WIT: Silicon Valley poll: Women face daunting roadblocks in male-dominated tech

Pay gaps, harassment and a restroom three floors down.

By Katy Murphy of BayAreaNews

Women in the Bay Area’s male-dominated tech world have a strikingly dimmer view of gender equality at work than women in other sectors, according to a new poll that offers the deepest look to date at local employees’ attitudes on pay parity, workplace opportunity and sexual harassment.

In an industry whose sexist reputation is dramatized in court cases and parodied in situation comedies, women in tech say the obstacles they face are all too real: Half of those polled said they feel women have fewer opportunities for advancement at their current workplaces than men, and 43 percent said they are paid less. In contrast, fewer than one-third of Bay Area women outside of tech felt held back or underpaid because of their gender.

Months after the #MeToo movement began to topple power brokers from Hollywood to Congress, the poll found that women in tech were far more likely than women elsewhere to say they had been subjected to unwelcome sexual advances or harassment at work, with more than 4 in 10 saying they had been harassed at their current jobs. Despite those experiences, women in tech, like two-thirds of all respondents, believe the national reckoning will bring lasting change.

The findings of the poll, conducted for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and this news organization, point to the roadblocks, both glaring and subtle, that gender researchers say still await many women at work — particularly in tech, one of the most dynamic and lucrative slices of the economy.

Women remain so vastly outnumbered in this notoriously male-centric industry that writer Emily Chang called it a “Brotopia” in her new book about Silicon Valley. And the string of recent grievances relating to tech’s treatment of women runs from Susan Fowler’s viral account last year of the sexism and harassment she experienced as an engineer at Uber to the uproar over the case of fired Google engineer James Damore, who wrote a memo suggesting biological differences might partly explain the lack of women in tech.

“Women leave the tech industry not necessarily because there wasn’t good maternity leave or flexible work schedules,” said Gwen K. Young, who directs the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Wilson Center, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. “They say it’s the culture and the way men treat them.”

Alicia Lent, a 24-year-old engineer in the semiconductor industry, will never forget the day she went to teach a class in a sprawling factory and asked where the restroom was.

“They said, ‘Oh yeah, the closest women’s bathroom is three stories down,’ because they converted the women’s bathroom to a men’s bathroom,” she said. “They said there’s not enough women to justify a women’s bathroom on every floor.”

Lent felt being a computer science major in college — where she was sometimes the only woman in the class — not only imparted technical know-how, she said, it helped her “bulk up” for the reality of the workforce, where today she is one of two women on a team of 12 people, a job she enjoys. When working in pairs in college, she said, “I felt like I had to do good or no one would trust a woman as a lab partner again.”

Researchers say such experiences are typical in male-dominated departments and industries such as tech. The share of women earning undergraduate degrees in computer science fell dramatically after the 1980s and has since held steady at around 20 percent, a worrisome figure for those pushing for gender parity in the industry.

Stanford and UC Berkeley have begun to reverse the trend on their campuses, in part by making introductory computer science courses accessible to those with no previous programming experience. John DeNero, an assistant teaching professor who helped develop the new courses at UC Berkeley, said he is encouraged by how easily the female graduates he knows are landing entry-level jobs in tech.
When they go out to look for work, he said, “They are highly sought after.”
But mid-career women often encounter stagnation, researchers say.

national study of female scientists and engineers led by UC Hastings law school professor Joan C. Williams suggested that bias pushed women out of the STEM workforce, with two-thirds of women saying they were required to prove themselves repeatedly and the same share having their commitment and competence questioned after having children. Nearly half of the black and Latina women in the study said they had been mistaken for administrative or custodial employees.

Of Fortune 500’s 20 biggest Bay Area tech companies ranked by revenue, just one — Oracle — has a woman in charge: Safra Catz, who shares the title of CEO with Mark Hurd. Last week , the prominent venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz hired its first-ever female general partner, former federal prosecutor and cryptocurrency expert Katie Haun.

Danielle Rhinehart, 35, of San Jose, has held an array of jobs in tech, from office manager to entertainment coordinator. She says she would love to do something more creative but has sometimes felt pigeon-holed — a circumstance she isn’t sure whether to attribute to her gender or to a narrow view of the type of administrative positions through which women often start at major tech companies.

