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Google promises to support Chrome on Windows 7 until July 2021

Google is promising to support Chrome on Windows 7 for at least the next 18 months.

“We will continue to fully support Chrome on Windows 7 for a minimum of 18 months from Microsoft’s End of Life date, until at least July 15, 2021,” Max Christoff, Chrome’s engineering director, wrote last week in a post to a company blog.

Christoff touted the post-retirement support as a win for enterprises, which over the last several years have designated Chrome as their workers’ primary browser. He highlighted the management tools Google offered as well as Chrome’s sync skills. “If you haven’t started your move to Windows 10 yet, or even if your organization is mid-way through migration, you can still benefit from the enterprise capabilities of Chrome,” Christoff contended.

That emphasis was no surprise. This week will mark not only the end of support for Windows 7 (Tuesday, Jan. 14) but also the public debut of Microsoft’s refurbished Edge (Wednesday, Jan. 15). Microsoft, which built the new Edge with Google’s Chromium technologies – the same that drive Chrome – has pitched the browser as a better fit for enterprises, based on Microsoft’s long history of management prowess.

It remained unclear on Monday how Microsoft will support its new Chromium-based Edge on Windows 7. Historically, Microsoft has stopped serving browser updates when the underlying operating system exited support. However, Edge on Windows 7 will, like Edge on Windows 10, be updated using mechanisms separate from the OS. Microsoft may continue to support its new Edge after this week on all Windows 7 PCs, not just those in organizations that have paid for Extended Support Updates (ESU).

Google’s pledge to support Chrome on Windows 7 for “a minimum of 18 months” was reminiscent of its support for the browser on Windows XP. Months before that operating system’s April 2014 retirement, Google told users it would support Chrome at least until the following April.

Google ended up supporting Chrome on XP for two years after the latter’s expiration, or until April 2016.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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Can Google (yes, Google) save social media in 2020?

Is there a “good” social network? If so, which one?

If not, what’s the way forward in 2020 for companies and brands to leverage the social internet to connect with and serve customers?

The social media-using public (which numbers somewhere between two and four billion people, depending on whom you ask) is divided up into dozens or even hundreds of impenetrable walled gardens. Users who use Twitter exclusively are blind to what’s happening on Facebook. Facebook-only users have no idea what’s going on with TikTok. And so on with dozens of social sites.

Brands seeking to connect with consumers are stymied by sites like Facebook, which sever that connection through algorithmic control of News Feeds. Pay through the nose, and you might reach a low two-digit percentage of the customers who followed your Page to stay in touch. Fail to pay, and you could be looking at a less-than-two-percent access rate.

Maintaining a productive social presence is getting increasingly problematic.

The problem with Facebook and Twitter

Facebook’s growth appears to have plateaued or declined in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Twitter reported even bigger declines this year. Bots, many of which are state-sponsored and exist for using disinformation for causing social division, continue to plague social sites like Twitter, despite huge effort by the company to eliminate them. Facebook recently removed 583 million fake accounts that, until the removal, were engaging as and with real users.

Social media is partly blamed for growing political division and social strife, and the problem is getting so bad that brands need to increasingly wonder if social sites are a “bad neighborhood” they don’t really want to be associated with.

The one “bright spot” for social user growth is TikTok, which (after spending a billion dollars on mostly Facebook and Instagram advertising) is alone in marking meteoric user growth. The social network, called the second coming of Vine, involves 15-second algorithmically sorted videos with user comments at the bottom. TikTok algorithms favor memes, music-related videos and frivolous-but-addictive videos that emphasize body-language communication and humor.

[ Related: 10 takeaways from high-profile social media wins and losses

The Chinese company that owns TikTok, called ByteDance, is now valued at over $75 billion. But the service has been embroiled in controversy. As a Chinese company, it’s

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Is there a “good” social network? If so, which one?

If not, what’s the way forward in 2020 for companies and brands to leverage the social internet to connect with and serve customers?

The social media-using public (which numbers somewhere between two and four billion people, depending on whom you ask) is divided up into dozens or even hundreds of impenetrable walled gardens. Users who use Twitter exclusively are blind to what’s happening on Facebook. Facebook-only users have no idea what’s going on with TikTok. And so on with dozens of social sites.

Brands seeking to connect with consumers are stymied by sites like Facebook, which sever that connection through algorithmic control of News Feeds. Pay through the nose, and you might reach a low two-digit percentage of the customers who followed your Page to stay in touch. Fail to pay, and you could be looking at a less-than-two-percent access rate.

Maintaining a productive social presence is getting increasingly problematic.

The problem with Facebook and Twitter

Facebook’s growth appears to have plateaued or declined in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Twitter reported even bigger declines this year. Bots, many of which are state-sponsored and exist for using disinformation for causing social division, continue to plague social sites like Twitter, despite huge effort by the company to eliminate them. Facebook recently removed 583 million fake accounts that, until the removal, were engaging as and with real users.

Social media is partly blamed for growing political division and social strife, and the problem is getting so bad that brands need to increasingly wonder if social sites are a “bad neighborhood” they don’t really want to be associated with.

