Tag Archives: Google

Tired of typing Google docs? Use Speech Recognition

The Speech Recognition Add-on changes spoken words into text. Open your Chrome browser and follow these steps:

  • Create a new Google Doc or open and existing document
  • Click on Add-ons (top menu of Google Docs)
  • Type Speech Recognition in the search bar
  • Click on the Blue + button to add it to Google Docs (Mine is green since I have added it already)


  • Click again on add-ons (Google Docs menu)
  • Click on speech recognition
  • Choose your language (Afrikaans is there!)
  • If you select English, you can select the dialect as well
  • You can choose for example South Africa as the dialect


  • You can use a range of commands
  • Click on Save to save your settings
  • Click again on Add-ons
  • Click of Speech Recognition
  • The box will open (far right)
  • Click on Start (Blue button)


  • Click on Allow to use microphone
  • And start talking
  • Google will listen to you and type the text where you need it.
  • The microphone stays green to show that it is ready
  • If the microphone is crossed out, click on Start


Example of her excellence:




  1. I do not use the punctuation, I add it when I proofread my text
  2. Insert lines to show new paragraphs.
  3. Google learns quickly, thus the more you use it, the better she will understand you.
  4. For now, I am impressed.

Google understands my dialect of English, and her spelling is excellent – she can even spell “reëls” correctly!




Meet Google Home

Google Home is a voice activated speaker powered by Google Assistant. It is designed to fit your decor, therefore the base colours vary. Underneath the swappable shell a speaker waits to play back songs and allow Google Assistant to talk to you.

On top of the device is a capacitive touch display with four LEDs that are used to:

  • interact with Home
  • trigger the assistant
  • adjust the volume, etc

There are no buttons on the top, just mics that listen for your voice, but a single mute button can be found on the shell. Google Home can filter and separate noise from speech to offer an Assistant that can follow instructions.

You can ask it questions, tell it to do things and have your Google always ready to help. Just start with: “Ok Google” to power your Google Assistant up.

Google Home is a WiFi speaker that can stream music directly from the cloud. It also works as a smartphone control centre and an assistant for the whole family. You can access songs, playlists, albums, and podcasts from your music services by using your voice. You can also use Google Cast to send music from your Android and iOs devices.

Google Cast allows you to adjust the other speakers in your home. You can even get multi-room playback if you add one or more Google Home devices to a group of speakers to hear music where you are in the house. Google Cast will also allow you to watch choose videos from Youtube. Tell the assistant and the content will appear on the television.

Google Home can be used to:

  • playback entertainment throughout the entire house
  • manage every-day tasks
  • and to ask Google to do something
  • set alarms and timers
  • manage to-do-lists
  • control lights, switches and doors and Googles own Nest products

Google is working with others to allow you to:

  • book a flight or car
  • order dinner
  • send flowers

You can ask Google assistant anything:

  • weather
  • facts on Wikipedia
  • any question that can be answered by Google
  • ask follow-up questions.


  1. You can ask Google who George Clooney is. And then you can ask where he went to school. Google will understand that you mean George Clooney!
  2. You can even ask complex questions such as What was the USA population when NASA was established.
  3. Google can also read the relevant part of the webpage back to you.
  4. You can ask Google Home to play that Shakira song from Zootopia and he will be able to find the correct song from your favourite app without you having to name the song

Google Home supports the following:

  • YouTube Music
  • TuneIn
  • Philips Hue
  • Pandora
  • IFTTT (to activate recipes over speaker)
  • SmartThings
  • iHeart Radio
  • Google Play Music
  • Nest

Google Assistant and its machine learning capabilities allows Google Home to know you and your preferences. It can also act as a Chromecast Audio Receiver. Google Assistant is a Siri-like bot that is an adaption of Google Now and OK Google. It is called Google Assistant and improves two-way conversation experiences of those two services.


I cannot wait for the 4th of November when this little accessory with the big heart will be released!



