Google tricks and “Easter Eggs”

Once upon a time back in the beginning of HTML and website coding, there was blinking code and marquee code and a lot of other things that have gone by the wayside and become obsolete.

At one time you would just put around the code you wanted to show blinking and blink away it would.

There is a little “easter egg” in google search that can bring a little bit of it back in the search results. Just type in “blink html” in the search box and you will see all result words “html” and “blink” actually blinking.

We were curious of what other “easter eggs” we could find. One said to type “askew” in the search box. We found a link to https://elgoog.im/tilt/ which showed a tilted google page. When we entered a search term, it showed a mirror image of google results with it going from right to left.

Another said to type in “recursion” and the only thing we found is “Did you mean: recursion” which I guess in itself is a recursion. If you type “anagram” it will say “Did you mean nag a ram”.

This link shows the Google page backwards: https://elgoog.im/
This one does a barrel roll: https://elgoog.im/doabarrelroll/
This is a zerg rush that shows little circles erasing the page and then shaping two G’s. You are supposed to click on the little circles before it destroys the whole page. https://elgoog.im/zergrush/
Zip apart the Google page: https://elgoog.im/zipper/

Do you have a Chromebook?

Some of us may have purchased a Chromebook. It may have been out of curiosity or maybe you just wanted a lightweight “laptop” to just scan your email and surf the Internet. There really isn’t much more you can do with it. If you are “techie” you can install a flavor of Linux to run along with the Chrome OS. The thing about a Chromebook is that the OS is Chromium.

When you do anything on a Chromebook, it is all in the cloud – nothing is on the computer. Now, when it updates, you just get a little message that says to push a button to restart and it comes right back, you log into Chrome again and it’s updated very quickly.

There are limitations on what you can do with them. For instance, I can stream Netflix through the Chrome browser on it, but Prime Video won’t play. The only place you can save files is in your Google Drive.

Google has an Auto Update Policy about their updates. As technology advances and hardware becomes old or outdated, they cannot guarantee the software updates will run any longer. With that in mind, they have set a time limit on updates for Chromebooks. If you have a Chromebook, you can check the date here. It has a list by Manufacturer then Model. I happen to have an HP Chromebook 14, which looks like I cannot get updates past June this year. If it still runs, then that’s fine. If not, I can always install Linux over it and see if that will run.

Gmail

If you have a gmail account, did you know that your email address can also have dots in it and you’ll still get it? For example, if your address johndoe@gmail.com, it won’t matter if you send to john.doe@gmail.com. You can even send it to j.o.h.n.d.o.e@gmail.com and still get it. Most mail systems do not allow this. Apparently this has been like this for some time.

We found out recently when we saw an article from ZDNet about how scammers are exploiting this by registering for different websites under your email but adding the dots. It may be sites like Netflix, Amazon.com, or eBay. They would see the dotted account email as a different one.

One group has used a variation to obtain credit cards. They have filed tax returns, registered for trial accounts, USPS change address requests, collecting Social Security benefits, apply for unemployment benefits, and apply for FEMA disaster relief.

The article brought out two other things that could be exploited. First, Google allows + signs – you can send email to johndoe+someword@gmail.com and johndoe@gmail.com will get it. Second, before gmail.com it was googlemail.com and if you use johndoe@googlemail.com, johndoe@gmail.com will still get it. Yes this has been tested and confirmed.

Gone Phishing

Phishing Quiz
You’ve gotten those emails asking to click on something. It could be to learn how to make more money, or maybe someone has your information, or something that really looks legitimate. They prey on people hoping to get more of your personal information.

Google’s Jigsaw unit has a phishing quiz. The Victor crew suggests you take it to see if you can spot some phishing emails/sites. It is only 8 questions long but it may help you be on the ball. You start out by making up a name and email for the quiz. Some are phishing and some are legitimate. See if you can spot the imposters:

Take the quiz

Source: Google Blog

Microsoft Edge Browser

Last week we posted about some different browsers out there. It seems Microsoft has been actively trying to embrace the open source software community. They recently bought GitHub, a repository used for years by people to store their open source projects.

Last month, they decided to adopt the Chromium open source project to re-develop their Microsoft Edge browser. Many browsers are already built on Chromium, such as Chrome, Opera, Brave, Vivaldi, and Yandex just to name a few.

Some of their reasons make sense. One is web compatibility. When developing websites, developers have to check their sites in at least four browsers to make sure they look right in all of them. This will make it easier by removing one that is often difficult.

Sources
Windows Blog

MakeUseOf.com

Google turned 20

Google recently had it’s 20 year anniversary. We found this interesting video of where it got its start. It was uploaded by Google’s sixth employee, Harry. It shows the garage where they got their start in 1998. At the end you will see Larry Page, one of the founders.