“The more I talk to other women in this industry and others, just professional working women,” she said, “that’s the theme I hear — getting stuck in an administrative role, not being able to be seen as something more.”

The new poll also highlights a disconnect between the sexes over the perception of gender inequality. Just 26 percent of men in tech polled said they thought women lacked the same opportunities for advancement as men in their current workplaces, compared to 50 percent of women in the same sector.

Overall, 35 percent of women and 24 percent of men polled believed women had fewer opportunities where they work than men, findings in line with a recent national survey.

“I don’t think there’s companies right now that are going deliberately out of their way to make sure a girl doesn’t get the job strictly because she’s a girl,” said Rohit Basu, a 21-year-old economics major from Brentwood who is doing a data analytics internship at a local company this summer. “I think it comes down to the skills you have.”

Anthony Defreitas, a 33-year-old software engineer from San Mateo whose team of 20 includes five women, said he believes women at the places he has worked have been treated fairly. He said he hadn’t heard otherwise or witnessed overt discrimination. Still, he thinks companies like his might approach problem-solving differently with more women at the table.

“It’s not uncommon for there to be only one or two women in a room of about a dozen people,” Defreitas said. “I’ve thought at times, ‘If I were the only guy in this meeting, how would I feel?’ ”

Gender equity experts say it is important for managers to listen to the experiences of women and other minority groups at work and to take a closer look at policies — such as job descriptions, performance reviews and task assignments — they might mistakenly assume to be objective.

“Sometimes they’re just shocked. They didn’t realize all of that was going on,” said Catherine Ashcraft, director of research at the National Center for Women & Information Technology, which works with Google, Apple, Intel and other leading tech firms on diversity initiatives.

The poll did find an overwhelming belief — among tech workers and those in other fields — that the changes propelled by the #MeToo movement are here to stay. About two-thirds of those surveyed, including 71 percent of women under 40, predicted the recent attention to the problem of sexual harassment would bring lasting change, slightly higher than the findings of a similarly worded national poll earlier this year.

Kimberly Chun, a journalist-turned-user-experience writer in her late 40s who lives in Alameda, is hopeful. #MeToo seems to be re-shaping the public’s perceptions of harassment, she said, by shining a light on “outrageous allegations of bad behavior” and encouraging people to share their experiences and outrage on social media.

Chun described a flurry of impromptu conversations about sexual harassment and gender discrimination at work after the movement exploded last fall, with a push to create changes in the office. It was energizing, she said. But, she noted, “I don’t see more female vice presidents or leaders at my company.”

Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, said the poll’s finding about the lasting impact of the #MeToo movement was heartening, but only to a point.

“We have to build on that optimism with specific goals and a plan to get there,” he said, “and whether it’s a for-profit company or a nonprofit like ours, we can’t just pretend or hope or be optimistic that it will get better.”

Do you feel any progress has been made with gender equality in the Tech Sector? Sound off in the comments below!

Weekly Round Up 6/29/18

 

I guess anything is better than nothing….
WHAT ARE THE UK’S PLANS FOR LEGISLATING CHILDREN’S USE OF TECHNOLOGY?

Facebook, of course, is selling out people for a quick buck….
Tech companies quietly work with ICE as border crisis continues

….and then turns around and pretends to care.
Tech condemns Trump: Apple, Microsoft, Airbnb oppose separating families at the border

I like the idea of education as a service….
7 CRUCIAL EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY TRENDS FOR THE LAST 5 YEARS

This makes me very happy…
Sesame Workshop to create new children’s TV shows for Apple

I feel like this really isn’t news to us women in the tech field…I just might file this story under “Duh!”
Tech’s leaky pipeline: Sexual harassment in college forcing women out?

Great. Now we can pay them directly for stealing our data.
Facebook is testing subscriptions for private groups, where you pay as much as $30/month for access to exclusive content

As morbid as this sounds, it’s really a good Idea.
How to prepare your Google account for when you pass away

Weekly Round Up 4/20/18

 

To echo yesterday’s article, Apple should start it’s own school…
The Classroom of Tomorrow Takes its Cues From Tech Startups

To be honest, AR freaks me out. I had to stop watching WestWorld for just that reason.
Tribeca Film Festival has everything a geek could wish for

 


I’m starting to sense a theme with these festivals…

How 3 Brands Brought Tech to Life at Coachella

 

And Apple’s gonna spend the next 5 years playing catch up…
Tech’s Hollywood Takeover: Amazon Reboots ‘Citizen Kane’ and ‘E.T.’ Studio

Finally, some good news about tech this week…
What’s tech got to do with political activism? Everything.

