See the Email Sender’s Company and Logo in your Gmail Inbox

The default layout of your Gmail inbox has the sender’s name listed in the left most column followed by the subject and the date of the message. The emails are sorted in reverse chronological order with the newest messages listed at the top.

The problem with this layout is that you cannot figure out who the actual sender of a message is without actually opening the email. For instance, if you get an email from Angus who works at Google and a second email from another Angus who is employed with Microsoft, Gmail will simply show Angus as the sender for both emails.

To solve this exact problem, I wrote Gmail Sender Icons and it is now available for everyone. It is a Google Chrome extension that will make it easy for you to identify the company or the organisation of the email sender right inside the message list of your Gmail inbox.

Check out the screenshots and you’ll get the idea.

The add-on extracts the email address of the sender, parses the website domain from the address and pulls the favicon image (often same as the logo) of the domain. It then appends the logo image and the company’s domain as a label to the message subject thus making it easy for you quickly identify the message sender.

It run entirely in your browser and not even a byte of your Gmail data is shared with anyone outside your browser. The Chrome extension internally uses the InboxSDK library to parse emails on the client’s side.

When your inbox is flooded with emails and you’d only like to focus your attention on messages that are from known senders, this Gmail extension will be a big help. It shows the sender label in default message views and search results.

You can also use Gmail Sender Icons to quickly identify emails from known domains in the spam folder than may have been mistakenly identified as spam by Gmail filters. Give it a shot.

Gmail Sender Icons

How to Make Phone Numbers Callable in Google Sheets

If you click an email link on a webpage, it opens your default mail program. Similarly, you can make phone numbers on your website “callable” meaning when someone clicks the phone number, it will launch the dialer on their mobile phone and initiate dialing of the specified phone number. It is recommended that you make phone numbers clickable as more and more people would be accessing your site on their mobile devices.

How to Insert Clickable Phone Numbers in Web Pages

We use the simple tel protocol to convert a plain text phone number on a web page into a clickable telephone link.

html-telephone-links.png

For instance, if you click this link on a mobile phone, it will open the phone dialer prefilled with the specified number. There’s no need to copy-paste numbers.

How to Type Phone Numbers in a Google Sheet

It is a bit tricky to type phone numbers inside Google Spreadsheets. Here’s why:

Phone numbers are mostly made of digits preceded by the plus (+) symbol. The problem is as soon as add the plus sign in the spreadsheet cell, it assumes that you entering a math formula and tries to calculate the value.

phone-number-formatting.png

There are two simple workarounds to this problem. You can enclose the phone number inside double quotes (“) and precede it with an equal to (=) sign.

An even easier alternative is to use the single quote (‘) before the phone number. Google Sheets will then interpret the cell’s value as text and the phone number formatting will be preserved.

How to Make Phone Numbers Clickable in Google Sheets

Coming to the main problem, how do you make phone numbers inside a Google Sheet clickable. The obvious answer would be to use the =HYPERLINK() method with the tel protocol but, unfortunately, Google Sheets do not support it.

So a formula like =HYPERLINK(“tel:12345”, “Call Me”) would not work since sheets will only allow regular http and mailto hyperlinks. There’s a simple workaround though.

google-sheet-phone-links.png

You can create a regular hyperlink in the cell pointing to a website which in turn redirects to the actual telephone link. To see this in action, add https://ctrlq.org/call/ before any phone number in the Google Sheet and it will turn into a clickable telephone link.

Say you have the phone number in cell A1. Add this simple formula in any other cell and it will create a telephone link just like on a regular webpage.

=HYPERLINK(“https://ctrlq.org/call/”&A1; “Call our support team”)

To get a better idea, open this Phone Number Google Sheet inside the Sheets app of your Android or iPhone and try clicking any of the phone links.

Also see: Add Images in Google Spreadsheets

Know What Facebook Can See Inside Your Photographs

When you upload any photograph to your Facebook account, they look at the actual content of the photograph and try to determine what objects and scenes are inside the image. You may not have added any description, yet Facebook can determine what that picture is all about.

Whether you are having a pizza, enjoying the sun on a beach, playing with your dog or spending an evening with friends, Facebook can accurately figure it out from the photo itself. They internally use these machine generated captions to make your pictures more accessible to blind users.

Facebook Computer Vision Tags

If you are curious to know what information Facebook visual recognition algorithms have found in your own pictures, here’s an easy way to view that data.

