Back in the day, autocorrect created more issues in our texts and emails than it fixed.
Today, you can open up an email draft, and Gmail will finish your sentences and even suggest a subject line — all mimicking the way you type. Perhaps you don’t like the idea of Google’s AI reading as you write emails. Tap or click here for steps to turn off Smart Compose.
Here’s something many people don’t know. You can remove photos of your home from Google Street View. I did. Tap or click here to get your home removed, too. It only takes a minute.
Don’t stop now. I’ve got a handful of hidden settings every Google user should know.
1. Yes, you can get things done offline
Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are a great way to collaborate. If you don’t have an internet connection, you can’t work in real-time with someone else. But, you can work offline and save those changes once you have a connection again.
Here’s the catch. You need to turn on offline access before you need it. You must be connected to the internet to make these changes.
- Open Chrome and make sure you’re signed in with your Google account. Go to drive.google.com/drive/settings.
- Next to Offline, you will see a box to Create, open, and edit your recent Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides files on this device while offline. Check the box.
Then, save the specific docs you want to work on.
- Go to drive.google.com. Right-click the file you want to save offline.
- Turn on Available offline.
Once you regain network access, your edits will be uploaded. Be careful about making changes across multiple devices at once since you could override your work.
2. Download everything Google knows about you
By now, you know how much Google tracks about your interests, your life, your work, your purchases, your contacts … I could go on.
Google Takeout is telling. You can use this tool to export a copy of all the content connected to your Google account.
This download includes everything from your bookmarks to your Google Maps location history. Some other particularly revealing sections hold all your email contacts, every YouTube video you have ever watched, and your entire search history. Yea, you’ll be embarrassed.
- Be sure you’re signed in to your Google account, then go to takeout.google.com.
- Choose all the data you wish to export.
- Hit Next step, then choose how you’d like to receive this information: A download link via email or have it added to your Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or Box account.
- Choose how often you’d like to receive this (once or every 2 months for a year) and the file type you’d like to receive.
- Click Create export. You’ll get an email when the process is complete.
User Google Maps? Tap or click for a hidden setting you should change right now.
3. Recall that email you sent when you were upset
Gmail gives you the ability to recall messages. Once again, you need to set this feature before you need it. It’s worth doing, just for the peace of mind. I recommend choosing the maximum time for your cancellation period.
- Click the Settings gear icon > See all settings.
- Under General, scroll to Undo Send. Select a cancellation period of 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds.
From now on, after you send an email, you’ll see “Message sent” and the option to “Undo” or “View message” in the bottom left corner of your screen. To cancel the send, click Undo. Your email will revert to a draft.
4. Try Chrome’s experimental features
I never suggest beta or experimental versions of software without warning. They can be glitchy and annoying. When it comes to entire operating systems, I recommend most people wait for the final build. You don’t want an unresolved issue tanking your only computer.
For smaller-scale beta tests, you can try out Google’s experimental features for Gmail. You can test out features that haven’t made it to public launch yet and provide feedback if you choose.
Right now, there are no features in testing. Still, you might as well set this up now, so you have access the next time experiments are released. Previous ones included the Undo Send feature I mentioned above.
To turn on Experimental Access, open Gmail on your computer.
- In the top right corner, click Settings > See all settings. Under General, scroll to Experimental Access.
- Check the box next to Enable experimental access. At the bottom of the page, click Save changes.
Google has other experiments you can try out right now. These are developed by creative coders who use Chrome, Android, AI, and more to tell a story or create something new.
The Shared Piano experiment is neat. It was developed during the pandemic to enable remote music teaching and collaboration. Up to 10 people can play together at once. You don’t need to log in or install any software, either.
5. Sort through your tabs
If you’re like me, you have way too many tabs open from time to time. Instead of clicking through each one to find the URL you want, you can search.
- Open Chrome Chrome.
- Next to your list of tabs, you’ll see a small arrow point down. Click the arrow.
- Type in a website, keyword, or another search term.
- Click the tab you want to open or click the X to close it.
Bonus Tip: How we tracked down an online troll and stalker
Dana called my national radio show for help because her 18-year-old daughter was being stalked by someone she met on Tinder. Then, the stalker put Dana’s photo and cellphone number on porn site ads. We tracked the stalker down and tell you how we did it.
Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player. Or you can listen here on my site.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.
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Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters, and more, visit her website at Komando.com.