Following a series rumors and leaks, Google on Tuesday unveiled a new cloud storage service being billed as the next step in the evolution of Google Docs. Dubbed Google Drive and built to compete directly with Microsoft’s SkyDrive and other similar services, Google’s new cloud storage solution features 5GB of free space and deep Google Docs integration that allows users to collaborate and share all of their documents. The enterprise-focused service can be upgraded to expand the amount of available storage, and packages start at 25GB for $2.49 per month. Microsoft SkyDrive features 25GB of free storage with the option to add 20GB for $10 per year, 50GB for $25 per year or 100GB for $50 per year. Google guarantees 99.9% uptime with its new Google Drive service, and it will launch Windows, Mac and Android Google Drive apps immediately with an iOS app to be made available in the coming weeks. More →
Google recently announced that its Google+ social network is now available to anyone who wants to join. The search engine giant noted that it has added 91 changes during the social network’s beta trial, which lasted just under 90 days, and that it is deploying nine new changes on Tuesday. Among the most notable additions, the Hangouts video chat feature is now available for Android smartphones running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or newer. Here is a list of several other key changes:
- A new “Hangouts on Air” option allows users to live broadcast to up to nine different people.
- Hangouts can now be named.
- A screen sharing function has been added to Hangouts.
- Users can now share and view a sketchpad directly inside Hangouts
- Google Docs can be viewed and shared inside Hangouts.
- Google+ members can now search for other users from the social network directly and Google+ will return results from around the web.
- The Google+ Hangouts API is now available for developers.
Moments ago, Microsoft officially released its new cloud-based Office product, Office 365, which will compete directly with Google Docs. The Office 365 suite, which has been in public beta for awhile now, is being targeted at the enterprise market and plans for the entire suite cost between $10 and $27 each month depending on the feature set chosen. Small and medium-sized businesses can also choose a more cost effective $6 option that only includes Office Web Apps and Microsoft Exchange. Those options, however, are all more expensive than the $50 annual fee that Google charges corporate users for access to its Google Docs suite. Microsoft’s full press release follows below. More →
During the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco today, Google discussed the future of its “Chrome OS” platform, as well as some future products that will soon hit the market. Google has improved the performance of Adobe Flash playback within the browser, and the OS will now recognize I/O devices — such as cameras — when they’re plugged into the computer. Other new features include Google Music integration, a new photo manager that allows you to send directly to Picasa, and an option to upload files directly to Box.net. Google’s bread and butter, Gmail, Calendar, and Docs are all now accessible while offline. Hackers will also appreciate a new built-in jailbreaking feature. Samsung and Acer will both introduce “Chromebooks” on June 15th for $429 and $399, respectively. Samsung will also sell a 3G version of its Chromebook for $499. Those prices sound a bit high to us considering that you can get a full-fledged Windows 7 netbook for that price, but we’ll see if the market agrees.
Yes, we’re also tired of accessing Google’s mobile website to view our Google Docs on Android. That’s why we’re happy to report that Google has officially launched a standalone app for Android smartphones. Users can open attachments directly from GMail, share and filter docs, and upload new documents right from their Android phone. There’s also a homescreen widget for quickly opening starred documents, uploading photo, or creating new files. But here’s the real squeeze: the app uses optical character recognition (OCR) tech which allows you to snap photos of text to create editable documents — sorry Kinkos! Uploaded photos will be automatically convert to this format, too. Google says the only limitation is that it doesn’t recognize handwriting and “some fonts.” Google Docs for Android is available for Android 2.1+ phones in the Android Market now. Hit the jump for the QR code.
