Tag Archives: Google Docs

CloudMagic: Search GMail and Google Docs Even Faster

The usage of cloud-based services is increasing every day. Though good search features are offered by Google for Gmail and Google Docs, it is not always as fast as desktop search. Also unified search results across multiple services are not provided. CloudMagic was developed with these requirements in mind. It offers extremely fast, offline, search-as-you-type feature for online data.

CloudMagic has been launched with Gmail and Google Docs. CloudMagic can search across multiple Google accounts for presentations, spreadsheets, documents etc., and present a unified search result. It also offers instant email message previews as well as drag-and-drop feature for search results.

Online data is indexed and stored in your local hard disk. Relevant text data is indexed leaving out all kinds of attachments and binary data. Only a fraction of the entire data is indexed. So it occupies very little of your hard disk space. The index gets updated automatically when you are online. The indexed web pages need not be kept open for updating an index. You do not need to store passwords with any third party servers because the index is stored in your local hard disk.

Currently CloudMagic is available for Firefox and Chrome. Here are the installation instructions for both the browsers.

Installation on Mozilla Firefox

1. To install CloudMagic in Firefox click Tools > Add-ons in the menu bar to open the Add-ons window and search for CloudMagic.

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2. Click on the Add to Firefoxbutton. The following license agreement window is displayed.

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3. Click Accept and Installbutton .Then click on Install Now in the Add-ons window. Once the installation is complete, restart Firefox. The CloudMagic icon will appear in the toolbar as shown below. Click on it to open the CloudMagic page in a new tab.

 

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Installation on Google Chrome

1. To Install the plugin in Chrome open Cloudmagic homepage in Chrome and click the Install Now button.

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2. Once the plugin download is complete, click Install as you are prompted to.

3. When the installation is complete the CloudMagic icon is displayed in Chrome.

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4. To use CloudMagic you need to add your Gmail accounts first. Click on CloudMagic icon and then select Manage Accounts drop down arrow beside the search box.

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5. In the following page, one more click brings you the add account page.

6. Add as many Google accounts you wish.

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7. Next click on the Preferences link to set the search preferences. You are now all set to use CloudMagic.

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The next time you open your GMail or Google Docs account you find a CloudMagic search box as shown in the screenshot below.

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Isn’t that great? If you are power user of Google docs and Gmail, CloudMagic is an indispensable tool. Try once and you’ll love the instant search that the tool provides. With tons of emails stuffed in your mail this certainly makes your life easier. Happy searching. Do let us know if this has made your search experience better.

Google Docs App For Android Released

Google has released an Android app for their popular online document editing service – Google Docs. The app will allow users to create, edit and upload documents to Google Docs, right from their Android handset.

However, the best feature of the Google Docs app for Android is its ability to convert text from any image into a document. Users can simply click pictures of any document, and the app will convert the text in the image into a document.

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Sadly, the feature does not work as advertised. For me, the Google Docs app struggled to read the text properly from most of the images I clicked. Hopefully, with time this feature will become more usable on a day-to-day basis.

Also, the editor of the app is simply a web app. When a user wants to create a new document, the app will simply open up the Google Docs web app for Android.

The app will run on any Android device running Android 2.1+ or up, including Android 3.0 Honeycomb.

Android users can download the app from here.

Google Releases Google Docs App for Android

Google recently released its official app for Google Docs on Android. With this app users can  filter and search documents  on your Google account.  Users can also  easily share items with contacts on their phone, right from within the app.

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Besides that, this app also allows users to create documents with a single tap and users can  upload content from your phone and open documents directly from Gmail. For easy access users can  add a widget to your home screen for easy access to three core tasks: jumping to your starred documents, taking a photo to upload, or creating a new document with one tap.

 

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One of the mind blowing feature Google has included in this app is  optical character recognition (OCR). With this you can click a photo of a document from your phone camera and convert them to text documents. Although at this point it cannot register user handwritten documents but Google promises to work on it soon.

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You can download Google Docs for Android  from Android Market for free provided your device runs on Android 2.1+.

Google Docs Get OCR Support For 34 Different Languages

Google Docs has constantly been introducing new features since it originally launched back in 2006. The ultimate goal, some people argue, is to eliminate the monopoly of Microsoft Office. Today Google added another milestone by offering OCR support for 34 languages. OCR or Optical Character Recognition is a technology that takes any image, and scan it for language alphabets/characters hence converting it into a text document.

Before today, the OCR feature was only available for the English language but today Google added other languages to it including Russian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Korean, Italian,  Indonesian, Greek others. You can choose the desired language while uploading your document to Google Docs (make sure you check the Convert text from PDF box to see additional languages). Your images can be in individual jpg, gif or png files or be included in a PDF document. As always, higher resolution files give best results, Google actually recommends that each line of text be at least 10 pixels high. There is also a size  limitation  of 2 MB when uploading documents to be used for OCR.

