Meet 10xer technologist, Greg Sadetsky. In January 2016 during his spare time, he developed a Google Chrome extension for dictating emails in Gmail. Why type when you can just speak, right? Check out the free extension here, it’s convenient and works well.
We sat down with Greg to talk about the Chrome extension as well as a cool side project he worked on with EchOpen in Paris.
10x: What motivated you to build the Chrome extension?
Sadetsky: Pure pleasure from knowing that amazing technology is available at our fingertips, and that as developers, we can give it any shape we want. I was playing around with my mobile phone’s dictation, and with the Google Translate app which has a real-time “conversation” feature. (Learn more about it here). It’s simply astounding. And it works in a large number of languages.
When playing with it, I started to dictate SMS and emails. And then, I wondered — wait, why is there no dictation in Gmail? Curious, I googled it and found this same question asked around in forums. There were a few dictation extensions that did almost what I wanted, but none did exactly what I wanted. And I had never written a Chrome extension. I expected it to be fun, short & fun. And it was!
10x: How long did it take you to build the extension?
Sadetsky: The initial prototype (confirming, as if it needed any more confirmation, the “80/20” Pareto rule) took 4 hours. I shared the extension with a colleague and considered the good feedback. Then I worked on finishing and polishing it. That remaining 20% of the work took me 2 to 3 days. I then published the extension on the Google Chrome Web Store and released the source code on GitHub here.
10x: What other cool side-projects like this have you worked on or are currently working on?
Sadetsky: While on holiday in Paris, I read about this amazing echOpen project where a group of doctors, in collaboration with software and hardware engineers, are working to create an Open Source ultrasound probe (amongst other projects). They had a great office filled with gear. And an open space for collaborative work in one of the most beautiful hospitals in Paris, next to the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
There is a lot to be said about the difficulty of technical-software innovation in the medical field. EchOpen’s group is attacking fascinating problems and they are sharing their work with the world – for free. The “profit” is shared innovation and potentially universal access to a life-saving piece of medical hardware.
The ultrasound probe they showed me had 3D-printed parts, and the piezoelectric transducer (the probe’s core piece which sends out the pulse and then listens for the echoes) had actually been built by hand.
I was very lucky to join the team for about a week, and to work with them on optimizing some of the networking and image processing code which ran on an Android phone. You can check out the source code on Github here. That was an amazing experience. The team absolutely rocked!