Can I download Apple Watch Apps without a Watch?

AskDaveTaylor - Sat, 04/25/2015 - 12:14

Congrats on your Apple Watch acquisition and sorry for the wait. I know what it’s like: here at AskDaveTaylor HQ we ordered an Apple Watch within five minutes of pre-orders becoming available and are still waiting for it to show up. Fortunately we did get a ship notice earlier this morning, so that’s good, but we want it in house, not just in some UPS plane flying around the United States!

And an “Edition” unit. Nice. They’re definitely smart looking and assuming that the Apple Watch lives up to its hype and promise, it’ll be a very smart smartwatch indeed.

In terms of preparing, the first thing I’d suggest is that you go ahead and order yourself a second charging cable. You know you’ll want one at the office or in your car, so easier to get that ordered now than have to wait for it and be frustrated. Here’s a handy link: Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable.

The app situation for the Apple Watch is a bit fuzzy at this point. Apple’s said that there are over 3,000 Watch apps available already, but most of them seem to be existing apps (Instagram, Twitter) that magically know how to format their data if run on a Watch. So it’s likely you already have a lot of “Watch friendly” apps if you have an iPhone or iPad.

Go into iTunes on your Mac or PC, however, and you’ll find that you can’t search for apps that are also Watch friendly, though you can get the App Store app for your iPhone to get ’em:

Marginally helpful, I suppose.

The best option, however, is a new app that just magically showed up with the latest iPhone iOS update: Watch. The icon for this iPhone app looks like this:

Click on it – you can launch it even if you don’t yet have your Watch – and you’ll see a help screen:

The secret is the buttons along the bottom, which are enabled. Click on Featured, the icon with the star symbol, and you’ll suddenly be in the Apple Watch App Store:

Now you can peruse to your heart’s content, finding good apps, games, utilities, and other software that you can queue up to copy to your Apple Watch Edition once it shows up.

For example, the NYTimes app is well reviewed by early Apple Watch owners, so let’s tap on it to learn more about it:

Looks like it has 78 reviews and an average of 4.5. Not too bad.

I’m not a fan of in-app purchases but they’re usually easy to sidestep as needed, and heck, you can always delete the app if you don’t like it once you get your iWatch, right? Oh, oops, I mean “Apple Watch”. 

To save the app, ready for loading, simply tap on the “Open”, “Buy” or, in this case, cloud icon with the downward arrow (which denotes that I’ve previous acquired or downloaded this app but don’t currently have it on my iPhone). It then downloads…

That’s it. Once you sync your Apple Watch Edition (or any other version) with your iPhone, you should be able to decide which of the Watch compatible apps you want to copy onto the device. Easy.

The post Can I download Apple Watch Apps without a Watch? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Through the Google lens: Search trends April 17-23

GoogleBlog - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 15:06
Everyone wants to know what D.J. Tanner and Target are up to. Read on for all the search scoop from this week:

The earth in focus
Wednesday marked the 45th annual Earth Day celebration. People came to search to get more information on the origins of the holiday and learn about ways to conserve—oh, and find out what animal they are, of course. In addition to searches for [earth day slogans] and [earth day worksheets], searchers asked questions like “When was the first Earth Day?”, “How do we stop climate change?” and “Is styrofoam recyclable?”
Just when we were feeling all warm and fuzzy about our planet, we got a reminder that nature can be a little scary as well as awe-inspiring. In Chile, the Calbuco volcano exploded for the first time in more than 40 years, sending clouds of ash into the air and causing thousands to evacuate. There were 100K+ searches for [chile volcano] as people sought to learn more about the eruption.

Prized Pulitzers
Sunday morning, people lined up outside Target stores around the country for the launch of the store’s new Lilly Pulitzer collaboration. But many fans waited in vain, as the affordable line of clothes and home decor sold out within hours both on and offline. Shoppers vented on social media, and searches for Lilly Pulitzer reached an all-time high this month. Meanwhile, persistent types have driven searches for [lilly pulitzer ebay] up 1000% in the last seven days.
But lucky Lilly fans weren’t the only ones thanking the stars for their Pulitzer this week. This year’s Pulitzer prizes were announced on Monday, leading people to the web to learn more about the winners across categories ranging from fiction to investigative reporting to poetry. (And in case you were wondering: Lilly Pulitzer, who died in 2013, was once married to the grandson of Joseph Pulitzer, who established the eponymous Prize.)
Everywhere you look...
...there are reboots. First “DuckTales,” then “The Muppet Show,” and now “Fuller House.” This week Netflix announced a spin-off of the 90s family sitcom “Full House,” to debut in 2016, and 200,000+ searches followed. The new show will feature oldest sister D.J. Tanner (Candace Cameron Bure), and several other stars from the original series are signed on to return, including Jodie Sweetin—the subject of some 50K+ searches this week—and John Stamos. Still, it’s yet to be seen whether the rest of the cast will participate or decide to cut it out. Though searches for Mary-Kate Olsen reached more than 50,000 this week, she and her sister have said that they were surprised by the news. So you might want to wait a bit before saying “TGIF!
Tip of the week
Keep that good Earth Day momentum going. Just ask Google, “Where can I recycle electronics near me?” for a handy list of places to drop off your old wires and devices.

Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [gilbert blythe] and [nba playoff schedule]
Categories: Technology

How can I let anyone direct message (DM) me on Twitter?

AskDaveTaylor - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 09:20

You are a braver person than I am, I have to say. Yes, Twitter now has a setting that lets you accept direct messages from anyone in the Twitterverse, whether you’re following them — or they’re following you — or not. I expect that we’ll start to see scammers and spammers simply monitoring the public feed and sending out an automatic DM to each public twitter user. Doesn’t fill me with confidence that we’re gong to see a lot of valuable additions to our personal Twitter streams.

But then again, I could be wrong and allowing anyone to send you a DM might be an avenue to getting lots of interesting new people to show up on your radar, and it’ll end up all good.

In any case, it’s your choice to make, so let me show you how to change your settings and if it’s outta control, it’s easy enough to change it back.

To start, get to your Settings:

Once you’re there, on the left side is a list of different areas you can tweak and tune.

Choose Security and privacy:

The results are a page full of settings and options. What you want is at the very bottom:

Tip: If you don’t see this, wait a day and try again. Seems like Twitter might be rolling this out to accounts day by day. I had a few days delay until it showed up for me, even though I was already reading about this update to the Twitter account settings.

You’ll want to check the box adjacent to Receive Direct Messages from anyone.

You sure? Click “Save changes“.

Twitter then asks that you confirm your account password, a nice validation:

Click again on “Save changes” and if everything goes smoothly, you’ll see:

That’s it. Done.

Now don’t expect a huge wave of DMs in the next few minutes. In fact I changed this days ago and haven’t see a single DM. So we’ll see how it goes…

The post How can I let anyone direct message (DM) me on Twitter? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Say hi to Fi: A new way to say hello

GoogleBlog - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 13:11
In today's mobile world, fast and reliable connectivity is almost second nature. But even in places like the U.S., where mobile connections are nearly ubiquitous, there are still times when you turn to your phone for that split-second answer and don't have fast enough speed. Or you can't get calls and texts because you left your phone in a taxi (or it got lost in a couch cushion for the day). As mobile devices continually improve how you connect to people and information, it's important that wireless connectivity and communication keep pace and be fast everywhere, easy to use, and accessible to everyone.

That's why today we’re introducing Project Fi, a program to explore this opportunity by introducing new ideas through a fast and easy wireless experience. Similar to our Nexus hardware program, Project Fi enables us to work in close partnership with leading carriers, hardware makers, and all of you to push the boundaries of what's possible. By designing across hardware, software and connectivity, we can more fully explore new ways for people to connect and communicate. Two of the top mobile networks in the U.S.—Sprint and T-Mobile—are partnering with us to launch Project Fi and now you can be part of the project too.

Our three focus areas include:

Helping you get the highest-quality connection
Project Fi aims to put you on the best network wherever you go. As you move around, the best network for you might be a Wi-Fi hotspot or a specific 4G LTE network. We developed new technology that gives you better coverage by intelligently connecting you to the fastest available network at your location whether it's Wi-Fi or one of our two partner LTE networks. As you go about your day, Project Fi automatically connects you to more than a million free, open Wi-Fi hotspots we've verified as fast and reliable. Once you're connected, we help secure your data through encryption. When you're not on Wi-Fi, we move you between whichever of our partner networks is delivering the fastest speed, so you get 4G LTE in more places. Learn more about our network of networks.

Enabling easy communication across networks and devices
Project Fi works to get technology out of the way so you can communicate through whichever network type and device you're using. Wherever you're connected to Wi-Fi—whether that's at home, your favorite coffee shop or your Batcave—you can talk and text like you normally do. If you leave an area of Wi-Fi coverage, your call will seamlessly transition from Wi-Fi to cell networks so your conversation doesn’t skip a beat. We also want to help phone numbers adapt to a multi-screen world. With Project Fi, your phone number lives in the cloud, so you can talk and text with your number on just about any phone, tablet or laptop. So the next time you misplace your phone, you can stay connected using another screen. Check out how it works.

