Tag Archives | Google Docs

The Case Against the Chromebook

Mobile Opportunity’s Michael Mace has a wonderfully hard-nosed post up about Chromebooks and Google Docs and why he thinks that Chrome OS isn’t remotely ready to take on Windows:

In fairness, there are some things Google Docs is great at.  It’s fantastic for collaborative editing; using Docs plus a Skype session can be a thing of beauty for brainstorming and working through a list of action items.  But as a replacement for Office, the apps are so limited that using them is like watching a Jerry Lewis movie: you keep asking yourself, “why is this happening?”  I tried very hard to use Google Docs as the productivity software for my startup, and eventually I gave up when it became clear that it was actually destroying my productivity.


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Google Docs Viewer Adds More Formats

One of Gmail’s best, least high-profile features is the Google Docs Viewer, which does a very solid job of displaying the contents of file attachments without requiring you to download them or have the appropriate application installed. (Its PDF support is so nicely done that I rarely download Acrobat files anymore.) And now Google is adding support for a dozen more formats, from the essential (Excel) to the surprisingly arcane (fonts in TTF format).


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Last Gadget Standing Finalist #9: Fujitsu's Skinniest ScanSnap Scanner


And then there were nine: Here’s our next-to-last finalist in our Last Gadget Standing competition here at CES 2011 in Las Vegas. It’s a scanner–the newest, smallest, and lowest-cost model in Fujitsu’s ScanSnap line. The $199 ScanSnap S1100 is built for portability: It’s the size of a junior box of aluminum foil (it has fold-out paper guides), weighs just 12.3 ounces, and runs off USB power so you don’t need to plug it into the wall. Fujitsu loaned me a unit for evaluation.

The S1100 does single-side scanning only (unlike its portlier-but-still-portable big brother the ScanSnap S1300) and its simple paper path can handle printouts, photos, magazine pages, business cards, and any other document you’re likely to try and feed through it; it can scan a color page at 300-dpi resolution in seven and a half seconds. An adjustable paper path lets you scan both thick plastic cards and pieces of paper as long as 34 inches, and the quality of my test scans was excellent.

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Mobile Google Docs–Now With Editing

For all the cool stuff that’s going on with Web-based apps for smartphones and tablets, not much has happened yet with tools that let you edit documents right in your browser. But Google just added support for editing Google Docs word-processing files on Android 2.2 and iOS devices. (The Google Docs spreadsheet already has a somewhat peculiar editing mode.)

Here’s a video explanation:

Sadly, I’m at the Web 2.0 Summit, sans the one gizmo I really want to try this on–an iPad.


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Coming Soon: Google Docs Editing on iPad, Android

The Google Docs experience has always been hobbled on mobile devices — you can’t create new documents, and editing is limited to spreadsheet cells — but that’s about to change, for Android and the iPad, at least.

Slipped into Google’s announcement of two-step Google Apps verification was news of Google Docs editing for Android phones and the iPad. Google Enterprise President Dave Girouard said the much-needed feature is coming in a few weeks.

Plenty of questions were unanswered. Why is the iPhone left out? What about Blackberry and WebOS, for that matter? Is this just an enterprise feature, or will Google Docs editing become available to everyone? And my favorite question: What the heck took so long?

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Memeo Connect Ships, Adds iPhone App

Memeo Connect, 2.0 the Google Apps synchronization service whose beta I wrote about a couple of months ago, has been released in an official shipping version. And Memeo added an iPhone version to the mix. As with the existing iPad edition, the iPhone one only lets you view documents, not edit them–but it’s free, and unlike the Windows and Mac versions, it doesn’t require a paid Google Apps Premier account. (Boilerplate disclaimer: My fiancée performs work for Memeo on a contract basis.)


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Multiple Google Account Sign-Ins Tested on Some Lucky Users

Google’s quietly testing the much-needed ability to sign into multiple user accounts within a single browser session, according to the folks at the unofficial Google Operating System blog.

The multiple sign-in feature applies to Google Docs, Calendar, Reader, Code, Sites and Gmail. Other services will default to the account that signed in first, and using multiple accounts will disable offline mode. There’s no indication of when multiple sign-ins will roll out to everyone; a Google representative told Lifehacker that there’s nothing to announce at this time.

Surely I’m not the only one who would love multiple sign-ins for Google services. If you’ve got separate Gmail or Docs accounts for work and personal matters, switching back and forth is a hassle. Aside from manually signing out of one account to access another, your options are to use a private or incognito session in browsers that allow it, open different web browsers for each account or install a Greasemonkey script in Firefox.

And none of those solutions nix the nuisance I’ve been running into lately: My wife and I share an iPad, and every time she checks her e-mail on the device, I’ve got to sign her out once it’s my turn. Switching between browsers is too bothersome, and enabling private browsing in Atomic Web doesn’t allow for multiple log-ins. I hope Google extends multiple sign-ins to its mobile sites, or else I’m still out of luck.


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Scribd: Goodbye Flash, Hello HTML5 (and Google Docs)

Jared Friedman, cofounder and CTO of Scribd–the site that lets anyone upload almost any document and publish it to the Web–was among the last keynote speakers at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco today. And he had big news (teased yesterday on TechCrunch): Scribd is dumping Flash and converting the millions of documents it hosts to HTML5.

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Google Docs Gets Ready to Face Office 2010

Microsoft plans to ship Office 2010–and the suite’s complementary Office Web Apps–in June. Among the many companies getting ready for the upgrade is…Google. Today, it’s launching an update to its Google Docs online suite that’s clearly meant to help get its applications into the best possible shape to compete with Office 2010 and the Web apps once they’re available. The new version is available to all users, but most of it is an optional preview version for now.

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