Larry Page is no longer CEO of Google as he has become CEO of Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

Logging into any Google service logs you into Chrome

As of version 69, the Chrome browser will log you in and sync when you visit any Google site like Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs, Google Maps, etc. For whatever reason, you may not want to be logged in, or you may not want them to keep track of everything you do. They are not giving you that choice anymore.

There was a discussion on Twitter about it with Adrienne Porter Felt, a Chrome engineer and manager.

Apparently after these discussions and feedback, Google is going to back down and make some changes come version 70 coming out in mid-October. They will allow sign-in without syncing. If you want to sync between devices, you will need to turn sync on. Signing into a Google owned website will not sign them into Chrome at the same time.

Does Google know more than you want them to know?

Google services on Android or iPhones can store your location data, even when you try to prevent it through your device settings.

Google Maps can make a timeline of your movements, for example. It works so well that last year a warrant was served by police in North Carolina to Google to find devices near a murder scene. You can turn off your location history so the places you go will not be stored.

If you are logged into Google, go to https://www.google.com/maps/timeline?pb to see your timeline or whether it is even on. You can turn the tracking of your history on or off here: https://myaccount.google.com/activitycontrols/location?hl=en&gl=US

This may not keep Google from tracking your movements through nearby towers but it is something more you can do to make it a little more difficult for them.

Source

Chrome browser

Did you know there are a lot more settings and pages to your Google Chrome browser than you find just in your settings? To find them just type into your address bar “chrome://about” (without the quote marks) and you will find a list of pages you can access.

You will find you are actually on the first page: chrome://about. If you click it there won’t be a change. chrome://chrome will give you the update page. Some of the other pages may or may not look familiar. I clicked on chrome://dino to see what that was – it’s the dinosaur you see when you don’t have an internet connection.

The chrome://flags page will allow you to access some experimental items; chrome://bookmarks will let you see all your bookmarks. Just use caution if you make any changes to the browser.

The New Gmail

Gmail rolled out the new Gmail recently. We thought we’d give it a try. It didn’t really look any different once we set it up. Until we wanted to check in our contacts. We no longer could just click on the name Gmail on the top left to get to our contacts. This meant a Google search to try to find it.

Here is where it is – on the top right is the app grid. Find contacts in there. You may need to move it up to the top so you can access them quickly. If Contacts icon doesn’t show, click More at the bottom of the first page and you should see it on the second. You can simply grab it and move it to the top.

The first image shows the grid without the Contacts app. The second image shows it on the second page under More. The third shows the Contacts app on the top right.

Gmail App Grid Gmail App Grid Gmail App Grid

Another difference we found is that Labs was missing. Labs were experimental addons you could enable to try different things.

Tech Movie: The Internship

It’s a few years old now, but if you haven’t had the chance to see it, The Internship is quite entertaining. It costars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as two washed up salesmen, who lost their jobs to the digital world, trying to figure out a new career path. They decide to try for an internship at Google.

So here are two guys in their mid-forties trying to land an internship against a bunch of 20-somethings. To them it was like having their dads with them. What makes it even more interesting is their lack of tech-savviness against the younger generation but they do bring their life experiences. You will see some Google products in the credits such as Google Drive, Translate, Google+, and more.

Keep your browser extensions updated!

It is important to keep all software you use up to date. There are updates for a reason – most likely some of the code used was found to be vulnerable to attacks.

This past week, a popular extension was hijacked. The developer of the Web Developer for Chrome extension had his own account hijacked. The hijackers phished his Google account, then modified the code in his account and pushed it out to users. The version of Web Developer for Chrome that was pushed out is 0.4.9. You need to make sure you have the updated version 0.5 installed NOW!

The version the hijackers uploaded can force ads on pages, capture passwords, or other unreported problems. Consider changing passwords to pages visited during the time of the compromise. The date was August 2. The developer himself admits he fell for a phishing attack that started this. This effected over one million users.

The developer details the events in his blog. The bottom line is anyone can click on a bad link and it is important to have two-factor verification in place.

How do you listen to your tunes?

There are a lot of ways these days to listen to music these days. There are many streaming services these days. Most people stream or use their mp3 players. There are also home devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home, or coming soon, the Apple HomePod.

The Victor crew even knows someone who still orders CDs to play in their car? But what will happen when he buys a newer car? Many newer cars are starting to abandon them. It has been predicted that up to 46% of new cars will not have CD players by 2021.

You can use a lot of data if you stream from your car (if you don’t have a Wi-Fi service) so you’ll have to rely on your mp3 player, satellite radio, or built-in radio. If you insist on a CD player, you can purchase a portable one that could plug in with your auxilliary cable. Perhaps you can purchase a new car kit with a CD player.

