How to Improve Video Quality When Casting a Tab to Your Chromecast

A new feature in Chrome radically improves the quality of video casted from the browser to your Chromecast—but only if you toggle a hidden setting on.


Why Tab Casting Is So Terrible (and What Google’s Doing About It)

If you’ve used the screen-mirroring function to send video from the Chrome browser to your Chromecast, you’ve certainly noticed one thing: the feature is a bit rough around the edges. That’s because unlike casting a video from your phone (where your phone simply tells the Chromecast where to look and the Chromecast grabs the direct video stream), tab casting transcodes the video for the Chromecast and it is passed along in this altered state.

The end result is typically pretty bad, and even if the video on your computer screen is beautiful (like a nice HD video stream from Vimeo or a sports broadcast from NBC), the video that shows up on your HDTV looks like a janky mess. It works, but it isn’t pretty.

Fortunately, a brand new feature in Chrome allows you to significantly improve the quality of tab casted videos with a tiny tweak. Once you toggle the setting on, Chrome will attempt to pass along the actual video stream, unaltered, to your Chromecast, instead…

How to Buy Things With Google Home

Amazon may be leading the pack on buying things with your voice on the Echo, but that doesn’t mean Google is content to sit this race out. Depending on where you live, you can buy things with Google Home using Google Express. Here’s how to set it up.

If you’re unfamiliar with Google Express, it works a bit like Amazon Prime. You can order a variety of items and have them delivered straight to your door. However, Google doesn’t have its own shipping warehouses of products like Amazon. Instead, Google will sell you items from other stores like Costco, PetSmart, Walgreens, Whole Foods, and more. Google coordinates with stores in your area to send you the items that those stores sell. When you buy things via Google Home, you can specify that you want to buy things from a certain store, or Google can choose a store for you automatically.

First, Add a Payment Method and Delivery Address

Before you buy stuff with your Google Home, you’ll need to set up how you’ll pay and where your stuff should go. To get started, open up the Google Home app and tap the menu icon in the top-left corner. Then, tap the “More settings” option.

Scroll down to the “Google Account settings” section and tap “Payments.”

If this is your first time setting up a payment method with Google Home, you should see a screen…

Google Home Will Now Read Cooking Directions Out Loud

When it comes to home voice assistants, there’s no denying that the bulk of their usage comes in the kitchen for setting timers and playing audio. Google’s taking that to the next logical step with Google Home, which can now read recipes out loud.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Pick a recipe using the Google Assistant on Android or Google Search (which is now just called Google) app (on iOS or Android).
  2. Tap the “Send to Google Home” button when you find a recipe you want to…

How to Adjust the Brightness of Google Wifi’s LED Lights

If you’ve jumped on the Google Wifi train (or at least been considering it), then you know there are a lot of reasons to love Google’s mesh network setup. And as helpful as the indicator lights are to let you know everything is powered up and running smoothly, they can also be a distraction. Here’s how to turn them off.

That’s right, no need for electrical tape here—Google Wifi actually has a feature that lets you turn the lights off from the app. If you have multiple Wifi units in your home, you can control each one individually, which is a nice touch on Google’s part. That way, you can completely disable the light on the unit in sensitive areas like…

Google selects Android app and game nominees for the 2017 Play Awards

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Google has unveiled the nominees for the Google Play Awards 2017, scheduled for May 18 at 6:30 p.m. Pacific during the company’s I/O 2017 developer conference. There are 12 categories this year, including four new ones: Best VR/AR Experience, Best Multiplayer Game, Best Social Impact, and Best Accessibility Experience.

Google explains that nominees were selected “much like last year by cross-functional teams throughout Google who work hand-in-hand with the relevant categories and product areas.” There are category-specific criteria as well as the common requirements: high star rating, technical performance, and freshness (a launch or major update since April 2016).

This is Google’s way of recognizing developers of quality Android apps and games from across the world. Nominees come from a variety of countries, including Vietnam, France, Russia, Brazil, Uruguay, South Korea, China, and more.

Without further ado, here are the 12 categories and…

How Google Cashes In on the Space Right Under the Search Bar

SAN FRANCISCO — Before Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google, they wrote a research paper as doctoral students at Stanford University in which they questioned the appropriateness of ads on search engines.

“It could be argued from the consumer point of view that the better the search engine is, the fewer advertisements will be needed for the consumer to find what they want,” the pair wrote in the 1998 paper.

How times change. Two decades later, it’s not unusual for a smartphone user to see only ads on a Google search page before scrolling down to the regular results.

When Google’s parent company, Alphabet, reports earnings this week, the internet giant’s big profits are expected to demonstrate yet again that the billboard space accompanying Google queries is the web’s most valuable real estate for advertisements.

In the 17 years since Google introduced text-based advertising above search results, the company has allocated more space to ads and created new forms of them. The ad creep on Google has pushed “organic” (unpaid) search results farther down the screen, an effect even more pronounced on the smaller displays of smartphones.

The changes are profound for retailers and brands that rely on leads from Google searches to drive online sales. With limited space available near the top of search results, not advertising on search terms associated with your brand or displaying images of your products is tantamount to telling potential customers to spend their money elsewhere.

