Archive for April 18th, 2012

Google Drive detailed: 5 GB for free, launching next week for Mac, Windows, Android and iOS

Sometimes we get lucky, and today is one of those days. I got a draft release from a partner of Google’s upcoming Google Drive service and it gives away a wealth of information about how Google plans to take on the incumbent Dropbox. The short story? 5 GB of storage, and it launches next week, likely on Tuesday at

Now let’s talk details. It’s no surprise that it will roll out for free. What’s interesting though is that Google is planning to start everyone with 5 GB of storage. Of course you can buy more, but that trumps Dropbox’s 2 GB that is included with every account. Dropbox does make it easy to get more space, including 23 GB of potential upgrades for HTC users.

What’s also interesting is the wording related to how the system will work. It’s been long-thought that Windows integration will come easy, but that getting the Google Drive icon into the Mac a la Dropbox would be a bit harder. From what we’re reading, Google Drive will work “in desktop folders” on both Mac and Windows machines, which still leaves the operation question unanswered.

GD1 520x355 Google Drive detailed: 5 GB for free, launching next week for Mac, Windows, Android and iOS

But there is one very solid piece of news – Google Drive is expected to launch in the middle of next week. Given how big companies such as Apple, Google and the rest operate, I’m placing my bets on Tuesday, but Wednesday is also a popular day for Google updates. In fact, TechCrunch seems to have gotten their hands onto the app itself.

Now as for the reliability of the information? It’s not at all uncommon for big companies to launch with partners for new features. When that happens, the partners will often-times have a heads up to integration and specifics, and that’s exactly what appears to have happened here as it did with the Lucidchart leak from last week. We’ll have to wait and see exactly how it all works out, but let’s just say that our earlier prediction of in-app document editing is pretty solid as well, given the nature of the release that was sent to us today.

Thanks to The next web


Microsoft’s master plan to beat Apple and Google

The desktop (left), Xbox (middle) and Windows Phone (right) will soon share one common interface.

Microsoft‘s desktop (left), Xbox (middle) and Windows Phone (right) will soon share one common interface.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Microsoft is staging a comeback — and, unlikely as this sounds, it’s one Apple and Google should be worried about.

Microsoft’s recipe relies on three key ingredients: Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox. The secret sauce, which features a dash of Bing and SkyDrive, is still simmering. But Microsoft is nothing if not patient, and it thinks its trio of core consumer products will blend together in the next few years to form a major new ecosystem.

Here’s the big vision: Whether you’re using your TV, PC, tablet, phone, or almost any other device that comes along, you’ll be able to accomplish all the same tasks through all the same platform. The form factor will change, but the core experience won’t.

“People are starting to see the same look-and-feel across the three screens and the cloud,” says Craig Beilinson, director of Microsoft’s consumer marketing. “This is all going to get pretty blurry.”

It’s a vision shared by Apple (AAPLFortune 500) and Google (GOOGFortune 500), but their implementations are fundamentally different.

The linchpin of Microsoft’s plan is Windows 8, which is set to launch this fall. The new operating system features touchscreen integration and theinteractive tile-based “Metro” user interface, which debuted in late 2010 for Windows Phone 7 and made its way to Xbox last summer.

That lets Windows run — quite well, according to early reviews — on a host of new devices, including tablets, table tops, large touchscreen displays and convertible notebooks.

Microsoft is also baking cloud-based services like Windows Live, SkyDrive and Bing into all of its consumer products. Sign in on any device and you’ll have access to all of your content, apps, preferences and search history.

Apple and Google’s device ecosystems are more fragmented.

Apple says we’re in a “post-PC” world. Its solution puts mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone at the forefront, envisioning the PC as a wholly separate device and platform. Macs integrate with iOS devices, but there’s a clear schism in Apple’s world view: Mobile devices are for content consumption, Macs are for creation.

For example, it’s hard to build iPad apps on an actual iPad. To run Apple’s Xcode developer software, you need a Mac.

Google’s model focuses on the Web as the single platform of the future. It’s a device-agnostic approach, but it requires constant connectivity. Once you go offline, your connection to Google’s computing platform vanishes.

Right now, both are thrashing Microsoft in key markets. Microsoft has watched Apple race past it in media and tablets. Google captured search and the cloud, and both companies overtook Microsoft in smartphones. Meanwhile, sales of the PC — Microsoft’s bread and butter — have stalled.

That puts Microsoft in an unusual position. It’s the underdog.

Microsoft-turned-Google-turned-Microsoft engineer James Whittaker explained that phenomenon in a recent blog post about why he left his job as a head engineer on social network Google+ to return to Redmond.

Facing an existential crisis, Microsoft is making radical changes. Windows and Office “have clearly undergone some sort of genetic re-engineering,” he says.

In a lightly veiled swipe at Google, he added: “Most big competitors don’t want the disruption. When you make your money on the status quo, you are incented to move slow or not at all.”

