Author Archives: Evan Grippi

Made by Google’s 20 tips for 2020

The new year is a time for resolutions and reflection, from getting organized to creating some healthy habits. And there are more than a few ways that the tech in your home and in your pocket can help you get there. 

If you received a Made by Google device over the holidays—or you’ve owned one for a while—consider these pro tips for getting the most out of them. We’re sharing 20 fun features and tricks available across a variety of devices to try, plus expert advice for adding an extra layer of protection to your accounts across the web.

  1. Turn off distractions. With the new Focus mode, found in Pixel's device settings under "Digital Wellbeing & parental controls," you can temporarily pause and silence certain apps so you can focus on the task at hand. While you’re working out, during your commute or while you’re trying to take a moment to yourself, Focus mode gives you control over which apps you need notifications from and when.

  2. Capture one-of-a-kind photos.With Pixel, you can snap great pictures year-round using features like Portrait Mode, Photobooth and even Night Sight, which allows you to shoot photos of the stars. See g.co/pixel/astrophotography to learn more about astrophotography on Pixel 4.

  3. Outsmart robocalls.U.S.-based, English-speaking Pixel owners can use Call Screen on Pixel to automatically screen spam calls, so you can avoid calls from unknown numbers and limit interruptions throughout your day (Call Screen is new and may not detect all robocalls, but it will definitely try!).

  4. Try wall-mounting your Nest Mini. Nest Mini comes with wall mounting capabilities, which comes in handy if you’re short on counter space. Wall-mounting also helps you take advantage of its improved bass and full sound.

  5. Stress-free healthy cooking. If you’re trying to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, don’t sweat meal planning: Get easy inspiration from Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max. Say “Hey Google, show me recipes with spinach, lentils and tomatoes” and you’ll see ideas to scroll through, select, and follow step-by-step.

  6. Stay in touch. We could all do better at keeping in touch with loved ones. Nest Hub Max offers the option to make video calls using Google Duo, so you can catch up with mom face-to-face right from your display. 

  7. Get help with delegating. Create Assignable reminders for other members of your household, like reminding your partner to walk the dog. Face Match will show them any missed reminders automatically when they approach Hub Max. You can also use reminders to send someone a note of encouragement when they need it the most (“Hey Google, remind Kathy that she’ll do great in tomorrow’s interview”).

  8. View and share your favorite photos. Enjoy your favorite moments from Google Photos on Nest Hub Max’s 10-inch high definition screen. See a photo pop up that brings a smile to your face? Share it with one of your contacts: “Hey Google, share this photo with Mom.” Or if you see an old memory and can’t remember the location, just ask “Hey Google, where was this photo taken?”

  9. Check your Wi-Fi easily. You can use a Nest Wifi point the same way you use a Google Nest speaker. Simply say, “Hey Google, what’s my internet speed?” or “Hey Google, pause Wi-Fi for Daniel” to pause individual users’ devices at certain times, like during dinner.

  10. Have a worry-free work week.The Talk and Listen feature on Nest Hello makes it easy for busy families to keep in touch throughout the day. When you see Nest Hello start recording, you can share your status with your family members who have access to Nest Hello’s camera feed. It’ll become a quick video they can view on their phones.

  11. Keep track of deliveries. Nest Hello also detects packages for Nest Aware users—helpful if you’re expecting something important. 

  12. Choose when your cameras record. You can schedule your Nest cameras to automatically turn off on the weekends and back on again during the week (or during the time frame you prefer). To do this, turn off Home/Away assist and create your schedule

  13. Control what you save.While your Nest Cam video history automatically expires after a specific time frame depending on your Nest Aware subscription, you can also manually delete footage anytime. Simply select the “Delete video history” option in your camera’s settings.

  14. Skip the monthly gym fee.Few things are more difficult in the dead of winter than driving to a gym first thing in the morning. Choose a more  manageable routine: Pull up a workout from YouTube or Daily Burn and cast it to your TV with Chromecast, so you can sweat while the coffee is brewing. 

  15. New partners, new content.Over the past few months we’ve introduced new content partners for Chromecast and displays so you have tons of movies and TV shows to choose from based on your subscriptions, including Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Sling TV.

  16. Attention gamers! If you own a standalone Chromecast Ultra, you can play Stadia on it if you have an existing Stadia account. Link your Stadia controller to your Chromecast Ultra and you’re ready to go. For best results, connect an Ethernet cable to your Chromecast Ultra.

  17. Save on your energy bill.On your Nest Thermostat, seeing the Nest Leaf is an easy way to know you’re saving energy, and it encourages you to continually improve your savings over time. You’ll see the Leaf on your thermostat when you set a temperature that helps save energy. The more often you see a Leaf, the more you save.