We sure have come a long way from just AM radio. Next came FM. Remember the 8-track players of the 70s? Then they went away to make way for the cassette. Then the piles of cassettes were replaced by piles of plastic discs. Life is getting simpler where you don’t have to store all the discs, cassettes, or 8-tracks anymore.

The Price to say “Buh-Bye Ads!”

Don’t you just love it when you go to a website and you have all these things pop up, music blaring, or you’re reading something and along comes an annoying ad blocking you. There are two sides to this. Some people make their living from these ads. But for the user, it’s no picnic.

Google has joined the Coalition for Better Ads. This coalition has guidelines that should be followed when designing ads for a website. They plan on building a new Chrome browser with this ad-blocking built in. It won’t block all ads and you may only get the most annoying ads from showing.

The up side: maybe you will see fewer annoying ads.
The down side: someone will be making money from this. On the Google post, they mention Funding Choices where publishers can show a customized messages to people who are using ad blockers on their browsers. They can either enable ads or pay for removing the ads on that site through a new Google Contributor program.

So how does Google Contributor work? You buy a $5 pass for a particular website. The site has a per-page fee of their choosing (some are $0.01 per page, some $0.03 per page.) Every time you visit a page without ads, it deducts from the pass. You can add or remove sites from your pass at any time. This is still in beta at this time. They plan the rollout some time in 2018.

Google Post about Ad Blocking
Google Contributor

Geeky April Fools Day

This past Saturday was April Fools Day. The Internet wasn’t short of pranks. The Victor crew enjoyed putting together this list of some of them.

Stack Overflow had fun making this video of their Dance Dance Authentication protocol:

In case you don’t know, Stack Overflow is a site that is used by developers as a forum.

Google had fun with Google Gnome, something to make your backyard smart:

T-Mobile Onesie:

Amazon brought us Petlexa

Honda has Horn Emojis

Gmail Alert

If you use Gmail, like many others, the Victor crew wants you to be aware of a new phishing attack going around. This one is even fooling tech-savvy and security conscious people. They are trying to steal usernames and passwords for Gmail.

It starts as an email that appears to come from someone you know and may even have an image of an attachment you might think is from the sender. If you click on it, it will give a preview, like Gmail normally does but instead, a new tab will open and want you sign in to your Gmail account again. Make sure you look at the address bar and see only https://accounts.google.com… If you see “data:text/html,” before it, (data:text/html,https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin?service=mail), DO NOT ENTER YOUR LOGIN!

If you think you may have already fallen for this attack, change your Google password.

https://www.wordfence.com/blog/2017/01/gmail-phishing-data-uri/
http://www.pcmag.com/news/351113/dont-fall-for-this-sophisticated-gmail-phishing-scam

Ever think about cutting the cord?

Cord-cutting refers to abandoning cable TV for streaming services. There are so many different avenues to go with this, the Victor crew thought we’d do some exploring into what was available.

One thing you can get is a Roku that you can stream many different channels from. It handles Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus for example. Netflix and Amazon have some crossovers, but Hulu Plus will bring you many current TV shows. Another streaming channel to consider is Sling TV for television shows. You might consider Apple TV instead of Roku. Another streaming device is Amazon Fire TV. There’s also Google’s Chromecast. You may want to find reviews on these devices and make your decision.

Another thing to consider is your Internet connection. How strong is it during peak hours? You can test it at speedtest.net or testmy.net. Do several throughout the day and evening to see how much you can handle. You may need to get an HD antenna to get the major networks in full HD.

You can find more information here.

Gmail and Google Calendar App Updates for iOS

Google just revamped the Gmail app for iOS devices today. Why use Gmail app for your Gmail on iOS instead of the native email app? In our opinion, it just works better with Gmail.

Now with its new look, it’s even better. There are quick links to Reply and Forward on the bottom that make it easier to respond. They are calling this the biggest overhaul in four years. This new look makes it more like the Gmail app on Android.

Here are some of the new features:
Undo Send: just like you can on desktop, you can stop the mail mistakes before that mail get sent.
Search Faster: they have sped up instant results and can correct spelling mistakes.
Swipe to archive or delete: In settings, you can choose to have swiped emails either delete or archive into ‘all mail’.

Google has also updated Google Calendar for iOS.
Month view and week in landscape view so you can see your schedule in a glance.
Spotlight search support for Apple’s Spotlight Search.
Alternate calendars – you can add Lunar, Islamic, Hindu calendars alongside your current calendar.

Source:
https://blog.google/products/gmail/gmail-and-google-calendar-get-a-whole-lot-better-on-ios/

Victor crew

Google phase-out

It seems every time you get used to something, it’s taken away! It has been announced recently that Google is going to phase out support for Chrome apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux over the next two years. They say existing apps will remain available and can still be updated. They are looking to simplify the Chrome browser. This includes both packaged and hosted apps.

