Google uses machine learning to make its spreadsheets smarter

Google announced on Monday that its Sheets spreadsheet application in Google Drive can now fill in missing table values using machine learning. The new Chrome Store add-in, called Smart Autofill, utilizes Google’s Prediction API, and is theoretically very useful. It could allow laypersons to build small-scale machine learning models that could be used to make predictions about pretty much anything. Recently, a natural-language processing startup called Aylien released an add-in that lets users run some complex text analysis using Google Sheets. Microsoft has also used machine learning to smarten up Excel through a feature called Flash Fill.

Google brings BigQuery down to earth with Excel connector

Google designed BigQuery as a cloud service for running fast queries against massive datasets, but with lofty ambitions there’s always room to take a step back. Now, users that don’t require super speed can run batch queries, and can connect to the service using Microsoft Excel.

SpreadsheetLIVE Beta Enters the Web Office Fray

SpreadsheetLIVE Beta is a new entry into the web office applications space, currently dominated by Google, Microsoft and Zoho. Pagos is targeting corporate intranets, but also has a hosted version that could fit some web worker requirements. Currently, this hosted version is available for free.

How to Track Freelance Job Leads Via Spreadsheet

Throughout our careers we freelancers experience alternating seasons of high and low activity. While we may still have projects during seasons of low activity, they may not be as demanding or as regular. During high-activity months, however, we have several leads and potential clients sending queries to our inbox.

To some freelancers, keeping track of these leads is just as easy as remembering them. But for those freelancers — like me — who are on the forgetful side, we need to have a system in place. Because of this, I’ve created a spreadsheet to manage my leads. After all, I don’t want to leave potential clients hanging.

Here’s how you can make a similar spreadsheet yourself. Read More about How to Track Freelance Job Leads Via Spreadsheet

Netflix Starts Streaming ABC Shows

Lost_Season_1_StreamNetflix (s NFLX) and Disney (s DIS) announced today that the online movie rental company will make earlier seasons of hit shows such as Lost, Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy available via its “Watch Instantly” streaming service.
Under the agreement, Netflix will stream the first five seasons of Lost (the first four are available now), seasons four and five of Desperate Housewives, season five of Grey’s Anatomy, and seasons one and two of The Legend of the Seeker. The deal extends the streaming relationship the two companies have had since last fall when Netflix started streaming Disney cable programming such as Hannah Montana and The Wizards of Waverly Place.
This is the second high-profile streaming move for ABC, which used to keep its shows locked up tight behind a walled garden on its site. Earlier this year, Disney bought an equity stake in the premium content portal Hulu, and since then shows from ABC have been trickling onto the site. Netflix and Hulu are two different beasts, since Hulu doesn’t require a subscription (but does have ads) and will get current season episodes. But, if you’re playing catchup with the series, Netflix has more episodes of both Lost and Desperate Housewives, plus you can watch them (in HD!) on your big-screen TV, something you can’t do with Hulu.
For its past two earnings calls, Netflix has repeated how content acquisition for its streaming service is a top priority for the company. With today’s announcement, the company has three of the four major broadcasts networks: ABC, CBS and NBC.

iWork With Numbers: Conditional Formatting


This is the first in a series on some of the more advanced functionality of Numbers, my favorite spreadsheet app. If you’re new to spreadsheets, or just want to make them look a little less like Microsoft Excel, this article should be right up your alley. In this article, we’ll talk about conditional formatting.

What is conditional formatting?

The real power behind spreadsheets is not just how well they can crunch data, but how you can visually present the information in a variety of ways. Sometimes, however, you may want to give more attention to a particular area, or hide certain data if it’s not relevant. You often see conditional formatting applied to financial spreadsheets where positive values are in black or green, but negative values are always in “the red.” So how do you do that? It’s where conditional formatting, or formatting based on certain criteria, comes into play. Read More about iWork With Numbers: Conditional Formatting

Smartsheet Launches New Version With Enhanced Features

Smartsheet Logo
Back in July when I originally covered the beta of Smartsheet Task Manager and Project Collaboration service, I had some reservations about adopting it. While I thought it was a strong app, I also believed it was lacking some of the core features I would need.
With their official launch of V2 today, I wanted to give it another look to see how things have changed since I last looked. I also had an opportunity to chat about Smartsheet with founder and chairman Brent Frei who shared with me some of the design philosophy behind the service and productivity in general.
Read More about Smartsheet Launches New Version With Enhanced Features

ON24 Launches Virtual Show

ON24 is expanding beyond traditional corporate webcasting with its new Virtual Show product. Think of Virtual Show almost like a Second Life for trade shows, only without the avatars and full 3-D world. Customers can create customizable digital convention floors where attendees can log in, visit virtual booths, watch live-streamed or on-demand online video demonstrations and network with other virtual attendees.

With rising fuel prices and a depressed economy, it’s not hard to see the cost benefit of hosting a trade show online. The average mid-to-large company shells out about $550,000 a year on trade show expenses. ON24 says hosting a virtual show will cost a company between $20,000 and $50,000 to produce.

ON24 isn’t alone in this space, Unisfair and GoExhibit both offer similar services, and some companies like IBM have used Second Life to host digital trade shows.

While the technology is there and the benefits are appealing, I’m a believer that trade shows are more than just a collection exhibitors and demonstrations. They are about connecting with other people in your industry face-to-face, shaking their hand — and getting them drunk. That’s something you just can’t do virtually.