Tag Archives | google

Goodby Google Docs, hello Google Drive

Twitter is alive with comments now that people have actually read the Google Drive transition notes. Google Docs will be gone be the end of the summer, replaced by Google Drive. A few key points:

Google Drive is being gradually rolled out. We expect to finish the transition from the Google Documents List to Google Drive by late summer (2012).

In the earliest stages, Google Drive will be available as an “opt-in” upgrade. It will later become the default web interface, but you will be able to opt-out if you prefer more time to transition from the existing Google Documents List. In the final stages of the transition, users will no longer be able to opt out and Google Drive on the web will replace the current Google Documents List interface for all users.

Early opinions are mixed. On the plus side, Google Drive is an upgrade to Google Docs that comes with extra storage. On the negative, it’s not clear how well Google Drive will play with other apps like DropBox and SkyDrive, a concern we reported in an earlier post.

Using Google Drive you are still able to create docs, share them, search, preview and sort them. Some things will change. Collections are now be called folders; new views have been to the Settings menu; the Home view is gone, replaced with My Drive to organize all of your files, folders and Google Docs. New features include the ability to sync files between all of your devices, a new visual view called the grid view and the ability to work with more file types by installing Google Drive Apps from the Chrome Web Store.

Whether you see it as a plus, or a minus, there’s no choice. If your a Google Docs user, by the end of the summer, you’ll be a Google Drive user. Google has published a help page on what’s different to get you started: Google Drive versus your Documents List.

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The Internet without Google or Facebook

Make even general predictions about the future is hard. Making predictions about the future of technology is very hard. Making predictions about the future of the Internet is, well, extremely hard. This piece by Eric Jackson on Forbes goes for the extremely hard, and tries to be specific as well.

We think of Google and Facebook as Web gorillas. They’ll be around forever. Yet, with the rate that the tech world is moving these days, there are good reasons to think both might be gone completely in 5 – 8 years.

The brief history of Internet companies has many examples of companies that were Web Gorillas, but failed to adapt the the rapid changes: Netscape, MySpace and Yahoo.

With each succeeding generation in tech the Internet, it seems the prior generation can’t quite wrap its head around the subtle changes that the next generation brings.

We’re now in the middle of a mobile revolution where the current Web gorillas are talking about mobile while doing little to embrace it.

Mobile companies born since 2010 have a very different view of the world. These companies – and Instagram is the most topical example at the moment – view the mobile smartphone as the primary (and oftentimes exclusive) platform for their application. They don’t even think of launching via a web site. They assume, over time, people will use their mobile applications almost entirely instead of websites.

Like all predictions about the future, there’s a good chance this one is wrong, but before concluding that, if you remember, think back to the days of Netscape, Alta Vista and AOL. Predicting their demise would have met lots of skepticism as well.

The key of course is to innovate, stay flexible, stay close to your users, and ride the technical wave as it moves forward. Small to medium sized companies have a distinct advantage over the current gorillas. A few of them are in fact likely to displace the current set.

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Another place in the cloud to store your documents: Google Drive

Google DriveLong rumored, now official, Google Drive launched today. Similar to Dropbox, but integrated with Google Docs, it lets you store all of your files in the cloud, and access them from anywhere. The integration with Google Docs makes it easy to share content with others. In addition, because of this integration, you get built in optical character recognition and image based searching. Upload a scanned clipping from a newspaper and, using OCR, search the text of the original.

Prices are comparable to Dropbox and Microsoft’s newly introduced SkyDrive. Up to 5GB is free; 25GB is $2.49/month. A terrabyte goes for $49.95/month.

Which One?

There’s a detailed review in Read Write Web which points out that Dropbox, Skydrive and Google Drive don’t really work well together. They conclude, that because of the integration with other apps you should choose based on the apps. Google Docs and Gmail users should probably go with Drive. Office and Outlook users, should go with SkyDrive. Dropbox leaves you unattached, but mainly because it’s not tied closely to any applications.

There is a privacy issue with Google Drive. Like everything else Google, when you give them your data, they actually use it — mostly to serve up ads, so don’t be surprised if you save a file about your vacation plans and you start seeing ads about resorts in the place you’re going.

The official Google announcement is here in the Google Blog.

