CELL PHONE SERVICE GETS CHEAP

We love our cell phone service from Google’s new “Project Fi.” It only works with Google Nexus phones, but if you get one, your bill might be as low as $25 a month with tax.  Now they’re expanding it. Google Fi currently works with three phone carriers. If the signal is strongest from T-Mobile, for example, that’s who they’ll connect to. If Sprint is better, you’ll be using Sprint. They’ve recently added U.S. Cellular. A Google Fi account gives you unlimited text and phone calls for $20 a month. Each gigabyte of data (which is what you use up when you’re on the Web and all those words and pictures come in), is $10. But you get money back if […]

Read more

HOW’S THAT AGAIN? GETTING A TRANSLATION OFFLINE

  “Google Translate” is a free app for Android and iPhones, that can now translate 52 languages, whether you are online or off. For example: We tapped the microphone icon, then tapped “Spanish,” and said “Where is the bus station?” A voice from the phone then immediately said “Donde esta la estacio del bus?” If the person you directed this to, spoke the answer into the phone’s microphone, the phone would translate their answer into English. Joy tried Indonesian because she’s reading “Tales of a Female Nomad,” and the nomad spent most of her time there. The app solves the worst problem with the old method of using foreign language phrase books: There’s usually little trouble in speaking the phrase […]

Read more

IT’S A MARSHMALLOW WORLD

Less than five percent of Android phone owners have the new “Marshmallow” operating system. A third have the previous version, Lollipop. the rest are so far back the operating systems were written on stone tablets.

Read more

GOOGLE’S FREE MUSIC LAB

Musiclab.chromeexperiments.com is Google’s new music lab. Click on a picture, click again to add stuff to the picture and create your own music. We especially liked the rhythm section where we watched monkeys play kettle drums and triangles according to the rhythms we chose. Color it cute.

Read more

GOOGLE MAPS ADDS UBER

Google Maps is adding Uber taxi info to its maps for Android phones. You should be able to see it in the next few weeks. You’ll be able to see how many Uber cabs are nearby and what their fares are. We were hoping that the much vaunted app, “TextBer,” would let you hail an Uber cab with just a text message instead of an app, but it never got off the ground, even after reams of free publicity.

Read more

TIME TO FIND ALTERNATIVES TO BALKY BROWSERS

Your Web browser is not your operating system! Nor is it your search engine. There’s a surprising amount of confusion, and it leads to anxiety. In fact, there’s plenty of time to panic.

Read more

PERSONALIZING GMAIL

A few people send us email in a larger font. It’s easy on the eyes. But how do you make that your regular size?

Read more

GOOGLE SEARCH TIPS

Tips on Web searching have been around as long as the Web itself. But all you really need to know is this:  Start typing whatever is on your mind. The more specific you get, the better. For instance, we Googled “British pronunciation of pasta.” If we’d Googled “British pronunciations,” it would have taken a long time to find what we want. (Incidentally, the British pronounce “pasta” to rhyme with “fast-a.”) Don’t bother with the complicated search tips you read from time to time. They involve colons, minus signs and other unnecessary symbols. Just type in your query. This works especially well when someone sends you an extremely outrageous political quote. Take the first sentence, copy and paste into a search […]

Read more

GETTING A NEW PHONE

A reader pointed out that we don’t seem to do cell phones. That’s true. And the reason is they change so fast, you can become trapped into becoming a phone columnist. We don’t talk that much. But this one’s for you, dear reader struggling with Holiday decisions. If you’re in the market for a new phone, how do you decide between iPhone and Android? If you want an Android phone, which one? You hear about Apple’s iPhones all the time, and they’re nice, but Android phones are 82-percent of the market. We have a Samsung Galaxy S3. It’s still going strong after several years and we see no reason to upgrade. Our only annoyance is that some of the latest […]

Read more

FUN WITH GOOGLE MAPS

Google Maps, a free app for smart phones, is now a tour guide as well as a path finder. Tap the “Explore around you” link. Along the top of the screen you’ll see “breakfast,” “lunch,” “dinner,” “coffee,” and “drinks.” Under each meal category, you’ll see “best,” “make it fast,” and “make it cheap.” We didn’t agree with their “best” choices for lunch nearby but it also gave us alternatives.

Read more