Not Using Google Apps in Your Business? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

Cloud computing is not a new concept, but Google Apps has certainly refined the technology so that business anywhere can advantage of the accessibility, speed, and storage. The Google App suite includes some of its trademark applications that can be used to make workflow among employees more fluid. These applications also provide better methods for interaction with customers and other stakeholders. Here are just a few Google Applications businesses should take advantage of to improve their operations.

Google Reviews

Now more than ever, it is vital for businesses to get Google reviews. Reviews give your business visibility and other associated benefits. According to Podium, using Google reviews can help your business increase trust and credibility, influence purchase decisions, and can boost your local search ranking. The more Google reviews, the more the trust and credibility of the business.

This trust and credibility both depend on criteria such as authenticity, multiple reviews on the same site, and reviews on the pertinent industry. Google reviews also influence purchase decisions as they work as the impetus to push the client towards consideration to purchase. Having a high rating in Google reviews will ensure that more people buy from your business.

Google AdWords

Google AdWords is an advertising system where businesses bid on keywords that they can use for their clickable ads, which will be in Google’s search results. AdWords function faster than SEO as a marketing strategy in generating traffic and leads. An AdWords campaign that is well optimized may work more quickly for a business to obtain the coveted highest rank in the search.

AdWords is also vital in increasing brand awareness, thus boosting clicks, traffic, and conversions. According to LeadSquared, the recent improvement in AdWords has given businesses the ability to reach customers through their Gmail will increase the probability of the purchase decision. The Gmail ads are generally less costly—hence they favor small and growing businesses with low budgets.

Google My Business

Google My Business has become an online directory for listing your business. GMB also allows a business to connect with its customers. Google My Business improves the search visibility of business by including its profile in Google Maps results and other Google’s Local 3-Pack. Google’s Local 3-pack is essential for search terms that will improve a business’s visibility and increase the chance of gaining prospective customers and sales. For companies like vape shops dealing with marketing limitations, GMB is an absolutely crucial part of connecting with potential customers. GMB also allows business owners to respond to reviews and enhance the purchase decisions based on the collaboration between the business and the potential customer. In the GMB dashboard, the business owner can send feedback requisition emails that may encourage the customer to leave reviews.

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a limited social network aimed at businesses. This application has created a new technique of online marketing where meetings can be set up easily on mobile devices. One of the most practical uses of Google Hangouts for businesses has been for meeting virtually with clients, vendors, colleagues, and other stakeholders.

As an added bonus, meetings on Google Hangouts can include up to nine people. Google Hangouts also offers real-time means of conversing with customers and introducing them to new products and services. Additionally, Hangouts can be used to assist clients and instruct them when they are stuck hence improving customer retention in a business. The personal and attentive response will elicit loyalty in customers.

Gmail

Gmail, Google’s flagship email application, is the most popular of their apps. Not only is Gmail easy to use, but the integration of Google App in Gmail allows businesses to function efficiently. Many businesses have found that Gmail is a vital tool for streamlining the internal communication of a business. Gmail is so robust that it can easily be accessed via the browser, mobile devices, and IMAP clients.

Gmail can also help businesses that are struggling to communicate with their employees, customers, and stakeholders through its “threads” feature. Gmail also allows a business to send multiple emails to existing and potential customers. This personal form of communication will ensure loyalty in the current customer and the potentiality of purchase in the prospective customers.

Google Docs

The Google Docs application enhances collaboration and project management in businesses. It allows multiple users to create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. According to Workep, Google Docs enables coworkers, customers, and other stakeholders to share documents as attachments in emails and view without any hassle.

Additionally, Google Docs allows a business to easily send their bids or presentations for a project. It’s easy to use and enables people with different extent of computer skills to effectively use the apps. Teams in an organization can also collaborate, even when working from different locations due to the ease of document access.

Google Drive

Google Drive is essential for backing up files where they can easily be accessed and protected from malicious use. Google Drive also allows for teamwork and extensive collaboration. Google Drive can be used to manage projects through shared documents and communication. Team members can share files with experts and consultants and track the changes in the documents in real-time. Google Drive allows you to create editorial calendars if the company is using blogging as a marketing technique. The calendar can be created and edited easily to track the schedule and ensure that appointments are on time. Google Drive can be used to create forms and surveys for registrations of customers.

