Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Keyboard Shortcuts for Google Reader, Mail, Calendar and more

Since Google has started the Plus Project, a lot has changed on the surface and in the background, but lets talk about the foreground at the moment. Google Reader has also got a new interface and many are missing the sharing features. A lot of people have complained about the missing share feature, but there is help.

Easy Share in Google Reader
Google Reader has got the new Google Plus Share button for the current item. So sharing is very easy and you do not need to +1 and share from the bottom line of the opened item in GReader.

Google Reader - and other Google Apps - have a lot of keyboard shortcuts to help get around quicker in the product. Unfortunately there are only a few shortcuts in Google Plus like the j/k for up and down and nothing for mute (m), +1 (+ or 1) and goto search, but hopefully they will come to Google Plus in the near future. In the meantime I share with you a little trick to get more out of your Google service by just pressing the Questionmark on your keyboard.

Here are some of the keyboards shortcuts as a screenshot. You can show them all the time just by pressing the question mark key. Maybe you have to activate keyboard shortcuts in your settings, if they do not work.

Google Reader - Keyboard shorts
GMail - keyboard shortcuts

Document list - keyboard shortcuts

Google Calendar - keyboard shortcuts
And here are the keyboard shortcuts for Docs and Spreadsheets, which are not available through the ? but you can find them in the help menu of Docs and Spreadsheets.
Google docs - keyboard shortcuts

And last but not least for Google Spreadsheet.
Google spreadsheet - keyboard shortcuts

Monday, October 31, 2011

New searchable bookmarking notepad within Google+

Before Google retired Google Notebook, I was a happy user, cause sharing to Notebook worked quite well. I have tried evernote and other tools, but it was not quite that handy for me. 

My new notebook solution

Shortly after Google Plus started the sharing feature, I created a circle called bookmarking with just me as the only one in the circle. I used it a lot, but it was not very useful until G+ plus got its searching feature. 

Now, when I find something on the internet or on Google+ I just share it to my bookmarking circle. I use hashtags for all the little snippets I share into my bookmarking circle so searching is more easy now. 

I also use the +1 chrome extension, which allows me to share even, if there is not +1 button on the page.

So Google+ has become my new notebook for all things, I find bookmarkable. And editing, deleting and resharing is possible, so I could insert hashtags into older bookmarked shares of my own.

Search becomes really easy, if you know another little search trick. If you want to search only for your own postings you can include in the search slot the following from:<google-21numbers-id> as you can see in the following screenshot. You get your own Google Id by going to your profile and looking at the URL. There you find the 21 digits of your Google Id.

So enjoy your little Google Plus notebook and bookmarking tool.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Searching the future with Google+

It was a really big day for Google Plus. It is now available for everybody, so you not longer need an invite. But there is more:

  • Hangouts with screensharing, docs sharing are updated, on Air feature coming
  • Huddles is now a Messenger with Photosharing
  • Hangouts got an API, as the readonly API for G+ was already released shortly
  • Hangouts on Mobile and more features on Android and later on iphone also and
  • Search is available for Google+
Search works in a lot of different ways and is very intuitive. You just have one search input field and it works for everything.

You can search for a name and you get the people, posts and even sparks with the name, if there are any. This makes it so much easier to get older information from the Google Plus stream. But there is also a new features which was already available with Google Sparks. You can save the search and like with sparks the new search is in the left sidebar (they only dropped the Sparks headline, cause now it searches for everything including people, sparks and G+ posts.

Watching out for iphone5, new android versions, earthquakes or just people, who are not yet on Google Plus. This is now possible and so easy, that you can just setup a future search and forget about it - or maybe better not, cause I have not yet seen any notifications, if new search results are showing up for your save searches. And you can share a search, cause the search URLs are shareable a look like this: - nice and clean. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Google+ - some answers

Some time ago at the last GDD in Munich I could talk to Ade Oshineye about Google Buzz. At that time Google plus was in the making, but he could not talk about it. But today I had the opportunity to hear him answering questions on the GTUG hangout with GTUG members from eastern europe. More exactly five GTUG chapters met last week in 5 Czech and Polish cities, connected via Hangout.
His answers shine some light on the development and future of Google+. As always, there was not definitive date for anything he talked about. But the following points are worth to mention:

  • Google+ for Google Apps is currently running at Google, but there are still things to decide about handling different aspects of Google+ in the enterprise
  • Google+ for businesses is on the way, but is not yet ready for roll out
  • Google+ API has some similarities with Google Buzz but is not the same. 
  • Google Buzz and Google Plus are different and have not yet been merged, because Google has not decided how to integrate both parts.
  • Google Buzz is a feed aggregator, where different sources like Twitter, feeds, Google Reader and so on are merged to a stream, but these sources could also be muted, if a reader does not want to see specific sources from another user
  • Google Plus does not have this aggregator feature and it looks that there is no easy solution how and even if it makes sense to integrate both services or keep them separate
  • Google+ API will be available throught the Google discovery API, which means, that a lot of clients for different languages are automatically available, after the discovery document (JSON) has been finally created for the Google Plus API
  • Ade is working on the Google Python client api and it is working for Google Buzz, prediction, custom search, lattitude and others, but Plus is not yet available, but will be similar.
  • Google+ is written in Java and GXP and Clojure are used for the front end
  • Other Google products like docs, calendar or others are not integrated and it looks there are no plans yet for it. But Google is open for good solutions and ideas how to integrate other Google products. But the main idea is, to see what developers build after the release of the API.
  • For the question, if there will be a possibility to transfer a personal Google+ account to a Google Apps account, Ade pointed to the Google Plus API and he said, that this would be something he is considering to write by himself - but this is no official annoucement about a transfer utility
  • Talking about gadgets Ade pointed to the integration of YouTube into Hangouts, which is a gadget that uses Google's Wave protocol.
  • Extending Hangouts to more than 10 users is a problem of bandwidth and resources on the client side. Hangouts do have now 10 input channels and are mixed on Google's servers and then send back on 10 output channels again. So extending the number to more users means also more channels and the resources are growing more with more users. So he is requesting ideas how to reduce the bandwidth and the resources needed on the server and client side. 
If I missed some points or something is wrong, please let me know and I will update this posting.
Some links, that Ade mentioned in the talk: 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Paul Tassi is right about Google+

 has written this article in Forbes magazine called A Eulogy for Google Plus
google.comIt may not be dead, and it’s entirely possible I’m shoveling dirt on something that’s still writhing around, promising me it is in fact the next big thing, but I’m now deaf to its cries. Google Plus is a failure no matter what the numbers may say.
and after getting some responses via G+ and via email he has written another post called The Rise of the Google Plus Faithful
I think Google Plus is a cool site, and I will admit my original “eulogy” title was a bit of hyperbole, but so is saying that Google Plus will destroy Facebook with its influx of new users, when the vast, vast majority will not make the transition. I believe there is a place for it on the internet, but it will not be the revolution its faithful would have you believe, and telling me I’m not “working hard enough” to enjoy my social network isn’t the counter argument you should be making.

Why is Paul Tassi right?
I am a great Google and Google+ fan and I think Paul Tassi has found that Facebook is a great site for him and his friends. That is ok and because he has already his circle of friends on Facebook he is quite satisfied with this social world. I have talked to some people now about Google+ and I wondered how low the interest for Google+ was. Facebookers have their one circle called *Friends*.

Facebookers have just one circle called Friends

If you talk to your friends and live with their life, like +Ian Bicking has described it in his post

The quintessential use of Facebook is to tell the story of your life. And, in turn, to read the stories of your friends. There's cute links, calls to action, etc; but the core of it is a personal story. The much-ridiculed I am in line for a latte update even makes some sense in this context... it's just not very good storytelling. And on Facebook that's okay; you aren't reading for the quality of the story, you are reading because of the quality of your relationship with your friends, and the stories build on that. Twitter of course is entirely different, it's clever, it's entertaining, when it's not you unfollow a person, and even when it's built on personal connections it's more like friends hanging out and talking shit than personal communication.

Facebook is about story telling and about trivial things. And I guess this is what a lot of Facebookers like. They live their life, tell their story to their friends circle and they are happy with it.

Google+ is more about open minded peopleIf you are on Google+ it is a lot more about following news, people from different countries, journalists, googlers, people from very different backgrounds and listening, talking and discussing about what matters.
Linda Lawrey has written a nice reply on Google+ to Paul Tassi. But as Paul Tassi has already written in his reply. If you are a Facebooker, having Facebook is enough to be happy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Google+ Games are now introduced - but why before Search and Business Profiles

Games in Google+ have been announced yesterday. The roll out has begun and will arrive over the next days in your Google+ environment. Not everybody is happy with the annoucement. Especially because Search and the real API is missing.

As cool as games are for lots of people, hopefully, the have done it right and it is not annoying to Google+ fans. As Google+ is still a field test and only people, and not businesses are invited, games could be the right move to attract more users to the game.