 

Can’t wait to see what Comey’s Memos say about this…
Facebook, Microsoft, and other tech companies pledge to never help governments launch cyberattacks

 

Can they not go one day without being in effin’ the news?!
Facebook Really Wants to Bring Back Its Face-Scanning Tech in Europe. Problem Is, It Might Be Illegal.

 

I did!
How To Get A Career In Tech Without A Technical Degree

App of the Week: Couch to 5K

The Good, The Bad, & How to Know if this Training Plan is Right for You.

By Heather Gannoe of Relentless Forward Commotion

If you’ve toyed with the idea of starting to run, or have a friend who has recently taken up running, chances are you’ve heard of the Couch to 5K program.   But if you haven’t: the Couch to 5k is a wildly popular training program that is designed to take a non-runner from a sedentary lifestyle to running a 5k distance race in just nine weeks. Designed by Josh Clark, and originally published on the training website Cool Running, the Couch to 5k program has claimed to help thousands of people become runners and has blossomed into a running movement of its own.  

The training plan consists of just three days of training sessions per week, for a total of nine weeks. Each session consists of running and walking intervals, measured by time or distance, progressing forward with the final goal of running either a 5k or 30 minutes, without walking. If you are thinking of using the Couch to 5k program to help get you started on your running journey, consider the following pros and cons to this plan.

The Good:

Does the thought of running for more than a minute terrify you?  Then this training program is perfect for you.  The Couch to 5k program starts off with short intervals of running combined with generous walking breaks, which is an ideal introduction to running both physically, and mentally  (for example, day # 1 includes the following:  “Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes”).  Josh Clark states in his training program: “Too many people have been turned off of running simply by trying to start off too fast. ” Having specific, short distance or time goals prevents the participant from doing too much, too soon, which in turn prevents mental burnout and injury.

There has always been a bit of a stigma behind walking vs. running, but don’t let it bother you.   Studies show that a combination of running and walking has been shown to help prevent injuries while building physical endurance and running distance, as well as helping to prevent muscular fatigue.   So you are not any less of a ‘badass” for taking walking breaks; quite the contrary, you are a smart runner!

Further, some amazing athletes are well known for their run/walk methods.  Ultra runners (we are talking the people who run 100 + miles at once!)  are notorious for it.  And most famously, this style of training has been made very popular by former Olympic runner Jeff Galloway, who uses the run/walk method to train participants of all levels to run distances up to a marathon and beyond. The Couch to 5k program is variable in the sense that participants may choose to follow the plan by either distance or time. Each training session lists running and walking intervals by time or by distance, depending on the participant’s goal. This is helpful for those who are unable to measure the distance they run, or who may have time constraints on their training sessions.

The Bad:

Though the creators of the Couch to 5k program claim that it is for almost everyone, it might not actually be for everyone. Depending on many factors, such as health conditions, or even previous fitness experience, many beginners may find the couch to 5k training program too aggressive. Many beginning runners may find certain weeks include an increase in running distance that proves to be too difficult, and that week may need to be repeated. For example, on training day number three of week five of the program, participants are suggested to run two miles straight without a walk break. This is a significant increase from the three quarter mile interval run, with  half mile walk breaks, the session before. The Couch to 5k program encourages runners to repeat a week if necessary. However, the claim of getting participants off of the couch and onto running a 5k in only nine weeks may become frustrating to some who find they need to repeat a week.

On the other hand, some beginning runners may find the Couch to 5k program not aggressive enough. The Couch to 5k program discourages participants from skipping ahead, which can also prove to be frustrating for those who feel they are capable of doing more.

Conclusion:

Overall, the Couch to 5k training program is a very basic training guide that can be utilized by almost anyone. Even if the full nine week training program is not ideal for all participants, the Couch to 5k program may prove to be a useful starting point for someone looking to start running. The training plan can be found free on the Cool Running website and through the Facebook support page.  In addition, Couch to 5k apps are available to download to your smart phone or tablet, to help you keep track of your training.