Microsoft can’t afford to move slow. It knows that in five years, the PC won’t be what it is today.

Your office desktop will probably still have a monitor, a mouse and a keyboard, but those are just accessories. As mobile devices get better and faster, they’re taking over more of our computing tasks. Soon, a smartphone — or a tablet — could be your central device. Plug it into your desktop dock in the morning, then take it with you at night, and you’ll have have an extremely portable, all-in-one computer.

That’s the world for which Microsoft is building Windows 8. It can run everything from a touchscreen app like Angry Birds to resource-intensive software such as 3-D games and video editing tools. That sounds simple, but it’s an all-in-one approach Microsoft’s rivals have chosen not to pursue.

Microsoft’s long game

Windows 8 probably won’t be an instant hit. It’s a dramatic change, and corporate IT departments — Windows’ biggest customer base — are slow to shift directions.

That’s OK with Microsoft. It’s prepared to play the long game, devoting years — and, often, billions of dollars — to cracking the markets it considers critical.

That’s why it was willing to lose money for so long on Xbox, which recently became the world’s leading game system. That’s also why it is willing to plow billions each year into Bing, which remains a financial black hole.

“We’re a company that has extraordinary patience,” says Microsoft’s Beilinson.

Patience is great, but execution is critical. Microsoft’s mobile track record is littered with some spectacular failures — like Windows CE, the mobile operating system designed to look and function like Windows on the desktop. Sound familiar?

There’s signs Microsoft has finally learned from its previous catastrophes. Its “consumer preview” version of Windows 8 is drawing cautiously optimistic reviews.

Cnet reviewer Seth Rosenblatt calls it “the most ambitious operating system ever,” with a “speed and responsiveness” that Windows has never had before. Gizmodo deemed it a “daring” and “brilliant,” while The Telegraph says it’s Microsoft’s “most radical release in a generation.”

All the reviewers point out a key question mark hanging over Windows 8: Developer support. The platform will only take off if software makers embrace it as a legitimate third player in the Apple-and-Google field.

That’s why Microsoft is throwing everything it has into creating a new ecosystem. It can’t afford to be wrong.  To top of page

Thanks to CNN.,, jaggi

Why it’s OK to leave a tech job at 5 p.m.

Image representing Sheryl Sandberg as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Editor’s note: Pete Cashmore is founder and CEO of Mashable, a popular blog about tech news and digital culture. He writes regular columns about social media and tech for

(CNN) — Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently set off quite a debate in the tech world when she told an interviewer that she works a 9-to-5 schedule:

“I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I’m home for dinner with my kids at 6, and interestingly, I’ve been doing that since I had kids,” Sandberg said in a video posted on “I did that when I was at Google, I did that here, and I would say it’s not until the last year, two years that I’m brave enough to talk about it publicly. Now I certainly wouldn’t lie, but I wasn’t running around giving speeches on it.”

Here’s the essential questions raised by the tech executive’s comments and the debate that followed: In a competitive industry where your work is never truly complete, has it become socially awkward to leave work at a time that used to be the standard?

Pamela Stone: Bravo to Sandberg for leaving at 5:30

And are those working eight-hour days that end at 5 p.m. being quietly judged by their co-workers? Whatever happened to “work-life balance“? Worse still: Are those who work these “standard” hours being overlooked for promotions?

Pete Cashmore is the founder and CEO of
Pete Cashmore is the founder and CEO of

Sandberg’s timing would suggest that such biases exist. She only felt comfortable talking about her work hours once she had entered the highest levels of management.

What’s clear is that many in the technology industry hope to take the shame out of having a balanced life. Mashable reader Dave Plantz said of Sandberg’s story:

“Good for her! Life is way more important than work and I refuse to have to go to a funeral for a loved one before remembering that. I’ll take family over developing the ‘next big thing’ anyway. I can always create new things, but I can’t keep people forever.”

Reader Jason Hunter added that we shouldn’t hold different social norms for single people:

“But, let’s forget about having family or being married for a minute. 5:30 as an on average time for going home should be acceptable for everyone — single or not single … family or no family — assuming you don’t come into the office everyday at 11 a.m.”

The conversation reminds me of media mogul Arianna Huffington‘sthoughts on sleep: Not only do modern workers not get enough of it, but boasting about how little sleep you had last night has become a badge of honor. Those getting plenty of sleep must not be working hard enough, some assume.

And how about the blurred line between work and home life in the modern world? Sandberg admits that after dinner with her kids, she’s back to checking e-mail — it’s clear that “being at work” is no longer necessary for “doing work.”

The challenge here: Given that we’re able to check our e-mail at all times, we assume that working at all times is the new social norm.

Ultimately, I think the measure of our work is in our productivity, not the number of hours we put in. Alas, few of us are in a position to change perceptions — it’s up to both employers and employees to make living a healthy life socially acceptable again.

Thanks to Mashable., jaggi.

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