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Summary:

Google has always been at the forefront for those that do work online. From their easy to use free 2GB of email storage with Gmail, to Google Talk for chatting and voice calls, and most recently creating and storing Docs and Spreadsheets online. Google definitely makes […]

Google has always been at the forefront for those that do work online. From their easy to use free 2GB of email storage with Gmail, to Google Talk for chatting and voice calls, and most recently creating and storing Docs and Spreadsheets online. Google definitely makes it easier for people to work and stay productive from wherever there is an internet connection.

On Monday Google announced a new feature they have added into Google Docs and Spreadsheets, the ability to directly open and store files online through Documents and Spreadsheets from your Gmail as a Google document.

The file is stored and can then be opened, edited, shared and collaborated on through the appropriate online application with the click of a link. This saves not only time, but space on hard drives as the document does not have to be downloaded before its opened. Does this make for the possibility that a compact computer with no hard drive is closer than we think? Wifi networks, easy 3G, and companies like Google, Box.net, and Zoho are making this quite the possibility.

What do you think? What are your big concerns? Security and/or privacy? Would it make sense for you to move everything you usually store on your hard drive into a secure online location that can be accessed anywhere, or with a computer with no hard drive? What would it take you to do so?

  1. Google has had this for quite some time now. Still, I don’t think this small function itself warrants the monumental questions you posed. Perhaps painting a good picture (as you see it) of the different pieces that are causing that scenario to play out would better serve to frame a healthy discussion around those related questions.

    There’s the online storage providers, web-based office suits, P2P to address decentralized storage and privacy, Microsoft’s Live strategy, the Vista era in the mix, open standards and the evolution of the web as a platform. Paint more of the picture and frame the right discussion.

    Keep it up. :)

    –D

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  2. Online storage is where it’s headed. It may be unthinkable to many now but imagine carrying only your cell phone and having access to enormous amounts of stored files, videos, and documents from anywhere in the world. If you look at the possiblity internationally, it makes even more sense. You never have to worry about losing your data in a crash or keep piling external hard drives when you run out of space.
    Yes, it will take some time for people to feel secure about online storage, but then again online banking has become common and you don’t hide cash under your matress anymore, do you? I’ve read about the non hard drive latptops being made for around $100 (don’t know if they’ve been made available). Online storage makes a lot of sense there. Every member of the family can finally afford his/her own computer. And let’s say an elephant sat on your laptop at the zoo and showed no signs of remorse. Methinks you’d wish you had it all stored online.

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  3. Your link to box.net is incorrect – it should link to, well,

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  4. Stephane Rodriguez Tuesday, January 30, 2007

    On the one hand, you’ll get pro-Microsoft critics who will quickly say that Google Docs and spreadsheets can’t compete with MS Office because of the lack of support for VBA macros.

    But when you know that VBA macros are serious security concerns, the lack of support for these is actually the best news for everyone.

    Now if Google spreadsheets could add support for charts and pivot tables, that would be it.

    As an aside, I can only notice how Google is allowing seamless cross-domain applications integrated in one’s workflow. Really, the best thing is that you don’t have to install anything on your machine, and give 0$ to Microsoft.

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  5. The future is definitely online and access will happen through any possible device with internet connection. Dumb terminals are not new but can get a new meaning in the always connected era.

    I am planning to move almost everything I use for work (documents, contracts etc…) online through http://eyeos.org

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  6. I think security and privacy are a big concern, especially with the BSA and other such organisations peeping on what you are downloading/uploading.

    Danni – I,TheWritingWriter

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  7. I have 2 major concerns (Except security of course):

    1.- Confidentiality. Do you really think that not a single employee or consultant will never ever never open and read your documents? I do not believe that they will publish your document elsewhere. But for sure they will use them later for their own purpose and may be your future competitor. Everybody who has been working in these big companies know how it works…. And confidentiality agreements between employees/contractors and the big companies are… only for… marketing…

    2.- Reliability. Usually no warranty is offered in these services: if they lose your data, it is lost. So you cannot relie on their service. And you have to plan a backup system on *your* side…

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  8. Hi Chris, I fully agree that online storage (the much-rumored GDrive) is in our future and this integration with Gmail is a small step towards this. My main concern right now lies with the privacy and security of Google Docs and Spreadsheets. More and more people are now logged into their Google accounts for extensive periods of time, if not constantly, and do not bother to log out, because of their personalized homepage or Gmail account. This opens a security breach because any passer-by that gets a hold of your computer while you are away can now access your private documents.
    I have proposed a fix for this problem that sharply increases the protection level for those documents that you want to keep private. Here’s the link to my article (with pictures of the suggested feature).
    Let me know your feedback,
    Hugo

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