Posts tagged ‘cloud’

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!

Availability

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 http://docs.gooogle.com to http://drive.google.com. 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.

December 16, 2011

Google Cloud Print one year later

A few days ago, Google Cloud Print was rolled out to more users, with new features. One of the more interesting is the ability to embed a cloud print button on one’s website. Read on to learn the reason this cloud print button is important.

Reverse colors in 2011

Google Cloud Print's new logo

The Google Cloud Print landing page now offers complete instructions for registering a printer that is not connected to a PC or other computer. There is also a detailed user tutorial, which wasn’t available a year ago.

The full list of operating systems, device types and browsers from which one can access Cloud Print is extensive.  This seems to be the easiest way to decide whether Cloud Print will work with a user’s current “configuration”:

On any web page, if you see a “Print” button with the Google Cloud Print logo, you can print without leaving your browser.

As I wrote this article, I found a few user tips. Profiles and Cloud Print for Any Page has good instructions for embedding the Cloud Print button, and for using it with multiple Google profiles in Chrome 16.

Variety of services

Google Cloud Print offers versatility

Implementation and strategy thoughts

The level of detail required to specify device (mobile/ tablet/ PC/ Mac/ Chromebook), operating system (Android/ iOS/ Windows/ Mac/ Chrome OS) and print app makes one think about the project management complexity. I can only imagine the hardware and data integration challenges!

It is worth noting that Google chose to expend this effort on printing, which is one of the least interesting computing services, for marketing and developers alike. This is a reality, despite the importance of print functionality to those who need it.

In Beta

A certain problem URL, described in my  Cloud Print post last year, still returns the same 400 error. I don’t fault Google for that. Google Cloud Print remains is in beta. It is more prudent to keep the beta designation until a product is ready. Avoid the sort of headaches Google recently had with the still-buggy Gmail for Apple iPhone mess a few weeks ago.

April 14, 2011

Quality-of-Life in the Chrome O/S Cloud

Google Web Toolkit (“GWT”) is a productivity tool for developers. It is a

development toolkit for building and optimizing complex browser-based applications. GWT is used by many products at Google, including Google AdWords and Orkut. It’s open source, completely free, and used by thousands of developers [worldwide].

What programming language would be the most accessible for Google Chrome O/S apps development?

These are the existing constraints:

  1. Android apps are coded in Java.
  2. Chrome browser apps are JavaScript.
  3. A Java programmer can use a web toolkit to “translate” Java into JavaScript.

However, it will be more difficult to go in the other direction. That is, a PHP programmer can create JavaScript apps for Chrome browser. But Android apps require knowledge of Java. This is the reverse of item 3 (above), and is much more challenging.
Perhaps there is a unified language for both scripting as well as programming the core functionality of the app?

Google Web Toolkit

GWT Logo

Google Web Toolkit does that!

GWT certainly lets you write Java apps, then compile them into JavaScript. And it might get even better!

How? With a consolidated toolkit, based on GWT. Such a consolidated toolkit could be used to write an Android app that also works on Chrome O/S as a web app, without the need for coding in Java, only in JavaScript

December 9, 2010

Transition to server-side moves forward with Google Cloud Print

print from the clouds with Chrome OS

Google Cloud Print logo

Google has been extremely busy recently. Maybe a more accurate statement would be that they’ve been extremely prolific. Google introduced the Chrome Operating System Netbook, also known as the Cr-48, to select users. It shipped yesterday. That was probably the highest profile event.

But Google also quietly unveiled a new cloud print feature, now available in public beta.

Google Cloud Print

The landing page for instructions to connect a printer  to Google Cloud Print describes the product with a nicely stylized flow image (see below). Here is the official product description:

By connecting your printer with the Google Cloud you will be able to print to your printer from any computer or smart phone, regardless of where you are. Just activate the Google Cloud Print connector in Google Chrome and your printer will automatically be available to you from Google Cloud Print enabled web and mobile apps.

This page includes a button to install Google Chrome browser, stating that it is for Windows 7, Vista and XP. It probably refers only to the Chrome browser, not to the Cloud Print functionality. I came to this conclusion after reading a Cloud Print help page, “Where can I print from?”

We’re working hard to provide Google Cloud Print integration with many Google products and services, the first of which will be Chrome OS….

Flowchart for using Cloud Print

Flowchart for connecting a printer to Google Cloud Print

Still a beta product

I looked for more information in the footer of the Google Cloud Print Help page. I found and clicked on this Google Cloud Print link. I presumed this would be an “About” page, or maybe a post from the Google New Products site on Blogger. Instead I was surprised get a return of the same URL in the header,

http://www.google.com/cloudprint/intl/en

and the following text:

Missing X-CloudPrint-Proxy header.

Error 400

It appears that Cloud Print isn’t quite ready yet for everyone. For now, it is ONLY available for users running Google Chrome Operating System.

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