Google Sites

Google sites are tools used for building private intranet hubs for business. Intranets are useful for team correspondence and segregation of internal communication. Google Sites can also be used to create sites for the public domain that can be used to enhance the face of the business. They incorporate important features such as importing data from other applications.

Data from the appointment calendar may be used to schedule projects, while data from client forms may be vital in creating ad campaigns. Another great thing about Google Sites is that this app can integrate some features that will give the employees administrative capabilities. Employees may be able to edit and post information to the sites.

With all of these tools that Google has come up with, it’s easier than ever to build up your business using the internet. If you’re looking to improve your operations or make things run more smoothly with cloud computing, these applications might just be the solution for you.

Here’s another article you might like: How Technology Can Make Employee Training More Effective

Which Streaming Device is Right for You?

These days many households have been switching over to streaming media devices for their entertainment needs. These devices are allowing some individuals to cut out cable or satellite service and rely on other options to save money. They also provide flexibility in terms of what people can watch and when they watch it. With that said, which of the streaming devices is the best to use?

Amazon’s Fire TV Stick

Image Courtesy of TechNewsGadget

Fire TV Stick is small, affordable and includes a lot of features. It allows viewers to install channels (or apps), games, and skills that they want. These include free channels or popular subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, or Sling TV, and streaming music channels. The newest Fire TV Stick also includes a remote that can activate “Alexa” the helpful voice assistant.

With Alexa, viewers are able to control the Fire TV device using voice commands. In addition, some smart home functions are controllable such as lights, or the ability to view security camera or baby monitor (sold separately) feeds on the screen. The Fire TV is also great for Amazon Prime members who want to tap into their music, as well as free movies on the device!

Apple’s streaming device

Image Courtesy of AT&T Experience

Apple TV is also one of the best streaming media devices around. The device is built for those who are avid iPhone, iPad, Macbook, and iTunes users. The device easily allows owners of these products (including iTunes music and videos) to integrate all of their media. It can be activated from the device’s screens.

The latest device includes a super slim remote control which can turn a television on and off, adjust volume, and even activate Siri voice assistant. In addition to that, there are the possibilities to stream content from an iPhone, iPad, or Macbook device right to the TV screen using Apple TV features.

The device also allows for Apple Home integration. That enables homeowners to use their device to control lights, adjust thermostats, view camera feeds, and much more in their home. Not bad for a device initially made for watching movies and videos or listening to music!

The Google Chromecast

Image Courtesy of Google

The Google Chromecast is a very affordable streaming device. The Chromecast will allow for integration of Google Play Store purchases such as music, movies, or TV episodes. However, it’s important to note that to watch content on a Chromecast, it requires streaming content from a capable phone, tablet, or laptop browser. Unlike the Fire TV Stick or Apple TV, content isn’t “installed” on the Chromecast.

Chromecast owners can stream subscription-based channels like Sling TV, Netflix, Hulu, and other options. However, Apple and Amazon offer products that hook right up to the TV and don’t require streaming from a phone, tablet, or computer to use them. Still, Chromecast is an affordable option for those who don’t mind using their phone or other devices.

Choosing the Best Device

When it comes down to it, the best device for a household may come down to brand loyalty. Loyal fans of Apple and iOS will want the Apple TV for how well it works with their products and content. The same goes for Amazon Prime members with the Fire TV device, or Google/Android fans with the Chromecast. Having familiarity with these companies’ other devices will go a long way in terms of making these streaming devices fit right in for home entertainment!

 

GNARBOX 2.0: Back-up and Edit Video On the Fly Sans Laptop or Device

If you’ve ever gotten extremely frustrated over losing a “moment” while transferring footage to your laptop to make room in your card or device, then Gnarbox 2.0 is the perfect solution to your problem. After the original Gnarbox successfully debuted on Kickstarter in 2015, its developers lost no time in creating an improved version based on the feedback from its users. It’s now back on Kickstarter with the campaign already exceeding its funding target.

