Ultimate Google toolbox: 20 tips, tricks, and hacks

With this arsenal of tips and third-party tools, you can bend Google to your will and extract more from its services than ever before.

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Automate mundane Google Drive tasks: Wappwolf connects to your Google Drive (or Dropbox account) and seeks out certain types of files for which you have specified actions. For example, you can ask Wappwolf to convert to PDF any document you drop into a particular folder on your drive. In addition, you can have the tool convert audio files to a new format, send files to your Kindle, or upload photos to multiple social networks at once, as well as resize images or add effects.

Encrypt and safeguard your Google Drive files: A good tool for this job is BoxCryptor, which encrypts files on the fly and syncs them with Google Drive immediately after you save them. Since the encrypting and decrypting happen locally, your password never transmits to third parties, making your file unreadable even if someone breaches your Google Drive. For more, see this tutorial on using BoxCryptor.

Turn Google Maps into a game: Map Cube is an experimental Google Chrome browser-based game made by Google Maps that turns New York, Tokyo, and many other cities into a 3D tilt-labyrinth game (see video below). To play, you tilt a ball through city streets and across bridges to reach landmarks of historic and cultural note.

Undelete events, including the details, in Google Calendar: Whenever you delete an event, that data sticks around for a while before it's permanently gone. The tool Spanning Undelete fetches a list of recently deleted events and lets you choose which ones to bring back from a list of recoverable items.

Record calls with Google Voice: Although Google doesn't allow you to record outgoing calls, you can record calls you receive. Once you enable the option under Settings > Calls > Call Options, you simply press the 4 key at any time to record incoming calls. A voice will note on the line that the call is being recorded, and it will issue another alert when you stop the process. You can access your recorded calls by clicking Recorded on the left side of the page. Different laws apply to call recording depending on location, so check your state's current laws as well as federal regulations before using this feature.

This story, "Ultimate Google toolbox: 20 tips, tricks, and hacks" was originally published by PCWorld.

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