Tag Archives: Google

Is Google Big Brother-ing You?

By Tracey Dowdy

Did you know that everything you do while you’re signed in to your Google account – and even some things you do when you’re logged off are part of your Google profile? 

That doesn’t just include your Google searches, it includes every song you listen to, Twitter rabbit hole you fall into, cooking video you watch, and even whether you’re using an Android or iOS smartphone. Perhaps even more concerning, Google Maps tracks you wherever you go, remembers the route you take, when you arrive and what time you leave, even if you don’t open the app. 

With everyone from Facebook to Dunkin Donuts admitting they’ve fallen victim to data breaches, Google announced they had created a privacy hub that allows users to access, delete, and limit the data Google can collect from you. The downside is that navigating all the terms and conditions, sorting through what you need and don’t need, and deciding if the features you’ve turned off leave you vulnerable, can be confusing, to say the least. 

These tips will help you sort through the jargon and limit what – and with whom – you’re sharing information.

The first step is to find out what information you consider private GooglTracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.e considers public. 

To see what Google is sharing about you: 

CNET suggests that if your goal is “to exert more control over your data but you still want Google services like search and maps to personalize your results, we recommend setting your data to autodelete after three months. Otherwise, feel free to delete all your data and set Google to stop tracking you. For most of the day-to-day things you do with Google, you won’t even notice the difference.”

  • Open a browser window and navigate to your Google Account page.
  • Enter your username
  • From the menu bar, select Personal info and review the information. At this point, you can change or delete your photo, name, birthday, gender, password, and any other email addresses and the phone number connected to your account. 
  • If you’d like to see what of your information is public, scroll to the bottom and select Go to About me. From here you can edit and delete, though there’s no way to make your account private. 

To review Google’s record of your online activity:

  • Sign in to your Google Account and choose Data & Personalization from the navigation bar.
  • Scroll to Activity Controls and select Web & App Activity to see a list of all your activities that Google has logged.
  • If you want Google to stop tracking your web and image searches, browser history, map searches and directions, and interactions with Google Assistant, uncheck both boxes. Otherwise, move on to the next step.
  • Next, click Manage Activity. This page displays all the information Google has collected on you from the activities mentioned in the previous step, dating back to when created your account.
  • You can set Google to automatically delete this kind of data either every three or every 18 months by selecting “Choose to delete automatically” and choose your timeframe. 
  • You can opt to delete part of all of your activity history manually. On the activity bar, go to Delete activity and choose either Last hour, Last day, All-time or set a Custom range.
  • Once you choose an autodelete setting or manually select which data you want to be deleted, a popup will appear and ask you to confirm.
  • To make sure your new settings are saved, go to Manage Activity and make sure whatever’s there (remember, if you deleted it all there shouldn’t be anything there) only goes back the three or 18 months depending on what timeframe you selected in step 5.

Access Google’s record of your location history

  • Sign in to your Google Account and choose Data & Personalization from the navigation bar.
  • Scroll to Activity controls and select Location History to see a list of all your location data that Google has logged.
  • If you want Google to stop tracking your location, toggle off.
  • Next, click Manage Activity. This page displays all the location information Google has collected on you as a timeline and a map, including places you’ve visited, the route you took there and back, as well as frequency and dates of visits.
  • To permanently delete all location history, click on the trash can icon and choose Delete Location History when prompted.
  • If you want to be sure your location data disappeared, start over with Activity Controls in step 2, then after Manage Activity in set 4 make sure the timeline in the upper left corner is empty and there are no dots on the map indicating your previous locations.

Manage your YouTube search and watch history

Again, CNET recommends setting YouTube “to purge your data every three months. That’s just long enough that YouTube’s recommendations will stay fresh, but doesn’t leave a years-long trail of personal data lingering behind.”

 

  • 1. Sign in to your Google Account and choose Data & Personalization from the navigation bar.