  1. Open any photograph on the Facebook website and click the thumbnail to view the enlarged version of the image.
  2. Right-click the image and choose Inspect to open the Chrome Dev Tools. This trick would work across all modern browsers since they have developer tools built-in.
  3. Look at the alt attribute of the image tag* and you’ll find the description of the image as seen by Facebook (video tutorial).

[*] If the <img> tag is not visible in developer tool, you may need to expand the parent <div> tag.

Video Tutorial – Facebook Image Tags

Facebook’s computer vision tags cover multiple concepts including food, objects (e.g., eyeglasses), people’s expression (are they smiling?), sports, nature (sky, mountains), and more. The best part – if you are in a group photograph, Facebook can accurately tell you the exact number of people in the frame.

A Github user has created a Google Chrome extension that takes away all the manual work and overlays the tags on the pictures without you having to hunt inside the developer tool.

How to Add a Picture Password to your Google Forms

Google Forms have this “all-or-none” problem. The forms are either public (anyone can fill your form) or, if you are on Google Apps, you can create forms that are visible to everyone in your organization. It is however not possible to restrict access to forms to specific people.

Another shortcoming is that Google Forms do not allow passwords or CAPTCHAs to prevent spam bots from filling your forms with random data. Google itself maintains the reCAPTCHA project but it is not known if integration with Google Forms is in the works. There is a workaround, though.

Google Forms with Picture Passwords

Google Forms do not support CAPTCHA but they do offer an option to attach images with questions. These can be used as picture passwords.

The idea is simple.

We add a multiple-choice question where the user is asked to pick an image from a selection of multiple images. If they select the correct image, the main form is displayed else an error message is shown. Also, these images are shuffled so the answer’s position is random for each respondent.

How to Make Google Forms with Picture Passwords

Take this sample Google Form for a spin and you’ll get the idea.

Open a new Google Form and create 3 sections. The first section will have the picture password, the second section will contain the error message and the last one will have the actual questions that you want to ask users who have passed the anti-spam test.

In the first section, create a multiple choice question and attach a different image with every choice. Make this a required question and turn on the shuffle order for the question. Also turn on the option “Go to section based on answer” for the section so that only valid answers are taken to the main form.

For each choice that is not valid, choose “Go to section 2” (see screenshot) and choose “Go to section 3” for the right choice. In section 2, do not add any questions but for the error message in the section description. Also set “Go to section 1” after section 2 so that the user cannot go to the main section 3 without passing the picture test.

Make the Google Form live and respondents will only see the main questionnaire if they have solved the problem in section 1. You should also check out another technique for restricting access to Google Forms with passwords.

Related: File Upload Forms for Google Drive


The story, How to Add a Picture Password to your Google Forms, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 15/12/2016 under Google Forms, Internet.

How to Generate a Report of Bounced Email Addresses in Gmail

Some of the email messages you have sent through Gmail might not get delivered at all. There could be a problem with the recipient’s email address, their mailbox could be full or maybe the mail server could be specifically blocking your emails due to the content of the message.

When an email message is returned, you get a bounce-back notice from MAILER-DAEMON@gmail.com and it will always contain the exact reason for the delivery failure along with the SMTP error code. For instance, an error code 550 indicates that the email address doesn’t exist while a 554 indicates that your email was classified as spam by the recipient’s mail server.

gmail-email-bounced

How to Get a List of Email Addresses that Bounced

It is important to keep track of your bounced messages and remove all undelivered email addresses from your future mailings as they may adversly affect your sending reputation.

Mail Merge keeps track of all your bounced messages in Gmail but if you are using mail merge yet, here’s an open-source Google Script that will prepare a list of all email addresses that have bounced inside a Google Spreadsheet.

Gmail Bounce Report – Getting Started

Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Go to labnol.org/bounce to make a copy of the Google Spreadsheet.
  2. Click the Gmail menu (adjacent to Help) and choose Bounce Report.
  3. Allow the Google Script to access* your Gmail account.
  4. Watch as the Google Sheet is populated with bounced addresses.
[*] The sheet uses an open-source Google Script that runs inside your own account and doesn’t share even a byte of data with anyone.

The email bounce report includes the email address that bounced, the reason why that email failed to deliver and the date when the bounce occurred. The spreadsheet will also have a direct link to the bounced message received from MAILER-DAEMON@google.com.