  18. Enable 2-factor authentication, or migrate to a Google account. 2-factor authentication uses a secondary confirmation to make it harder for unauthorized people to access your account. Migrating to a Google account provides automatic security protections, proactive alerts about suspicious account activity and the security checkup

  19. Give your passwords a makeover.Repeating passwords makes your accounts more vulnerable to common hacks, so make sure each password you use is unique and complicated.

  20. Enlist extra protection from Chrome.When you type your credentials into a website, Chrome will now warn you if your username and password have been compromised in a data breach on some site or app. It will suggest that you change them everywhere they were used.

Cheers to a new decade—and some new gear! 

Made by Google’s 20 tips for 2020

The new year is a time for resolutions and reflection, from getting organized to creating some healthy habits. And there are more than a few ways that the tech in your home and in your pocket can help you get there. 

If you received a Made by Google device over the holidays—or you’ve owned one for a while—consider these pro tips for getting the most out of them. We’re sharing 20 fun features and tricks available across a variety of devices to try, plus expert advice for adding an extra layer of protection to your accounts across the web.

  1. Turn off distractions. With the new Focus mode, found in Pixel's device settings under "Digital Wellbeing & parental controls," you can temporarily pause and silence certain apps so you can focus on the task at hand. While you’re working out, during your commute or while you’re trying to take a moment to yourself, Focus mode gives you control over which apps you need notifications from and when.

  2. Capture one-of-a-kind photos.With Pixel, you can snap great pictures year-round using features like Portrait Mode, Photobooth and even Night Sight, which allows you to shoot photos of the stars. See g.co/pixel/astrophotography to learn more about astrophotography on Pixel 4.

  3. Outsmart robocalls.U.S.-based, English-speaking Pixel owners can use Call Screen on Pixel to automatically screen spam calls, so you can avoid calls from unknown numbers and limit interruptions throughout your day (Call Screen is new and may not detect all robocalls, but it will definitely try!).

  4. Try wall-mounting your Nest Mini. Nest Mini comes with wall mounting capabilities, which comes in handy if you’re short on counter space. Wall-mounting also helps you take advantage of its improved bass and full sound.

  5. Stress-free healthy cooking. If you’re trying to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, don’t sweat meal planning: Get easy inspiration from Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max. Say “Hey Google, show me recipes with spinach, lentils and tomatoes” and you’ll see ideas to scroll through, select, and follow step-by-step.

  6. Stay in touch. We could all do better at keeping in touch with loved ones. Nest Hub Max offers the option to make video calls using Google Duo, so you can catch up with mom face-to-face right from your display. 

  7. Get help with delegating. Create Assignable reminders for other members of your household, like reminding your partner to walk the dog. Face Match will show them any missed reminders automatically when they approach Hub Max. You can also use reminders to send someone a note of encouragement when they need it the most (“Hey Google, remind Kathy that she’ll do great in tomorrow’s interview”).

  8. View and share your favorite photos. Enjoy your favorite moments from Google Photos on Nest Hub Max’s 10-inch high definition screen. See a photo pop up that brings a smile to your face? Share it with one of your contacts: “Hey Google, share this photo with Mom.” Or if you see an old memory and can’t remember the location, just ask “Hey Google, where was this photo taken?”

  9. Check your Wi-Fi easily. You can use a Nest Wifi point the same way you use a Google Nest speaker. Simply say, “Hey Google, what’s my internet speed?” or “Hey Google, pause Wi-Fi for Daniel” to pause individual users’ devices at certain times, like during dinner.

  10. Have a worry-free work week.The Talk and Listen feature on Nest Hello makes it easy for busy families to keep in touch throughout the day. When you see Nest Hello start recording, you can share your status with your family members who have access to Nest Hello’s camera feed. It’ll become a quick video they can view on their phones.

  11. Keep track of deliveries. Nest Hello also detects packages for Nest Aware users—helpful if you’re expecting something important. 

  12. Choose when your cameras record. You can schedule your Nest cameras to automatically turn off on the weekends and back on again during the week (or during the time frame you prefer). To do this, turn off Home/Away assist and create your schedule

  13. Control what you save.While your Nest Cam video history automatically expires after a specific time frame depending on your Nest Aware subscription, you can also manually delete footage anytime. Simply select the “Delete video history” option in your camera’s settings.

  14. Skip the monthly gym fee.Few things are more difficult in the dead of winter than driving to a gym first thing in the morning. Choose a more  manageable routine: Pull up a workout from YouTube or Daily Burn and cast it to your TV with Chromecast, so you can sweat while the coffee is brewing. 

  15. New partners, new content.Over the past few months we’ve introduced new content partners for Chromecast and displays so you have tons of movies and TV shows to choose from based on your subscriptions, including Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Sling TV.

  16. Attention gamers! If you own a standalone Chromecast Ultra, you can play Stadia on it if you have an existing Stadia account. Link your Stadia controller to your Chromecast Ultra and you’re ready to go. For best results, connect an Ethernet cable to your Chromecast Ultra.