 

  • Scroll to Activity controls and select YouTube History to see a list of all your location data that Google has logged.
  • If you want Google to stop tracking your YouTube search and viewing history completely, turn off the toggle on this page.
  • Next, click Manage Activity – a comprehensive list of every search you’ve ever made and every video you’ve ever watched 
  • To set Google to automatically delete your YouTube data either every three or every 18 months, select “Choose to delete automatically” and select your timeframe.
  • To delete part or all of your activity history, on the navigation bar choose “Delete activity by” and choose either “Last hour,” “Last Day,” “All time” or “Custom range.”
  • Once you choose which data to delete, a popup will appear and ask you to confirm. 
  • To make sure your YouTube data is gone, start over with Activity Controls in step 2, then after Manage Activity in step 4 make sure whatever’s there (remember, if you deleted it all there should be nothing) only goes back the three or 18 months you selected in step 5.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

 

 

Learn to Code with Grasshopper

By Tracey Dowdy

 Google has announced that Grasshopper, its tool for teaching kids – or coding newbies like me – how to code, is now available on the desktop through a web-based app as part of its Grow with Google initiative to create economic opportunities for everyone.

Grasshopper launched in 2018 out of Area 120 – Google’s workshop for experimental products – as a mobile app for both Android and iOS. According to Google, “millions” have since downloaded the app to take advantage of the easy to follow lessons.

The desktop version seems a no-brainer. The larger screen, as well as access to an actual keyboard, makes learning to code on the desktop significantly easier than on your mobile phone or tablet. The new interface aligns columns for the instructions, the code editor and the results next to each other so it’s much easier for users to see track what they’re doing and follow the instructions Each lesson has hyperlinked definitions to common coding terms like “function,” “string,” and “argument,” so beginners don’t get lost before they even get started. They’ve also introduced two new classes in addition to the original “fundamentals” class on basic topics like variables, operators and loops. The new classes are specifically designed for your laptop or desktop: Using a Code Editor and Intro to Webpages.

The Using a Code Editor page is especially useful as most of the coding experience in the first few courses focuses on clicking short code snippets and putting them in the right order as opposed to typing out code by hand.

 Grasshopper’s Intro to Webpages course is a project-based curriculum focused on building and designing a website from scratch. Beginner coders will learn the Javascript fundamentals necessary in building a website, plus new HTML and CSS-based coursework. Google promises that after just four courses, beginner coders will understand how to build a simple webpage.

 Once you’ve completed all of Grasshopper’s courses, you’ll be able to build a simple webpage. If you’re still intrigued and want to tackle more complex courses on other platforms, check out sites like Codecademy or Coursera.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Teach Your Kids Digital Safety With Google’s ‘Be Internet Awesome’ Program

By Tracey Dowdy

 As parents, one of our most significant challenges is teaching our children how to navigate the wild and wonderful web. Part of the problem is simply keeping up with both rapidly changing technology and but understanding the apps and software that seems to come so easily to our kids. Let’s face it, they’re digital natives, so it’s not uncommon for them to be one step ahead of us.

That’s where Google’s “Be Internet Awesome” tools come in. Be Internet Awesome “teaches kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence.”

The tools are separated into several categories with resources for families, educators, digital safety, slide presentations, and Interland, an online game that teaches internet safety and teaches appropriate online behavior.

The resources are based on five principles:

  • Be a positive presence online, just like IRL (in real life).
  • Think before you post.
  • Protect your secrets.
  • Donʼt assume that people online will see you the way you think theyʼll see you.
  • It’s always important to respect other people’s privacy choices, even if they aren’t the choices you’d make yourself.

The Be Internet Awesome Family Guide provides families with the tools and resources to learn about online safety and digital citizenship together. The lessons are simple, straightforward, and engaging, making it fun to learn how to incorporate positive digital habits into your child’s life. There’s even a pledge you can print off for everyone to sign as a commitment to putting into practice what they learn. There are also bilingual workshops for parents in partnership with the YMCA.

The resources for educators in the Be Internet Awesome curriculum provides the tools and methodology to teach basic digital safety ground rules. Google developed the program in partnership with iKeepSafe enabling educators to bring the most vital aspects of internet safety into the classroom. All elements of Be Internet Awesome are free, align with ISTE standards, require no personal information or login, and can be used across devices and operating systems.

Perhaps of greatest appeal to your child is Interland, an immersive digital world divided into four games, each teaching an aspect of online safety and etiquette. In Mindful Mountain, players learn the consequences of being an “oversharer” with warnings like, “Information travels at the speed of light.”  Kind Kingdom teaches children what to do about cyberbullying, and Tower of Treasure shows both the importance of and how to create a strong password. Reality River will teach your kids how to spot fake news, recognize the signs of a scam, and understand phishing. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Change Your Default Privacy Settings

By Tracey Dowdy 

In a recent article, Washington Post technology columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler asked, “It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?”