Couchto5K is available to download for $2.99 for iOS and Android.

Do you have a favorite running app? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Weekly Round Up 4/13/18

 

 

Acting like an entitled douche bag didn’t help F*ckerberg’s case when he appeared in front of Congress this week, either.
Facebook is the least-trusted tech company by a country mile

This is some scary sh*t people…
I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes.

Facebook is the front runner right now, but time will tell.
Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft: Which Tech Giant Will Fall First?

Touche’
Here’s why tech companies abuse our data: because we let them

Maybe if they add more female leadership? Just a thought…
How to fix the big tech backlash? Build companies with purpose

Oracle gets it.
Tech Moves: Jenny Lam joins Oracle as design SVP; Starbucks engineering VP joins DefinedCrowd; and more

Here’s an idea…how about we celebrate these companies when they eliminate the pay gap altogether?
12 tech companies with the smallest pay gaps

I swear to God, if there is a way to milk money out of a fence post, these guys would probably do it.
Big tech companies think they can make a lot of money from the world’s unbanked

App of the Week: Out of Milk

Out of Milk, the popular shopping list app, just added support for Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

By Ryne Hager of Android Police

There are a lot of shopping list apps out there, and that’s an understatement. Back in the early days of app development, shopping lists were one of the most popular simple projects, and even now people learning the ropes typically toss one together. But Out of Milk has stood the test of time for the last seven years. And now managing your shopping list is getting just a bit more convenient via the new Out of Milk voice assistant, which works with both Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant.

There are a couple of steps you’ll have to make to get things working as they should. The full instructions for Google Home are here (and Alexa instructions are here), but remember that the Out of Milk voice assistant requires you to use an account created on the Out of Milk app or website. Once it’s set up you’ll be able to yell at your assistant of choice and make use of the following features:

• Add and remove items to a list (e.g. “Add rice to my list.”)
• Include the quantity of an item on a list (e.g. “Add two gallons of milk to my list.”)
• Add multiple items at once to a list ( “Add bananas, cereal, & butter to my list.”)
• Check which list their editing (e.g. “Which list am I in?”)
• Switch between existing lists (e.g. “Switch to my ‘Walmart’ list.”)
• Read off items on a list (e.g. “What is on my current list?”)
• Read off all lists (e.g. “What lists do I have?”)

If you haven’t used Out of Milk, it’s pretty nifty. It allows you to add items to lists synced with other devices as well as friends or family. And you don’t just have to type or dictate, it can also scan barcodes. So the next time you toss out an empty bottle or box, you can quickly make sure you’ll grab it on your next shopping trip.

 

 

Ready to give things a try?

You can download Out of Milk at Google Play and iTunes.

Do you have a favorite App for Grocery Shopping? Tell us about it in the comments below!

How to: Master Microsoft Word

 

 

By Thorin Klosowski of Lifehacker

Microsoft Word is easily the biggest, most popular word processing program available, but it does a lot more than just edit text and TPS reports. If you’ve been telling yourself that you’ll finally learn Word’s ins and outs, now’s the time to actually learn how to edit styles, add a table of contents, and more.

Get Up and Running with Word Quickly

 

Of all of the Microsoft Office programs, Microsoft Word is probably the simplest from a user interface perspective. If you’ve ever used a word processing program in your life, you’ll recognize the menus for opening and creating files in the top left corner. The larger menu that runs across the top of the document Microsoft refers to as the “ribbon.” The ribbon has all the formatting tools you’ll need, as well as a few contextual commands that change depending on which tab you’re on.

For this series, we’ll assume you know the basics, but if you want a refresher, Microsoft’s quick start guide for Word gets you through the basics.

How to Do the Most Common, Essential Tasks in Microsoft Word

Of course, everyone’s needs are a little different, but considering most people use Office in an office setting, we’re willing to bet you’ll need to do things like edit styles, compare two documents, prepare a table of contents, and more.Let’s go ahead and cover some of those common tasks.

How to Apply and Edit Styles

A style in Word is a preset formatting for your document. This is what the document looks like, so it includes the font, font size, paragraph style, and so on. Creating or changing a style makes it possible to alter the look of a document all at once so you don’t need to go through and highlight individual sections and make specific changes. You can do things like set a universal heading style,or change what the default bulleted list looks like.