Backing up files is such a necessary task in the photography and video workflow – when you think about it, there’s no way product without intact files. However, enthusiastic users can miscalculate just how much they can store. Increasing the megapixels or changing the capture output can quickly fill up your drive. Another important thing to consider is that when on the go, conditions are unpredictable (inhospitable actually!) so you need a back-up that is rugged, shockproof, and waterproof.

If you are an occassional user, storage is the least of your worries and you can just focus on shooting indelible Kodak moments. But if you had taken an incredible amount of footage and you have no time to edit or make sense of any of it, you do need the portable Gnarbox! Download your videos while on the go through SD or microSD to this 128 GB (expandable) storage solution without needing your smartphone or laptop. Aside from being the go-to ready device, you can edit photos and even 4K video and export to social media.

One touch backup with Checksum Verification and fast transfers (75MB/s SD to 450MB/s USB-C)to pre-set folder trees makes the once tedious job of backing-up fast and easy.  Data is organized by date and camera. Now selling at $250 at Amazon or through Kickstarter, it is compatible with Android and iOS (not Windows), DSLRs, action cameras and drones. Compatible with Action Cameras, DSLRs, and Drones.

Another way to look at it is to see it as a “standalone” computer with its own editing software. It is connected through Wi-Fi and can be expanded to 1 Terabyte harddrive. Whether you are a hoarder of footage or one who meticulously reviews and deletes everything except the choicest morsels to string together into an amazing video, the Gnarbox has a place in your travel knapsack.

The essence of going on vacay is to unwind and there’s practically no point in bringing a laptop. But for the more demanding who find editing on smartphone tacky, the Gnarbox is a reasonable compromise robust enough to bridge your needs from the field to the studio. It is equipped with tools to:

  • safekeep
  • select
  • sequence and render (with rough cuts and transitions) and
  • showcase on any HDMI enabled screen.

With Adobe Premiere, Lightroom, Dropbox, and LumaFusion integrations this sleek box has become more powerful. It definitely is not a replacement for your favorite editing suite but in the field, it does an amazing job and cuts down the time you eventually spend on editing!

No Screenshot Notifications For Your Instagram Stories

Instagram has stopped testing the screenshot notification for when users take a screenshot of your Story.

Back in February, the world got spooked. Not because of some natural disaster or a violent war. It was because Instagram started testing screenshot notifications for stories. The photo-sharing social network didn’t specify who and which part of the world were being tested either. Only that it was a “small group of people”.

“We are always testing ways to improve the experience on Instagram and make it easier to share any moment with the people who matter to you,” Instagram said at the time.

Users who tried to take screenshot got a warning the first time they did the “the deed”. “Next time you take a screenshot or screen recording, the person who posted the story will be able to see it.” 

It then showed a unique symbol in the viewer list for those friends who took a snap of your story. This is unlike Snapchat who actually sends out a notification when a screenshot is taken on a public or a private story.

But now, we all can breath again. The Facebook-owned service has released a statement to Buzzfeed News about its decision to terminate the test. This ends the months-long speculation of whether your snooping days are over.

The company however, did not elaborate on why it decided not to roll out the feature. But it likely had to do with user engagement. Care to make some guesses?

 

The 2009 iPhone 3GS Is Back and Its Only $40!

At least is South Korea, that is.

The iPhone 3GS was first unveiled in June 2009 (I feel so old now) and was discontinued in 2012. Now, it will be made available in South Korea for 44,000 won or about $40 without contract.

According to ETNews, the phones were found still in their boxes stored in a warehouse. And no, they are not refurbished phones. These were part of the original stock and are still untouched. But because they were left there for almost a decade, SK Telink will check the devices one by one to make sure the batteries are working. They will then be repackaged and sold.

According to the company, “the iPhone 3GS has been launched to celebrate the opening of the SK Seven mobile online mall while expanding the selection of consumer smartphones.”

It did not specify how many units are going to be available for sale.

It is important to note that the iPhone 3GS only supports up to iOS 6. This means a lot of the new features will not be available and some apps will not be supported. This includes iMessages (gasp!).