In the story, Fowler outlines a problem most iPhone users aren’t even aware of, that being the volume of data-mining that occurs while you – and your phone – are asleep. “On a recent Monday night, a dozen marketing companies, research firms and other personal data guzzlers got reports from my iPhone. At 11:43 p.m., a company called Amplitude learned my phone number, email and exact location. At 3:58 a.m., another called Appboy got a digital fingerprint of my phone. At 6:25 a.m., a tracker called Demdex received a way to identify my phone and sent back a list of other trackers to pair up with.

And all night long, there was some startling behavior by a household name: Yelp. It was receiving a message that included my IP address -— once every five minutes,” Fowler says.

Data mining is nothing new, but it’s becoming an increasingly bigger problem. Though Apple stated in a recent ad, “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone,” Fowler’s investigation proves that’s far from the truth. Another problem is that some of it is our fault. Charles Arthur points out that 95% of us don’t change any of the default settings on our devices, and how many of us take the time to read updates on Privacy Policies? It’s the Rule of Defaults. We’re just too lazy to try and Scooby-Doo the mystery.

Fowler published an excellent article last June that maps out how to start setting boundaries on all the information we willing hemorrhage into the ether via everything from our smartphones, laptops, tablets, and smartwatches to our smart home devices like Alexa, and our Nest doorbell.

If you’re wondering whether it’s worth the trouble to dive into the deep end and change those default settings, consider this, by default:

Fowler calls his suggestions “small acts of resistance,” but if The Handmaid’s Tale has taught us anything, those small acts of resistance are critically important. Blessed be.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Remove or Reduce Your Digital Footprint

By Tracey Dowdy

I recently took a break from Facebook. Not because I have concerns about privacy – I do – and not because I take issue with the amount of fake news disseminated on the site – I do – but because it had become too much of a distraction and for the sake of my ever-shrinking attention span, it was time to step away.

However, if you’re like a growing number of Americans concerned with their internet footprint, you may be considering stepping off the grid altogether. Though you can’t really completely erase yourself from the web, there are ways to reduce your online presence significantly. Full disclosure, it’s going to be a lot of work, but these tips and tools can help.

  • Start with social media. How many social media profiles do you have? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Tumblr? Alignable? Don’t stop there – what about the oldies like MySpace and Friendster? Did you have a blog back in the day? Move on to e-commerce. Are you an Amazon Prime shopper? Zulily? Gap? To delete your profile, go to Settings, and search for terms like “deactivate,” “remove,” or “close your account.” If you can’t figure out how to delete the account, either Google “How to delete (MySpace) account or, as Eric Franklin from CNET suggests, replace your actual information with a fake profile.
  • Check with your landline or cell phone company and make sure you’re not listed on their White Pages. If you are, request they remove your listing.
  • Data collection companies – or data brokers – make a living collecting information about you on everything from what brand of coffee you like to your favorite moisturizer. They then sell this data to companies who themselves use the information for targeted advertising. StopDataMiningMe has a master list of most of the biggest collection companies, and you can use their site as a hub to search and remove yourself from each record individually. Another option is to use a site like DeleteMe or OneRep to do the work for you. For an annual fee, DeleteMe and OneRep go through and remove your information from websites and lists and will follow up after a few months to be sure you haven’t been re-added to sites.
  • Think about the sites you’ve created profiles and subscribed to. Do you read the New York Times online? Time Magazine? Buzzfeed? Reddit? See? I warned you this was going to take a while.
  • If someone has posted your personal information online without your consent, and the pagemaster won’t take down the data, you can submit a legal request to Google to have it removed. There’s no guarantee they’ll honor your request, but it’s a start, and just because you’ve been denied once doesn’t mean a second or even third request will be rejected.
  • Remove yourself from outdated search results. Sometimes your name or personal information may still show up in a Google search even after it’s been removed from the site. That’s because it’s cached on one of Google’s servers. At this point in the game, your only recourse is to submit the URL to Google and request they update their server, but they may or may not agree to remove it.