But I would be very excited to see the internal road map of Google+. I thought it would make a lot of sense to have *search* or *business profiles* or the *google+ api* up an running before *games*a re introduced to Google Plus.

*What could be the reason for this very different road map?*

I am really not sure about this, but I try to look for some answers:

1. Games developers are keen to get their games to a new platform

Games are not only for fun - at least from the game developer perspective. Game developers want to make money. And field testing the acceptance of games in Google+ environment could tell a lot of very specific answers for the developers *and* for Google

2. Games are not developed by Google but by third party developers

As we know, Google+ was started as project Emerald Sea about a year ago, so game developers like Zygna and others had lots of time to get ready for the game. After the very positive introduction and start of Google+ games were the next logical step.

3. Challenge Facebook and Apple

By introducing games, Google+ could be a lot more attractive for casual game players and if done right, the annoying parts, as we all have seen with Farmville and Mafia games, could be left behind. Challenging Facebook and Apple is another part of the story. Uptil now Google+ was a nice social network but had not the gamification parts, that made Facebook grow like bamboo. With about 25+ millions users Google+ could be large enough to attract a lot of games and pulling more game fans into Google+. Combined with the 150 invitation that every user now has, the growth of Google+ could gain a lot more traction.

4. Testing the possibilities to make money from Google+

Games can be sold and Games have the chance to sell goods, more levels and other stuff within the game. This is very attractive for the developers. Keeping in mind, that Google Checkout is working quite well on the Android platform, time has come to introduce it to a larger audience.

5. Just attract a much more broader audience

Could it really be that easy. Introducing games to attract lots and lots more of users to Google+.

Not sure how games are integrated in the Google Plus universe, but there has to be some kind of API. So this could also be a first test, how well the API has been designed with a limited number of game developers before the official Google Plus API is released to more developers.

Google+ Platform Blog

Hopefully Google plus is expanded with search capabiliities and business profiles in the near future.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Google Plus - so close and yet so far

Google has made a tough decision in his depute for Google+. The field test consists only of a small group of testers who can actively use Google+ beneath the Googlers themselves. In the Wired article of Steven Levy he told about the development of Google+. The first test inside Google was not that great, but the it showed how interested all the Googlers were eating their own "dog food". Only 50 invites were sent from the notebook of Gundotra and the whole team waited to see how it would spread inside Google. The predictions varied very much but:
It turned out that 600 people signed up in the first hour. Soon thousands of Googlers were signing up. “The server started melting at 11 p.m.,” says Gundotra, and the engineers hastily beefed up the data center allocations. By the next morning over 90 percent of all of Google’s world wide employees had updated to the system and turned it on.
But the first version was turned down, because there was still a lot of work. But it remembers me to the time, when Gmail was started. There was so much hype around the new Google mail system with its unusual amount of storage. It was just 1 GB, but nobody else had offered that much memory for free in their web mailers. Gmail was invite only and it took me some time to get my invite in 2004. But I still use it and not only for my private account, but also for my business domain and also for some of my customers.

As everybody knows Google has tried to be more social a few times now and the rest is history. But it seems, that this time is different. Looking at Tweets of Buzz posts a lot of people are eagerly waiting to get an invite.

Most of the review were very positive and so this could really make a difference. The following webcomic from xkcd shows what a lot of people are thinking. At least a lot of Buzz users are complaining and howling not getting invites so far.


I am not sure that this is not intentionally. The excitement is growing all around and it also remembers me to Google Wave, which was turned down last year. It was not easy to get an invite for Google Wave and it had a lot to do with the wave software, that was really not very performant.

Google+ as it is now introduced is only a start for what is coming. Buzz is not integrated and it is not clear how and if it really will be part of the game. With all the new parts like Circle, Huddle, Sparks, Hangout and the new black Google bar, which is used to draw users back into Google+ with is share and notifications, shows, that they have learned a lot from other social networks.

So let the invites flow and we will see, what it really is about Google+.

Starting a new blog

After years blogging on I have decided to switch to and also blog (most of the time) in english. The was launched more than 5 years ago. In the beginning the main theme was RSS, Atom and like. Over time and spectrum grew wider. With the begin of Twitter in 2007 some of the drive behind blogging became less enthusiastic and now is a good time to start over.

RSS is not dead as some have written and blogging is still a good way to get the message out. As this is becoming my personal blog as you could guess from the name, it will cover a broader view of the technical and political world around us.

Hope you to read you here and there.