The story, How to Generate a Report of Bounced Email Addresses in Gmail, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 14/12/2016 under GMail, Internet.

An Undocumented Gmail Trick – Search Emails by Date and Time

Gmail supports a plethora of search operators to help you instantly find that elusive email message buried in your mailbox. You have size search – like larger_than:5mb – to find the big messages in your account. File search – like has:attachment filename:doc – will locate email messages that contain file attachments of specific types. This graphic illustrates all the known search operators that work both on Gmail and Google Inbox.

Date Search in Gmail

Date search in Gmail helps you locate emails sent or received in a specific period. Here are some examples:

  • newer_than:7d from:me – Emails sent in the last 7 days
  • after:2016/12/01 to:me – Emails received in the month of December 2016

Specify Time Modifiers in Gmail Search

Gmail also supports time-based searches allowing you to find emails in the specific hour, minute or second. For instance, you can limit your Gmail search to emails that were received between Dec 10 8:15 PM and Dec 10, 2016 8:45 PM.

To get started, convert the date and time to Epoch time and then use the timestamp with the standard after or before search operator of Gmail.

For instance, the Epoch time for Dec 10, 2016 8:15 PM is 1481381100 and the Epoch time for Dec 10, 2016 8:45 PM is 1481382900. Use the search query after:1481381100 before:1481382900 and you’ll get a list of all emails received during that 30-minute period.

Epoch time is the number of seconds that have elapsed since January 1, 1970 (UTC). Use the Epoch converter to represent a human readable date and time in Epoch and use that timestamp with the before or after search operator of Gmail to find that elusive email.


The story, An Undocumented Gmail Trick – Search Emails by Date and Time, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 13/12/2016 under GMail, Internet.

How to Receive Notifications for Google Forms on your Mobile Phone

The Email Notifications add-on for Google Forms will send you the form data in an email message each time a respondent submits your form. You can use the same add-on to also send automated emails to the form respondents immediately after they complete your Google Form.

The popular Google Forms add-on has been updated and it can now send push notifications to your mobile devices as well. That means when respondents complete and submit your online form, you’ll get an instant real-time notification (sample) on your iPhone or Android phone. The notification text can also include answers from the Google Form.

A fast response time is a key to success, especially in areas like customer service and closing sales leads, and mobile notifications will ensure that your important form entries are never lost in the daily deluge of emails.

Setup Mobile Notifications for Google Forms

It takes a few easy steps (video tutorial) to get up and running.

  1. Install Email Notifications for Google Forms from the Google Add-on store.
  2. Install the IFTTT mobile app on your Android or iOS device.

Next, we need to create a connection between our Google Form and the IFTTT app so that mobile notifications are triggered on the mobile phone immediately after the form is submitted.

1. Configure IFTTT

Open ifttt.com on your desktop and create a new applet. Choose the Maker service for if-this condition and set the Event name as the name of your Google Form. For if-this-then-that action, choose Notifications as the service and set the text as {{Value 1}}. Click Finish to make your IFTTT applet live.

2. Configure Google Forms

Open any Google Form, go to the Addons menu, choose Email Notifications and then select Mobile Notifications. Enter the Event name, the IFTTT key and the notification text. You can put any {{form field name}} in the text and these will be replaced with actual values filled by the user.

That’s it. Click the Test button to test the connection between the form and your mobile phone. If it works, click Save to enable mobile notifications.

Google Forms - Mobile Notifications

If you have multiple Google Forms, you need to create separate IFTTT applets for each form and the event name should be unique for each applet.

Internally, when someone submits your form, the Google Addon triggers and sends a web request to the IFTTT service which in turn pushes the notification to your mobile device.

Troubleshooting Mobile Notifications

  • Ensure that your mobile is connected to the Internet.
  • The event name in the applet should match the event name in the form configuration.
  • You are logged into the IFTTT app on your mobile phone.
  • Check the activity log to ensure that notifications are getting sent.
  • If you are still facing any issue, contact support.

The story, How to Receive Notifications for Google Forms on your Mobile Phone, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 13/12/2016 under Android, Google Forms, IPhone, Internet.

Make a Bookmark to Quickly Restart Google Chrome

Google Chrome, most would agree, is a memory hog. Open a few website tabs in Chrome and your system slows down to a crawl. The most recommended solution is that you uninstall the non-essential Chrome add-ons and restart your browser to release some RAM.

