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September 2020 Google Updates

September 28, 2020

Google has been hard at work as usual. September saw changes to all applications as usual, but we are only including the ones we feel are relevant to the most people here. For a full list of Google updates see the link at the bottom of this article. Several updates have also happened on Google Classroom (in Google For Education). For those updates, be sure to visit our Google Classroom For Parents Guide.

Google Drive trash items will now be automatically deleted after 30 days

THIS IS IMPORTANT! For those of you that remember, Google Drive for personal Free accounts meant that you never had to worry about permanently deleting your Trash, it would be kept forever. That is all changing next month, starting on October 13, 2020. so get ready! If you have anything in your Trash that you want to keep, you better restore those files ASAP! To hold on to those files:

  1. Go to your Trash
  2. Right-click on the file you want to keep
  3. Select Restore

Google Meet Updates

I expect that with the flurry of activity with online schooling due to the pandemic, Google has risen to the challenge and has released several new features for Google Meet. Most notably, there are more participant controls for education meetings.

You can now see up to 49 people, including yourself, at the same time in the auto and tiled layout options in Google Meet! This will greatly help with teachers using Google Classroom to see all their students at once.

To help limit distractions during meetings, you can now blur the background of your video in Google Meet.

Google Docs line spacing will now adjust based on the font you use.

Gmail Updates

Gmail users on Android can now automatically add a contact to the β€œTo” line of an email by typing “+” or β€œ@” in the body of the email and then choosing the contact’s name from the list that appears.

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Kids Learning Technology

This may not be relevant for all of you, but I need to take a moment to chat about how impressed I am with my ten and eleven year old girls and their ability to quickly grasp and adapt to new technology. The educational changes that came with this pandemic quickly forced them to become VERY tech savy in order to succeed at online learning. Both agreed that they didn’t want to take the risk of being in a classroom during this time. While they deeply miss their friends, they have been adapting well to the changes.

I couldn’t even imagine the power of computing technology at their age. I’m impressed with their ability to pick up and quickly understand web based applications like Google Classroom. They both also completely self-taught themselves a few other apps so they could draw, animate and create You Tube videos. Then there are the games… both on the tablet and PS4.

Anyhow.. I’m getting carried away. The main reason for this post, is that when this all hit, and everyone had to move to online learning, I wanted to do my part to help parents in my community whose kids were younger and not so tech-savy. I put together the deck below to provide them with tips and tricks to help them navigate this brave new world of technology. If you find it useful, please let me know … and feel free to share it!

FREE SSL Certificates and why you need one

Have you ever visited a website and noticed that the site was not secure. Did you give that site any personal information, sign up for their newsletter or purchase a product? Probably not. Most of us by now, know to check in the address bar of the browser to make sure that little padlock is locked up tight and secure before we engage with new websites.

How secure do your customers feel when they visit your website? If you are a DIYer when it comes to your website and marketing, chances are it isn’t running secure. One way to quickly check is to type in your website address with https:// at the beginning. If your site is secure, you will connect. If you can only access your website using http:// then you need an SSL Certificate.

But good news! You can get an SSL Certificate for FREE from Let’sEncrpyt and use WP Encrypt to make it easy to install and maintain. Of course, you can also pay for one through your domain provider if you prefer. I bet you’re wondering what the difference is? Generally speaking, (as I’m not a full out cybersecurity expert), it comes down to maintenance and additional validation.

Ready to get your own free SSL Certificate? Check out WP Encrypt! Download the plugin and install it on your WordPress website. Follow the instructions.

FREE SSL Certificates provide basically the same security as paid SSL Certificates. The paid ones bring additional value in being valid for longer periods of time, and additional business (real-life) validation to give visitors extra reassurance that the website is owned by a real business. Paid certificates are usually required for larger, high transactional businesses or government agencies. Most small businesses that have some basic tech abilities can install and manage their own SSL Certificates for free. Using WP Encrypt makes it easier to maintain your free SSL Certificate.

DOES THE PHRASE ‘INSTALL IT ON YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE’ CAUSE YOU ANXIETY?
Then, I highly recommend paying the extra $40 for the lifetime PRO version. With the Free version, you need to be prepared to re-install the certificates every three months. With the PRO Version.. you just set it up once and you are done!

Disclosure, this is an Affiliate Link. I only endorse things I believe in and have seen provide value to my business or my clients. This is a great product and I do recommend it! I think the $40 it costs to save the time and hassle of remembering to update your certificate every three months pays for itself pretty quickly!

Are you still confused as to what an SSL Certificate is and why you need one? Check out this video that explains it better than I can!

Sync your personal calendars to your GMail business calendar

I have finally found my new favourite calendar solution for managing multiple calendars.

I was struggling with finding a way to continue taking advantage of the FREE version of Calendly for booking appointments. Most of my clients aren’t quite ready to move up to a paid version… am I right? The problem is that with the FREE version, you can only sync to one calendar, and most people I know tend to have separate ones for business and personal and maybe another one for other reasons… like their social meetup groups.

So, what to do? No way was I going to manage my personal appointments manually by creating them in multiple calendars. I considered including my business account as an attendee to all my personal events, but found that wasn’t doing a good job of syncing them either since if I received an invite in my personal account, they didn’t know to add my business account.

I explored a Zapier solution, but found it too complicated for the average person to setup. I mean, I could have done it.. but I figure if it’s not easy enough for me to explain to a non-techy person, then it wouldn’t be the best solution for clients or potential clients (is that YOU?).

So, I dug through different solutions out there and came across Reclaim’s Lifework Calendar solution. Within a few minutes, following their cleverly thought out prompts, I was able to add my personal calendar events to my business calendar. So, I now have all my events synced in my business calendar. Including the event calendars that I imported from my Meetup.com groups to my personal Gmail account! Seriously… it took me longer to write this post than it did to sync my calendars!

As I mentioned, setup is SUPER easy! Watch my live demo and let me know if you have any questions!

You won’t be lost without Wunderlist

Die-hard fans of Wunderilst will be sad to learn that it is is going away on May 6, 2020. Are you ready? We can help you export your tasks and select a new alternative if you are stuck. Just book a call with us, we can likely get it done during your 15-minute FREE Problem-Solving Session. CLICK HERE TO BOOK.

So, what can you do to manage your tasks and lists without Wunderlist? Well.. the possiblities are endless really… but here are a few options you have

Most users will likely move to the new Microsoft To Do that is replacing Wunderlist. I have yet to try this out in much detail as I tend to use the other alternatives below.

When you first install To Do, you get the option to import your Wunderlist tasks. So this should make for an easy move so that you don’t lost anything you have in progress.

A quick review of Microsoft’s To Do looks promising. I like that it integrates with Outlook and Apps. I have been relying heavily on Outlook tasks lately, so I’m definitely going to give it a test spin!

Other options, if you’re looking to make a switch, are not in short supply!

Other than the popular options of Trello, Todoist and Asana, I have one more option for you…

Agantty. Huh? You’ve probably never heard of it. And to be fair, Agantty is less of a task and list management system, and more of a project management tool. However, it does have an import feature, so you can move over all your tasks with just a few clicks. Find the full instructions here: https://www.agantty.com/en/blog/rip-wunderlist/

Wondering what you can do with Agantty? Read my full review by CLICKING HERE. Oh, and did I mention it was FREE?

Another option to look in to (and I only just learned about it, so stay tuned for a review), is Quire.io . Quire is a modern collaborative project management software made to help visionary teams with big ideas. Like yours.