How to use Google Drive offline

Google released a new Google Drive interface a few days ago. Google Drive, when enabled, allow you to access , create and edit your Google docs and presentations offline. I find it useful when I need to get access to my documents where no Internet is available.

The offline function is only available in Chrome browsers. Follow these steps to enable the offline function.

  • Open Chrome browser
  • Check the box next to
  • Choose Drive


  • Click on the gear icon (far right)


  • Click on settings
  • Check the box next to Offline to sync Google Docs, pages, etc to be edited offline as well
  • Turn off wifi
  • Click on document you want to edit and it opens in the chrome browser
  • When you are connected to the Internet, the files will sync automatically.


Hangout on Air discontinued on 12th of September 2016

Google’s Hangout on Air discontinued on the 12th of September 2016. Users have to use Youtube Live to handle their live streaming needs. It is much easier to start a live steaming via Youtube Live.

You still have two options, namely to:

  • start streaming immediately or
  • create an event and invite an audience before streaming.

The chat feature is still available, but the following features are no longer available:

  • questions and answers
  • showcasing
  • applause

Users of Hangouts on Air will still have access to content created before, but the link will be in read-only format in the Activity Log. The recorded events are still available on YouTube.

Google created Hangout in 2011, and Hangout on Air the following year (2012). When YouTube Live rolled out live streaming in 2013, live streaming found a more natural fit under YouTube’s wings. Instead of competing with YouTube, Google discontinued Hangouts on Air in favour of Youtube Live.

Prioritise your Gmail inbox

Are you also frustrated with a gmail inbox cluttered with emails?  And you do need to go through a pile of emails to find the right ones?

I have tried to solve that problem by having more than one gmail address, but in the process I have missed a few important emails. Until I have discovered gmail’s affordances. One of these is to prioritise your inbox.

  • Click on the gear (far right)

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 9.31.55 AM

  • Cllck on settings (instellings)
  • Click on inbox (Inkassie)

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 9.33.47 AM

  • Click on Inbox type and change to priority first

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 9.35.15 AM

  • Click on save settings
  • and enjoy!

Your inbox will first show important messages, and all other messages will be shown after a section break. You can also add more sections of important messages if you have created folders, and your life is sorted. Quick and easily.

Google uses machine learning to learn which messages are important, and which are not. It acts on signals to learn what you regard as important, so, this is how you can help Google to know what to be prioritised:

  • respond on important emails
  • use keywords in subject area and emails
  • Click on the important marker (star) next to messages

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 9.44.49 AM

  • If Google makes a mistake, click on the yellow importance marker next to the name of the sender to mark it as not important

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 9.44.59 AM

It made my life much easier, so I can start to use only one account. Or, maybe not. I will keep two. One to be shared with people I trust, and one to all other who might turn out to be sellers of private emails. That is the only explanation I have for receiving thousands or trash I do not even read, but wastes a lot of time when I have to delete them to get to the important stuff.





Use Google to spell check Afrikaans

You probably know that you can use Google to translate text. But, did you know that you can change the language of an individual document written in Afrikaans to remove red lines indicating spelling errors?

Follow these steps:

  • Open the document
  • Click on file (leêr) if you have changed language to Afrikaans
  • Click on language (just look at the use of Afrikaans in the screenshot) and chose Afrikaans

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 7.52.33 AM

And now you can use Afrikaans to create and edit documents.



Google in Afrikaans?


Google relies on machine learning to be Afrikaans as well. In order to assist Google in this regard, follow these steps to change the language of your drive to Afrikaans:

  • Click on the waffle next to your profile pic and click on Drive

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 7.32.19 AM

  • Click on settings (little gear far right beneath your profile pic) when you are in your drive

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 7.31.58 AM

  • Click on settings, under general, select languages, and click on Change language settings
  • Click on ADD ANOTHER LANGUAGE and type AFRIKAANS in the search box
  • Click on the arrow to change Afrikaans to the default language


Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 7.39.12 AM

Your drive will be Afrikaans!

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 7.41.04 AM


I am quite impressed with the way Afrikaans is used!