OK Google

Chromebooks Get Active “OK Google” Voice Commands

Google Chromebooks Get Active “OK Google” Voice commands

Users of Google’s Nexus line of phones as well as anyone with a Android-powered Motorola smartphone are already well aware of the ability to have an active “Ok Google” voice command at their beck and call.  But in shortly all Chromebook users will find this feature rolled into an upcoming update to their computer.

If you’re in the vicinity of a Google Nexus or Motorola phone and you say “Ok Google”, the phone will perk up and respond with a tone and an icon.  This is an indicator that it is at the ready for your spoken command to search.  And fortunately, Google has enough practice with foreign accents that it will likely not make a mistake when processing what you’ve said.

This new voice command feature can be found in the developers version of the Chromebook update.  It can be found and used via this link.  You will need to upgrade to a version that is not yet released openly if you want a sneak peek.

If this is all news to you and you want a Chromebook for the awesome features, check out Amazon

Google Fiber and Nextdoor

Google Fiber and Nextdoor

Google Fiber and Nextdoor

If you are one of the several million fortunate enough to live in a major city where Google Fiber is soon to be installed, you may be wondering how to take advantage of this amazing offer.  If you have already joined Nextdoor, this may not seem like a problem. But what about all your neighbors who have not heard about either Google Fiber or Nextdoor?

Here’s your chance to start the grassroots movement in your neighborhood via Nextdoor.  Use this invite link to get your free account.

Nextdoor Invite

Once you get into Nextdoor, you will need to invite your neighbors.  There are several ways to do this, whether by email, flyers, postcard, or like the link above.   You can post to any social media as well.  But the more people that you bring on board, the more likely you are to be able to organize quickly.

Google Fiber

Although Google Fiber is only available in small, select number of cities in the US as of now, it will soon be coming to over 30 other cities and metro areas*.   Currently, Google is rolling out Fiber in Austin, Texas.  It is important, even now, that Austinites pay attention to the Google Fiber announcements and to their neighbors in Nextdoor.

In order to get Google Fiber in your neighborhood regardless of whether you are using Nextdoor, the neighborhood will need to have between 5% and 20% of the homes area on Google’s list.  Google has labeled these neighborhoods as “Fiberhoods”.  The Fiberhoods may not take the same shape as your Nextdoor neighborhood, but it is still possible to share your announcements with adjacent Nextdoor neighborhoods.

Updates will come via the Google Fiber website or the email account that you sign-up through. But unless you are actively involved it may come as a shock when the roll-out begins.  You need only dedicate a mere $10 as a reservation to confirm your home in your Fiberhood.  That reservation offers access to one of three plans.

Google Fiber Options

Google Fiber comes in three flavors

  • $130 / month
    • 150+ Channels of HD Video
    • 2TB DVR  / Up to 8 simultaneous recordings / 500 hours of video
    • WiFi-ac / up to 1.2 Gbps
    • 1000 Mbps Down & 1000 Mbps Up
    • 1 TB of Online Storage
    • Unlimited Data
  • $70 / month
    • 1000 Mbps Down & 1000 Mbps Up
    • 1 TB of Online Storage
    • Unlimited Data
  • Free ($300 or 12 x $25 install fee)
    • 5 Mbps Down & 1 Mbps Up
    • Unlimited Data

Remember,  join Nextdoor, invite your neighbors, form a Google Fiber group, and get that Fiber!


* Google Fiber Cities coming soon: Atlanta, GA: Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, College Park, Decatur, East Point, Hapeville, Sandy Springs, Smyrna; Charlotte, NC, Nashville, TN, Salt Lake City, UT, San Antonio, TX, Phoenix, AZ: Scottsdale, Tempe; Portland, OR:  Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham, Lake Oswego, Tigard; Raleigh-Durham, NC: Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Garner, Morrisville, Raleigh; San Jose, CA: Santa Clara, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto.

Google Fiber Hardware Upgrade


Google Fiber Hardware Upgrade

Christmas has come early in Austin, Texas this year.  Google Fiber is coming to town with lots of toys and goodies, you might say.   Google Fiber Hardware is getting an upgrade.

