Google dropped a few much needed updates to a couple of their key productivity products (for both Chrome and Android)

Google dropped a few much needed updates to a couple of their key productivity products (for both Chrome and Android)

Google dropped a few much needed updates to a couple of their key productivity products (for both Chrome and Android)

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Updates to Google Keep and Google Calendar FINALLY make the products much more productive. Here's a quick breakdown. 

Google does a lot of things. Many of those things they do right, right out of the gate. But some of those things miss the mark, to one degree or another, and it can seem like an eternity before they finally get the fixes in place. Well last week Google finally made good on a few much needed and long complained about fixes to Google Keep and Google Calendar. 

Google Keep adds Chrome Extension

I've tried very hard to consistently use Google Keep since it first rolled out in 2013.  Keep is a clean, simple to use note taking application that's available on both mobile and desktop. It's a great way to jot down quick notes on the fly using your voice, keyboard or even photos and then have them available seamlessly across multiple platforms. It's a terrific way to keep track of and organize the various thoughts or 'to-dos' that pop up throughout your day.    

However, there's one small thing that has hindered my full embrace of Keep, and that's a quick and rapid fire way to log websites that I've visited. Well with last weeks update and addition of a Chome extension, that's now been remedied. If you don't use Chrome as your browser you're out of luck, and if you don't use extensions, get up to speed with then here.  But if you do use Chrome and you are hip to extensions, you'll love this. 

When you're on a website that you want to keep track of for one reason or another you can now log it into Keep with one click of the extension (the little light bulb to the right of the omni-window). A small window will pop up with the site name already populated and a space for you to add in a note of your own. Just like that, the link is automatically saved and accessible from either your desktop or mobile versions of Keep.

Very simple, very useful. Glad Google finally added it. I may just have to 'keep' Keep around now. Check out the update and download here

Reminders finally reach desktops!

Reminders on Google have been floating around for a while now. With a push of a button or a mention of  the words "OK Google", you can log any reminder you may need into you mobile device, set a time or location in which you want to be reminded and then Google takes care of notifying you at that time or place. Very useful when you need to get Milk the next time you driving past the grocery story or you have to remember to call Grandma.

The problem had been how to keep track of these reminders, though. On your mobile device (Android in particular), it works like a dream. When using Google Now you can just swipe the homescreen right and see a list of all your reminders. Even inside the Android version of Calendar you're able to see a summary of each of the reminders you've set for the day or future days. But for some reason these didn't bleed over into the browser version of Google Calendar. And there's no shortage of complaints about it online.  

But this has all changed as of last week when Google made the link between mobile and browser reminders possible! 

Now you can look review, reschedule and check off each of those important things you need to do. And the best part of reminders is they move forward into the next day automatically until you mark it as completed. It's a great way to ensure you don't forget your weekly check in with Grandma and now that reminder is on your desktop as well.

Check out more details over at the Google products blog.  

Set Goals inside Google Calendar

The last update Google rolled out is also for their Calendar product, on account of it's 10 year anniversary (10 years?!). They're helping us get more motivated with the addition of 'goals'. For the time being, Goals are only able to be set up via the mobile version of Google Calendar but any goal you set does push over to the desktop/browser version as well.

Goals work somewhat like reminders but with a bit more assistance built in. You simply push the red plus button to create a new calendar entry and select Goal. From there you're offered a bunch of pre-scripted categories to choose from such as 'Exercise', 'Build a skill' or 'Me time'. After selecting a general category you're then offered a selection of questions based on the category you've selected to help pin down exactly what you'd like to achieve and how often you'd like to do it. From there, Google plots your new goal against your previously scheduled calendar activities and finds time for you throughout the week to put towards your goal. Now that's a productivity booster!

It's an easy way to keep up with your Mandarin learning efforts. You can learn more about Goals along with other Google products on their product blog.   

Where you use the Google's ecosystem for personal or business productivity boosting tools, there's no doubt technology can be very useful to help us get more done throughout the day. Check out and subscribe to the Allari blog where we discuss ways to increase productivity, IT strategy and treads in business technology. 

Also, feel free to download our free ebook which looks at and discusses 4 trends IT leaders must master while leading efforts in the new IT. 

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