For example, if you’re working on a book, you might get a list of style guidelines from a publisher. Or if you’re working on weekly interoffice memos, a style is an easy to way to create a format guideline so every one you make looks the same way every time. Plus, you get the flexibility to change styles at any time, so if one department likes their memos one way, but your boss prefers a different style, you don’t have to change a bunch of formatting every time you open a new document.

To apply a style, make sure you’re on the Home tab, select a block of text in a document that you want to alter, and then click the Style menu in the ribbon. For example, if you want to make a heading in the middle of a block of text, you’d select the text you want as a heading, then click Styles > Heading 1. It’s as easy as that.

Making your own specific styles is pretty easy too. This is useful when you’re writing something consistently, like a newsletter or a book, and want a specific set of rules you can easily apply to a document as a whole. For example, you might want to change the font size of the default heading option, or change how creating a list works. Here’s how to do it:
From the Home tab, click on Styles Pane.
Click New Style or select the style you’d like to edit.
You’ll get a pop up window to edit a number of parameters here
including type, basis, and formatting.
Click through the options you want to change.

If you’re confused about what each term means, don’t worry, it’s pretty straightforward. Paragraph styles determine the look of the text on a paragraph level.

When you apply this style, it’ll change the whole paragraph. Character styles determine the look on a character level, so you can make one word stand out. Table styles alter the look of tables, like the header row or how the grid lines work. Finally, list styles alter the look of a list, such as bulleted lists or a number scheme.

How to Add a Table of Contents to the Beginning of a Document

 

If you’re working with a big document, a table of contents adds quick navigation. Thankfully, creating a table of contents in Word is easy and it’ll update itself automatically as you add more to the document.

Word’s automatic table of contents generator takes each heading you add to a document, and then creates the table of contents based on that. If you plan on creating a table of contents, make sure you style each of your section titles with a heading.
Click an empty paragraph where you want to insert the table of contents.
Click the References tab.
Click Table of Contents and then select the appearance you want to use.

That’s it. Word automatically updates that table of contents any time you add or alter a header.

How to Compare and Merge Two Documents

If you have two versions of a document, whether it’s because someone did edits in their own copy, a cloud backup failed, or if you’re just trying to hash out what exactly changed between two versions of the same thing, you’ll need to use the compare and combine functions.

If you just want to see what changes exist between two documents, you can compare them. Here’s how to compare two documents:

Open one of the two documents you want to compare.
Click Tools > Track Changes > Compare Documents.
Pick your original document and revised document files.

Type in a name under “Label changes with” text field so you can tell the difference between the two documents. This way, Word will add a note telling you where each change comes from.

Combining a document works the same way, but the end result is a single document that merges the contents of both documents together so everything that’s the same is overwritten:

Open one of the two documents you want to combine.
Click Tools > Merge Documents.
Pick your original document and revised document files.

When the documents are merged, the differences between the two are highlighted. From here, you can go in and pick what you want to keep in the final version.

How to Format a Document Properly with Tab Stops and Indents

If you’re the type who formats a document by pressing spacebar or tab a bunch of times, it’s time to learn how to do it the right way: Using indents and tab stops. The video above shows off how tabs and indents work so it’s easy to understand, but let’s just sum up what the two terms actually mean.

Tab stops: A tab stop is the location a cursor stops after the tab key is pressed. In Word, it’s a way to easily align text. When you click the ruler in Word, a tab stop appears as a little curved arrow. When you tap the tab key, the cursor and text will jump to that arrow. If you add in multiple tab stops, you can make it so you can format text by simply tapping the tab key a couple of times to get it in place and perfectly lined up.

Indents:
As the name suggests, indents determine the distance of the paragraph from the left or right margin. On the ruler, you’ll see two triangles that adjust the indentation. You can click either triangle and move it to change the indentation. The top triangle adjusts the indentation of the first line of a paragraph. The bottom triangle adjusts the indentation for subsequent lines (aka the hanging indent) in the paragraph. You can also click on the square below them to move both at the same time.
Learning how to use these indents and tab stops can make creating a document like a resume or academic paper a lot easier.

How to Add Citations and References

 

Academic papers are a beast to write, but Word makes creating bibliographies and citations super easy. Once you’ve created a new document and you’re writing that paper, you can add a citation with just a few clicks.

