of Google Chrome.

For a few other niche options, and to stay up-to-date on the latest Google Cloud Print extensions, apps, and add-ons, keep an eye on this page.

FeedSquares: An Eye Candy Interface For Google Reader Feeds

This is a pretty cool interface for GoogleReader (assuming you use Chrome). Once I get my feeds better organized (check here) this will be an even more fun way to read them! From AddictiveTips:

FeedSquares, a Google Chrome extensionlets you view and read feeds from Google Reader in a stylish and entertaining interface. All you have to do is open Google Reader and click the FeedSquare button in the toolbar. With FeedSquare, you can view your feeds in two different modes, night and day. The night mode has a dark purple background, whereas the day mode comes with a white background. Additionally, you can select feeds and scroll through different items. Furthermore, personalize, reload, mark all feeds as read, and enable the total unread count on the extension’s button are also available.

To start off, visit Google Reader and click the FeedSqaure button in the toolbar. This will displays all your feeds with image thumbnails. At the bottom of the page, you will find a number of options, such as personalize, mark all as read, reload feeds, day/night, options and reader. The personalize option allows you to hide read feeds, hide read items and scroll item to mark read. Furthermore, you can change the interface by selecting the day or night mode. Also, reload feeds and click options to change the settings for FeedSqaure. Click a particular feed, and its items will be displayed in a row at the bottom of the page. Either use your mouse wheel or the orange bar to scroll through different items.

FeedSquares - Google reader

Click on individual items to read, share, keep unread and more. You can also Mark All Read and close specific feeds. Click the article’s title at the the top of the page to go to its respective website, or cross out to exit and access other articles or feeds.

read

The FeedSquares options allows you to enable the Trackpad mode, select Show total unread counts onextension icon, Use secure HTTPS connection and Disable Image previews on feed items. You may also select to Show older items first from the Items Settings category.

FeedSquares options

FeedSquares is an unobtrusive and easy-to-use extension that lets you read your feeds in a visually appealing interface. Visit the link below to install FeedSquares, try it out, and drop a comment.

Install FeedSquares For Google Chrome

AutoCorrect Typos In GMail When Composing Emails

Wow – I need this! Glad I use Chrome and of course gmail!

ezAutoCorrect for GMail

From AddictiveTips:

As a word processor, one of the greatest things about MS Word is that it fixes your typos and grammar automatically, as a browser, the great thing about Chrome is spell check (Internet Explorer 10 might have an edge over it though) and of course, Gmail too saves you from coming off as a bad speller. The point is, all these spell checking and grammar correcting features save our skin, they’ve been covering our hides so long we’ve become bad spellers and we love them for it. So, Gmail is naturally great because it tells you when you’ve misspelled a word but what it doesn’t do is auto correct your typos. ezAutoCorrect for GMail is a Chrome extension that auto corrects select typos as you type in Gmail.

To get a better sense of how this extension works, open MS word, type teh (typo for The) and press the spacebar, it is automatically corrected to The. Now imagine this happening in Gmail, that’s what this extension does. It runs quietly and unobtrusively in the background and fixes those little mistakes you make as you type. As opposed to having to right-click a misspelled word and choosing the right one from the context menu, this extension will automatically correct the words when you hit the space bar.

The list of typos (which aren’t listed anywhere) are, for now, hard coded (i.e., you get what you get). It corrects words like teh to The, yuo to You, dont to Don’t and i to I. The slight short coming with the extension is that you can’t add your own customized corrections. The developer has promised to add the feature if the extension is deemed useful by users, i.e. shown some love. I personally found it amazing and will be sending the developer a cake in hopes that it’ll get that feature implemented sooner.

Even if it doesn’t correct all the typos you make, it corrects some of them and there is no harm in having it run in the background.

Install ezAutoCorrect for GMail Extension For Gmail

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