The biggest development with search ads is the proliferation of so-called product listing ads, or P.L.A.s. In a departure from its text-based ads, Google started allowing retailers to post pictures, descriptions and prices of products at the top of search results in 2009.

In recent years, Google has served more product ads and expanded their availability to more general search terms — for example, showing photo ads on a search for “running shoes,” not just “Nike Air Max.” It has also tinkered with the size, location and number of ads on results pages for both computers and smartphones.

Retailers are snapping up product ads. They accounted for 52 percent of all Google search ad spending by retailers in the first quarter of 2017, versus 8 percent in 2011, according to the digital marketing agency Merkle.

“P.L.A.s takes the search engine results page to a different level,” said Andy Taylor, Merkle’s associate director of research.

A Google spokeswoman said the company’s goal had always been to quickly give people the best search results.

“Our goal has always been to deliver results that people find immediately useful, which is even more important on mobile devices with smaller screens,” said the spokeswoman, Chi Hea Cho. “For most queries, we show no ads, and we recently…

Google Cloud Boss Diane Greene Wants To Be Ahead Of Amazon By 2022

Google Cloud boss Diane Greene tells the crowd at the Forbes CIO Summit she thinks she can catch Amazon in five years. (Credit: the author)

Google Cloud boss Diane Greene tells the crowd at the Forbes CIO Summit she thinks she can catch Amazon in five years. (Credit: the author)

In a wide-ranging conversation touching upon security, artificial intelligence and open source technology, Google’s top cloud boss reasserted her confidence that Google can catch Amazon as the cloud leader.

“I think we have a pretty good shot at being #1 in five years,” senior vice president Diane Greene said. “I actually think we have a huge advantage in our data centers, in our infrastructure, availability, security and how we automate things. We just haven’t packaged it up perfectly yet.”

Speaking with San Francisco bureau chief Miguel Helft at the Forbes CIO Summit in Half Moon Bay, California on Sunday afternoon, Greene said she’s now operating a division spanning thousands of people, though she demurred when pressed for a number. “People don’t realize Eric is an old enterprise guy,” she said of Eric Schmidt, chairman of Alphabet and Google’s former CEO.

Asked for some examples of where Google was pushing its offerings in artificial intelligence and machine learning, Greene invoked several of the company’s acquisitions: DeepMind, acquired in January 2014, and Kaggle, acquired just last month in March 2017. The data science competitions hosted on Kaggle are hoped to give Google an edge, according to Greene, while DeepMind has advanced Google’s capabilities in using neural…

How to Search A Website, Even If It Doesn’t Have a Search

You want to find specific information from a given website, but it doesn’t offer search. Or maybe its internal search feature is just plain awful. What can you do?

There’s a simple way to search any website, using any search engine—Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or even Yahoo (which apparently still exists.) It works in every browser as well.

Head to your search engine of choice, or the search bar in your browser, then type what you want to find, just like you normally would. But here’s the trick: before or after your query, type site: followed by the domain of the site…

5 Quick And Easy Ways To Encrypt Your Life Safely In Less Than An Hour.

The use of mobile and computers’ become so common that we probably don’t even know our personal information secretly leaks to others.

Just try to recall how many public figures’ personal information or photos leaked to the public over the last 10 years. And look at what’s just recently happened to Emma Watson and Amanda Seyfriend with their private photos on the phone got hacked.

In fact, the leakage of personal information has become so easily that even the FBI director covered his personal laptop’s webcam with a piece of tape. He suggested us to cover our in-computer webcam with a tape because this is an essential security step that everyone should take.

Director James Comey said during a conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies,[1]

“There’s some sensible things you should be doing, and that’s one of them. You go into any government office and we all have the little camera things that sit on top of the screen. You do that so that people who don’t have authority don’t look at you. I think that’s a good thing.”

So, how what do we do to protect our privacy and encrypt our life?

Doubling up the safeness – Use two-factor authentication for your email account.

Lots of our social media or online tools accounts are connected with our email account. If your email account gets hacked, besides having your email information and contact list leaked, all the other connected accounts will…

Reminder: Google Is An Ad Company

Google is a massive company that does a lot of things. It gives you email, a cool search engine, a fantastic Maps app, and plenty of cloud storage, all for free. We also tend to forget that it’s an ad company. Until an ad pops up on someone’s Google Home device, anyway.

Over the last couple of days, Google Home users have heard a little spot about the opening of Beauty and the Beast when they ask for a summary of the day ahead. Bryson Meunier posted a clip of it on Twitter:

“By the way, Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast opens today,” says, Google Home, in between spots on the weather and whatever other news stories are popular at the moment. Speaking with The Verge, Google issued two statements, one seems to suggest it is an ad despite explicitly saying it’s not. They then quickly followed up with a statement that suggests it’s not an ad but rather some type of algorithm deciding what content to dish out to you. Here’s the first statement:

This isn’t an ad; the beauty in the Assistant is that it invites our partners to be our guest and share their tales.