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Have You Tried The Google Translate App’s New Word Lens Feature?

Have You Tried The Google Translate App’s New Word Lens Feature?

Thanks to a recent update to the Google Translate app, the ability to travel, live, and do business abroad has never been easier.  The recent additions and improvements to the app make conversing in and navigating around a foreign country as simple as aiming a smartphone camera or speaking into a microphone.

Translate Text, in Real Time, Without an Internet Connection

The most notable new enhancement to Google Translate is the Word Lens feature, which was developed as its own app in 2010 by a company called Quest Visual.  This app allowed users to merely hold their phone up to a sign or printed text and have it translated immediately.  As such, it was no wonder that Google wanted to own it.

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Now a part of Google Translate, this feature currently translates text from French, German, Italian, Portugese, Russian, and Spanish into English, and vice versa.  Google indicates it plans to support even more languages in the future.  For those that aren’t already offered, users can use Camera Mode, which allows them to take a photo, highlight the text, and obtain a translation.  This feature is available in 36 languages.

One of the biggest perks to the new Word Lens feature is that it works even without an Internet or data connection.  This allows travelers to translate on the go without having to pay an exorbitant amount of money for an international data plan.

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Conversations Flow Seamlessly

The second most notable feature of the new Google Translate is its ability to detect which language is being spoken when used in its speech or conversation mode.  Historically, the app required users to manually select the language for translation before each new phrase was spoken.  With the newest release, the need only indicate the two languages at the initial setup.  The app does the work after that, allowing conversations to flow much more naturally.

As a North American expat living in the Latin tropics, I’m often asked for advice on breaking down the language barrier when traveling or relocating abroad.  With these new features and improvements, the Google Translate app is a resource I recommend to help ease that transition.

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Still a Few Bugs to Work Out

That being said, the app certainly isn’t without its flaws.  The Word Lens app struggles with translating handwriting or particularly intricate text or fonts.  As a result, it occasionally makes mistakes.  Likewise, the conversation mode will sometimes come up with something totally wonky that scarcely resembles the actual words spoken.  All in all, though, it’s usually pretty accurate and does a great job of getting the point across.

The app is free to download from the App Store, and it’s available for both iPhone and iPad and on the Google Play Store for Android users.

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Featured photo credit: spanish-learn-speech-translation-375830/jairojehuel via pixabay.com

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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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