Making the service experience as simple as possible
Project Fi takes a fresh approach to how you pay for wireless, manage your service, and get in touch when you need help. We offer one simple plan at one price with 24/7 support. Here's how it works: for $20 a month you get all the basics (talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage in 120+ countries), and then it's a flat $10 per GB for cellular data while in the U.S. and abroad. 1GB is $10/month, 2GB is $20/month, 3GB is $30/month, and so on. Since it's hard to predict your data usage, you'll get credit for the full value of your unused data. Let's say you go with 3GB for $30 and only use 1.4GB one month. You'll get $16 back, so you only pay for what you use. Get all the details about our plan.

Be part of the project from the start
We're beginning Project Fi's Early Access Program to invite people to sign up for the service. Project Fi will be available on the Nexus 6, which we developed with Motorola and is the first smartphone that supports the hardware and software to work with our service. If you live where we have coverage in the U.S., request an invite at to get started.

We look forward to connecting!

Posted by Nick Fox, VP of Communications Products
Categories: Technology

How to save your Google Search History?

AskDaveTaylor - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 09:49

You sound like a scientist, for sure, but I can appreciate that. There’s a remarkable pool of information in our search history, both in the aggregate — the way that Google calculates its zeitgeist, of course — and in our own specific searches over months or years.  Not just about what we searched for most frequently, but when we searched. Do you search more on Monday afternoons or Saturday late at night?

Some of this information is shown in the Google Search History area (as I’ll show in just a moment) but some of it can only be identified through your own analysis. Think of the trends, though! A search for “ideas first date”, “engagement ring” then “marriage venue” then “best honeymoon” then “how to change a diaper” and “save for college” would show a life well spent!

But let’s start at the beginning before we get into one of those sort of TV spots!

You need to start at the right place, in fact. You can’t get to your Search History from the Google home page, surprisingly:

But once you do a search — I’ll search for Kate Bush, a favorite singer of mine — then part of the many new things that show up is what you want.

Search results are shown thusly:

See the “gear” button on the right? Click on it.

A menu pops up:

Choose History from the menu.

Now you’ll see all sorts of interesting data, including graphs of some of the info you’re interested in learning more about:

I find all this information fascinating. For example, I seem to like searching Google at 8am and 8pm more than any other time, and I even have some searches at 2am and 4am (what the heck? Do I sleep search??).

To download your search history from this point, however, you want to again click on the “gear” button, but this time the menu is slightly different:

Choose Download to download your search history, and an interesting message will pop up:

“It’s not the usual yada yada”. Nicely done, Google!

I definitely also recommend you have 2-step verification on your Google account [tip: how to enable Google 2-step verification] but Google is definitely treating this as highly sensitive data. That’s good.

Click on Create Archive and it actually pops up another message:

Some time later — for me it took about 20 minutes — an email shows up informing you that the archive is built:

Now you can view it in Drive or download it with the “Searches-” link near the bottom. It’s a big data file, so don’t be surprised if it takes a while.

Then you’re on your own with the analysis. Good luck and let us know what term you search for more often than any other!

The post How to save your Google Search History? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Which animal are you? Take the Google Doodle Earth Day Quiz

GoogleBlog - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 08:38
You can search Google for answers to all kinds of animal questions: What does an aye-aye eat? Where do narwhals live? How long is a toco toucan's beak? And this Earth Day, you can turn to Google for the answer to something that you’ve always needed to know: which animal are you???
Clicking on this year’s Earth Day logo (or searching for “Earth Day quiz”) presents one of the Internet’s favorite pastimes: a totally scientific and 1,000% accurate personality quiz. Take the time to answer a few questions to determine and share your Earth Day animal. And, of course, you’re only a search away from learning more about nature’s precious pals and interesting inhabitants (FYI: kakapo is the heaviest parrot).

If you need proof of the accuracy of our quiz, look no further than the testimonials of some of our wildlife-loving, quiz-taking friends like Ed Norton, Jared Leto, and Maggie Q. Dame Jane Goodall took the quiz and had this to report:

Once you’ve gotten to know your deepest self (and animal avatar), we hope you’re inspired to help make a real difference this Earth Day. For the month of April, we’re partnering with our friends at, who will match donations to the following animal-loving organizations up to $20,000. That means every $1 you donate to one of these great groups is worth $2 to protect wildlife around the world. Chip in what you can at the Jane Goodall Institute, Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, World Wildlife Fund, WildAid, Zoological Society of London and Virunga Fund.