Google claims they have also improved the OCR technology that they use to recognize characters and preserving font and alignment information. Your language not included yet? No worries, Google says they’ll keep adding more and more languages to this feature. Google Docs originally launched the OCR feature back in June 2010.

Remember, if you are looking for easier ways to use Google Docs, you can always use the awesome Chrome extension or search Google Docs right from within your Gmail.

Google Launches Cloud Connect Plugin For Microsoft Office

Some good news for Google Docs users who have always wanted an official office add-in which can be used to create, share and manage Google Docs documents from Microsoft Office.

Google has just released Google Cloud Connect an add-in for Microsoft office which adds simultaneous collaboration, revision history, cloud sync, unique URLs and simple sharing to the Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications. This is quite similar to another office add-in called OffiSync, which we have reviewed earlier.

Setting Up Google Cloud Connect With Microsoft Office

Setting up Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office is fast and simple. Head over to the Cloud connect page and click the Accept and Installbutton to launch the web installer. Hold on for two minutes until the web installer downloads and install Google Cloud connect for Microsoft Office on your computer.

Once the add-in is in place, launch Microsoft Office and you will see a cloud connect baras shown below:

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To start using Google Cloud connect with Microsoft office, click Login, enter your Google account credentials and choose Grant Accessin the following step.

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When you’re through setting up Cloud connect with Microsoft office, you will notice two options for managing the office document you are creating either manually sync the document by hitting the syncbutton or let Google cloud connect automatically sync the document, spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation to your Google Docs account.

I would prefer using the Manualway but you can use the automaticmode which syncs a refreshed copy on every save or when other users update values on the same document from their Google Docs account.

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Note: You will have to save a local copy of the document to your computer first, which will then be synced to your Google Docs account.

One of the downsides is that there is no way to open a Google Docs document directly in the Microsoft Office interface. I have a dozen or more spreadsheets stored in my Google Docs account and if I need to edit a spreadsheet, I have to download it from the normal web UI and then use Google Cloud connect to sync changes (if any).

There is no way to open the spreadsheet directly in Microsoft Excel, do some quick changes and sync the changes back to my Google Docs account.

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Supported File Types

Google Cloud Connect works with most versions of Microsoft Office 2003, 2007, and 2010. It’s not compatible with the Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition or any versions installed with Microsoft’s Click-to-Run delivery mechanism. The following file types are supported in Google Cloud connect:

Word file types: .DOC, .DOCX, .DOTX, .DOCM

Excel file types: .XLS, .XLT, .XLSX, .XLSM.

PowerPoint file types: .PPT, .POT, .PPS, .PPTX, .POTX, .PPSX, .PPTM, .POTM.

Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office works on Windows XP (requires .NET 2.0), Windows Vista and Windows 7, both 32 bit and 64 bit systems are supported. Unfortunately, Google Cloud connect is not available for MAC’s yet.

Watch the following introductory video to learn how Google Cloud connect works:

Video link

View XLSX, XLS, PPTX, SVG and PSD Files With Google Docs Viewer

viewer has supported a wide range of files including documents, presentations and PDF files in the past. Using the online viewer, users can easily view attached documents in emails and in webpages without having to install additional software on their PC.

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If you have been using this feature, here is some more good news. In addition to the previously supported formats. Google will now also support Microsoft Excel (.XLS and .XLSX), Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 (.PPTX), Adobe Photoshop document (.PSD), Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG) and TrueType (.TTF) among other documents (see end of post for all supported documents).

The additional file type support now covers all document types found in Office 2007 and along with popular documents and image formats used on the web.

If you are a user, you will see an additional link to View a file online when the document is supported by Google Docs Viewer. To open supported documents linked in webpages or search results, you can download and install this extension for . The extension will automatically open supported documents in Google Docs Viewer.

Overall, the addition of new documents means that users will now be able to quickly view and save documents they receive in the cloud itself and will not have to install software such as Office 2010 or Photoshop to view files.

Now only if they could add support to view archived files and unzip them in our Google Docs account Smile.

New support added for these 12 file types by Google Docs Viewer:

  • Microsoft Excel (.XLS and .XLSX)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 / 2010 (.PPTX)
  • Apple Pages (.PAGES)
  • Adobe Illustrator (.AI)
  • Adobe Photoshop (.PSD)
  • Autodesk AutoCad (.DXF)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG)
  • PostScript (.EPS, .PS)
  • TrueType (.TTF)
  • XML Paper Specification (.XPS)

Google Docs Goes Mobile: Adds Edit Support for Android, iPhone and iPad

If anyone believes in the power of the web, it’s Google. The Mountain View, California based internet giant has been one of the most vocal champions of web applications. So, it’s not surprising that some of the best web applications are from Google. Google Docs might be no match for Microsoft Office’s complexity, but it’s certainly good enough for many organizations. Unfortunately, Google Docs is restricted to the desktop. Mobile users can open documents in their browser, but can’t edit them. However, this is about to change.