Click the Reference tab.
Click the Dropdown arrow next to Bibliography style and select the style
you’re using for that paper.
Click the end of a sentence or phrase where you want to add the citation.
Click Insert Citation. In the Create New Source box, enter in all the info you
need.

Once you enter a citation once, you can add additional citations from the same text by selecting a sentence, then clicking the Citations box and selecting the reference you want to insert. When you’re all done, click the Bibliography button and select either Bibliography or Works Cited to automatically generate the reference page for your paper.

The Best Features in Word 2016

Word 2016 is a word processor—that means it doesn’t have to make giant, revolutionary leaps over its previous versions. However, Word 2016 does have a few improvements worth noting:

You can search the ribbon: In Windows, above the ribbon, you’ll see a “Tell me what you want to do” box. Here, you can type in any question you have and Word will tell you how to do it. For example, you can ask it how to insert a picture, how to format text in a specific way, or how to create lists. It’s basically a boring version of Clippy for the 21st century. For whatever reason, this isn’t included in the Mac version.
You can see collaborators edits in real time like in Google Docs: You’ve been able to work on Word documents as a team for a while, but Word 2016 adds in live edits, so you’ll see other people’s notes and updates instantly.
– Smart lookup makes research a little easier: Word is now a little more connected to the web than it used to be. In Word 2016, you can right-click a word, then select “Smart Lookup” from the menu to look up a word’s definition, the related Wikipedia article, and top search results from Bing.

Other than those minor improvements, if you’ve used older versions of Word you’ll be right at home in Word 2016 within minutes.

Work Faster in Word with These Keyboard Shortcuts

Microsoft has full lists of every keyboard shortcut in Word for Windows and Word for Mac that are worth bookmarking,, but let’srun through some of the big ones you’re likely to use every day, and a few specific to word that are really useful:

CTRL+N/CTRL+O/CTRL+S: Create, Open, and Save a document.
CTRL+X/CTRL+C/CTRL+V: Cut, Copy, Paste
CTRL+B/CTRL+I: Bold, Italic
CTRL+A: Select All
CTRL+Z: Undo
CTRL+K: Insert a hyperlink
CTRL+P: Print a document
CTRL+H: Open Find and Replace
Shift+F3: Toggle Capitalization options
CTRL+SHIFT+C: Copies the formatting for selected text so you can apply
it to another set of text with CTRL+Shift+V
CTRL+Shift+N: Applies the normal style to the selected text

Beyond that, Word supports universal text editing keyboard shortcuts like Shift+CTRL+Up/Down arrows to select whole paragraphs. These can make navigating and highlighting text a lot easier, and we’ve got a list of all of them here. If you use Word heavily, get to know these shortcuts, they will make your life better.

Additional Reading for Power Users

Word’s a big program and we can’t cover everything here. Here are a few more guides to help you push the boundaries of what Word’s capable of.

Six tips for better formatting: Formatting is a big deal in MS Word, and if you want to get better at skills like showing hidden characters, dealing with sections, and more, this post should help.
Select all text with the same formatting: This hidden little menu in the ribbon lets you select blocks of text based on its formatting.
Everything you need to know about collaboration: Collaboration is a big part of Word. From tracking changes to learning how to use markup, this post covers everything you need to know about working on documents as a group.
Create your own keyboard shortcuts: Word has a ton of keyboard shortcuts as it is, but if you want more, you can make your own.

Word might just look like a boring old text editor at a glance, but as you can see, it’s a lot more complex than most people give it credit for. Mastering it can take a long time, but once you have the basics and understand what’s possible in Word, you’ll be well on your way to being a Microsoft Word ninja.

What are your best practices for Microsoft Word? Tell us about it in the comments below!

App of the Week: Trusted Contacts

 

Google brings it’s emergency location tracking app to iOS.

 

 

By Brett Williams of Mashable

Smartphones allow us to stay in contact with our loved ones more closely than ever before, but some of the most important features, like location sharing, are only functional when everyone uses the same operating system on their devices.  

That’s about to change. Google is bringing its Trusted Contacts location sharing app to iOS, making it even easier for families that span the Android-iPhone divide to keep track of each other during emergencies. 