Timeline:
Late 2016, newly-published Chrome apps will be available on Chrome OS. Existing Chrome apps will still be accessible.

In the second half of 2017, the Chrome Web Store will now longer show Chrome apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux. They will continue to have extensions and themes.

In early 2018, users will no longer be able to load Chrome apps.

Here are some examples of Chrome apps: https://web.appstorm.net/roundups/the-50-best-chrome-web-store-apps/

http://blog.chromium.org/2016/08/from-chrome-apps-to-web.html

The Victor crew

We the Geeks

Did you know there was something called “We the Geeks” on the White House website. The Victor crew came across this one day. So what is it?

We the Geeks is a series of Google+ Hangouts that features the future of science, technology, and innovation in America. They meet with Administration officials and private-sector contributors. You can join in the conversations using #WeTheGeeks and sign up for updates for upcoming hangouts.

Here is one of the last hangouts they streamed:

More info: https://www.whitehouse.gov/we-the-geeks

Start Coding Early

Google has a way to teach kids how to code. Not with a computer but with blocks. Called Project Bloks, it allows kids to learn some skills they need for programming.

They us a brain board based on Raspberry Pi to provide connection to the program and each individual “puck” can be the instructions that go to the brain board to move it. Toys can take any form. Check out the video:

Apple has a way to teach coding in Swift using an app on their iPad. Solve puzzles to learn the basics of Swift. Find out more here: https://www.apple.com/swift/playgrounds/

Not to be outdone, Microsoft also has a way to teach concepts using Minecraft Education Edition. You can find out about it here: http://education.minecraft.net/

We’re sure if you’re an adult you won’t get demerits for trying this out.

The Victor crew

Add your favorite sports team to your Google calendar

Ever want to plan your schedule around your favorite games so you can be there for them? Here’s how you can add the schedule of your team to your calendar so you will always be able to watch them.

First of all, log into your Google account online (this won’t work in mobile).

Click on “Other Calendars” then “Browse Interesting Calendars”

Team Calendar

Once there you can click on Sports.

Team Calendar

We chose Football then NCAA Football next.

Team Calendar

We scrolled down to Ohio State Buckeyes.

Team Calendar

Then looked at a preview of the calendar showing that Buckeyes Football starts September 3rd.

Team Calendar

What’s coming from Google

The Victor crew wants to share some new things coming up from Google.

Google Assistant

Google is unveiling the Google assistant. They say the assistant is two-way conversational. It helps buy movie tickets on the go, will find a restaurant for you to dine before the movie, help navigate to the theater. It is supposed to work seamlessly across devices.

Google Home

Google Home is a voice-activated gadget for your home. You can enjoy entertainment, manage your tasks, answer questions from Google using conversational speech. Just like the assistant, it can play a song, check your flight but also can turn on lights, set an oven timer.

Allo and Duo

Allo is a new messaging app with the Google assistant, so it allows you to interact in your chats. It includes Smart Reply that will suggest responses based on the messages.

Duo is a companion that allows one-to-one video calling.

Learn more here.

WayBack Machine

Ever wonder what websites used to look like? There has been an Internet archive around for years called the WayBack Machine Internet archive. They have saved 472 billion pages over time. You can even save a page now so you will have what it looks like before making a change. The only thing is the site has to allow web crawlers to access the site. That may be why you are not seeing a site you want to see the archive of. Also it won’t be able to crawl past the protected content on passworded sites.

In their blog, they tell us about a grant they received last October to rebuild the site. It won’t be completed until 2017. They have pages going back 19 years!

Here are pictures of Apple.com and Google.com from 1998:

Apple.com May 8, 1998


Google.com December 2, 1998

Google.ORG

Everyone knows about Google. But did you know google.org is a philanthropic side of Google? Each year, they donate $100 million in grants, 200,000 hours, and $1 billion in products.

At this writing, the top spotlight story is Fighting the Zika Virus. They made a $1 million grant to Unicef to help, updated products to make information about Zika more accessible and sent engineers to help analyze data and map the virus.

The second story is about supporting victims of racially-motivated violence here in the U.S. Google.org invested $5 million to support leaders working for racial justice in the criminal and educational systems.

There are sections for Global Giving, Local Giving, Special Programs, and Products.

Global Giving tells where they are helping out in other places, like challenges with disabilities, and using Seed Money. Local Giving talks about Regional Google Impact Challenges, Community Grants, the Bay Area (where they are located), How Googlers give back, and Disaster Relief. Special Programs talks about the above mentioned spotlight stories along with the refugee and migrant crisis, fighting Ebola, and others. The Products section tells how to get Google for nonprofits where you can get discounted or free tools from Google, and the One Today app where you donate $1 a day to a charity.