Erasing your online presence is a daunting task, and even though eradicating yourself isn’t an option, it is possible to reduce your online footprint significantly. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Facebook, Google and Twitter Doing Better at Removing Hate Speech 

By Tracey Dowdy

 The European Commission, the European Union‘s executive arm, recently released data from research done as part of its “code of conduct” for social media platforms. The EC’s launched an initiative back in 2016 aimed at removing hate speech including racist and xenophobic content from online platforms. Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft were among the tech companies that signed on, committing to searching out and eliminating offensive content.

“Today, after two and a half years, we can say that we found the right approach and established a standard throughout Europe on how to tackle this serious issue, while fully protecting freedom of speech,” said Vera Jourova, a European commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, in a press release.

The European Commission defines “hate speech” as “the public incitement to violence or hatred directed to groups or individuals on the basis of certain characteristics, including race, color, religion, descent and national or ethnic origin.”

According to the report, Facebook removed 82% of objectionable content in 2018 – up from a mere 28% back in 2016. That’s good news for the social media giant that’s been under scrutiny and attack for the volume of fake news disseminated on the platform, particularly during the last federal election.  Just last week Facebook announced it had removed nearly 800 fake pages and accounts with ties to Iran.

Instagram, YouTube, and Google+ also showed significant improvement, though Twitter removed a mere 43% of illegal hate speech posted to the platform. That’s down from 45% for the same time frame in December 2017. Twitter’s director of public policy for Europe, Karen White, told CNBC that they’re reviewing 88% of all notifications received within 24 hours. “We’ve also enhanced our safety policies, tightened our reporting systems, increased transparency with users, and introduced over 70 changes to improve conversational health,” she said. “We’re doing this with a sense of urgency and commitment, and look forward to continued collaboration with the European Commission, Governments, civil society and industry.”

“Let me be very clear, the good results of this monitoring exercise don’t mean the companies are off the hook,” Vera Jorouva, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality warned in a press conference. “We will continue to monitor this very closely, and we can always consider additional measures if efforts slow down. It is time to balance the power and the responsibility of the platforms and social media giants.” 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

 

5 Tips That Will Help Make You a Gmail Ninja

By Chantal Bechervaise

Can you believe that it has been over 11 years since Gmail was first made available to the public? A lot has changed since 2004.  Even if you have a love/hate relationship with Gmail or think your inbox is out of control, the following tips and apps will help you to master Gmail and be more productive.

1. Unsend a Message

This is a fairly new feature in Gmail but long overdue. I have a bad habit of sending emails without attachments but this feature will remedy that. Gmail’s undo feature will let you unsend an email up to 30 seconds after you hit the send button. To enable the unsend feature, click the gear button on the top right hand side of your Gmail window. Click on settings. Scroll down to “Undo Send” and click to check the option. You can also select a cancellation period – either 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds. Then scroll down to the bottom and click “Save Changes”.

After you enable this feature, whenever you send an email a yellow bar will appear at the top of your inbox, asking if you would like to undo. Just remember that you only have up to 30 seconds to unsend the email.

2. Boomerang

Boomerang is a Gmail app that lets you schedule emails. You can write an email any time of the day (even at 2am) and schedule it to be sent automatically at the time of your choosing (so it looks like you composed it at 8am). Just write the messages as you normally would, then click the Send Later button and schedule when you want to send the email. This is also great for reminders that you need to email yourself.

There may also be times when you need to make sure you follow up within a specific timeframe after sending a message. With Boomerang, you can choose to be reminded if nobody replies, or choose to be reminded anyway. This way you won’t let messages slip through the cracks and will never forget to follow up.

3. Rapportive

Rapportive is another great Gmail app that lets you see a person’s LinkedIn profile right inside Gmail.  No need to Google someone or check their profile before composing an email; the information is right there alongside your email. Great for networking and ensuring that you are spelling the person’s name correctly.

4. Labs

There is a handy section in Gmail called Labs. To access you simply click on the gear button at the top right hand side of your Gmail. Then click on settings and then the ‘Labs’ tab at the top.  There are a number of tools that you can try out that other people have built to work within Gmail. A favorite of mine is called ‘Canned Responses.’ You may want to use it if you find yourself sending out the same email message over and over. You can compose and save messages that you send frequently in Canned Responses, then when you are composing an email you will see a button next to the compose form which lets you pick a pre-saved message. You can also set up filters to send an auto-response.