The app comes to iOS after debuting for Android last year. Users can now proactively share their location with their in-group or search for the last place a friend or loved one was active on their phone if they suddenly go silent, no matter their OS. 

iOS devices already have a similar feature with Find My Friends, but Trusted Contacts expands the scope of the tracking abilities across operating systems. That means a loved one with an iPhone can pinpoint the last active location of a Samsung Galaxy S8, for example, and vice versa.

The new iOS Trusted Contacts app comes with a round of updates for the service for all users. You can now add people to your “trusted contacts” list by their phone number, and the app sends an SMS to them to connect. 

Users can also choose how quickly their location will be automatically shared if they know they’ll be away from their phone and unable to answer. The default setting had been five minutes, but now the response time can be set at any time from immediately to an hour.   

Privacy might be a concern for people who don’t want their loved ones to have a constant bead on their location — but if it’s that big of a deal, those people don’t have to download the app. Google told Mashable last year at the launch of the Android version that Trusted Contacts is “necessary” no matter the privacy concerns, since emergency situations can make it impossible for people to respond to messages.  

The Trusted Contacts expansion follows Google’s new SOS alerts, a set of features for Search and Maps designed to make emergency information more accessible to all in the event of a crisis. Google might not be able to prevent disasters, but it’s taking steps to help those affected. 

What steps have you taken on your phone to ensure your family can reach you in an emergency? Tell us about it in the comments below!

T&T: Everyone uses Gmail, but not everyone knows these awesome tips and tricks

 


By Tyler Lacoma by digital trends

Between Labs, extensions, and settings, there’s a plethora of ways that you can customize your Gmail experience and tweak how emails are handled. Below of some of our favorite methods for managing time and giving Gmail an extra boost when it comes to organization.

SEND AND ARCHIVE IN ONE STEP

 

Here’s a trick to save a lot of time. First, click the gear icon and choose Settings from the resulting drop-down menu. Find the Send and Archive section and check the box beside Show “Send & Archive” button in reply. This adds a new button when you’re replying to an email. Clicking it will allow you to send your response and automatically archive the email, thus removing it from your inbox. It’s a godsend for those who receive endless amounts of email, and one that keeps your inbox free of clutter.

ENABLE AND DISABLE TABS

Gmail has three tabs — Primary, Social, and Promotion — and organizes your emails for you automatically. But did you know you can customize these tabs? If you want to do so, click the gear icon in the upper-right corner and choose Configure inbox from the drop-down menu. This allows you to add new tabs, such as Updates and Forums, or remove any tabs that you don’t like or want. It’s a handy bit of auto-organization for when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

SEE MORE WITH THE COMPACT SETTING

When you click the gear icon in the upper-right corner of Gmail, one of the first things you’ll see in the resulting drop-down menu is an option to switch between Cozy, Comfortable, and Compact viewing modes. Switching to Compact eradicates a good deal of space, allowing you to see more email information on each line. It’s a good setting to go with if you want to maximize your efficiency and see as much information as possible in a single glance.

TAKE BACK AN UNFORTUNATE EMAIL

Whenever you send an email in Gmail, you’ll notice a yellow box that says the email was sent. If you catch it fast enough, however, you can actually cancel the email while it’s in the process of being sent. If it has already been sent, this option turns in Undo Send, which allows you to correct your mistake with a couple clicks. If you don’t see the feature, click the gear icon in the upper-right corner and select Settings from the drop-down menu. Then, check the box beside Enable Undo Send in the Undo Send section. Here, you can also set a 5-, 10-, 20-, or 30-second cancellation period.

SEND MONEY INSTANTLY

Whenever you start to compose an email in Gmail, you can hit the dollar sign — or the pound sign, if you’re located in the United Kingdom — to use that email as a vehicle for sending money. It allows you to set an amount and input, or choose a payment method. When the recipient gets the email, they can “activate” the payment and the transaction will occur. Could you just use PayPal? Yes, but this option is just as useful when it comes to making quick, small payments.

USE SMART REPLY TO SAVE TIME ON RESPONSES

In the mobile version of Gmail, there is currently a feature called Smart Reply. It uses some of Google’s AI tech to automatically create a few quick responses (somewhat modeled after your email behavior) that you can immediately send. These range from a basic “thanks!” to more complex questions based on the email you are responding to. It doesn’t always work, but for simple responses, it can help you save a lot of time on your mobile device.