Happy Earth Day!

Posted by Ryan Germick, Doodle Team Lead, Giant Squid
Categories: Technology

Walk in the footsteps of South Africa’s freedom fighters

GoogleBlog - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 03:00
On April 27, 1994, Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa in the country’s first democratic, post-Apartheid election. Known now as “Freedom Day,” that date has become a symbol of hope in South Africa and around the world. To commemorate this historic day, we’ve partnered with the Robben Island Museum and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory to bring the story of this UNESCO World Heritage Site online for the world to explore. The Maps gallery and Cultural Institute online tour allow people everywhere to see the island where Nelson Mandela and many of South Africa’s freedom fighters were imprisoned during their quest for equality.

As a symbol of South Africa’s struggle for freedom, Robben Island has become a destination for people to connect with Mandela and other freedom fighters. Standing in Mandela’s 8 x 7 foot prison cell, it's hard to believe someone could spend 18 years here. Exploring the historical artifacts on the tour, you can also see photographs of his cell during the time of his imprisonment. You can imagine Mandela sitting at the cramped desk, surrounded by books and papers, working towards a future of freedom for all.

Photograph of Mandela’s Cell c.1971
Robben Island was also where activist Robert Sobukwe was imprisoned, kept in solitary confinement for more than three years after taking a stand against the Pass Law, which required black citizens to carry an internal passport and severely limited their mobility. Exploring Sobukwe’s home on Robben Island, you can learn more about the man who didn’t let prison halt his attempts to make equality a reality. You can even view the pages of his notebook, which is still kept on his desk today.

Robert Sobukwe’s house of solitary confinement on Robben Island
In the new online exhibitions on the Cultural Institute platform, you can also listen to prisoners’ personal anecdotes about life at this infamous prison, including memories of where they were forced to work as well as how they studied and came together to create a unified vision for freedom in South Africa. You can see some personal items donated by former political prisoners, including a football trophy from the their FIFA-recognized league, hand-drawn table tennis awards, a treasured trumpet, and a duplicate master key fashioned by a prisoner from lead.

View of the Lime Quarry, the site of enforced prison labor at Robben Island
Once a symbol of the oppressive Apartheid regime, Robben Island is now a memorial and a reminder of the human spirit’s irrepressible search for freedom. We hope you’ll take a moment to step back in time to explore and be inspired by the island’s story of hope and humanity.

Posted by Luke McKend, Country Director for Google South Africa
Categories: Technology

How do I disable video autoplay on Facebook?

AskDaveTaylor - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 09:05

You’re talking about a ‘feature’ of many video hosting services, including Instagram and YouTube too: autoplay. I can see from the video producer’s perspective why it’s nice to have a video immediately play once someone loads it, but from the user’s perspective, it’s awful, annoying and can end up costing you money if you’re accessing the service through a metered data service like your cellphone plan.

Like most every other site, however, Facebook has the ability for you to disable autoplay and sidestep that annoyance. I’m going to show you how to do this through the Web browser but will warn you that it’s likely that if you also access Facebook through your Android or iPhone, you might need to turn off autoplay in those settings too.

To start, click on the menu button on the top right for the main FB menu:

I’ve circled what you want: Settings.

Choose Settings from the Facebook menu to proceed. Now look on the left side for “Video”:

From this point it’s pretty easy to see what’s what as the two video setting options are well labelled:

Both of these are set poorly for my preferences, though. So let’s fix both!

First off, here are your choices for Facebook Video Default Quality:

As you can see, I suggest you switch to “HD if available”. Why not have things look the best they can?

And in terms of the Auto-Play Videos setting, here are your options:

I strongly recommend “Off”, not “Default”.

And that solves your Facebook video auto-play problems. Easy enough!

The post How do I disable video autoplay on Facebook? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Myth or monster? Explore Loch Ness with Street View

GoogleBlog - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 18:02
Like the world’s best legends, the Loch Ness Monster transcends the everyday and exists at the edges of possibility. It rises above the sightings and the hoaxes; the claims and counter-claims; the tourism, the nationalism—and even the assassination plots. It lives in the telling of stories. Whether or not you believe, most people hold a romanticized vision of the creature that, legend has it, plumbs the depths of the Loch. Affectionately known as “Nessie,” she exists in folklore, dances in childrens’ imaginations, and seeps into our society and teachings, inspiring everything from pop music to pop culture to pulp fiction.