The one “bright spot” for social user growth is TikTok, which (after spending a billion dollars on mostly Facebook and Instagram advertising) is alone in marking meteoric user growth. The social network, called the second coming of Vine, involves 15-second algorithmically sorted videos with user comments at the bottom. TikTok algorithms favor memes, music-related videos and frivolous-but-addictive videos that emphasize body-language communication and humor.

[ Related: 10 takeaways from high-profile social media wins and losses

The Chinese company that owns TikTok, called ByteDance, is now valued at over $75 billion. But the service has been embroiled in controversy. As a Chinese company, it’s subject to theoretical censorship and user tracking by the Chinese government — the same government that actively bans all of TikTok’s foreign competitors. TikTok is being investigated by the US government, and it’s not clear what the result of that investigation will be.

TikTok avoids much of the social and political division of other social sites by making no pretense of supporting free speech and simply banning just about all substantive content. The app’s terms of service prohibit discussion of independence movements, national leaders, politics, protests and lots of other things. It doesn’t ban trolling per se — in fact, most TikTok videos seem vaguely trollish by design.

TikTok as a trend, in fact, may represent total victory by trolls on social networks over the now-quaint idea of social media as a “public square” where citizens engaged constructively over interesting and important matters. Instead, the “cream” that rises to the top of TikTok and dominates the service are more likely to include videos of people eating chicken, Gummy Bears singing Adele songs, head-banging dogs and the TikTok standard of teenagers dancing and lip-syncing to profanity-laced hip-hop lyrics.

The TikTok response to my characterization, of course, would be “OK, boomer.” But the point is that for a variety of reasons — while the old-and-busted social sites grow ever more problematic for brand conversations — the new hotness isn’t so hot, either. Where do you go if you want to engage customers on social?

Does Google have the answer to social engagement?

Google killed its Google+ social network platform for consumers in April, and claimed to retain it for business customers. The business version is less like a social network and more like a cloud intranet, and very few companies use it.

Google ended Plus because of “low usage” and because of two data leaks, which were probably not exploited by hackers. Since then, Google has made some strange moves in the social space.

Google runs an incubator called Area 120, which created a social networking app called Shoelace. The app, which is limited to New York City for now, is designed to enable people to interact based on local activities and events, which users can create and organize. The app theoretically competes with Facebook’s “Events” feature and is reminiscent of the Google+ Events feature and Google Schemer, which was launched in 2011 for organizing activities.

Google also acquired a TikTok-like social video sharing app called Firework. Unlike TikTok’s shorter videos, Firework enables 30-second videos, which can be viewed in both portrait and landscape modes by simply turning the phone during the video. The feature is called “Reveal.” (Facebook also launched a TikTok-competing app last year called Lasso.)

These two social networking moves are obviously too little, too late. Some say, for example, that Firework is “better” than TikTok. But it doesn’t matter. Google+ was “better” than Facebook. And Google’s reputation for killing products and services (which makes the public hesitant to embrace any new Google thing, especially in the social space) is far worse now than it was when Google+ was a thing.

Shoelace and Firework have zero chance of succeeding.

But other social initiatives by Google might be ahead of the curve. No, really!

Is ‘openness’ the solution to social?

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey unveiled plans recently to create a decentralized standard for social media called Bluesky and that Twitter would support it. Dorsey says that the initiative could use Web3 foundations like blockchain to tackle the biggest problems with social media, including the prevalence of fake news and divisive, vitriolic content.

Facebook also said it’s opening up a bit. The company recently announced an option to transfer photos and videos (protected by encryption) from Facebook to Google Photos, with other services to be supported later. The feature is expected to be globally available by the middle of next year.

The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, is also trying to fix social. His unlikely solution is an ad-free social network called WT.Social. The social network is invitation-only, but you can invite yourself by paying. He intends for WT.Social to avoid the whole fake-news, fake-users, troll-centric trap that Facebook and Twitter fall into by employing user moderation, as with Wikipedia. Volunteer moderators will have the power to delete content and users will be banned for trolling and other anti-social behavior.

The success of any of these initiatives seems unlikely. But is the general idea of more openness, universality and user control the best way forward?

As the power and value of social media declines, the original Google social strategy might end up being the right one.

It’s hard to remember now, but before Google+ (i.e. before 2011), Google’s stated strategy was to bake social features into services that were not social networks, rather than creating a walled garden.

The most successful implementation of this idea was YouTube, which is a video sharing site with social features that’s so social it’s commonly counted among social network and, as such, is considered the world’s second largest social network after Facebook. Google is considered a loser in social. But the company either has the second most successful social network or — more likely — it’s ability to bake social into services that aren’t primarily social networks is a winner.

Consider: Many of the improvements that Google has made to its popular Maps product are social additions that help businesses inform or serve customers. The most recently announced such feature enables users to follow “Local Guides,” which are active reviewers and posters of photos on Maps. For example, a user who frequently reviews and posts photos of restaurants might be designated by Google as a Local Guide. (Google rewards Local Guides with perks like first access to new Maps features, free and discounted Google services, and also local meetups.) The follow feature is currently being piloted in a few major cities around the world, and should roll out globally next year. There are currently some 120 million Local Guides around the world.

The capability to follow Local Guides follows another follow feature introduced last year with which users can follow a business, and get updates on products and events, which directly competes with Google Pages for businesses.