Google recently revamped its mobile Google Docs offering, providing more robust editing capabilities on several smartphone platforms. While the revised sites are quite useful on mobile devices like the iPhone and Android handsets, they’re hardly optimized for larger devices such as the iPad. As of Friday, however, the full desktop Google Docs experience is now available on Apple’s tablet, pushing third-party productivity suites one step further toward extinction. Users need only visit docs.google.com from the mobile Safari browser on their iPads to start using the Google Docs desktop editors for documents, spreadsheets and more. Google points out that because mobile browsers still aren’t as powerful as desktop browsers, iPad users can easily switch to the mobile-optimized editor if they so choose. More →
Google today announced a series of updates to Google Docs which are sure to please everyone who relies on the free cloud-based service. The documents editor received additions such as a margin ruler, tab stops, comments, a re-worked system for placing and maintaining bullets and numbers and support for real-time collaboration of up to 50 people. Spreadsheets now allows for cells to be edited from the forumla bar, the use of auto-fill and the dragging and dropping of columns. Overall, everything is said to be much faster, smoother and intuitive. There’s a whole bunch of other changes we haven’t gone over, so why not hit up the jump to watch a quick little into video and then explore the service for yourself? We’re loving the realtime collaboration improvements. More →
Yesterday, Google announced a new, and exciting, feature for those who use its Microsoft Office alternative Google Docs; free cloud storage of large, non-office file-types. Google explains, “Instead of emailing files to yourself, which is particularly difficult with large files, you can upload to Google Docs any file up to 250 MB… Combined with shared folders, you can store, organize, and collaborate on files more easily using Google Docs.” Your Docs account will have a 1GB quota, and for those of your who eat GB’s for breakfast, extra storage can be purchased at the rate of $0.25 per GB per year. The new service leverages Google’s immense cloud storage infrastructure and tempts you to voluntarily upload more of your data onto Google’s servers. It looks like this is as close to a “GDrive” as we’ll get for the time being. In Google We Trust. Right? More →
Ever wonder how much of your personal information you’ve willingly donated to Google over the past 11 years? Today, Google announced the launch of a new product to help you find out, and it’s titled Google Dashboard. The Dashboard allows you to view all facets of your Google life: Gmail, Google Calendar, web history, what mobile phones are syncing with your account, YouTube, and more. You can view your purchase history in Google Checkout, see that you have an Orkut account that you didn’t know about, and see how many people have called your Google Voice number. It’s a nice gesture but this is all the stuff we’ve voluntarily leaked to Google, we’re curious about the dirt the big G has managed to collect on its own! More →
Up until this morning, we would have confidently put big money on Gmail maintaining its beta status for the next hundred years. Seriously… Has a more widely used and reliable service ever held onto its beta tag for so long (that was rhetorical)? To our shock and amazement however, Google has officially removed Gmail from beta status along with Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk. Both consumer and enterprise Google Apps categories are now out of beta in fact, and the latter is certainly the motivation for the change. With 1.75 million companies currently utilizing Google Apps, the beta tag seemed a bit ridiculous at this point and Google finally concurred. Are there any exciting new features to report along with this news? Nope, but you know how Google loves to churn out new features and we doubt the absence of “beta” will slow the company down a bit.
Google has really been putting the work in lately as far as Gmail is concerned and it seems like new features have been rolling out every day. We were just barely getting used to the new task manager when SMS came out, and then before we knew it Google managed to surgically remove some of the pain that typically comes along with PDFs. Another day, another new feature as the G Team unwraps a handy new feature allowing Gmail users to convert an email to a new Google Doc with a single click. What’s more, when the feature is active it also enables a new keyboard shortcut that will open a new Doc with two quick keystrokes. The new doc creator can be activated from the Labs tab in settings, near the bottom of the ever-growing list. Ok Gmail team, good work but we’ll expect something new by Friday.
You Google-loving BlackBerry users have a new app to install on your handset as Google has officially launched its Google Mobile App for BlackBerry. More or less an aggregator/launcher, the app bundles Google search together with Google’s other BlackBerry apps and its online mobile services. Integrated within a single interface is Google Mail for BlackBerry, Google Maps for BlackBerry, and Google Sync for BlackBerry. If you setup your Google username and password, you can also get one-click access to Google News, Google Reader, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Picasa Web albums and Google notebook. Finally, no more annoying login screens (yay!) which may be the most compelling reason to download this simple launcher masquerading as a full fledged app.