Useful Google URLs and Services.
There are many Google services. Some of them we use on a daily basis (like Gmail, YouTube, etc.) and others we don’t even know if they exist.
So, here is a complete list of some of these lesser known but useful Google services.
# 1 Google Alerts
Receive automatic alerts on a specific topic. Let’s say you want to track everything related to a company, then just add the company name as a keyword and set an alert. You will get an overview of everything related to this company in your inbox.
Useful if you want to track a brand or do research on a topic. Although I should note that the results are not very accurate. At least not what you would expect from Google.
# 2 Google history
Google stores every search query you make or every website you visit when you are logged into your account. And, unlike browser history, it is platform independent and remembers your entire history from the day you created your account.
YouTube has a similar story that you can find here.
Update: If you have Android and use Google Voice Search, then there is history for it too. Google stores every voice search you’ve done with Google.
These services are useful if you don’t remember the name of the website you visited once, or the video you watched several months ago. But if you don’t want to store your history in the cloud, there is an option to delete it permanently.
# 3 Google Ads preferences
Google creates a virtual profile for each user based on their online activity. This helps them show you (reads targeted) ads better. This virtual profile consists of your estimated age, demographics, your interests, and more.
However, if you don’t want Google to show you interest-based ads , just disable it. While you will still see ads, they will not be affected by your previous browsing history and location.
Personally, I like to turn off interest-based ads so I see less relevant apps and less temptation to buy that product.
# 4 Google Trends
Find out what’s trending in the world or what people are looking for the most. For a specific topic, the number of people searching for it on Google will be shown. It also shows their location, age and timeline.
This tool is useful if you are doing research work. For example, you can use it to test the market demand for your new startup idea.
Use the trend visualizer to see the top searches in real time. You can also filter it by country. Useful and good looking.
# 5 Advanced image search
Image search with advanced filtering options like exact keyword, image resolution, location, etc. You can also use it to search free images on Google by setting usage rights to – even free for commercial use.
Pro tip: To do a quick reverse image search in Google Chrome, just right-click any image and press the “s” key on your keyboard. Save a lot of time.
# 6 Android Device Manager
Lost Android? Well, if the device is connected to the Internet, you can find its GPS location using Android Device Manager. You can also call or block him directly from your phone.
Pro tip: To quickly find your Android, type “where is my phone” into Google.
# 7 Android Location History
Just like Google’s web search history, it stores your location by tracking your smartphone.
If your Android is connected to the Internet anywhere, it will be marked on maps. So, if you don’t remember where you were 2 months ago, use this.
This story is private, i.e. only you can see it. And if you want, you can delete part or all of your location history. It’s up to you. So this is a relief.
It is now possible to pause location history on the web page itself. However, if you want to turn it off completely (recommended), go to the Google Settings app on your Android Location Location History OFF.
# 8 An inactive account manager
Google will close an account if it has not been used for more than nine months. This helps them limit the number of unnecessary accounts, as many people simply create a new account if they don’t remember the password for the old one. And this is good.
But what if you can’t access your account for nine months. Or God forbid you died in an accident. What will happen to your Google account now?
Well, this is where the inactive account manager comes in, this service allows you to add a trusted contact (another google user) who will have access to your account after a set period of inactivity. Basically, it’s like digital insurance for your Google account.
What happens to your social media account when you die
# 9 Google Play setup
Most of us have a new phone (Android) every two years. And what will happen to the elder? Well, they keep it on some kind of shelves to devour the dust.
But when we install apps from the desktop version of the Play Store, you will still see the name of your old device, even if you’re not using it.
So, by going into the PlayStore settings, you can delete the device permanently or even give a new alias to an existing device.
# 10 Google Password Manager
Did you know Google has a dedicated password manager? We use this service all the time, but it works so smoothly that we don’t even know if it exists.
For example, if I choose to save my Netflix password to my desktop, those credentials are uploaded to the cloud (obviously encrypted). Now when I try to log into my Netflix account on any device (this works for Android apps) Google automatically fills in the username and password. Everything you need to use the same Google account.
Currently, most of the time we do not use this service directly. But let’s say you are using a friends computer and forgot your login credentials for some websites, then you can quickly follow this link and see your saved password.
# 11 Google Photos
Google Photos has been around for a long time. But ordinary people are still not aware of this function, although this service was created especially for them.
Basically, Google Photos is a free cloud storage service where anyone can upload an unlimited number of photos and videos. There is no limit. This means you can download every photo you’ve taken in your life and access it from anywhere.
Just follow this link, hit the download button and drag and drop all your photos and videos. There is a slight decrease in quality, but it is not noticeable. And yes, your photos are personal, that is, only you can see them.
# 12 Google Takeout
Like any other service, Google also gives you the ability to upload all of your data, i.e. emails, hangouts, Blogger blogs, calendar, contacts, or pretty much anything you’ve uploaded to a Google server.
I use this service to download all my YouTube videos or Google photos so I have another separate physical backup.