Google Photos, which has more than a billion users, is getting more social networking features. About a week ago, Google announced the capability to share a photo or video with a note on the Google Photos network. The feature enables back-and-forth chat like Instagram, Snapchat or any number of social networks — except Photos has far more users than those services. The Photos service has long offered the ability to share and converse over albums of photos, and the app has a “Sharing” tab that gives you a stream of social and photo-posting activity among the people you follow.

Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok have shown that social sharing is increasingly centered on pictures and videos. Even Facebook is testing a feature called Popular Photos, which gives a feed of photos from friends inside Facebook (without so many words).

Twitter announced this week that it has rolled out a system that compresses and degrades the quality of photos on the site far less than before. Announced by Twitter engineer Nolan O’Brien, the new approach keeps photos at 97 percent quality. The new system enables companies to maintain more control over the visual quality of their brand as it’s presented on Twitter. The company also announced that it will support Apple’s Live Photo’s, which are three-second videos that accompany still photos when taken with an iPhone. The animation will loop and repeat infinitely.

Enter Google Photos

There’s no question that social is getting more visual. Google Photos might have an advantage in visual social networking.

As with so many Google properties, and in keeping with the original social strategy of Google, Photos is not a social network, but a photo site with social baked in.

And finally, good old-fashioned search is getting more social. Search for any brand on Google Search, and you’ll get the website, the YouTube videos, recent social posts on several networks and direct links to contact. Search reaches over the walls of the walled gardens.

As every new social thing further divides and alienates the world, Google’s core properties — YouTube, Maps, Search, Gmail — continue to serve as the common denominator — the platforms everyone uses.

As social networking grows increasingly sour, maybe the best and most popular social network won’t be a social network, but just the internet with social features built in. In other words, maybe the only “good” social network is no social network.

If that’s the future, Google may end up dominating social engagement after all.

Maybe the best way in 2020 to engage with customers is via Maps, Search, Gmail and even Photos, instead of participating in the ugly mess that is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

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3 things Google slaughtered this year that still sting

It’s no big secret that Google has a pesky little habit of, y’know, cold-blooded murder.

You know what I’m talking about, right? Everyone’s favorite Android keeper has had more than a few instances of giving us some promising new product, selling us wholeheartedly on its commitment to said product and its lofty visions for its future — and then, once we’ve all become thoroughly invested in adopting said service and integrating it fully into our lives, changing its tune and abandoning the thing entirely.

Hell, there are entire websites devoted to memorializing killed Google products — the aptly named Google Cemetery and Killed by Google databases.

Now, there are obviously two sides to this story. Google is ultimately a business, after all, and it only makes sense for a business to direct its resources toward the assets that have the most potential to generate revenue and align with long-term strategic goals. (I just lost 2% of my soul for typing the phrase “long-term strategic goals,” by the way. That’s how committed I am to you.)

But at the same time, when your willingness to tout a product one moment and turn your back on it the next becomes a groan-inducing vulnerability — a reason for every one of your launches to be accompanied by a hint of skepticism and an only slightly joking sense of “so when’s Google gonna kill this?” — well, that’s a problem. As I put it a year ago, when your fickleness becomes a punchline, it’s a sign you’ve failed to follow through a little too often.

To be sure, plenty of Google’s killed products go largely unnoticed — or at least largely unmourned. I mean, is anyone losing sleep over the loss of Allo, Google Jump, or Google Bulletin? They were all unceremoniously slaughtered in 2019. (Allo, I’d argue, is the perfect example of a service not catching on in part because of Google’s reputation for failing to commit to new services. As for the other two, did anyone even remember that they’d existed?!)

But three services decimated this past year are tough to forget and even tougher to let go. It’s not necessarily because we still actively miss them or have yet to find suitable replacements but more because they represented hints of the best of Google — the company’s ability to create thoughtful, carefully crafted products that shatter the status quo in their respective areas and fill voids we didn’t even realize existed — and also the worst of Google, with the company’s pattern of convincing us to go all in on something and then quietly moving on when its interests shift.

These are the Google services killed in 2019 whose murders still sting.

1. Google Inbox

Google Inbox Google
  • Born: October 2014
  • Killed: April 2019
  • Described at launch as: “designed for the problems we’re going to see in the next 10 years.”
  • Described at death as: “a great place to experiment with new ideas” that no longer fit into Google’s “more focused approach.”

Of all the services Google’s offed lately, Inbox may be the biggest letdown of all. When it launched, Inbox wasn’t actually all that great — I was among the many who tried it and then went back to Gmail in those earliest days — but there was something worthwhile to the service, a seed of inspiration that just needed to be nurtured. At Inbox’s core was the idea for something different, for a ground-up reinvention of an area that was (and kind of still is) desperately begging for a fresh start.

To its credit, in Inbox’s early years, Google was committed. The company put out update after impressive update, adding in missing elements and coming up with one clever feature after another. By nine months into its life, Inbox had gotten really flippin’ good. And the concepts it created — from the reframing of the inbox to an all-purpose to-do list, complete with integrated reminders and saved articles, to the introduction of a staggered, batch-like delivery system to increase efficiency and keep less important messages from interrupting us constantly — truly had the potential to reshape email’s role in our lives.

