The world of the future has some pretty great products to keep productive. Things like Google Calendar, Dropbox, Evernote, and a myriad of other services all aim to make our lives easier and more cloud-centric. Trouble is that these services are all separate. When a group you're working with adds a new event to a Google Calendar, adds some relevant files to Dropbox, and scribbles some notes in Evernote, that's three different sites you need to track.
Tablets have, historically, been less-than-ideal for productivity. Part of the problem is that developers are still trying to catch up to the new world of connected devices. One solution, as CloudOn demonstrates, is to bring together the best options from various platforms and merge them into a fluid product. CloudOn lets you use what appears to be remote access to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint from an Android tablet.
The app might be best utilized if you have a connected keyboard and mouse at times, as the UI is still very much the Windows-style.
A long time ago (read: about 4 years), in a galaxy far, far away (read: Silicon Valley), a guy named Drew Houston started a little company called Dropbox. After securing seed funding from Y Combinator, Dropbox officially launched in 2008 at the TechCrunch50. To say nothing of the complexities of implementation, the idea was simple: put your files in one place, access them anywhere. And apparently, the idea was also a really good one: as of October last year, Dropbox had over 50 million users, doubling from a figure of 25 million in April.
Google Drive is real, and it's out, and I've been playing with it. If you haven't heard, Drive is Google's cloud storage offering. You get 5 GB free with an option to buy more.
You're going to hear two phrases over and over again in this hands on, so you'd better get used to them now: get ready to see "like Dropbox" and "like Google Docs" a lot.
Google Docs, by the way? Gone.
This morning, Google Drive finally launched, and for about 30 minutes the pricing structure inconsistencies had me scratching my head. The blog post mentioned a new pricing scheme, with "25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even 1TB for $49.99/month" and yet the storage upgrade page continued to list old prices - +20GB for $5 a year, and so on, which was much cheaper than the new offerings.
I quickly jumped into the $5 plan to see if it works on Google Drive storage limits, and to my surprise it did (hat tip to @LiamJohnson_95):
Now I was completely confused.
Hope you're not tired of hearing about the Google Drive! As the rumors about Google's Totally Not Dropbox service leak out in ever-increasing droves, it gets safer and safer to assume the launch is imminent. According to Reuters, Google may be launching the service as soon as Tuesday. Or, as they're calling it across the pond, "today."
Reuters also reports that Google will be offering paid storage options going all the way up to 100GB for a price.
So, Dropbox just enabled a new feature that lets you share any folder, with anyone. I know what you're thinking: "but, Cam, I can already share folders with anyone I want. There's nothing new here." While you can share folders with other Dropbox users, this is different. It's actually more like sharing things in your public folder - it basically allows you to share the contents of a folder via link, but the recipient can't edit the files, only view them.
Cloud storage has been gaining popularity in the last few years, and is strongly making its way from the tech niche to the mainstream. Companies big and small have been making their files and documents available on the cloud for some time, and now they're increasingly moving their entire operating platform off local devices in favor or the web.
There's really no point in denying it anymore for the folks up at Mountain View. Google's cloud storage solution, likely to be called Google Drive, is happening. In today's Android developer Hangout when the Googlers were talking about apps, the Drive icon and name can be clearly seen in the Android sharing menu.
The developer phone in the video could have a fully functional version of Drive running on it, which would lend some credence to the rumor that the service could be launched next week.
Dropbox has been the reigning king of cloud storage and syncing for a few years now, but the competition is getting intense. LogMeIn, which is best known for its remote access apps, has just launched a cloud storage solution of its own called Cubby. Not only does Cubby come with 5GB of free storage to Dropbox's 2GB, but it also implements a peer-to-peer sharing system that will help you get around that limit.