  17. Save on your energy bill.On your Nest Thermostat, seeing the Nest Leaf is an easy way to know you’re saving energy, and it encourages you to continually improve your savings over time. You’ll see the Leaf on your thermostat when you set a temperature that helps save energy. The more often you see a Leaf, the more you save.

  18. Enable 2-factor authentication, or migrate to a Google account. 2-factor authentication uses a secondary confirmation to make it harder for unauthorized people to access your account. Migrating to a Google account provides automatic security protections, proactive alerts about suspicious account activity and the security checkup

  19. Give your passwords a makeover.Repeating passwords makes your accounts more vulnerable to common hacks, so make sure each password you use is unique and complicated.

  20. Enlist extra protection from Chrome.When you type your credentials into a website, Chrome will now warn you if your username and password have been compromised in a data breach on some site or app. It will suggest that you change them everywhere they were used.

Cheers to a new decade—and some new gear! 

Source: Google Chrome


13 ways to conjure up a spooky smart home this Halloween

Growing up, I loved everything about Halloween: the candy, staying up past my bedtime and my small suburban town that came to life at night. But I always struggled with finding the right costume. I’d ask my friends and roam party stores for hours to no avail. One time, I even dressed up as “binary code”—I wore head-to-toe silver and wrote “Happy Halloween” in binary on my costume—in a moment of last-minute desperation. 

Had I worked at Google then, I’m sure this idea would have been more popular with my peers, but it didn’t quite land at the time. But thanks to the tech available today, it’s much easier to come up with a great costume idea. Now, a simple search or voice command can lead me to thousands of ideas instantly, and show me step-by-step how to recreate them myself. 

Come to think of it, technology has made so many things about Halloween easier. In celebration of that, we’re sharing 13 tips and tricks from Google Nest for Halloween—whether you’re trick-or-treating, hosting a party or staying in with a scary movie.

1. New! Enable spooky ringtones on Nest Hello.Starting today through early November, all Nest Hello users in the U.S. will have the ability to transform their doorbell chime into a cackling witch, a ghost, a vampire or a scary monster to make your front door a neighborhood destination on Halloween night. And the festive features don’t stop there: Winter ringtones are coming in late November.
2. Get costume and makeup inspiration. With Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max, you can watch YouTube videos with a simple command. For costume inspiration and DIY tips, just say “Hey Google, show me DIY Halloween costume videos,” or “show me Halloween makeup videos on YouTube,” and scroll through the list. 
3. “Hey Google, get spooky.”Say this command to one of your Google Nest speakers or displays and your device will start an hour-long playlist of “spooktacular” sounds and music to greet your trick-or-treaters or party guests.
4. Enjoy your favorite scary movie.Use Chromecast to cast your favorite scary movie to your TV (media content subscriptions may be required). To take your experience up a notch, you can create a speaker group for cast-enabled speakers around your entertainment center for room-filling sound effects, too. 
5. Get the family involved. If Grandma or Grandpa can’t see your trick-or-treaters all dressed up, simply give them a quick video call using Nest Hub Max and Duo: “Hey Google, video call Grandma.” 
6. Conquer your to-do list.Busy families have lots to prep for in the lead-up to Hallow’s Eve. As you remember things you have to do, just add them to a running list of reminders: “Hey Google, remind me to pick up cupcakes for school,” and when you head out for the day, you’ll have the reminder on your phone.
7. Add candy to your shopping list with ease.Just say, “Hey Google, create a list,” which you can then name “Candy Shopping,” and your Google Assistant will ask what you want to add. 
8. Learn a festive new recipe.Say “Hey Google, show me recipes for pan de muerto” to your Nest Hub display and see a list of traditional Day of the Dead bread recipes to choose from and follow along, completely hands-free.
9. Protect your home from Mischief Night.Nest cameras like Nest Cam Outdoor and Nest Hello notify you when activity is detected around your house, and you can talk and listen through the Nest app to deter trespassers and TP’ers. 
10. Find one-stop shopping near you.Just say, “Hey Google, show me Halloween stores nearby” to one of your smart displays to see options near you. Once you tap on one, you can say “Hey Google, call this store” to give them a ring (in the U.S., U.K., and Canada only).
11. Hear your favorite Halloween playlist in a heartbeat.Google Home Max is our smart speaker made for music lovers. Use it to blast your favorite playlist—whether your ideal Halloween tunes involve "The Monster Mash" or indie rock. 
12. Set up a ghostly guest network for your party.Using Google Wifi, you can create a separate network for your party guests and give it a fun name and password, like “Hocus Pocus.”
13. A party to remember, with help from our partners. Google Nest products work with over 30,000 partners in the U.S.—everything from smart lights to Wi-Fi plugs for smoke machines—so you can throw the ultimate Halloween party with a little help from tech.