A few of those concepts made their way into Gmail, and the dorkier devotees among us (hi!) have found ways to bring some of the other elements into our post-Inbox inboxes — but it’s hard not to see the demise of Inbox as also representing the end of Google’s ambitious effort to reinvent email at a foundational level.

After all the grand promises and the “this is the future”-style statements, having that entire effort fizzle away with barely a blip is a damn shame to see.

2. Google+

Google+ Google
  • Born: June 2011
  • Killed: April 2019
  • Described at launch as: “the future of Google” — something that “isn’t like an experiment” and is something the company is committed to “for the long run.”
  • Described at death as: “better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network.”

Ah, Google+. Has there ever been any other Google service at the center of such a strong sell?

Google told us G+ was, in the words of one of its product managers, something Google was 100% “betting on” — something that wasn’t like the Google-made social efforts before it, which were rapidly written off and left behind, and instead something that was, quite literally, the future of the company.

“If obstacles arise, we’ll adapt,” he said.

Yeah. So much for that.

Google+ may have been niche-oriented in its longer-term appeal, and the intensity with which Google tried to shove the service down everyone’s throat in the beginning almost certainly played a role in its tepid reception. But those of us who took the time to find communities within G+’s virtual walls uncovered a refreshing answer to the hells other social networks offered — a place uniquely suited to indulging one’s geekiest interests and interacting with others who shared those very same passions without all the usual nonsense and noise.

As I wrote in my farewell to the service (which I can’t link to, since, y’know, the service is gone):

In G+’s early days, even with the ever-present (and woefully misguided) narrative of it being a “ghost town” from those who didn’t put in the time to get to know it, these virtual halls felt alive. The Googlers behind the effort were familiar names and faces who interacted with us regularly and kept us apprised on the service’s ongoing evolution. It felt like we were a part of something special, and the excitement established by the folks steering the ship was infectious. It really set the tone for what this community was in those early years.

At a certain point, we all felt the tides turn. Google stopped caring about G+ and started treating it as a low-priority obligation instead of a happening and a cause for excitement. While the lights didn’t go out until this past April, Google+ really died months earlier, when Google gave up.

The worst part, for anyone who took the time to get to know Google+, is the knowledge that it could’ve been something great.

3. Google Trips

Google Trips Google
  • Born: September 2016
  • Killed: August 2019
  • Described at launch as: “a personalized tour guide in your pocket.”
  • Described at death as: something Google was “saying goodbye to,” with certain features set to “live on in other Google products.”

Trips may not have had the same high profile as the other items in this list, but anyone who used the service knows just how promising and valuable it was. Trips worked hand-in-hand with Inbox to compile automated itineraries for upcoming journeys, using confirmation emails and receipts to identify the details. It then organized them into easily managed and shared bundles that lived within its dedicated app.

Trips’ remains have been scattered here and there — with some pieces now residing in a Google Travel website and some being available as an out-of-the-way area of Maps — but when you look at those offerings compared to a polished and fully featured travel organization tool like TripIt, it’s painfully clear that Google gave up on its ambitions to create something uniquely significant and instead settled on cramming the basics into a dusty corner for anyone who happens to stumble onto ’em.

The practical loss isn’t enormous; I’ve happily shifted back to TripIt for my own travel organization and would wholeheartedly point anyone else in the same direction. And in the long run, maybe it’s better to have an independent company thriving and continuing to offer new ideas and improvements in areas like this.

But still, it’s impossible not to think about what could have been if Google had followed through and maintained its initial ambition with Trips instead of giving up, letting it stagnate, and then quietly allowing it to fade away.

Farewell, old friends. Your virtual presence may be over, but your memories — and the memories of your about-faced abandonments following such promising beginnings — won’t soon be forgotten.

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[Android Intelligence videos at Computerworld]

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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How to use Google Drive on iPhone, iPad

Apple’s Files app is a fantastic solution for Apple users who need flexibility when it comes to the cloud storage services they us as it supports iCloud, Dropbox, Box and Google Drive.

Why is Google Drive useful?

The promise of cloud storage systems is that it becomes easier to use different platforms efficiently.

You might want to access your files using your parent’s older Windows PC, even while using a MacBook Pro at home, a Chrome tablet when you travel and an iPhone the rest of the time.

Fortunately, it is becoming easier to use all of these systems together – you might use iCloud with Windows, and can also use Google Drive with Windows, Mac and iOS systems, as well as Android devices such as that Chrome tablet.

While managing files across all these disparate platforms may sometimes be a little more complex, it makes it possible to stay productive in a platform agnostic way.

How to use Google Drive on iPhone, iPad

At a very basic level, using Google Drive on iOS devices is simple: Download and install the app, login with your Google ID and you can begin to store items from your device to your Google Drive, which offers 15GB of free space.

The Files app makes this even simpler as once you have downloaded Google’s app and logged into it, Google Drive will be made available as one of your Locations within the Apple Files app.

This makes accessing documents and other data you have stored in Google Drive as easy as finding anything else in Files. You do still need to open up the Google Drive app to access some of the service’s more sophisticated features.

You can also drag-&-drop content between the different storage services you may have enabled on your device, though you must wait for content to be downloaded to your iPhone first.

Changes made to any file in Google Drive on any of your computers or mobile devices will be updated across all your devices, of course.

