Google Roundup: Four New Features And Apps For The Week Ending July 8

What’s new for Google’s apps and devices.

Work last week may have been interrupted by the 4th of July holiday, but that didn’t keep Google from rolling out something new. Here are some of the week’s new apps and features.

The Google Drive app can access password-protected Office files

The Android Google Drive app can now access password protected Microsoft Office files. The web version of Google Drive has had this capability for a while, so users who regularly work with these files on their desktop no longer have to organize their work time across Android and Windows platforms with the feature in mind.

Unlocking password protected Office files on Google Drive for Android users fits within Google’s strategy of expanding the things you can do with a Chromebook. Google has also been highlighting the suitability of the Chrome OS for business use and Android access to password protected Office files contributes to this end as well.

Measure is an AR measuring app from Google

A new AR measuring app called Measure

Measure is a simple and straightforward AR app for measuring linear distances. You drop a Height or Length line on a well-lit image seen through your phone’s camera and align the line’s endpoints with the edges of the object you want to measure. Measurements are given in metric or imperial units.

You can take a photo of the measured object, so you don’t have to remember the dimensions or write them down. If you need to remember both length and width, you’ll have to take two photos because Measure only lets you take one measurement at a time.

Measurements are estimates and the app attaches the estimated accuracy range to the readout. I found that measurements almost always fell within the estimated accuracy once I got used to manipulating the somewhat awkward user interface. In my tests, accuracy wasn’t affected by the angle at which you viewed the object which is a great convenience.

Measure is based on Google’s ARCore platform, so you’ll need a phone that supports ARCore to use it. The app is currently available for Android phones in the Play Store.

The Android version of Google Keep offers ruled pages and two types of grids.

Ruled lines and other options that give a page structure added to Keep for Android

Last May, Google added options for structuring the way a page looks to the Chrome OS version of its note-taking app, Keep. Now the same feature is being rolled out to Keep for Android.

Users could only write or draw on a blank page in Keep before the upgrade. The blank page is still there, but now it can be replaced with ruled lines, a boxed grid like graph paper or a grid composed of dots at the corners of imaginary squares. It seems a small change but considering the ease of writing on ruled paper and all the things you can do with graph paper or connect-the-dots, it’s a very useful upgrade.  The updated version of Keep is available now in the Play Store.

Google Duo adds multi-device support

XDA Developers reports that Google Duo is adding multi-device support for phones and tablets. After you connect your phone number to your Google account in Duo, you can receive video calls through ether your phone number or email address.

Multi-device support is great if you have separate personal and work phones or if you enjoy video calls on both a phone and a tablet. However, you have to be aware that a call placed to your number will ring every device that’s linked to your Google account in Duo. If you don’t want all of your linked devices ringing at once, you have to either sign a device out of Duo when you don’t want it to ring or set up different accounts for different devices.

Multi-device support for Duo is rolling out now.

That’s it for this week. Tune in next Sunday to find out about Google’s next wave of new apps and features.

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