'Tis the season for mobile shopping

GoogleBlog - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 13:52
It used to be that heading out to stores on Black Friday -- one of the biggest holiday shopping days of the season -- was the best way to find great deals. Now, we may be carrying the best tool for finding deals in our pockets.

This coming weekend, expect to see many of your fellow shoppers checking for deals on their smartphones while braving the lines and crowds at the mall. Nearly 50% of 25-34 year-olds use their phone to shop online while standing in line at a store. And because we want to help you research products more easily this holiday weekend, we’re rolling out new mobile features to Google Shopping.

Starting this week, when you search for a specific product on your smartphone or tablet you’ll see more detailed information about the product and where to buy it, like which stores have it available and product reviews from customers. You’ll also be able to rotate selected products on Google Shopping in 360 degrees to see them in more detail.

Getting a head start on Black Friday
Shoppers are already prepping for Black Friday shopping by researching purchases and deals online. We found that 27% of shoppers have already begun hunting for Black Friday deals online. Here are the top questions people are asking about Black Friday on Google Search. For more trends, visit our Shopping blog.

  • what time do stores open on black friday
  • what time does black friday start
  • when does black friday end
  • what to buy on black friday

Let Google Shopping and your smartphone help you check off what’s on that shopping list of yours and go enjoy everything else about the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Posted by Jennifer Liu, Product Manager, Google Shopping
Categories: Technology

Through the Google lens: search trends November 14-20

GoogleBlog - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 13:52
Devastating snowstorms, bizarre interviews and addictive podcasts? It was an unusual week on the search charts this time around.

A frosty reception
If you looked on Maps for Buffalo, you wouldn’t find it. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the city is buried underneath six feet of snow… literally. While people across the country are just getting ready for Turkey Day, Buffalonians are dealing with a snowstorm that’s set to break several records and may keep them trapped in their houses for a while–white Thanksgiving, anyone?

In the court of public opinion
People were searching for more information about famed comedian Bill Cosby this week after sexual abuse allegations made headlines.

And in the political world, Democrats in the Senate blocked the Keystone XL proposal, a hotly contested initiative to build an oil pipeline from Canada to Nebraska. While searchers were wondering how this bill would affect gas prices, the door is closed on the issue at the moment.
Teens aren't what they used to be
A toymaker with a mission decided it was makeover time for Barbie, the doll everyone loves to hate. Nickolay Lamm created “normal Barbie,” a doll that everyone could relate to -- less “material girl” and more “girl next door”—non-size zero waist included. Reflecting the body of the average 19-year old woman, both parents and kids have taken a liking to the fact that toy actually...looks like a real person (she looks like my sister!) Complete with freckles and acne sticker expansion packs, we think Lamm’s got the awkward teenage years down pat.

Speaking of teenagers: 16-year-old and 14-year-old celebrity siblings Jaden and Willow Smith, heirs to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s throne, were in the spotlight this week after giving what some might describe as a pretty spacey interview to the New York Times’ T Magazine. The wide-ranging piece covered their thoughts on topics like Prana energy (what?), the duality of the mind (how??) and goals of imprinting yourself on everything (why???) — and baffled social media and searchers alike. Time Magazine got in on the fun and released a poem generator made from the interview’s most interesting quotes. Here’s our Jaden and Willow Smith haiku (spoiler: it doesn’t make any sense).

             Babies remember             The most craziest person of all time
             Driver’s ed? What’s up?

Colonel Mustard in the library
There’s always time for a tale of murder and mystery. This week the Internet played the role of detective as people were curious to learn more about NPR’s new serial Podcast which explores a 15-year-old real life homicide case. The series is insanely popular, hitting the 5 million downloads and streams mark more quickly than any other podcast before it, but not without its fair share of controversy. The victim’s family members have expressed concern about the sensationalization of the case.

Tip of the week
Bored on the bus or subway? Just say “OK Google, flip a coin.” What do yo have to lose?

Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [the opposite of apple] and [cellulite stickers].
Categories: Technology

How do I follow breaking news online?

AskDaveTaylor - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 10:30

I’m not going to get into the politics of the Michael Brown killing, because we don’t really take political stances here at AskDaveTaylor, but I will say that the grand jury findings handed down on November 24th, 2014 definitely have made a lot of people very upset with the justice system. And in the modern era, upset means that people are sharing their unhappiness, anger and fury through social media, Instagram and, mostly, Twitter.

In fact, while Twitter might have its limitations, it’s when there’s breaking news, when something’s happening right now that the service really shines and gives everyone, rich or poor, government official or gang-banger in the street an equal voice. And that’s an amazing way to keep track of what’s going on.

In the case of the Ferguson decision that the police officer who shot Michael Brown isn’t going to be indicted, that’s all over Twitter and will be for weeks to come.

To keep track of what people are sharing on Twitter — both photos and text messages — the best path is to simply go to the Twitter home page, or your home page on Twitter if you have an account. Look for Trending Topics on the left side. Right now, it looks like this:

You can see that Microsoft is paying for its #SurfacePro3 to be the top item (I suspect that’ll vanish soon enough when their PR team realizes it’s not the best moment for that promotion). The first non-promoted item is what you want, #FergusonDecision.