A note about Google apps

If you use Google’s apps – Docs, Sheets, or Slides – and the apps are installed on your device, tapping on any Google document, spreadsheet, or presentation in the Files app will open the app of the associated Google editor. 

If you don’t have these apps installed then they should open in a compatible app that you do have installed on your device, so long as the document format works. There’s a selection of tips to help you get more from using Google Docs on iOS devices here.

Supplementing iCloud

Apple’s biggest weakness is the miserly amount of free storage it provides to iOS users, who get just 5GB of space in which to store their digital identity.

While most iOS users will spend a little money in order to increase the quantity of storage they have available, many choose to use alternative online storage services to supplement the free space they get.

With 15GB of storage, Google Drive can be a good way to store video and images captured on your device. You can choose to store every image, or just manually store those that you most want to keep safe.

To store Photos images manually:

Assuming you have installed Google Drive and are logged into your account:

  • Open the app and then tap the Plus (+) icon to create a new folder in which to store your images.
  • You then tap the blue-&-white (+) button and select upload. You’ll be asked to choose which file type you want to upload.
  • Select Photos and Videos and you will be able to select images and videos from your Photos app to upload to Google Drive.
  • (You will need to give the Drive app permission to access your images).
  • Once you have selected your images tap the Upload button to store them to your Drive.

To store Photos images automatically:

If you want to store everything all the time, then you’ll need to install the Google Photos app.

This lets you store an unlimited number of 16MP photos and 1,080HD videos for free – or upgrade to a subscription-based plan to backup images in their original image quality.

Once you’ve installed Google Photos and signed into your account tap the Menu icon in the app and choose Settings>Back up & sync, which you should switch to On. You may need to give the app permission to access your Photos.

NB: It is also possible to back images up to your Google Drive. Open that app, and then enable Auto Backup in Settings>Backup.

You can also choose to backup contacts and calendar events here, though this may not be appropriate if you rely on Apple’s services for these tasks.

Use Google Drive to share huge files

You can send files up to 15GB large to others with Google Drive, though you’ll need to upload the files to your Drive first (and probably pay extra for storage if you hit the 15GB maximum free tier).

  • Create a new folder using the New button.
  • Place the big item you want to share in there.
  • Select the folder in the MyDrive section and tap the Share item to enter the name and address of the person you want to share that item with.

There are more hints for Google Drive collaboration here.

Using items stored in Google Drive

While the Files app is fine for accessing your information, you do get more features when you use the Google Drive app.

For example, when navigating files stored in Google Drive if you press the triple dot icon to the right of the file name you can access tools to send and make copies, move files, rename and remove them and (I think most useful) an Available Offline item, which (at the risk of seeming obvious) you should use if you plan working with some files when you are offline.

At the top left of the Google Drive app you’ll see a box comprised of three straight lines. Tap this and you’ll be able to share folders, search for recent items, and a range of other options.

Let me know about your best Google Drive on iOS tips. 

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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9 Best Type Foundries That Aren’t Google Fonts

Google Fonts might be the de facto first choice of many web designers, but there are many more web font options out there if you know where to look.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with Google Fonts. In fact, there are tons of reasons to use Google Fonts in your projects: they’re free to use, licensing is simplified, and they generally load pretty quickly on the web.

But what if you want to shake things up and give other options a try?

You can! The only problem is that there’s a bunch of them, which can make finding the right typeface for your project a tedious chore if you don’t know which ones to focus on.

If you’d rather not get lost down this rabbit hold while researching typography for your next project, I’ve collected 9 of the best type foundries for web designers here.

The list of type foundries below could’ve been much longer. There are some font designers coming up with really cool-looking typefaces these days. That said, I want to make this worth your while as you have little time to waste as it is.

So, you can expect each of these foundries to have the following:

  • Filtering and sorting so you can quickly find the typefaces that matches what you need;
  • A bountiful set of type resources;
  • A modern selection of typefaces — this means they’re mostly minimally designed serifs and sans serifs. Outlined type as well as hand-lettered nostalgic type are also accounted for;
  • Multilingual-friendly typefaces;
  • Reasonable prices.

Let’s hop right in…


1. Colophon Foundry

Colophon -- one of the best type foundries

Colophon Foundry has been in operation since 2009, right around the launch of the WOFF file format and general acceptance of web fonts. Unlike older foundries that often draw on their history in typesetting, Colophon’s designs reflect its modern beginnings.


  • There’s an impressive and expansive portfolio of multilingual typography to leverage;
  • Fonts can be previewed as white-on-black, black-on-white (Dark Mode!) and sometimes in other color combinations;
  • You can use the Google Chrome extension to test Colophon fonts on your website before buying.


2. Dalton Maag

Dalton Maag

Dalton Maag is an international typography studio that makes it easy to test out its already cost-effective library of fonts before you buy.


  • It has a great selection of modern and clean typography designs;
  • Many fonts have case studies you can peruse to see real world uses for them (and get inspiration for your project);
  • Most typefaces work with more than one alphabet (e.g. Latin, Cyrillic, Greek) and you can quickly see a preview of those glyphs by scrolling through the font sliders.


3. Emigre Fonts

Emigre Fonts

Emigre, Inc. is an award-winning company that’s been around since 1984 and was originally a visual communication and design magazine. Emigre Fonts was later founded and has received numerous accolades along the way.