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Want to know what Google knows about you? Get a report

Yesterday Google announced a new feature for Google account users. If you sign up, each month you’ll get a link to a password-protected report that provides information on what you’ve done while signed in to Google.

The example Google gives is:

For example, my most recent Account Activity report told me that I sent 5 percent more email than the previous month and received 3 percent more. An Italian hotel was my top Gmail contact for the month. I conducted 12 percent more Google searches than in the previous month, and my top queries reflected the vacation I was planning: [rome] and [hotel].

To sign up, go to to www.google.com/settings/activity. Within minutes of signing up, you’ll get your first report.

More detail is on the Google blog: Giving you more insight into your Google Account activity.

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What you should know about Google’s New Privacy Policies

Google is updating its Privacy Policy and Terms of Service on March 1, 2012.  If you use any Google services this update applies to you.  This change will allow Google to support a single set of terms and policies across the entire Googleverse and make things simpler for both users and the search giant.

Privacy PolicyWith a single privacy policy, Google can use information from one service and deliver it to users of another service. This will help users get more out of Google+ by helping them connect with the people they correspond with via Gmail.

In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience,” Google notes.

Continue Reading →

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Smarter Phones Need Smarter Websites

SmartphoneMore and more Internet users are using smartphones to browse the web. In July of 2011 The Pew Research Center issued a report titled “Smartphone Adoption and Usage” (Download Full Report as PDF). It found that over 85% of smartphone owners access the internet or email on their smartphone. Over 65% do so on a typical day.

One quarter of smartphone owners say that they mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer and roughly one third of these “cell mostly” users do not have a high-speed home broadband connection.

Smartphone Statistics

In recognition of this change in browsing habits Google has enhanced its mobile webcrawler to act like a smartphone to better index websites that are crafted to work well with these newer devices.

With the number of smartphone users rapidly rising, we’re seeing more and more websites providing content specifically designed to be browsed on smartphones. Today we are happy to announce that Googlebot-Mobile now crawls with a smartphone user-agent in addition to its previous feature phone user-agents. This is to increase our coverage of smartphone content and to provide a better search experience for smartphone users.

One new feature we’re also launching that uses these signals is Skip Redirect for Smartphone-Optimized Pages. When we discover a URL in our search results that redirects smartphone users to another URL serving smartphone-optimized content, we change the link target shown in the search results to point directly to the final destination URL. This removes the extra latency the redirect introduces leading to a saving of 0.5-1 seconds on average when visiting landing page for such search results.

Is your website friendly to mobile visitors? With smartphone use growing, the online face of your business needs to be ready. Unlimited Priorities can help you by providing a fresh look at your online presence and solid advice for practical changes.

Photo by Ohmega1982

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Google and the Evolution of Search

In August, Google posted a video, Another look under the hood of search, that shows some of the things they do to make changes and improvements to their search algorithm.  They followed up up last week with new 6-minute video on the evolution of search summarizing key milestones from the past 10 years and ending with a brief taste of what’s coming next:

The highlights include:

  • Universal Results: finding images, videos, and news, in addition to webpages.
  • Quick Answers: including flight times, sports scores, weather others.
  • The Future of Search: Their goal, to make searching as easy as thinking.

The full post is here:  The evolution of search in six minutes

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Google’s new “Freshness Algorithm”

Last Thursday, Google announced major changes to the way they present search results. The changes are expected to affect up to 35% of all searches. While relevance and currency have always been important in how high web sites appear in search results, this makes them even more so.

As explained by Amit Singhal in a post on the Official Google Blog, Google is making these changes because:

Even if you don’t specify it in your search, you probably want search results that are relevant and recent. If I search for olympics, I probably want information about next summer’s upcoming Olympics, not the 1900 Summer Olympics.

Google is basing the new search on their Caffeine web indexing system, introduced last year, which allows them to crawl and index the web in near real time.

These changes are obviously good for users. The implications for website owners will become clearer after some more usage and the algorithm will likely be tuned by Google, but several things are already obvious. Fresh content, including frequent updates, will be even more important. RSS feeds of your content and date-modified tags will help Google find the updates.

If you’ve been putting it off, now would be a good time to get a comprehensive analysis of your website.

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