Blog: Google

I came across an interesting feature of Gmail the other day.  Apparently you can add a little something extra to your e-mail address to better help your mail filters or just track who is selling your e-mail address.  To use this feature, simply add a '+string' to the 'username' portion of your address.  For example, if your e-mail address was bob@gmail.com, you could track your messages from Amazon.com by using bob+amazon@gmail.com in all your Amazon communication.  This would make it really easy to apply mail filters no matter what the sending address is (since some sending addresses can be pretty crazy).  Another nice "feature" is being able to track who is selling your e-mail address… though you still might not have much recourse.  If you'd like another variation that still delivers to your gmail Inbox, you can also use the domain googlemail.com.  Not sure why you'd want to, but to each his own.


 

If you haven't looked at Google's browser Chrome, now is a great time. Google wants Chrome to be the fastest, most secure and stable browser available to get more users of Google sites and viewers of Google ads. Chrome is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux. After you install Chrome from http://google.com/chrome, the program will update automatically when a new version is available. The goal of the automatic update is to not only to fix bugs as soon as possible, but to introduce new features quickly. Two new and useful features are searchable options and browser sync.  [more]

A major problem with any program is where to find the settings or options you want to change. The standard practice is to arrange the most settings/options in groups that seem to be related. Unfortunately most programmers have a different idea about what 'related' features go together compared to normal users. Chrome has implemented a search box for settings and options that makes finding what you need amazingly fast and simple. For example if you want to check the options for managing stored passwords, just enter "password" in the Options search and you will see all the settings for passwords.

The search even tells you when the searched term in on a dialog.

After getting Chrome to work just the way you want, it's a major pain to remember all the extensions and preferences when you setup another computer. That's where Chrome's Sync function comes in handy. If you have a Google account, you can save any installed Apps, form auto-fill values, bookmarks, extensions, passwords, preferences, and themes on Google's servers. Then when you choose to sync another Chrome installation on another computer, the new browser will look and act just like the one you configured. The sync works across different operating systems as well. You can chose to only sync some data. For example you might not want to sync passwords across different browsers.

 


 

The growth of the cloud is ever expanding and people are creating new services allowing you to connect to your data and resources from essentially anywhere in the world. The latest addition to cloud services is Google Cloud Print (http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/p/cloudprint.html) and I've been playing around with it at home. This beta service allows you to print to your printer from any computer or smart phone, regardless of your location.

The main requirement is Chrome version 9.0.597.1 (or greater) on the computer connected to your printer.  Once installed, enable the Google Cloud Print connector in Google Chrome. When you enable that setting your printers are “shared” with your Google account and available for use.

Currently only available for your mobile browser and for Google Docs or Gmail, to use this service, simple expand the menu and click Print on a message or click the “Print” link that appears next to the attachments. Here is what it looks like from a mobile browser: [more]

A window will appear letting you know what printers are available.

Simply select one and your document will be submitted for printing!


 

When performing searches on Google I often find it helpful to narrow the results based on when the pages were indexed by Google.  This is helpful in situations where the results for your keywords are returning a lot of old pages with dated information, but you’re looking for new information pertaining to the subject.  Google provides the options to search for recent pages through their advanced search options.  To see the options available you can click the “Advanced search” link beside the search box, click the “Date, usage rights, numeric range, and more” link, and change the “Date” option.  The options currently available are past 24 hours, past week, past month, past year.

Using the advanced search works, but it takes a few clicks to get to and doesn’t have many options for the date range.   I’ve found it’s quicker and more flexible to just add a query string parameter to the end of the URL after you search for your keywords.  [more]

ValueResult
&tbs=rltm:1 real time results
&tbs=qdr:s past second
&tbs=qdr:n past minute
&tbs=qdr:h past hour
&tbs=qdr:d past day (24 hours)
&tbs=qdr:w past week
&tbs=qdr:m past month
&tbs=qdr:y past year

In addition to those basic parameters you can also add an integer after the “qdr” unit values to specify a specific number.  For example “&tbs=qdr:w2” will only return pages discovered by Google within the last 2 weeks.  Here is what your URL would look like in that case: http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&q=conetrix&tbs=qdr:w2


 

We frequently use comments in Word documents as part of our information security audit process and I finally looked for a keyboard shortcut to insert a comment.  The shortcut is Ctrl+Alt+M.  However, the most useful thing I found when looking for this was a comprehensive Word 2007 keyboard shortcut list at http://www.keyxl.com/aaa367b/5/Microsoft-Word-keyboard-shortcuts.htmKeyXL.com has keyboard shortcuts for all types of Microsoft, Adobe, Google, and other applications.  It's definitely worth adding a bookmark for if you're a fan of using shortcuts.


 

Google released a beta version of its new web browser "Chrome" last week. Since its release, several vulnerabilities have been discovered including drive-by software installs and buffer overflows.

Google has released updates to address several current issues, but more vulnerabilities will probably be discovered over the next several weeks and months as the product is refined. [more]

CoNetrix recommends customers avoid installing Chrome, or any other beta application, in production environments due to the potentially high risk of exposure.

For more information about individual issues in Google's Chrome, refer to the following link: http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/list


 

For you command line guys who think the Google interface is too glitzy, try Goosh. It puts a Unix-style interface in front of Google.  It's not an official product of google, but it returns google search results.  Enjoy!


 
 

Google offers a service called "Google Alerts" alowing you to monitor what is being posted on the Internet about your company or even yourselft.  [more]

Simply go to http://www.google.com/alerts, to Create a Google Alert (see options below):

  • Search terms - enter your choice of query or topic
  • Type - options include, News, Blogs, Web, Comprehensive, Video, and Groups - in most cases you will want to choose Comprehensive
  • How often - options include once a day, as-it-happens, and once a week
  • Your email - you will be sent a verification e-mail before you begin receiving alerts

You can also sign up for a Google account and manage your alerts within your account - to sign up for a Google account go to https://www.google.com/accounts/NewAccount

For more information about Google alerts, visit their FAQs at http://www.google.com/support/alerts/bin/static.py?page=faq.html&hl=en


 

G-Archiver, a shareware application used to backup Gmail accounts, was reported to be storing usernames and passwords. [more]

Jeff Atwood reports that he received the following "hair-raising tale" from Dustin Brooks via e-mail:

"I was looking for a way to back up my gmail account to a local drive. I've accumulated a mass of important information that I would rather not lose. During my search I came across G-Archiver, I figured what the heck I'll give it a try.
It didn't really have the functionality I was looking for, but being a programmer myself I used Reflector to take a peek at the source code. What I came across was quite shocking. John Terry, the apparent creator, hard coded his username and password to his gmail account in source code. All right, not the smartest thing in the world to do, but then I noticed that every time a user adds their account to the program to back up their data, it sends and email with their username and password to his personal email box! Having just entered my own information I became concerned.
I opened up a browser and logged in to gmail using his account information. It still worked.
Upon getting to the inbox I was greeted with 1,777 emails with account information for everyone who had ever used the software and right at the top was mine. I decided to go ahead and blast every email to the deleted folder and then empty it. I may have accidentally changed the password and security question to something I don't remember as well, whoops, my bad. I also contacted google to erase this account as I didn't see a way to delete it myself."

For more details, visit http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001072.html or http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=206902839

This is a perfect example of why end users need to be very conscious of what they install, and why companies need to have adequate policies and procedures related to the installation and use of software.  As we have said in our company before, "Paranoia is not necessarily a bad thing"