  • It has a reasonably-sized collection of stylish fonts (there are less than a hundred as of writing this);
  • Fonts can be filtered by family, style, and language making it much easier to narrow your search;
  • Examples of their fonts can be seen everywhere, from the Type Specimens page to Emigre Magazine back issues.


4. Fontfabric


Founded in 2008, Fontfabric has developed custom fonts for big-name brands like Nike while making its extensive library of fonts readily available for designers who want a premade font.


  • While users have to pay for most fonts, there’s a great selection of free fonts (or font intros) to work with, too;
  • Many of the premium fonts allow you to review the full glyph map, test the font with custom text, and see a relevant case study;
  • Good option for web designers building sites and apps for readers of Cyrillic alphabets (e.g. Russian, Bulgarian, Kazakh).


5. The League of Moveable Type

The League of Moveable Type

The League of Moveable Type isn’t like other foundries on this list. While you can design with their fonts, the open source nature of the project also makes this website a great place to hone your own typography design skills.


  • All fonts are 100% free to use;
  • For typography designers in training, the open source fonts provide a great base for learning and practice;
  • It’s a small collection, but you’ll find a good mix of font styles to play with.


6. Lucas Fonts


Even with a small collection of fonts, LucasFonts has made a huge impression on the design community. That’s because type designer Luc de Groot is responsible for well-known Microsoft font families Calibri and Consolas, along with his own Thesis collection of fonts.


  • Although there are a few decorative, hand-drawn fonts here and there, most of the collection is classic in design;
  • You’ll find a great selection of fonts for news sites, magazines, and blogs;
  • The “In Use” page is a great source of inspiration if you need help placing fonts in the context of design.


7. Monotype

Monotype Fonts

Monotype is arguably one of the biggest rivals to Google Fonts, with over 10,000 fonts in its library and a sizable amount of resources that ensures it’s always on the cutting edge in terms of style and functionality.


  • Massive library of fonts — not just from Monotype, but from its subfoundries: Linotype, Bitstream, FontShop, and International Typeface Corporation;
  • New releases are often inspired by well-known and popular fonts from the Monotype collection;
  • Licensing fonts is a simple and easy process through MyFonts.


8. Paratype


Paratype was founded in 1989 as a company called ParaGraph. The Paratype foundry was later broken off and launched in 1998 and has made a name for itself as a quality provider of multilingual type.


  • Among popular typefaces like PT Sans, Proxima, and Futura, you’ll find a huge selection of equally beautiful typography designs to work with;
  • Many of the fonts will give you a closer look at multilingual use cases;
  • There’s always a great selection of “Specials”, so look to those if you’re intimidated by the cost of full-priced fonts.


9. Sudtipos


Sudtipos has been around since 2002, providing the world of design with high-quality type for advertising, packaging, and branding projects.


  • You’ll find serifs and sans serifs, though Sudtipos is overflowing with beautiful cursive and handwritten scripts;
  • There are no surprises when it comes to pricing — costs are published right away;
  • This collection is especially useful for designers that specialize in branding and advertising design.



Sure, Google might make it easy (and cheap) to try out different fonts for your web design projects. But what if there’s something specific you’re looking for that you just can’t seem to find in Google’s font repository?

If you look at the type foundries above, you’ll see why these companies are the best. They’re not producing the same old designs over and over again. They continue to innovate in the space and have produced libraries of fonts that web designers can use to build impressive websites, apps, branding, and more.

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Google adds AI smarts to G Suite with Google Assistant and Docs updates

Google’s AI expertise has long been a strength, and the company has been steadily adding machine-learning capabilities to its G Suite platform. The latest move in that effort allows users to access certain G Suite apps with Google Assistant and introduces Smart Compose text suggestions to Google Docs.

Google first announced it would bring its AI voice assistant to G Suite earlier this year; a beta is now under way that lets users manage their Google Calendar schedules with voice commands. This includes the ability to read out calendar entries, as well as create, cancel or reschedule events. G Suite admins can sign up for the beta here.

Users can also send emails to meeting participants, kick off voice and video calls hands-free using Google’s Hangouts Meet app, and interact with the Asus-built Google Hangouts Meet hardware in conference rooms to join and exit meetings and make phone calls.

AI voice assistants are beginning to make inroads into the workplace, and analyst firm Gartner has forecast that 25% of digital workers will interact with virtual assistants on a daily basis within two years.

With Google Assistant already popular among consumers, Google is well placed to push the use of voice technologies in a business context too, said Wayne Kurtzman, a research director at IDC.

“The race for voice is on, and Google is very well positioned with robust features, security from the Google Cloud and significantly more learning points than most if not all of their competitors,” said Kurtzman. 

Google also benefits from having an extensive suite of business applications, said Angela Ashenden, principal analyst at CCS Insight. That’s different than Amazon, which has also targeted its voice assistant at office workers with the Alexa for Business service.

“Until now, Amazon has been the most high-profile player here with Alexa for Business, but it doesn’t have the cloud productivity portfolio to help steer its direction, so there is a real opportunity for Google,” said Ashenden.

The challenge for Google and others, said Kurtzman, is to assure customers that the requisite security and governance capabilities are in place, offering corporate and personal privacy for every region and industry.

