Google is constantly developing new apps, experimenting with AI, and making cool things. If you missed the latest and greatest, here’s a quick rundown.
Google is a technology giant that is a huge part of how we use the internet today. Its developers and engineers are constantly updating Google apps or creating new ones that make our digital life easier. There are so many of them, in fact, that it’s easy to miss out on some awesome tools, like the ones on this list.
Google Live Transcribe (Android): Transcript of What People Say
Google Live Transcribe is an accessibility tool meant to make life easier for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Automatically converts any speech to text while the person is still speaking. Fast enough to use in conversation.
The text can be a black font on a white background or a white font on a black background. The upper right corner indicates whether the environment is noisy, which means people have to speak louder to be heard. And if someone talks to you from behind, the phone vibrates to let you know. Try it, it works very smoothly.
This application uses the Google Cloud Speech API, so it requires an active internet connection. Google says it doesn’t store any audio on its servers, but we’d take such proclamations with a pinch of salt. Google already knows a lot about you, and they do share data with the authorities.
Download: Google Live Transcribe for Android (Free)
Squoosh (Web): Compress Images Online, With Advanced Options
There are some amazing online tools to edit images and reduce their size. But you usually don’t get granular control or advanced options. All that changes with Squoosh, which is sure to become your default app for all image compressions.
At a basic level, you can reduce the size in pixels, or reduce the available color palette. But when you get into compression, you can do a lot more. You can play around with image compression file formats, quality, channels, smoothing, and quantization. If you don’t know what this is, let Squoosh pick it up for you. You can even experiment with each to learn more about them.
When you change the settings, the final output size will change in real time. You can also see the before-after comparison in real time, using the slider. Once done, download the image to save it.
Password Check by Google (Chrome):
There are some amazing tools to check if your account has been hacked. Google makes it even easier with the Password Checkup extension for Chrome. You don’t have to go to the site anymore, the tool will now notify you when it’s time to change your password.
The extension monitors your activity on all the websites you visit. Every time you enter a username and password that is part of a known data breach by Google, you will get an immediate warning. If that’s the case, it’s clearly the best policy to change the password to something more secure.
Google says the purpose of the extension is privacy, and therefore never reports any identifying information about your account, password or device. Used with the new Google Password manager, this tool should be able to help you stay more secure on the internet.
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Download: Password Checkup by Google for Chrome (Free)
Shadow Art (Web)
This is very cool! Google has taken the ancient practice of forming shadow puppets with your hands, and turned it into an interactive digital experience. Shadow Art is one of the AI from Google. trial, available for free in the form of a web application. You will need a webcam and an active internet connection.
Here’s how it works. First, you choose your Zodiac animal sign. Shadow Art will then use your webcam to calibrate the space it sees, and then show the outline of the hand. Use your hands to match the outlines, and you’ll be creating your first digital shadow puppet! As soon as it’s done, the doll turns into cool art.
Not only that, Shadow Art is also a game. You will have to rotate all 12 zodiac signs, learn how to make animal shapes with your hands. You will get 20 seconds for each sign, so have fun!
Text.App (Chrome): Text Editor for Chrome and Chrome OS
For some reason, Google Chrome OS doesn’t have a notepad or a simple text editor tool. Text.App is the missing piece of software for Chrome OS as well as regular Google Chrome, for those who want a text editor that saves to Google Drive.
Text.App has all the standard features of a text editor, and then some. For starters, you can open multiple files and switch between them as tabs. You can save files to Google Drive, and open directly from Drive as well. Developers will be happy to know that apps have syntax highlighting, so you can paste your code and work on it.
This tool is completely free, but there is no web app version. You should use it as a Chrome app only.
Download: Text.App for Chrome (Free)
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