5. Alias Filters

Using an alias with Gmail can help you to filter and sort through your emails more easily. What most people don’t realize is that punctuation or periods in a Gmail address don’t matter. For example a lot of people that I know use the following email structure:  FirstName.LastName@Gmail.com. The period (or dot) between the first and last name doesn’t matter. Sending an email to John.Smith@gmail.com or JohnSmith@gmail.com will go to the same inbox.

To create aliases, use a dot (.) or the plus sign (+) in your email.  If you enter a lot of online contests you could use JohnSmith+Contests@gmail.com. Then you can set up a filter to have all emails responses that are sent to JohnSmith+Contests@gmai.com go directly to your spam folder. Or if you create a filter for work, such as JohnSmith+work@gmail.com, you can have all responses automatically be starred. Or you can automatically label messages by going into the Settings then clicking on the Labels Tab and create a few useful labels for different things.  You can then use the filters to label messages to “John.Smith@gmail.com” as “Family” and messages to “JohnSmith@gmail.com” as “Work”.

Do you have other Gmail tips or hacks that you use? Please leave a comment below and share your favorites.

CBechervaise67Chantal is located in Ottawa, Ontario. She is passionate about everything related to the World of Work: Leadership, HR, Social Media and Technology. You can read more from Chantal at her TakeItPersonelly blog or follow her on Twitter @CBechervaise.

7 Favorite Chrome Tips and Tricks

By Chantal Bechervaise

More and more people are turning to Google Chrome as their preferred browser of choice. I love using it myself, as it updates my Google Now cards across all my Android devices with relevant information based on past searches. Here are some tips and tricks for using Google Chrome that you may not be aware of.

Application Shortcuts

If you regularly use certain Google applications (like Gmail) or have favorite websites that you visit every day, you can create shortcuts for them. First, open the Google application or website in your Chrome browser. Next click on the Settings Menu – that’s those three horizontal lines located in the top right corner. From the drop down menu, click on Tools and then click the Create Application Shortcut. You will then have the option to pin the shortcut to your desktop, the start menu and the task bar. Select one or all of them and the click create. Your shortcuts will now appear in the chosen locations.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Here is a small list of some useful keyboard shortcuts for Chrome. (Remember – your browser window must be open for these to work.)

Ctrl+Shift+N – New Incognito Window

Ctrl+N – Open a new window

Alt+Home – Load Your Home Page

Ctrl + T – Open a new tab

Ctrl+Shift+T – Open the most recently closed tab (You can use this command more than once to open other previously closed tabs.)

Ctrl+Tab – Scroll through open tabs

Ctrl+J – Opens your downloads screen

F1 – Opens the Help Center in a new tab

Adjusting the Text Size

Ever have trouble reading small text on a webpage in Chrome? Chrome lets you zoom in and out to easily re-size text and images on a page. There are two ways to do this. The first way is to click on the Settings Menu button and then use the Zoom controls. A faster and easier way is to hold down the Ctrl button and use the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out.

Rearranging Open Tabs

I am a bit OCD when it comes to organizing my apps on my phone and tablet, but I also get this way with open tabs in my Chrome browser. I like having them in a certain order so I can flip back and forth between tabs more productively. Rearranging tabs is easy. You just click on a tab at the top and drag it along the row to the position that you want. If you want to open one of your tabs in a new window, simply click on it and drag it to the desktop. Release the mouse button and a new window will open. To access the tab options menu, right click on any tab. The tab options menu will let you reload tabs, close all tabs to the right of the selected tab and even re-open closed tabs. (Chrome will remember the last ten closed tabs.)

Pinning Tabs

Another cool thing that you can do with tabs is pin them. This is also another great feature that you can use for your favorite sites. Pinning a tab in Chrome means that whatever is shown on the tab when it is pinned will automatically be loaded the next time that you open a new Chrome browser session. To pin a tab, right click on the tab and select Pin Tab from the menu. Pinned tabs will appear slightly smaller in your tab row at the top than unpinned tabs. To unpin a tab, repeat the same process as before but select Unpin Tab from the menu.

Save Webpages as PDF Documents

Google Chrome allows you to turn your web pages into PDF documents. This is a great idea if you would like to save an article to read off-line. Press CTRL+P on a Windows PC or CMD+P on a Mac, and a pop-up box will appear asking you to print it and what printer you would like to use. Instead of sending it to the printer, press “Save as PDF” and you’ll end up with a file of the web page on your desktop.