Click on it. Now on the left side you’ll see how Twitter breaks things down to make following easier:

The default is everything by everyone everywhere, but if you were just curious about photos from people near you, you can get just that subset with a click or two.

Let’s keep it as everything from everyone, for the broadest possible coverage, and look at the central portion, where photos are highlighted:

It sure looks like someone’s curating these images (if nothing else, the locations being superimposed came from somewhere, right?) but you can also click “View all” to see more of the photo stream, a stream where professional photojournalist share the screen with amateurs in the middle of the action.

Immediately below the photo summary is the stream of Tweets from people, generally focused on those that have been retweeted or favorited, as you can see:

Go down a bit further and you’ll see images from the middle of the protests:

It’s extraordinarily compelling and I’ve been watching the posts, photos and discussion for a few hours now. I’m not in the middle of the protest, but with Twitter, I feel like I have my finger on the pulse of an angry group of protestors and all the other groups involved in the situation, from those angry at the rioters to those who don’t understand what the hubbub is about in the first place.

Keep track of the latest by following #FergusonDecision.

The post How do I follow breaking news online? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Review: Mikey Digital external microphone with Lightning connector.

AskDaveTaylor - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:11

I’m a big fan of Blue Microphone and have used various of their products for years, notably including the terrific Yeti Pro external USB microphone for my audio recordings and podcast work. It’s huge, but the sound is deep, rich and sweet, perfect for my deep voice.

A huge microphone like that isn’t very portable, however, and can’t hook up to an Apple iPad or iPhone anyway, which is why it’s great that the company recently released the Mikey Digital, a new version of its popular Mikey external microphone with a Lightning connector. It’s the same width as your iPhone 5 and about an inch tall, but that’s all microphone and you can imagine how much that improves the audio quality of whatever you’re recording, be it music, singing or even a lecture.

But don’t just imagine. Click on this link and you can hear an audio sample from my iPhone 5s without, then with the Mikey Digital:

A quick glance at the waveforms associated with the above sample shows things quite visually:

The first and last sections I recorded with the Yeti Pro in my office — hence the complete lack of background noise — but the second and third sections were recorded in a busy coffee shop. Notice how the iPhone by itself has very little amplitude (basically waveform height or range), while the second section is recording a lot more and getting much more out of my voice.

The Mikey Digital isn’t super cheap at $89.99 on (suggested retail is $99.99), but as someone who records a lot fo consulting sessions, lectures and meetings, the huge improvement in audio quality makes it well worth the money for professionals, and if you’re a musician seeking better audio samples and demos of your own work, this is a no-brainer.

A closer look at the mic shows that there’s a single slider switch on the back, with commensurate indicator lights on the front:

The mic has three settings: high, low and auto gain. Generally, you use low gain in a loud environment and high in a quiet environment to maximize the results. Or you can just let the microphone sense and figure things out. It’s omnidirectional too, though in our experiments it works best if you have the “front” of the mic (the side with the logo) facing the audio source.

One neat feature: the Mikey Digital has an audio-in jack on the top of the unit too, so with the right cable or adapter, you can plug in your guitar or stage microphone and get a clean audio recording right on your iPhone or iPad. Slick.

Learn more about the Mikey Digital on Blue Microphone’s site. For $89.99 it’s a great addition to any iOS user who records, and it’d be a lovely stocking stuffer too, if you have a loved one’s stocking that needs some filling.

Disclaimer: Blue Mic supplied us with a Mikey Digital for review purposes.

The post Review: Mikey Digital external microphone with Lightning connector. appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Video Review: Epson Expression Premium XP-820 Color All-in-One Printer

AskDaveTaylor - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 13:40

With an amazing featureset, small footprint on your desk, low price and inexpensive ink cartridges, the Epson Expression Premium XP-820 Small-in-One color printer might just be the best choice for your home or small office. Watch my video review to learn more:

Want to learn more about this extremely capable printer? Please check out the XP-820 on

And if you want to pick one up, they’re $149.99 at, which is a terrific deal.

The post Video Review: Epson Expression Premium XP-820 Color All-in-One Printer appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Why doesn’t my iPad wake up when I open the smart cover?

AskDaveTaylor - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 10:01

Don’t worry, you didn’t get the one Smart Cover in the iPad world that turns out to have had a quick factory lobotomy prior to shipping! Turns out that there’s a preference you need to tweak for it to work properly, otherwise it’s just a fancy screen protector without any smarts at all.

Now you have experimented with folding it different ways to make it a stand in various positions too, right? I quite commonly fold mine into a big triangle and have my tablet about 30-degrees off the table surface, perfect for reading or catching up on the news while I’m having a bite to eat. Flip it around, of course, and it’s just a tiny bit less than 90-degrees off the surface, perfect for a movie.

The fix you seek for smartening up your Apple smart cover, however, is quick and easy and you’ll like the cover a lot more once it’s fixed!

Go to “Settings” > “General”. It looks like this:

“Where’s the setting?”