How do you restart Chrome? Close the browser and double-click the application icon on the desktop to launch it again. That’s the usual way but Chrome also offers a special URL that makes it easy to restart Chrome from the address bar.

Go to the browser address bar, type chrome://restart and hit the Enter key. Voila! The browser restarts itself.

Bookmark to Restart Google Chrome

Make a Chrome Restart Bookmark

If you restart Chrome frequently, it may be a good idea to create a bookmark that will help you restart with a click. Here’s how.

Press Ctrl+D (Windows) or Cmd+D (Mac) to bookmark this page in your browser. Now click the Edit button on the bookmark screen, put chrome://restart in the URL input field and click save to create the restart bookmark.

That’s it. Type chrome://chrome-urls in your browser address bar to see other internal pages of Chrome that can be accessed via special URLs.


The story, Make a Bookmark to Quickly Restart Google Chrome, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 16/11/2016 under Google Chrome, Internet.

How to Embed Images from Google Photos into your Website

Google Photos is the best service for backing up your digital photos to the cloud. They have no storage restrictions, your can upload images as well as videos, and visual search helps you find photos by people or things in them. There’s one feature though that’s still missing in Google Photos.

You can easily share your photos with anyone using a simple link but Google Photos offers no option for you to embed an existing image into a website. That is, if you have already uploaded an image onto Google Photos, you can’t directly embed it into your website through Google Photos.

Google Photos as an Image Host

Embed Google Photos is a new web app that, as the name suggests, makes it extremely easy for you to pick any image hosted on Google Photos and place it on a web page using simple HTML code.

Here’re the steps involved:

  • Go to photos.google.com and open any image that you wish to embed in your website.
  • Tap the Share Icon (video tutorial) and then choose Get Link to generate a shareable link for that image.
  • Go to j.mp/EmbedGooglePhotos, paste that link and it will instantly generate the embed code for that picture.

Open your website template, paste the generated code and save (see sample). The image will now serve directly from your Google Photos account. This technique can also be used for embedding images in HTML Mail without having to use an external image hosting service.

Embed Google Photos

Embed Google Photos – How it works?

When you share a single photo via a link inside Google Photos, it creates an unlisted link that is accessible to anyone including those who are not logged into their Google Accounts. Internally, the app downloads the page behind this link and extracts the Open Graph tags to determine the direct link of the image and the underlying photo album.

Also see: Google Photos – The Good Parts

The embed app only works for single images and not albums. One more thing. I am not aware of any bandwidth limitations for images shared via Google Photos. If have a very popular site, this may not be the way to go.

 


The story, How to Embed Images from Google Photos into your Website, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 25/10/2016 under Embed, Image, Internet.

How to Capture Screenshots in Google Chrome without using Extensions

There are umpteen ways to capture screenshots of web pages in your Google Chrome browser. You can use the good-old Print Screen key (or Cmd+Shift+4 on a Mac), get a snapshot utility like SnagIt or the Windows Snipping Tool, or even better, get a dedicated Google Chrome extension like Smartshot that lets you capture the screen and annotate it.

What some may not know is that the newer versions of Google Chrome have a built-in screenshot capabilities allowing to perform screen captures without install any extensions. The more interesting part is that you can even add device frames to your captured images for more realistic mobile screenshots.

How to Screen Capture in Google Chrome

To get started, open any web page inside Google Chrome and choose Settings -> Tools -> Developer Tools. Alternatively, press F12 on Windows or Cmd+Opt+I on a Mac to directly open the Chrome Dev Tools window.

Next, toggle the Device Toolbar button so that it turns blue. Now select any mobile device from the built-in list of device presets. Set the zoom to 100% and click the Rotate icon to change the orientation (default is portrait mode).

The stage is set. Click the 3-dot menu in the right and enable device frame. Next, choose Capture Screenshot from the same menu to save a device screenshot in PNG format.

Mobile Phone Screenshots

Capture Screenshots in Firefox

You can capture screenshots of web pages in Firefox as well without installing any add-ons. Unlike Chrome which can only capture visible region, Firefox developer tools can take a snapshot of the entire web page and automatically saves it in your default downloads folder.

Open Web Developer tools inside Firefox and, under Settings, enable the option – Take a screenshot of the entire page. Firefox will add a camera icon to the developer toolbar letting you capture screenshots with one-click.


The story, How to Capture Screenshots in Google Chrome without using Extensions, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 18/10/2016 under Google Chrome, Screen Capture, Internet.