Most people outside of Kansas City and Provo, UT (where Google Fiber already exists) are not aware of the hardware available in the Google Fiber service package.  And until very recently Austinites were not aware either.  But as the roll-out continues, Google Fiber hardware will best all current competitors.

There are currently three options for Google Fiber

  • Free Internet for life.  $300 / down or $25 / month for 12 months gets you 5 Mbps / 1 Mbps
  • Gigabit Internet. No money down, $70 / month gets you 1000 Mbps / 1000 Mbps
  • Gigabit Internet & Full Color HD TV Service.  No money down, $130 / month gets you 1000 Mbps / 1000 Mbps service AND TV service with a 2TB DVR plus recording of up to 8 channels simultaneously. (The Dish Hopper has it’s 2+4 service. There are actually only 3 tuners in the Hopper.)

Google Fiber Options

But you probably wanted to know more about the hardware than just the services.  Google Fiber alone is amazing and for cord-cutters it may be more than enough bandwidth to support the myriad of online content sources.  But if you just can’t break away from the continuous programming that is provided by the traditional sources, you can get some pretty nifty tech for your living room (and every other room that has a monitor).

The Digital Video Recorder that Google Fiber is providing includes 2000 Gigabytes of storage (or 2 Terabytes [TB]).  This, Google says, will hold up to 500 hours of video recordings in the HD Format that your shows will arrive in.  But knowing Google’s love of the Cloud, that couldn’t be everything.  With the service comes 1 TB of cloud storage and a remote control app unlike any other.  The content command center of your Google Fiber and TV service is controlled by a Nexus tablet app (available for all Android and iOS devices).  Don’t worry, if you don’t have a tablet or smartphone, there will still be a remote traditional included.

But wait, there’s more…

The Google Fiber hardware that manages all that fast data includes the convenient function of a WiFi Access point that supports all current protocols.  That means WiFi A, B, G, N, and AC are all available.  You won’t need to go about a buy another WiFi device.  Wireless AC is the fastest WiFi speed and offers up to 1.2 Gbps speeds.

Google TV as a Service

Most TV service providers (cable / satellite) offer their channel lineup in packages.  Google is also offering packages, but unlike every other carrier, it’s an all or nothing deal (most all).  Google Fiber TV is 120+ channels period.   There’s no Plus, Mega, or Mega Plus service packages. No, you get everything from the outset.   The default TV package comes with the primary TV box and each additional box is only $5 / month additional cost.   And since you won’t be needing the cable in your home any longer, you can use it as the interconnect for these additional boxes.  However, if you’re up on the tech, you in home ethernet will work just as well.

Sign up Blitzkrieg

Google Fiber What to Do

As with the two prior cities, Google Fiber will be setup very, very quickly.  If you want on the bandwagon to get these goodies, you will need to be proactive.  Go to the Austin sign-up page right now, check your address, and put your name (and email) in.

Happy Google Doodle Thanksgiving

Google Doodle Thanksgiving


Google Doodle Thanksgiving

To recognize the gratitude and grace of this day, a Googly-eyed Google Doodle Thanksgiving turkey is posted on  the homepage of Google.com

This turkey does little more than bobble his head and one eye.  If the intent was the “googly” look it was well-made.  But as of yet there appears to be no “Easter-egg associated with this doodle.

Have a Happy and Gratitude-filled Thanksgiving Day.


Google Keep sharing enabled

Google Keep Sharing

Google Keep sharing for all

If you have been using Google Keep as your daily note-taking application and have been wondering where the sharing functionality had gotten to,  wonder no more. Google Keep sharing is now available.

It was definitely a much needed feature that appeared to have been an almost ironic second thought. Google Keep has always been a part of the Google Drive space and yet the development time spent on it has not been reflected until now.

Where most Android apps have received the Material Design update,  including the Google Keep app,  the functionality did not see the same level of change, until now.

Now you may share your notes with any number of others in much the same way that you would have in Google Drive applications.  Google Keep is much easier and more quick than to do the same with a Google Docs file.

Check out the app on Google Play and iOS