“Google is understandably wary of moving too fast; it is a sensitive area that spans business and personal identities, so it’s important not to lose the trust of both audiences by pushing too far too quickly,” said Ashenden.

Google and Amazon are far from the only business software vendors that see an opportunity for voice interfaces. Microsoft, for instance, recently announced it has integrated its Cortana voice assistant into the Outlook mobile app, while Salesforce has been building out the capabilities of its under-development Einstein Voice Assistant. Oracle also wants to let users interact with its suite of applications using its voice-enabled Digital Assistant.

Smart Compose and autocorrect

Google also announced it will bring Smart Compose to Google Docs. The feature, already available as a beta in Gmail, uses AI to help users draft documents faster by suggesting common phrases that reduce repetitive writing.

“With Smart Compose, Google has seen it have a major impact in Gmail where it’s used in 10% of responses now, and I think it will be a very valuable addition to Docs as well,” said Ashenden.

“The fact that it adapts to your style over time means that it’s likely to become one of those features that no one thought they needed, but they become so reliant on it they won’t want to do without it.

“Google is not the only company building AI-assisted content creation; Salesforce demoed related features at Dreamforce that could fit into its Quip app in the future.

“However, Google is the furthest ahead with these types of AI-assisted productivity features, embedding them into the G Suite products to accelerate tasks and make the tools more sticky,” Ashenden said.

Grammar corrections and suggestions in Docs have been enhanced thanks to the addition of new neural network technology, which is slated to be available soon.

Google’s assistive AI tool will also be able to recognize commonly used words and acronyms that are specific to a project or organization, learning to avoid underlining and marking these as incorrect. It will also suggest corrections if these are misspelled.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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Google Assistant Can Now Read the News to You

Google has added a new way for your Google Assistant to deliver the news. It’s called Your News Update, and it pulls news stories from a number of different sources from around the world. The upshot is a news update personalized to your location and interests.

From News Briefings to Your News Update

As you may already be aware, Google Assistant can already read News Briefings to you. However, the current system makes you choose particular news sources. So, you can hear the hourly news update from NPR, then CNN, followed by The New York Times.

Your News Update pools these resources and more to create a news update which includes stories from a number of different sources. So, you may hear world news from Reuters, then local news from CBS, followed by entertainment news from Billboard.

How to Listen to the News on Google Assistant

Google offers more details on The Keyword. The company states that Your News Update is “a smarter way to listen to the news hosted by the Google Assistant.” And it’s all thanks to collaborative efforts with news publishers over the past two years.

These news publishers are the key to Your News Update, and Google has roped in dozens of them. Participating partners include USA Today, The Washington Post, Fox News Radio, Cheddar, The Associated Press, Politico, Al Jazeera, and The Motley Fool.

To start receiving Your News Update, open Google Assistant and go to your Settings. Then, under the You tab, click News > Change Your Playlist Format. Tick Your News Update and you’re all set. Then you just need to say, “Hey Google, play me the news”.

How to Find News Sources You Can Trust

Your News Update is currently only available in English in the United States. However, Google is promising to expand internationally in 2020. In the meantime, we can at least recommend the best news sites you can trust

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. Because the truth IS out there.

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New Google Translate Tricks, Android Apps on Windows, Lower Your Rent

We take a look at a bunch of new features on popular services, the Disney+ Europe launch, Android apps on Windows, lowering your rent, how to scan old photos, print your own board games, and more…

Really Useful Podcast Season 4 Episode 12 Shownotes

This week’s Really Useful Podcast features Christian Cawley and Megan Ellis discussing:

Your rating or brief review on iTunes can help us reach more listeners. Or share the Really Useful Podcast via email and social media. We’re available wherever you can listen to podcasts, including:

Don’t miss next week’s Black Friday special!

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You Can Now Follow Local Guides on Google Maps

Google is putting its Local Guides front and center in an effort to make Google Maps more useful. Starting in a select number of cities, you’ll now be able to follow Local Guides on Google Maps in order to get better recommendations.

What Are Google’s Local Guides?

Google’s Local Guides are people who upload photos and write reviews of landmarks and businesses. Anyone can become a Local Guide, and there are now 120 million of them. Local Guides don’t get paid, but they do get points and perks for their efforts.

As anyone can sign up to be a Local Guide, some only offer the occasional insight. However, some Local Guides are passionate about helping people, and post lots of great content. And Google is rewarding that effort by making them minor celebrities.

How to Follow Local Guides on Google Maps

As detailed in a post on The Keyword, you can now follow Local Guides on Google Maps. Once followed, recommendations from these Guides will be displayed in the For You and Explore tabs. Giving you insights into the cities you either live in or are visiting.

The option to follow Local Guides on Google Maps is starting small. Initially, you’ll only be able to follow Guides located in Bangkok, Delhi, London, Mexico City, New York, Osaka, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, and Tokyo. However, more cities will be added over time.

The Local Guides you can follow will be featured in the aforementioned For You tab. You can then click on their profiles to see who they are and their recent reviews. And if their recommendations align with yours you can click Follow to follow them.

Other Google Maps Features Worth Trying

This feature adds an Instagram influencer element to Google Maps. If you find someone who tends to recommend the kind of restaurants and bars you frequent, you can then use their local knowledge to discover more places worth visiting.