For those who are used to the current phones, the 2009 iPhone will definitely be slow in comparison. If the phone breaks, having it repaired may not be as easy as it was before too.

But still, for $40, it’s quite a steal for something you can use for phone calls and the occasional light browsing. At least if you happen to be in South Korea.

Will Nintendo Switch Soon Have Loot Boxes?

Nintendo US boss Reggie Fils-Aime thinks loot boxes aren’t that bad.

At the recent E3, Nintendo US boss Reggie Fils-Aime discussed several topics including loot boxes. These micro-transactions are recently being seen in a not-so-favourable manner where players pay without knowing what they’re getting.

He thinks loot boxes have a “bad rap” and other developers have “made some mistakes” when it comes to paid digital content.

“The game mechanic of buying something that you’re not sure what’s inside is as old as baseball cards,” he told Bloomberg.

“What we believe at Nintendo is that a gameplay mechanic that offers the consumer something to buy that they’re not sure what’s inside can be interesting as long as that’s not the only way you can get those items.

“And that’s where some developers have made some mistakes. For us, its one of many mechanics we can use to drive on-going engagement in the game.”

We’re not sure if this means the Switch will have loot boxes or something similar in the future. But with its stance on the subject, it’s clear that the company isn’t averse to the idea.

In other news, when asked about Netflix and YouTube coming to Nintendo Switch, he confirmed that they will “come in due time”.

“When we launched the Switch, we were very clear we wanted to position the device as a game-playing device. We’ve done that, and so you’ve seen Hulu for example come on to the platform. In terms of other services, the conversations are on-going. We’ve got nothing to announce right now. But certainly those opportunities will come in due time.”

 

Microsoft Takes On Amazon With Its Own Cashier-less Stores

Amazon may soon be facing some competition from Microsoft who’s reportedly developing tech for cashier-less shopping.

Image Credit: ABC News

Microsoft is reportedly developing a technology that track what items people pick up while shopping. Sound’s familiar? Does Amazon Go ring any bell?

Reuters reports that the tech giant has already presented a sample technology to retailers around the world. It is also apparently in talks with Walmart about a potential collaboration.

Another source claims that Redmond-based AVA Retail, which develops technology to collect data about shoppers in stores, says it is working with Microsoft.

Microsoft’s interest on this kind of technology is not really a secret.

The company already runs what it calls the Retail Experience Center near its Redmond office. The place is meant to showcase its products and serve as a testing environment for its business-sales groups. A tour in the facility in 2016 showed Bluetooth beacons that allows it to track customers’ movements. A year earlier, Microsoft also showed how a store can keep track of what customers pick up using tech from its Kinect motion sensor.

Amazon Go, Amazon’s first cashier-less shop which opened in Seattle this year, works similarly. Customers use an app and combined technologies like computer vision, sensor fusion, deep learning and cameras to keep track of their movements.

Forrester analyst Sucharita Kodali noted that Walmart working with Microsoft is definitely a possibility. “Will they be able to actually offer something that works?  Who knows … too early to tell. But it’s a great idea and what Walmart cannot ignore.”

 

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Best Budget TV Gift for Father’s Day: TCL 6 Series Roku TV

If you are crazy about Netflix, Youtube, and an almost endless array of shows that you can watch till your eyes drop, then you would appreciate a really good-sized TV with crisp images in colors that pop and sound that sounds like the action was live in your living room. But for those who aren’t very techie, shopping for just the right smart TV is not just about selecting a brand – it’s also deciphering the nuances between LCD, LED, OLED, 4K, HDTV, Full HD etc. because of the huge markup with every upgrade. With cameras, I belong to the school of thought that it’s not the number of Megapixels that matter unless your output is large format. It’s also more prudent since the higher the megapixels, the more expensive the camera gets.  In a similar vein, if you get a lot of pleasure from buying more for less (without, the TCL 6 Series Roku TV will absolutely win over your bargain-hunter heart!