SAVE SPACE WITH DRIVE

If you can’t fit a file on an email or prefer not mess around with attachments, use Google Drive instead. Every Compose window comes equipped with a Drive icon, which allows you to quickly attach Drive files from within your browser. It’s also handy if you need to share files that aren’t stored on the device you’re using… as long as Drive is one of the common storage options.

SYNERGIZE WITH LINKEDIN

One of the great extensions to use in the business world is Rapportive, a Gmail extension that links the sender’s contact information with social media, specifically LinkedIn. Open an email from someone with a LinkedIn account and the tool will immediately show their profile information in a sidebar, along with links to their various social media accounts. It’s one of the best networking tools available if you regularly use Gmail.

USE CANNED RESPONSES TO SAVE EVEN MORE TIME

Gmail Labs are experimental extensions that you can enable for free. Labs don’t always stick around, but Canned Responses has been on the block for years, so we feel confident recommending it. Head over to the gear icon, choose Settings, and click the Labs tab. One of the labs should say Canned Responses. Enable it, and you can create email templates that you can immediately copy into an email and tweak as needed. It’s ideal for customer service or tracking down leads.

DELEGATE SOME OF YOUR EMAILS

Gmail offers a service that allows you to set up a series of delegates. These delegates have the ability to read and respond to your emails, and even manage your contacts, although they can’t chat or change your settings. Setting up delegates is useful if you are a busy professional and need an employee or team member to step in and check the latest responses when you simply don’t have enough time.

TRY IFTTT CONFIGURATIONS

IFTTT or “If This Then That” is a smart device platform that allows you to customize a variety of responses and scenes for your smart home. It also works with a lot of other things, including Gmail. Here are some examples of the IFTTT ideas already created by people and ready to be used. With the right recipe, you can save files directly to Drive, automatically sync Evernote and Todoist, trigger notifications, and carry out a bunch of other useful actions. Find the options that are best for your life, and you can transform your Gmail experience into something twice as useful.

Which email service do you prefer? Any cool hacks you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

How to: post Google Photo’s awesome animations to Instagram.

 

By Raymond Wong of Mashable


If you use Google Photos, you know the service is so much more than just the best way to store and back up all your photos and videos into the cloud.
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Using advanced machine learning, Google Photos can intelligently identify people, places, and things — and it’s all easily searchable. One of the cooler things in Google Photos is the Assistant (not to be confused with Google’s other Assistant on Android and Google Home).

In the Google Photos app on iOS and Android, the Assistant is a card-based panel that does three things:

1 Shows you the status of your backup.
2 Automatically creates “movies” based on related video clips.
3 Creates “animations” using batches of bursted photos. (You can also create your own animations by manually selecting between 2-50 photos, but the end result is the same — you still get a GIF file.)

I’m constantly amazed by how great the automatically generated animations are, and it sure beats using a separate app like Burstio to convert your burst photos into a video or a GIF.

There’s just one little thing: While you can download and share the animated GIFs online to Twitter, Giphy or wherever using a computer, sharing GIFs natively to Instagram is still impossible without first converting the file into a video.
Here’s how to do that quickly and easily:

For iOS

On iOS, you’ll need to use another app like GifLab (free) to convert the GIF into a video. To find your animations, type “animations” into the Photos search bar in the iOS or Android app. Then, select your animation. (These are animations you’ve saved. Animations that Google Photos created but you didn’t save within 30 days of their creation will not appear and are lost forever, so save them when they’re created.)

Tap the “•••” located in the upper right corner and then tap “Download” to save the GIF. Then, open up GifLab and do the following:
Step 1: Open GifLab and select “GIF to Instagram.”
Step 2: Select your GIF and adjust the playback speed.
Step 3: Tap “Save and share on Instagram.”

For Android

On Android, things are even easier and you can share GIFs directly from Google Photos to Instagram, as the app automatically converts the GIF into a video, no extra app required.

Select your Google Photos animation GIF as outlined above and then tap the share icon in the lower left. Select Instagram as the app (obviously, have it installed and logged in) to share the GIF. Once the GIF’s been auto converted into a video, you’ll be taken Instagram where you can select a filter and add a caption.

Do you use Google’s Photos? Tell us what you think of it in the comments below!

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