This is how to text using only GIFs

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Let the GIF Spamming begin

We set out the week excited about our new venture and all it holds for us. We downloaded GIF Keyboard from Google Play and got started. Once we implemented the GIF-only chat order we were spamming them left and right. During the first hour we found over 20 ways to say good morning.

As the day progressed, we really got a good feel for the app and enjoyed exploring the options. When I wanted to see if my colleagues were ready for lunch I did a quick search for ‘lunch’ and found a ton of GIFs and one in particular had a question mark on it. That was what I trying to convey. My colleagues responded with GIFs of Winnie the Pooh eating honey and Patrick from Sponge Bob eating a hamburger. I knew lunch was on and my colleagues were famished.

Finding appropriate GIFs proved to be quite easy with the app. You can explore different reactions like #chillout, #eyeroll, #imissyou, #please, etc. From there you can further explore the GIFs with more specific phrases. For #please you can choose from ‘puppyeyes’, ‘pretty’, ‘beg’, etc. Once you’ve chosen your GIF you can customize it with different animations like thumbsup, partyhard, dealwithit, teareyes and many more. You can then choose from the messenger you can to send it out with. Once the recipient has it, they can open it via the web. We used WhatsApp throughout the week and you get a preview image in the text box next to the URL.

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Our communications changed

When you only message with GIFs you have to be more creative to communicate effectively. You need to pay attention to what is going on in the animation to get the right idea of what the person needs or what you want to express. This brings a more visual element into your messages and to our language in general.

Text messaging was a lot more entertaining when we only used GIFs. One of my colleagues got the song ‘Final Countdown’ caught in his head. In the past we would have just sent him messages throughout the day that alluded to the song. But with the GIF keyboard we were able to send him more colorful ways to remind him.

During this week we saw a surprising difference in our face-to-face interactions. Our verbal communication was different. We used fewer words when we talked. We would use words associated with GIFs to express how we felt or thought. We also would copy the mannerisms from GIFs we shared earlier.

gif me neon cat

GIFs give us more subtlety

The week ended and we opened up using words and emojis again. Well, not surprisingly we used far fewer GIFs. The GIFs we used started to become more subtile. Since we used all of the popular ones that really fit with the messages we found more interesting ways of expressing ourselves through the GIF app.

Our GIFs integrated into our messages quite well. This has enhanced our communications, there is just so much more subtilty you can express with the GIF. We also have a few more inside jokes. This might be a bit excluding to our other colleagues unfamiliar with our GIF experiment but it has given us better team cohesion. As GIF apps are used by more of our colleagues we could expect the same change in our face-to-face communication.

This phenomenon is not new. Think back to how LOL and OMG changed the way we talked and communicated. Emojis had a similar effect but more on our messages. GIF keyboards have the potential to be much more pervasive. They can affect our face-to-face communications as much as our messages and that’s powerful. Overall, I think this change is positive and brings us together more.

13 Google Now tips you need to try today

androidpit google voice hero 2

1. Set it up right

Make sure you have set Google Now up correctly before you begin exploring.

Firstly, get Google Now to recognize your “OK Google” command from any screen by tapping the hamburger menu icon in the Google app. Then go to Settings > Voice > “OK Google” detection. Here you just slide all the toggles to the right.

AndroidPIT ok google detection

Once that’s done, you’ll be prompted to train OK Google to your voice, which you do by saying “OK Google” three times.

AndroidPIT ok google voice training

Next, head over to Settings > Voice > Offline speech recognition and make sure all the languages you need have been downloaded. This way, you can still use OK Google commands that don’t require the internet when you’re offline.

AndroidPIT google now dowloaded languages

If you trust Google enough to give it access to your location data, you will open up a lot of great Google Now features. To let Google Now use your location data, go to the Google Settings app, choose Location and make sure it’s set to On. Next, go to Google Location History at the bottom of the same page and set this to On, as well.

AndroidPIT google now location

While you’re at it, go into the Google app, press on the hamburger menu icon and then go to Customize. In here, you can set your home and work addresses, which can be used to set reminders and get information about your commute. You can also enter your favorite sports teams, which modes of transport you use, and more, to get the most useful and interesting cards showing up.

2. Learn all the OK Google voice commands

Google Now’s OK Google offers hundreds of voice commands that can be used to achieve a whole host of operations. The more you know, the more you will get out of Google Now. Refer to our Top list of Google Now voice commands and get studying.

3. Add even more voice commands

If you download Commandr from the Play Store, you can add a host of additional commands to Google Now. From turning on the flashlight to enabling rotation lock, clearing notifications to taking a selfie, the apps expands the repertoire significantly. You can also set custom voice commands for each function.

Not only that, but Commandr includes integration for Tasker, turning Google Now into an automating machine.

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4. Use location-based reminders

If you have to remember do something in a certain place, but you’re not sure what time you’ll be there, you can ask Google to remind you once it detects that you’re there. This can be useful for remembering what you need to buy when you arrive at the shop, or that you need to turn the oven on as soon as you arrive home, for example.

AndroidPIT google now location based reminders

5. Let it help you with travel arrangements

If you use Google Calendar, Google Now will provide you with cards and notifications that let you know beforehand what time you should leave at to arrive at an appointment on time. These notifications even account for traffic conditions, making you a more punctual and effective human being.

Make sure you have your preferred mode of transport selected (Customize > Transport) and then head into Settings > Now cards and switch Commute and Time to Leave on.

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6. Use it to track packages or flights

If you receive flight confirmations and delivery tracking information to a Google email account that is linked to Google Now, these emails will be used to provide cards that track packages and update you on your flight’s status.

The same can be done for any flight by searching for the flight number. If you have web history enabled, Google Now will create a dedicated card for the flight.

AndroidPIT google now flight cards

7. Ask follow-up questions

Google Now is pretty good at contextualizing what you say. If you’ve asked, “How large is California?”, for example, you can ask a follow-up question such as “How many people live there?” and Google should have no problems remembering that “there” refers to California.

google now contextual information screenshot
8. Launch apps

Google Now has always been there to provide a hands-free experience, so why continue to use your fingers to laboriously open apps? Simply say “Open [app name]” and let Google do it for you!

AndroidPIT ok google app launch

9. Set up relationships

Google can remember which of your contacts is your mother, father, sister or brother, among others. Simply say something like “Oscar is my father” and Google will take care of the rest. If there are multiple Oscars in your phonebook, you will need to confirm which is the right entry and then select Add nickname.

Once this is done, you have access to new commands, such as “Call my mother” or “Email my dad”.

10. Replace Shazam

Google Now can comfortably replace Shazam for you. You just need to ask it “What song is playing?” and it will bring you the result.

AndroidPIT google now listening for music

11. Use punctuation and smilies

Messages you send using Google Now don’t have to be enormous confusing strings of words. You can easily add punctuation in by saying “period” or “comma”.You can also add in smilies using voice commands such as “sad face”.

AndroidPIT ok google send message whats app

12. Set up Google Now to understand multiple languages

If you find yourself abroad, or you’re bilingual, then make sure to set up Google Now to understand multiple languages. It will save you the frustration of trying to feed foreign street names to Google and only getting gibberish results.

All you need to do is press the hamburger menu button in the app, go to Settings > Voice > Languages and choose as many as you like.

AndroidPIT google now language selection

13. Deactivate Google Now

If after all that, you still don’t see any use in having Google Now in your life, you can deactivate it by going to the hamburger menu icon, selecting Settings > Now cards and toggle off Show cards. From here, you can also delete your preferences if you know you never want to return.