Create Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts

If there is a particular Chrome app that you use all the time, you can create your own keyboard shortcut that will launch the app. Type “chrome://extensions” into your address bar,  and then scroll down to the bottom. Next, press Keyboard Shortcuts and you’ll be able to set them up in there. You can choose whichever shortcut you find the easiest to remember, but keep in mind the shortcuts that you already use as you don’t want to overwrite them and stop them from working.

CBechervaise67Chantal is located in Ottawa, Ontario. She is passionate about everything related to the World of Work: Leadership, HR, Social Media and Technology. You can read more from Chantal at her TakeItPersonelly blog or follow her on Twitter @CBechervaise.

Top 10 Apps for the Business Traveler

By Michael Connolly

Not to age myself, but when I first traveled for business, I had to find a pay phone to call the airline and confirm that the flight was on time.  While I somehow got from point A to B, I have never had more fun traveling for business than today. The apps I use know me better than I know them. Below are my top 10:

1Password:

What!? My boarding pass doesn’t have my frequent flyer number? I just got an email that my credit card bill is due tomorrow. My wife is calling asking what our AAA number is. My daughter forgot the Apple ID and password. With the 1Password app, I can store all my passwords in one app and take care of tasks while standing online at security. Of course you don’t want to have the same password for everything but good luck remembering all of them. That’s why this app is great, especially while on the road.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows


Pocket

There are apps that have cracked my top 10 not based on productivity as much as based on enhancement of the business travel experience. Pocket stores articles for offline use. I actually smile when the flight attendant tells everyone to turn their devices onto airplane mode. Then I know it’s time to catch up on all of the articles I’ve saved on Pocket. It becomes like a customized newspaper that I enjoy creating, then reading.

Platform: iOS, Android


GateGuru

This app will tell you everything about the terminal you are in, security wait times, flight delays, gate changes or layover time adjustments. Last week in Cleveland, GateGuru told me that there is a Chic-Fil-A in between terminal A and B. Thank you!

Platform: iOS, Android


Tripit

This is my go to for a central portal for flight itineraries. You book a flight and send the confirmation email to Tripit. The app organizes and presents the itinerary in a very readable way. The concept of forwarding an email to Tripit makes this an essential app to have.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows


Life360

Life360 tracks anyone you choose (with their consent) on a map. I have my family on there and see each of their icons on the map, which shows where they are by their phone location. No more “Honey, when will you be home?” Just look at the app. “When are the in-laws coming over?” Look at the app. As a business traveler, there are times that I may be delayed or tied up and Life360 allows my family to know where I am at all times. We have never used it in an emergency but I can imagine how useful it would be if the need arose.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows


Waze

This crowdsourcing app shows real time traffic and route suggestions. The first time I heard it say “Caution, car on shoulder in 10 feet” I thought a helicopter was following me from above. The perfect app for auto travel, particularly in lesser known cities. It has reduced the stress of just renting a car and hoping to get to my meeting on time.

Platform: iOS, Android


Business Insider

Of the hundreds of news apps, I really like the journalism associated with Business Insider.  I find myself referring to articles during small talk with clients. The articles feed you with interesting facts that are useful for people who work in a variety of industries.  It is my go to for “food for thought” information.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows


Nest

Why would a business traveler put Nest in their top 10? Do you remember winter? Nest remotely controls your home’s thermostat. I remember that one Thursday in January when I got home late and the house was nice and warm. That’s because as soon as I landed at LGA, I set the thermostat to 70 degrees. Enough said!

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows


Google

Google? Yes. What about the weather app? WatchESPN? Don’t you want to know how the market is doing? Once I clicked on Google, all that information was there! Like 15 apps worth of information customized to my needs. A one stop shop for travel, weather, sports and anything else that I need. It proactively lists all my interests. One time it showed a sale on running shoes (I guess it saw me shop the other day).

Platform: Android


DH Texas Hold’em

Once you are up to date on news, traffic, flights and weather, what is a business traveler to do? This app rounds out my top 10 for the joy it brings during a delayed flight. While we were stuck on a runway with some people moaning and some shouting, I was in a conversation with people from Indonesia, Russia and Italy. We were all sitting around a table playing a friendly game of poker (no real money). By the time I looked up, the person in the best mood on that delayed flight was…. me!

Platform: Android


Do you have a favorite travel app for business? Share it with us here!