When it comes to cloud-based productivity, Google’s got it going on. With services like Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar and Google+, staying productive, in touch and up-to-date has never been easier. For those of us that rely heavily on what Google has on offer, it’s never been more of a pain to find what we’re looking for. While Mountain View makes it a snap to create tons of useful data with their services, keeping track of that data isn’t anywhere near what we’d call a breeze. Fortunately, CloudMagic makes taming cloud-based information simple and pain-free.
I am going to bet that you know what the application “Outlook on the Desktop” does without me even having to describe a single byte of it. Congratulations; You win. Good day sir, ma’am.
You might be able to guess the app’s overall purpose, but I think you’ll be even more interested once you actually get the nitty-gritty of what it does. Let’s hit the big question first, though. Why would you even want to slap a widget-like implementation of Microsoft Outlook on your desktop to begin with?
Here’s my answer. I love Outlook on the Desktop for two main reasons: I like staring at my desktop as much as possible (especially during that half-hour in the morning when coffee is beginning to work its magical effects on my tired brain), and I like being able to quickly glance at my calendar while I’m in the process of doing other things.
Remember that old maxim that says we use only about 10 percent of our brain’s capacity? It’s been proven as hokum by modern neuroscience, but we think we can safely apply the same basic analogy to Google: The vast, vast, vast majority of computer users—even those practiced in hardcore nerdery—are almost certainly using a pitiful fraction of all the applications and features intrinsic to Google’s ever-expanding matrix of software code.
Sure, a Maximum PC reader may be well-versed in Google’s advanced search operators (Google allintext: “advanced search operators” if you missed that chapter), but we’re willing to wager that even the most curious among you haven’t taken the time to play with more than a few Google applications, let alone explore all their advanced features. Indeed, Google HQ is a fan-friggin’-amazing hotbed of R&D, but its developers are relatively quiet about the tools they’ve released. And that’s a shame, because Google’s constant innovation should get more press.
To address your inevitable Google knowledge deficit, we commissioned Gina Trapani to share her favorite tips. Gina launched Lifehacker.com, writes about Google for a bazillion media outlets, co-hosts the “This Week In Google” netcast, and pretty much makes it her job to know as much as possible about Google’s sundry apps and features.
Quick. A project just came on your radar, but you've got a lot on your plate already. You don't want to forget about a key fact or detail of what you have to do, but it's almost closing time. Or maybe you're just lazy and don't have any of those yellow sticky notes nearby to write down the details. Or maybe you just don't feel like logging on to your Google Calendar to create yet another reminder of whatever it is you have to accomplish.
Lots of possible scenarios, one awesome solution. This week's featured Web app is the ultimate reminder tool for any little fact or meeting time that you need to keep on your radar. It's extremely simple to use--in fact, it would probably take you less time to schedule yourself a little task update using this tool than it would any other software application there is, period. It's even faster to access than Notepad.
The name of the app is (appropriately enough) Remindr. Don't schedule the reading of this post for later. Click the jump right now and I'll give you a quick look at what this awesome Web app actually does!
This week Google implemented a Labs program for their popular calendar web app, hoping to make it more useful to more people.
“When you sign in to Calendar, you'll see a new page in Settings called Labs where, just like in Gmail, we'll list new highly experimental features for you to try,” writes David Marmaros, a Software Engineer for Google on their official blog. “Today there are six new Labs features in the list and more on the way. Try out Next Meeting, which shows you how much time you have to procrastinate. Free or Busy allows you to see which of your friends or coworkers are currently in meetings. And World Clock lets you keep track of different timezones when you schedule meetings. And as with Gmail Labs, there's a feedback link for you to discuss these features and to suggest new ones.”
They’ve also released an experimental API, in the interest of letting users create their own features.
Earlier this week Google announced their Google App Sync for Microsoft Outlook, which they hope will give them the edge in the business email world.
“Many business users prefer Gmail's interface and features to products they've used in the past. But sometimes there are people who just love Outlook. For them, we've developed Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook,” writes Eric Orth, a Software Engineer on the Google Apps team. “It enables Outlook users to connect to Google Apps for business email, contacts and calendar. And they can always use Gmail's web interface to access their information when they're not on their work computer.”
Best of all, Google makes this that much easier by providing a tool that takes care of all the heavy lifting. Microsoft Outlook servers, you’re officially on notice.
If you’re a Google Apps customer and you’re in need of your calendar offline, you’re in luck! Just today Google began releasing offline calendar support, a move that will make their tools more attractive to business users.
The calendar has a lot of attractive features, such as support for Gears and the ability to check your appointments despite your current connection. Though, know that you’ll only be able to check up on your daily agenda using the offline version, not create new entries.
If you’re a non-Google Apps customer and you’re looking to check out this feature before you buy it, Lifehacker has had some hands-on time with the synchronization software and given some impressions.
So you thought you were safe inside your precious little calendar, eh? Well think again!
It looks like hackers have found a way to break into your Gmail account, all by preying on your Google Calendar. The attack comes in the form of a simple calendar email notification telling you that your account will be deleted unless you submit your Google username, password and date of birth. Generally, the emails come from a “customerserviceXXXX@gmal.com” (where the X’s represent a random number) address, so be sure and keep your eyes out.
Luckily, the fix for this is entirely on your end. Just be sure and watch whom you’re getting your email from. Major companies generally won’t ask you for your information and anyone that does so, has deplorable intentions.
Yahoo has single-handedly disproved Moore’s law, by finally updating their online calendar after 10 long, tech rich years. Tonight they will be rolling out a new drag-and-drop Ajax based calendar in a closed beta to Yahoo Mail users in the U.S., UK, India, Taiwan and Brazil (sign ups can be found here).
The upgraded calendar doesn’t do much that Google’s isn’t already capable of, but it does play nice with iCal and CalDAV and has a slew of new features, including; layering (viewing multiple calendars in different colors or subscribing to someone else’s calendar), zooming in when adding an appointment, integration with Flickr, setting email or SMS reminders, and a to-do list.
With this addition to their juggernaut of offerings, Yahoo should increase their market share in online calendars, despite already being the leader. Of their 285 million Yahoo Mail users, 8.1 million use the calendar compared to the 5 million that use Google’s.
Yikes! Google, the online monolith of all things, well, online, has made it incredibly easy for spammers to find out your real name. That means instead of seeing "Dear Sir" at the beginning of male organ enlargement solicitations, pill peddlers and every other unsavory seller can more easiy address you by name. Of course, if you're in the market for male miracle growth, then perhaps that's not such a bad thing.
In any event, a SecuriTeam blog outlines all the gritty details on how the exploit works, and to rub even more egg on Google's face, the blog chose to uncover the identity of admin at gmail dot com for its short tutorial. The bug works by entering a gmail address under the 'share this calendar' tab, adding them, and then saving. While the true identity isn't revealed at first, navigating back to the page is all it takes to see the person's real name. We haven't seen an exploit this stupidly simple since John Halderman discovered how to circumvent music CD copy protection just by holding down the shift key.
Oh, and feel to drop Drew a line. Not only did he give permission to post his Gmail info, but he did it with the full expectation that he'll find true love from a reader of these news posts.