And well you may ask! You need to swipe downward on the “General” settings because a bit further down you’ll find…

There it is, smack-dab in the middle: “Lock / Unlock”.

Tap on the slider switch so you see green on the icon, and you’re good to go.

In fact, if you read the small print, under that setting it says “Automatically lock and unlock your iPad when you close and open the iPad cover.”

Done. Now, all due kudos to the smarts in your Smart Cover.

The post Why doesn’t my iPad wake up when I open the smart cover? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Can I fix my Facebook status updates after posting?

AskDaveTaylor - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 10:35

Most people seem to think that Facebook status updates and posts are carved in stone and that once posted there’s no way to fix or update anything. Turns out, however, that there’s a lot of editing you can do even before you click on the “Post” button and a fair amount you can do afterwards, once it’s gone live. There are some things you can’t modify, like changing photos after you’ve garnered comments on the image, but it’s surprisingly flexible. The trick is to know where to click.

To demonstrate, I’m going to post a status update with all sorts of errors.

We’ll start here, with me pasting in an update that includes a URL:

Look closely and you’ll see a couple of problems.

The biggest of the issues is that there’s a typo in the actual text that Facebook has pulled from the post because, well, there’s a typographical error in the title of the linked post. D’oh. See it? “audiphile”, not “audiophile”.

To fix it, I’ll click on the title and it magically turns editable:

Here I can tweak the wording and fix the typo. Good.

While I’m here, I can also click on the excerpt immediately below, and edit that. Sort of:

Click out of that field, however, and that particular field doesn’t update. Annoying, to say the least!

But the “audiphile” typo is fixed, notice.

A click on “Post” and it’s live:

Oh, wait. I wanted to link to the audioengine Facebook page in the actual update. Darn it!

At this point you can’t just click on the text, you need to click on the tiny downward triangle on the top right. See it? A click and…

Now the status update itself shows up in an editable widget:

I delete the letters “@audioengine” and retype them enough so that Facebook sees it’s a requested link and pops up a menu of matches, as you can see above. The first one’s the company, so I click on that and slightly tweak the wording, including removing the rather ugly URL from the status too.

The final result:

A status update to be proud of! And now you know how to fix things, even if the post’s already live.

The post Can I fix my Facebook status updates after posting? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

How Do I Quit Facebook and Deactivate My Account?

AskDaveTaylor - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 10:28

Well, it’s funny you ask that because it’s rather hard to really remove all traces of your existence on Facebook, even when you want to. Seems that the company wants to hold on to your data even when you say you’re all done, so while you can ‘deactivate’ your account, Facebook will cheerily email you afterwards saying “we’ve saved your data and you can reactivate whenever you’re ready. We miss you already!”

A bit disheartening from a privacy perspective, for sure, but I would like to think that after a certain amount of time deactivated accounts are wiped from the data storage, though that could just be wishful thinking in the 21st Century, the age of data mining.

I can step you through every part of this process because I unfortunately had to deactivate my father’s account after he passed away. No point in keeping it around and while there is a way to “memorialize” someone’s existence by having their account remain, that just seems weird to me so we didn’t go down that route. Curious? Learn more here: memorialize a deceased person’s Facebook account.


To deactivate your own account, start by going to “Settings”, then “Security”:

See that last link, in a different typeface and color? Click on “Deactivate your account”.

You’ll get here:

See all those reasons for leaving? Facebook has answers for almost all of them that try to keep you around, handy FAQs on how to deal with a hacked account, too much email, how to learn Facebook, time management, etc. In fact, it seems like the only way you can actually *quit* Facebook is to choose “Other”.

Do that, click “Confirm” if you’re sure you want to proceed, and…

Makes sense. But then a click on “Deactivate Now” and…

Yeah, it’s their site, not yours, so you need to back up and supply a reason.

I think you can just say “Fed up” in that box. I mean, what are they going to do, say your reason isn’t legit and you can’t deactivate??

Finally, when you do get things lined up for their process, you’ll see this:

Here’s what I find curious: I checked “opt out of future email” and Facebook nonetheless sent an email message with instructions on how to reactivate the account. Apparently “leave me alone” isn’t quite clear enough:

I can only hope and assume that the account is now properly deactivated and won’t show up in people’s friend lists, on searches, etc. And that’s how it’s done.

The post How Do I Quit Facebook and Deactivate My Account? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Video Review: audioengine b2 audiophile bluetooth speaker

AskDaveTaylor - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 12:11

We’re already fans of the great product line from audioengine, and the new audioengine b2 bluetooth speaker is another winner from this audiophile company. Watch our video review to learn what we like about it:

Learn more: audioengine b2 bluetooth speaker.

The post Video Review: audioengine b2 audiophile bluetooth speaker appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

RemoteIE: Remote Testing for Internet Explorer - Mon, 11/03/2014 - 14:38

The Microsoft Remote Desktop app lets you use Azure RemoteApp to test your site on IE (on Windows 10 Technical Preview from anywhere). After you download the app for Mac, Windows iOS or Android, you can connect to their cloud-based version of IE.

Categories: Technology

Wed, 12/31/1969 - 19:00

Syndicate content