This is just the latest in a long line of new features added to Google Maps recently. This includes detailed voice guidance for people with visual impairments and instant place name translations

Google Maps Can Now Translate Place Names

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designed to save you the hassle of opening Google Translate.

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5 Google Search Alternatives to Find Something New

Google is the default search engine for most of us. But did you know you can give to charity through search engines, or even earn cryptocurrency by searching? Check out these cool alternatives to Google.

You don’t need to quit Google cold-turkey or switch to any of these search engines immediately. Both can co-exist happily, and you can pick and choose when to use it. The idea is to try going away from Google to discover features and results that you won’t see otherwise.

1. Mojeek (Web): Search by Emotion, While Staying Private

Mojeek is a privacy protecting search engine that sorts results by emotion

Anything published on the internet gets a lot of reactions. Mojeek, an alternative to the likes of Google, says it can filter search results based on how people feel about that link. And it surprisingly works well.

There are five emotions currently available: love, wow, haha, sad, and angry.

Type your keywords and click the emoji to get search results that match the emotion. Click a different emoji and the results will change. It actually works, and you might discover links that you wouldn’t find otherwise. I found it a truly different, cool way to browse search results.

Mojeek is also a full web-crawling search engine, which means it uses its own results unlike many of the metasearch engines that repackage Google or some other search giant’s results. It is also completely private, does not track its users, and prides itself on hosting its servers with an eco-friendly partner.

The company’s founders conducted an extensive AMA on Reddit, if you want to know more about their philosophy or product.

2. Givero (Web): Raise Money for Good Causes Through Web Searches

Donate money to charity by doing web Searches through Givero

How awesome would it be if every time you searched for something on the web, the money went to a good cause instead of lining the pockets of a private company like Google or Microsoft? Well, that’s what Givero is offering to do.

The idea behind Givero is similar to Ecosia and a few other such charity-focused tech companies. How does it work? Like Google or Bing, Givero earns revenue through advertising when you use it to search for anything. But unlike the others, half of the ad revenues from these searches will be given to a charitable cause.

You can choose the causes too. This includes global organizations (Mozilla Foundation, WWF, ocean cleanup) and local Danish causes since it’s a Denmark-based website. Add a charity to your causes, and the ad revenue from your searches will be diverted to only those causes.

All you have to do is search on Givero instead of Google. This might be one of the easiest ways to change the world

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3. Gibiru (Web): Uncensored, Privacy-Protected Google Results

Gibiru gives you Google's search results while protecting your privacy and showing uncensored results that Google won't

You like Google, but you don’t like how it invades your privacy? Gibiru might be the best way for you to see Google search results while protecting your privacy. And you’ll also see some of the results that Google might censor.

Branded as an unfiltered, private search engine, Gibiru claims to have a modified version of the Google algorithm. So you will likely see the same results as you would on a Google search, and in fact, the interface is a little similar too.

But there’s a second tab called Uncensored. This tab shows links that you won’t see on Google or would be drowned into the back pages. Be warned, some of these are a bit out there, and you need to be wearing a tinfoil hat to click them.

But at its core, Gibiru does a good job of protecting your identity while doing search queries. It uses 256 bit encryption for all searches and does not keep search logs. It does not store any cookies on your device and doesn’t sell your data.

4. SearX (Web): Metasearch to Get Results From Multiple Search Engines

Search Google, Yahoo, Bing and other multiple search engines at once with SearX

Different search engines use different methods to find the best results. SearX is a privacy-friendly metasearch engine that aggregates results into one central page. It’s based on open-source software.

In the Preferences, you can set which search engines you want to use.

These include popular giants like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo, as well as smaller names like Qwant and Startpage. In fact, you can choose specific engines for each type of search category, namely General, Files, Images, Map, Music, Videos, News, and Social Media.

The About page says SearX does not store any data, doesn’t generate a profile on your behavior, doesn’t share what you search with a third party, and can’t be used to compromise you. Website choices are saved locally on your computer, and you can clear all cookies through Preferences.

5. Presearch (Web): Earn Cryptocurrency Through Searches

Presearch lets you earn cryptocurrency by doing web searches

Presearch is a fun little search engine that lets you earn some cryptocurrency with every search. It’s called PRE tokens and is not of much value at the moment. CoinMarketCap values one PRE token at $0.001 USD. But hey, it’s something.

Each search gives you a few decimals of PRE tokens, with a maximum of 32 searches per day giving that payout. Presearch’s tokens can be redeemed at an online store for merchandise like stickers and beanies. But it might be wiser to stack them up and use them to buy advertising space on Presearch.

The search app itself is quite cool though. It uses its own search engine by default, but you can add shortcuts to other services like Google, DuckDuckGo, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, etc. One click and you can search their catalogs.

Find What Google Can’t

It’s surprising to discover how many other great search engines there are. There’s Ecosia, which plants trees around the world to offset your search results’ carbon footprint. There’s Yippy, which clubs search results into “clusters” so you can find more links in the sub-category of what you’re looking for. And there are many more.

In fact, you might be shocked to know that Google can’t even find everything on the web. Heck, can it tell you which streaming service to play a movie or TV show on? No, you need a different app for that. There is much more to the world of online search results, which you can see through these alternative search engines to find what Google can’t

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