Google has announced that it will begin rolling out edit support for English users of Docs over the next few days. Supported devices include Android phones (Froyo or newer), iPhone (iOS 3 or newer) and iPad. Android users will also be able to take advantage of the inbuilt voice recognition feature. Check out the video below to see Google Docs Mobile in action.

Google Docs Adds Version History, Cloud Printing Coming Soon

Some good news for folks using Google Docs as their primary word processor tool.

Google Docs has added a version history feature which lets you upload new versions of the same file to your Google Docs account. Earlier, uploading the same document to your Google Docs account would create a new copy of the document while the older version still remained in your Google docs account.

Managing Version History of Google Docs Documents

Selecting the “Add or manage versions” on any document will open a small popup box where you can choose to upload newer versions of the same file, download a previous version or delete older versions. If you choose to upload the same document, the previous versions will be automatically deleted (no copy is created).

Google Docs Document Versions
Adding Menus in Google Sites And More Sharing Options

A few more features have been added to Google sites as well. Google sites now lets users add drop down menus in a horizontal navigation bar, as seen in the following screenshot:

Google Sites Horizontal Navigation
To add horizontal navigation menus to any Google site you own, click the “More Actions” dropdown and select “Site layout” from the left sidebar. Then drag and drop a navigation element to the header of your Google site.

Sharing features have also been unified across Google docs and Google sites, now you can choose to share a Google site in any one of the following visibility modes:

  • Public – Anyone can view your Google site and the content is accessible to the search engines.
  • Anyone with a link –   Only people with an invitation can view your Google site.
  • Private.

Upcoming: Cloud Printing in Google Docs

Alex Chitu who writes the Google Operating system blog has spotted a unique feature in the source code of a Google docs document. The source code includes a line which says:

Coming soon: Third party applications, cloud printers, and sync devices


Google cloud print is an upcoming project (currently in labs) whose goal is to build a printing experience that enables any app on any device to print to any printer anywhere in the world. Web or desktop applications no longer have to rely on the local operating system to print a document. You would be able to submit a print job using Google’s cloud print service, which will send the print job to an appropriate printer with particular selected options. Here is a diagrammatic view of how Google’s cloud print service is expected to work :

Googlecloud Print service

The cloud print service will be accessible to any type of application which includes web apps like Gmail, desktop tools or an Android/iphone app. We will have to wait for the Google cloud print service to go live, may be till the release of Chrome OS.

One more thing to note is the “sync devices” word in the source code above. Does it mean that in near future, you might be able to sync Google docs documents across multiple Google accounts?

Google Docs, Maps and Photos Attachments for Gmail Soon

has grown leaps and bounds since it was launched and there are several features like Priority Inbox which make using Gmail’s web interface much more fun. However, I am not sure when Gmail will stop it’s innovations in the webmail platform.

Google Docs, Maps, Calendar, Photos Attachment for Gmail

In a recent post on Google OS, Alex Chitu posted a screenshot which has , Google Maps, Google Photo/Picasa integration along with an option to attach an invitation from , which already exists.

This new attachment integration will definitely make things more easier for users who prefer to use Google services rather than desktop solutions or even convert more users to use Google Docs and other services for ease of use, as a user will always store content on the cloud and can access it from practically any computer.

The introduction of this feature would also make Gmail one of the first webmail interface to work almost similar to Microsoft Outlook.

Google is also trying to add more tighter integration between all it’s products. For example, earlier last month, Google had introduced a feature that would allow users to search their Google documents in Gmail. Features like these make Gmail a one-stop place for common things that are part of our day to day life.

There is no official announcement as to when users will be able to start sending Google Docs, Map and Photos as attachments yet, however, you can expect these to be rolled out in the next few weeks.

Search Google Docs and Sites in Gmail

Gmail has introduced a new feature in which allows users to search for data in your linked and Google Sites account from within Gmail.

Google Docs and Sites Search for Gmail

The "Apps Search" lab feature extends search with Google Docs and Sites results. It will find the most relevant docs and sites and show them below the Gmail search results. The feature is definitely interesting and will allow users to quickly find documents and pages from the other services.

However, the feature does not seem to be working fully right now as my searches did not return results from my Google Docs account. This might be because Gmail might take some time to index all the files in the Google Docs and Sites account.

To enable the feature go to your Google Labs tab in Settings (click here) and scroll down till you see a header for "Available Labs". Under this header enable the "Apps Search" feature and save your settings.

The next time you use Gmail to search for something, you will also be show results from your Google Docs and Google Sites account.

(h/t @steverubel via @Orli)