Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Easily Find Royalty Free Images Using Google Apps

With seemingly every social media platform out there switching to an "Instragram style" image view, and mounting statistics showing that image posts result in better engagement, having lots of images available for social media use has become even more important over time. However, for companies with little budget to pay image royalties, this has been a problem. Being able to efficiently find royalty images is key for these organizations. Fortunately, Google Apps is here to help. The ability to search for royalty images is built into the Google Apps Image feature. It can be a significant timesaver, and a money saver as well.

To try this feature, open a Google Doc and choose Insert > Image. Once there, you'll have a number of options including uploading an image, pasting an image URL, or searching. Choose Search and you'll notice that there's a line of text below the search box that reads, "Results shown are labeled for commercial reuse with modification." (If you'd like to know more about the finer details, you can read the longer version of the explanation.)

To make it even easier, the search results show an image preview and you can quickly scroll through pages of results. You can also use colour or image type to further filter the results. This is super handy if you're looking not just for a type of image, but also one that matches your aesthetic.

But Google Docs aren't the only way to use this feature. It's also available in other Google Apps. For example, you might be in a Slides presentation and you can insert or replace images using the same feature (replace maintains the setting you've chosen and swaps in a new image). If you think the availability of images is holding you back, try this feature and you'll be amazed at the variety of quality of royalty-free images are waiting for you.

BTW -- I discovered this feature by watching the Google for Work App Show, so I'll give them a shout out.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Best Add-ons for Google Apps, Google Docs and Google Sheets

There are many lists out there of the best add-ons for Google Apps, To make it easier to find them, I thought I'd make a meta-post with a list of lists of Google Apps add-ons.

One thing I've noticed about these lists is that Lucidchart Diagrams appears many times. I'm going to have to try that one.

And, of course, the list wouldn't be complete without the official Google Apps for Work Marketplace and the Google Add-ons Developer page.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Google 2-Step Verification Gets Easier

Google recently announced that they're providing a new pop-up acceptance option for Google 2-Step authentication on Android devices. Many people are already using 2-Step (or two factor) authentication, but if you're not familiar, it's a vastly more secure option. Instead of providing a password when you use Google authentication, you need both the password and a verification code. Some systems text the code to your phone, and some (including Google) also offer an app to get your security codes. What it boils down to is that for someone to break into your account, they would need not just password, but also physical access to your unlocked phone--that's clearly a much higher bar. You can read about Google's version of 2-Step authentication on their site.

As a big believer in the added security of 2-Step verification, I am happy about this update to Google Accounts and Android's Google Play Services. Prior to this upgrade, I would have to open the Google Authenticator app each time I used Google authentication for an app on my phone. It's not a huge hassle, but it's enough to put some people off using two factor security.

Instead of using the additional app, Google is providing a pop-up acceptance option in Android. This removes the need for an extra app and makes the whole experience quick and simple. If you're not using 2-Step authentication, I highly recommend you try it out. This enhancement pretty much removes the last argument against the added security you get with 2-Step.