In 1934, the “Surgeon’s Photograph” was released, claiming to show the monster in the misty waters of the lake. It’s the most iconic photo in the history of Loch Ness—and may be one of the most elaborate hoaxes of our age. Today, to celebrate the anniversary of its release, we're bringing 360-degree Street View imagery of Loch Ness to Google Maps, so you can go in search of Nessie yourself.

Loch Ness, Scotland
Sail across the freshwater lake and take in its haunting beauty, made darker still by the peat particles found in its waters. Let the Loch unlock the spirit of your imagination, where the rippling water, tricks of the light, and drifting logs bring the legend of Nessie to life. Adrian Shine, leader of the Loch Ness & Morar Project, has been engaged in fieldwork in the Highlands since 1973 and was an integral part of the Street View collection. As a true Loch Ness expert, Shine has logged more than 1,000 Nessie sightings and offers scientific explanations for why people claim to have seen Scotland’s mysterious cryptid.

Formed of a series of interrelated bodies of water, including the River Oich to the south and the Bona Narrows to the north, Loch Ness stretches for 23 miles southwest of Inverness. Although it’s neither the largest Scottish loch by surface area nor depth, it is the largest by volume, containing more freshwater than all the lakes of England and Wales combined. And at almost 800 feet deep, there’s an entire world below the surface, giving rise to the Nessie legend.

Underwater in Loch Ness
To take you on a tour of what lies beneath, our partners at the Catlin Seaview Survey dived deep under the surface of the lake, collecting imagery along the way. You can imagine Nessie nestling within these dark, peat-filled waters, waiting for the right moment to breach the surface into the Scottish sunlight above.

A diver from the Catlin Seaview Survey collecting underwater imagery of Loch Ness
Wherever you stand on the Nessie debate, the legend lives on—even in the digital era. There are more searches for Loch Ness than there are for other U.K. institutions like Buckingham Palace and the Peak District. And as we celebrate Loch Ness with today’s Doodle, we hope you can enjoy some of the most history-laden and breathtaking imagery the highlands have to offer with Street View in Google Maps.

By Sven Tresp, Program Manager, Street View Special Collections
Categories: Technology

Video Review: Lab.C Cable Case for iPhone

AskDaveTaylor - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 09:45

One of the greatest frustrations for iPhone 6 owners is that instead of using the standardized micro-USB connector for charging, it requires a proprietary Apple connector, the lightning cable. But not all your friends have iPhones or iPads with that connector, so sometimes you just don’t have access to the cable you need if you don’t have one in your backpack, briefcase or purse.

Enter the “109” Cable Case from Lab.C, a smartly designed case that has a tiny built-in Lightning cable, just perfect for sync and charging. My review:

Learn more: Lab.C “109” Cable Case.

The post Video Review: Lab.C Cable Case for iPhone appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Android Wear: wear what you want, get what you need

GoogleBlog - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 09:00
Architect and artist William Morris once said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Turns out that’s also good advice for deciding what to wear. So Android Wear offers a range of watches and apps that are fashionable as well as functional.

Over the past few months we’ve added lots of ways to express your style—from custom watch faces to a rainbow of bands. Today we’re making Android Wear more helpful as well—getting you what you need, right on your wrist.

Always-on screen, always-on apps

When you buy a watch you want it to, well, tell the time. So most Android Wear watches include an always-on screen—no tapping, twisting or shaking required to see what time it is. Now we’re expanding this option to apps, so they can stay visible as long as you need them, instead of disappearing when you drop your arm. In either case the screen is only full color when you're actively looking at it—so you get the info you need, and you save on battery life.

Wi-Fi support

With GPS and offline music support, you can already leave your phone at home, then go jogging and jamming like normal. Now Android Wear supports watches with built-in Wi-Fi. As long as your watch is connected to a Wi-Fi network, and your phone has a data connection (wherever it is), you’ll be able to get notifications, send messages, and use all your favorite apps. And if you really do forget your phone, you can always ask your watch where it is.

Simpler, faster, and more smiley

When it comes to your watch, using apps should be as simple as checking the time. So today we’re making a number of Android Wear improvements to help you access your info, and express yourself more easily:

  • Got your hands full? You no longer need them to check your news and notifications. Instead you can just flick your wrist to scroll through the stream.
  • Your apps and contacts are now just a tap away from the watch face. Just touch the screen, and you’ll be able to start apps and send messages immediately.
Categories: Technology

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