Most experts agree that 50″ or 55″ is a good size for the bedroom or living room in an average-sized home, apartment or condominium. Big enough for a comfortable watch without burning a hole in your pocket like theater homes in the past used to. The TCL 6 Series Roku 55″ TV, considered by experts and users alike as best in the budget class because of its high-end picture enhancements is priced at $649 – about half the price of a Samsung TV. Yet, it does not perform shabbily like other mid-priced generic brands do. With its outstanding picture quality, it’s true value for money with its 4K UHD picture and Dolby sound! What it means is you can say goodbye to lack of detail, humdrum colors or muddy black and whites because of its Contrast Control Zone technology and NBP Photon technology produces “produces a vibrant, rich color palette“. On top of that, Dolby Vision ensures “brighter and more accurate colors”.  And did we forget to mention – it’s great for gaming too!

TCL, once an obscure Chinese brand has now gained a foothold in North America because of its reliable performance and is now the 2nd top-selling brand in the U.S. market and 3rd globally. This growth echoes that of the Korean brand Samsung and if TCL continues this trend without hiccups, it might eventually overtake Samsung for the top spot. At its very competitive price, it is shaking up the smart TV market (and budget American competitor Vizio) for all the right reasons.

And if you’ve experienced the paradox of choice and grown impatient at finding the program you want, the Roku TV smart platform with its “simple intuitive interface” brings all your favorite programs at your fingertips.  With TCL’s simple and straightforward Roku software, you can watch thousands of streaming channels beaming all your favorite news, sports, tech, documentaries, lifestyle, fitness, music, kids, and family shows easily. No more wading through the gamut of 500,000 choices in utter frustration because features are well-arranged and streaming options are easy to find. It’s also cable and antenna-ready, just in case you want it that way. The great thing is that it’s voice-activated and can turn your smartphone into your very own remote control.

Perfect for Father’s Day? You betcha!

 

 

 

How to Watch the 2018 Fifa World Cup Online For Free

Here’s a quick roundup of where you can watch the 2018 Fifa World Cup online without paying.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off today in Russia. The world’s biggest soccer tournament will run over the course of the next month and will culminate on July 15th.

There will be 32 teams from around the world competing for the championship. The first match featured Russia versus Saudi Arabia with the latter winning 5-0. Russia’s victory makes them the second biggest win ever by a host country in an opening match.

Are you a fan? Here’s a list of on how to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup:

On TV

If you have satellite or cable TV, look for your local Fox station or Fox Sports. As long as you have a digital antenna, you are able to watch over-the-air broadcasts of networks like ABC and Fox. Fox is dividing the matches between the two channels, 38 major games will air on Fox while the rest will broadcast on Fox Sports.

Telemundo also shows Spanish broadcasts of the games for free.

Online Streaming

All the World Cup games are available for streaming at Fox Sports website or Fox Sports Go app. Its free to download and watch through the app. However, you need to be logged in with a pay TV provider to access it.

Telemundo announced that everybody are watch the games online for free until the 25th of June. Just visit  TelemundoDeportes.com or with the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo.

And of course, we have the live-streaming TV services which lets you watch the World Cup online. These include YouTube TV, Hulu Live, Playstation Vue, DirectTV Now, Fubo TV and Sling TV. These services offer a free trial period of around one week, so now is the best time to sign up. Just remember to cancel the service before your trial runs out! 😉

 

A Google Podcasts App May Soon Be Launched

A dedicated app for podcasts may soon be available on the Google PlayStore.

According to the folks in 9to5Google, the search giant is planning to have its own Google Podcasts app.

In the last few months, Google has really been pushing for more presence in the podcast universe. And this move will definitely help them gain more traction. In 2009, it launched an app called Listen, which was its first attempt at a podcast player. However, it did not live long enough and was completely shutdown in three years later.

Currently, Google has been building out a podcast client within the standard Google app. However, it is not easy to access. The company is apparently trying to change that with an actual Android app.

9to5Google spotted a snipped of code in the latest Google app which shows an inactive prompt which asks users to “Get the Google Podcasts app.”

Currently the app is not live yet but the folks at 9to5Google thinks you will be able to access the app HERE once it does.

Besides the code, they also saw a logo for the Google Podcasts app made of the iconic Google colours.

Image Source: 9to5Google

Pretty cool eh?

 

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