Periodically, I will be writing a What’s New at Google post here to update you about new updates to the Google ecosystem that affects you as a Small Business owner. These can be warnings as well as the many frequent enhancements that Google makes to make its products better for you. This week, I’m going to be writing about Google Keep, Voice Search, and Voice Typing in Google Docs in this What’s New at Google update.
Google Keep Comes to iOS
A thorn in my side for a long while, Google Keep (a part of Google Drive by visiting drive.google.com/keep) on Apple’s iOS platform (i.e., iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) was only accessible by logging into the mobile website for Google Keep, or using a third-party app to access Google Keep notes but they were merely shells of the mobile website. Now, Google has launched a Google Keep app for iOS. This means that if you have an Apple iPhone or other device, you can now access Google Keep notes just like those on Android smartphone and mobile tablet users have.
Google Keep allows you to create text notes, checklists, voice / audio notes, and you can store images as well. It’s quite versatile for short notes that you want to share with others.
If you’re using Google Apps for Work*, your users can now share notes and collaborate on these notes from the Web desktop and mobile device across Android and iOS equally.
Google Voice Search Just Got Getter
You may or may not have noticed, but with Google’s new logo came a new voice search icon as well. Google Voice Search has been around for a while, and now that it’s baked into Android and iOS Google Search apps as Google Now, people are using Google to search in many ways. As of this week, though, it’s even better! Why? Google developed a new acoustic model (basically, DNN (Deep Neural Networks) to RNN (Recurrent Neural Networks)–more geekiness can be found here) that makes Google’s voice recognition technologies more accurate (including in noisy environments) and faster. It may not sound like a lot, but when time matters the difference in Google’s voice search translation and speed matters.
You should also be able to use this same voice search functionality on your Web desktop. As pictured above, if you see that little icon on your desktop or laptop computer, all you need to do is click on it and ask Google what you’re looking for. Stock quotes. Mathematical equations. How tall is the president? Google’s got you covered on all bases. Note: you may need to update your browser to the most current version, and give your browser access to the microphone likely built into your device.
Voice Typing in Google Docs
Extending the ability to speak to our computing devices–desktop computers and laptops, smartphones and cellphones, mobile tablets, smartwatches and more–Google has upped the ante with the inclusion of voice dictation now in Google Docs. If you open up Google Docs, under Tools in the navigation bar, you now have a “Voice typing…” option in the drop-down menu. Once you click this option, you will see (as pictured above) a new option that once you click it, engages your microphone and you can speak to Google Docs. You can speak naturally as it types what you say, and you should also practice speaking out the punctuation. Sadly, there is no keyboard shortcut. However, even with that minor lacking, Google Docs voice typing brings a powerful new functionality to Web-based word processing.
*This referral link to Google Apps for Work offers $10.oo USD off per user for the first year of service. See these instructions and use these redemption codes:
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