May 24, 2012

Google Drive has arrived: Update

Google Drive is finally here. It offers the promise of accessing files, even large ones, from the cloud. With Google Drive, you can create new documents, spreadsheets and presentations, and share with others.

There is the suggestion of collaborative work, by two or more, on the same documents simultaneously. In reality, that is rarely feasible. Well, it is difficult to do productively. Shared access is useful and convenient for meetings and small work groups though.

google drive via Flickr

As with Google Docs, one may search by keyword, and filter by file type, owner or file size.  Over 30 file types are accessible from your browser. This includes HD video, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop—this part is key: even if you don’t have the program installed on your computer!


Google Drive may be used on a variety of computers and devices. It is accessible with PCs and Macs, and Android, now.  iPhone and iPad support is  “coming soon”.

Privacy control

There is decent granularity in file access control. One may share files or folders publicly, or with specified individuals, and choose who may view, edit or comment on content.

Google Drive crash

The first 5 GB of storage is free of charge.

The fate of Google Docs

Perhaps you are thinking,

This seems so similar to Google Docs functionality…?

I was too. Apparently that was by intent, as word has it that Google Drive will replace Google Docs for all users:

Precisely because Drive is just Docs with a new logo, Docs is being phased out. The site still works for now and will continue to work for months, but Google is pushing users away from the Docs URL and app and towards Drive.

I had noticed Docs was prompting me to try Drive recently. I suspect this was the reason. The URL will change from to The final changeover date has not been announced yet.

For enterprise

Google Apps users can opt-in for Google Drive. Security includes two-step authentication, encrypted connection to Google’s servers  and the same sharing controls as for non-enterprise users. Reliability will be reinforced with simultaneous replicated storage for documents.

Cost Comparison

How does Google Drive compare to other cloud storage services? The primary comparison of interest is between Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive and Dropbox. This is not so easy to decide, due in large part to each individual’s needs.

The most comprehensive write-up I found was an article in Norwegian language publication NRKbeta, Price war in the Cloud. It compared a wider variety of cloud services, both free versions and cost for extra space, including Amazon Cloud Drive, Box, Jotta and the rumored Facebook cloud storage. Ubuntu One is mentioned in the comments. The universal language of data storage technology, and perhaps some help from Google Translate, is all that is required to understand most of the article.

Via the rumor mill: Google tablet news

According to Digitimes, and not confirmed yet by any official company release: Google’s 7-inch tablet PC, which Google developed with Asustek Computer, will ship in June 2012. An initial quantity of 600,000 units is expected. Possibly.

March 6, 2012

Cleaning up for Honeycomb

It is year-end, December 31, 2010.

While everyone at Google enjoys the holidays, someone is still working late at night to gear up for Honeycomb.

Who could it be?

Notice the cleaning bucket that hard-working little Android is using. Yes, it is covered with those distinctive Erlenmeyer flasks that Google Labs was so fond of using.


This predated the closure of Google Labs by nearly a year.

Cleaning up for Honeycomb by Evoreto UG (haftungsbeschränkt):

Our 3D Android is based on work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License.
This is no official ad and neither related nor endorsed by Google.

Music: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under CC/licenses/by/3.0/.

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March 2, 2012

Google Maps: Foreign affairs and social skirmishes

Google Earth and Google Maps are probably the most popular, free online cartography reference tools for the public.

Google Map art

Map markers away! Fighting the cartographic unknown

Foreign affairs

Popularity is not the same as authority[1]:

The lines that Google draws on maps have no government’s imprimatur.

How an online map almost caused a violent conflict

If Google Maps show borders or place names that are different from official or long-established usage, they can confuse, offend or worse[2]:

On Nov. 3, 2010, a Nicaraguan official justified his country’s incursion into neighboring Costa Rica’s territory by claiming that, contrary to the customary borderline, he wasn’t trespassing. For proof, he [cited] Google Maps.

Google should not be involved in geopolitical disputes

Google DOES try to offer meaningful, accurate maps. Continue reading

February 24, 2012

Orkut is the ORIGINAL Google social network

Ellie K:

TechCrunch seems perturbed by Google’s decision to maintain Orkut as a distinct entity from Google Plus. I think that Google is correct. Orkut is Google’s most successful social network. It would be fair to say that Orkut is the most successful global online community, EVER. It has been in existence for nearly a decade. That is no minor achievement, in a web time frame of reference! Orkut actually grew its user base in Brazil during 2011.

Orkut user data as a chart

Google Orkut users by country 2011

Orkut remains the second most popular social network in India. I recall reading an official Google blog post last year, tallying over 65 million ACTIVE Orkut users, primarily in Brazil, India, Pakistan and Portugal. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to merge Orkut into Google Plus.

Update 21 April 2014

The future of Orkut appears less certain now, nearly two years later. The Orkut developer page, hxxps:// returns a generic Google HTTP error 404 page not found.

orkut 404

Orkut advertising is gone

Equally ominous: Orkut’s advertising inquiries page returns this:

I am uncertain whether Orkut is accessed over SSL, which is standard for most other Google services. Orkut policy and content guidelines are maintained in the Google help/support area (using SSL).

Orkut Terms of Service has a peculiar URL,


considering the fact that Orkut is at Other Orkut pages use the same* path. In contrast, most Google products and services have Google sub-domain addresses.

The extremely friendly Official Orkut blog has not been updated  since September 2012, which is not encouraging.

It isn’t over yet though! Orkut India on Twitter @OrkutIndia, sent an update on 13 March 2014.  More importantly, the primary Orkut account is reasonably active, with approximately 55,000 followers.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Just spotted in Orkut, Google’s also-ran social networking site: a new Google+ badge, one of the first integrations between the two services. Orkut members who also have a Google+ account are now being rewarded in the form of a badge reading “Google+ user,” which they can choose to make visible on their Orkut profile. No, it’s not a big deal in terms of the feature itself (oooh, a badge), but it’s an indication of Orkut’s current status in Google’s eyes. Orkut and Google+ are different products, and both sites will continue to exist, the company tells us today by way of explanation.

“Orkut has a large user base, especially in Brazil and India, and we will continue to invest in the product,” notes a Google spokesperson. Wait really? How on earth does that fit in with your current social strategy? Sorry, Google, continuing Orkut support just…

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