# 13 There’s no country forwarding
By default, Google redirects you to the local version of the Google page. For example, Google.co.in for India or google.co.uk for the UK and so on and so forth. For the most part, the local version of the search engine is useful.
But let’s say I want to browse Google without country restrictions. To do this, simply go to google.com/ncr and enter your request. You will now be using the standard Google version with no local results.
And anytime you want to come back, go to the google.com homepage and there at the bottom of the screen; you will see an option to switch to google local version.
# 14 Google Input Tool
Everyone knows about Google Translate, Google’s popular online language translation service. But this Google input is slightly different.
Unlike Google Translate, it only changes the format of the language, while the meaning remains the same. I know this is difficult to explain in the text, so you will have to check it yourself.
To be honest, I cannot think of any use of this service in my daily life. But it is a powerful tool that might come in handy in some way. So you should know this.
# 15 Google Books
Google Books is a collection of millions of books that are in the public domain or whose author has given permission to download the entire book. But even if the book is copyrighted, chances are that you can still read part of it or view it.
So, let’s say you want to buy a book, but before that you want to preview it and then try Google books. If the book was written several years ago, then you can find the full version there. Useful if you, like me, are a bibliophile.
How to check for Data Breaches on Google Chrome & Mozilla Firefox.
The casual habits of companies to store data unencrypted on their servers have always led to data leaks. Microsoft was the last to join us. A new report found that nearly 250 million Microsoft customer records have been accessed online over 14 years without password protection. And, unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Zoom, the popular video conferencing application, faced a similar threat when 500,000 Zoom accounts were available on the dark web. To fix this problem, you need to have a complex password and update it periodically. That being said, if you’re curious to know if your data is being sold on some questionable website. Here’s how to check for data leaks in Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
Read: 5 best local storage password managers
How to check for data breaches
Firefox Monitor is an online service from Mozilla that informs you of data breaches associated with your email address. It is accessible from any browser and there is no need to register. To check if your email address has been opened, you first need to visit the Firefox Monitor website. Then enter your email address and click “Check for violations”.
If your email ID is relatively new, chances are you are safe and not leaked. However, if your email id is old, you might find the same result as I did. This means that my ID has suffered seven data breaches since 2007.
In addition to this, you can also click on individual data leak results for more information. For example, Canva’s data breach revealed email addresses, passwords, locations and usernames.
If you are serious about data breaches, Firefox gives you many more options after you log in. To do this, you need to create a Firefox Monitor account if you don’t already have one. You can add multiple email accounts, track data and hack password from home screen.
Turn on the violation alert to notify you every time your data is disclosed.
Google Password Manager
Google also has a similar feature, but it only checks passwords stored in your Google account. For example, if you used Google Chrome to save the password for the Netflix website. Google can only check for a password crack on the Netflix website.
To use this feature, open Google Chrome or any other browser. Then open the password manager. This page also lists all saved passwords that you can view, change, and edit. Click on the Check Passwords option at the top.
Click Check Passwords again. This will show you a password analysis as well as three options.
- Whether any of your passwords have been cracked.
- A list of reusable passwords that are the same for multiple accounts and therefore can be compromised. Here’s how to create a unique password.
- A list of weak passwords that are easy to guess and therefore more likely to be cracked. So, create a strong password.
This way, you can easily view and manage passwords saved in Chrome or Android. Run a password check to improve your security. Your passwords are stored securely in your Google account and are available to you across all your sync-enabled devices.
Firefox Monitor vs Google Password Check
Well, as you can clearly see, there is a difference between both utilities. I have listed the ones worth knowing.
Google Monitor only checks Google accounts
The main difference is that Google Password Check can only check the integrity of the stored passwords on your Google account. There is no way to check for a data breach outside of your Google account. Unlike Firefox Monitor, there are no such restrictions. You can use any account you like and it searches based on your email id.
Google just checks for cracked passwords, not email
I used the same google account with both services. Although Google Password Check and Firefox Monitor show the password has not been opened previously. The latter also checks to see if the email appears in any compromised database. It shows this separately in the toolbar.
Firefox Monitor also includes old results
Firefox Monitor uses the public data source Have I been Pwned. Hence, when you run a search, it also includes sources dated from 2007. This way, even if you changed your password, information about old data leaks will still show up in the results. Google Password Manager does not provide detailed information on the break, but you can check information such as date of the break, open credentials, and more with Firefox Monitor.
Firefox Monitor can monitor multiple accounts
Firefox Monitor not only has the ability to check for data leaks on any account. But after registering, you can add multiple accounts and view the information in a minimal dashboard right on the home screen. This option is great for people who don’t want to manually check for a breach or use multiple accounts.
As I said at the beginning, no data is secure. Since both services inform you of the breach once it is fixed, your credentials are exposed. However, you can always take care of a few things, such as changing your password frequently, avoiding the same or similar passwords, creating strong passwords, and enabling two-step verification wherever it is supported.
Also read: 6 ways to password protect a folder in Windows