Category Archives: Computers
We’ve heard the rumors for weeks, and seen leaked versions during an Android developer’s Google+ Hangout and in one employee presentation. But now Google Drive, Google’s 5GB cloud-storage service, is official.
Announced on the company blog Tuesday, the service will integrate with Google Docs and will allow you to access files from anywhere and collaborate on documents with colleagues.
Google Docs is built right into Google Drive, which means you can work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once you’ve shared content with someone else, you can add and reply to comments on anything (PDF, image, video file, etc.) and you’ll receive notifications when other people comment the items you’ve shared.
One interesting feature of the service is smart tagging, which allows you to tag items stored on your drive. So if you’ve uploaded a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge to your drive, the next time you perform a search for the bridge, your photo will show up along with other results.
Google Drive also uses image recognition — so if you drag and drop photos from your recent vacation into Drive, you can later search for locations you’ve visited and those photos will show up.
Using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, Drive can also recognize text in scanned documents. That means if you’ve scanned in a page from an old book, for instance, you can search for words in that document.
When it comes time to access your files, the service can open a variety of different files types – 30 of them to be exact – within your browser, regardless of whether or not you have the required software installed. Supported file types include PDFs, HD video, and images from Illustrator and Photoshop.
You can install Drive on your Mac or PC , and use the service via an app on your Android phone or tablet. Google also has plans for an iOS app in the future. Blind users can access Drive with a screen reader.
Google is offering all users 5GB of storage on the service for free. If you need more than the 5GB, then it is offering several tiers of storage options.
You can choose to upgrade to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or 1TB for $49.99/month. When you upgrade to a paid account, your Gmail account storage also expands to 25GB.
- Free storage for you: Google Drive to arrive today (hazimsos.wordpress.com)
It posted a brief introduction to Project Glass, photos and a concept video at its Google+ social network.
The images show a minimalist design with a microphone and partly-transparent video screen that places information over the view from the users’ right eye.
The product’s developers said they wanted feedback on the idea.
They did not give any indication about when the device might go on sale or what it would cost.
“A group of us… started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment,” said a statement from Google X – the firm’s experimental lab.
“We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input.”
The video suggests icons offering 14 different services will be offered to the user when the glasses are first put on, including information about the weather, their location and diary appointments.
It appears that several of these services are either triggered by an action taken by the user or the situation they are in.
The film shows one user being reminded he has a date that evening when he looks up at a blank wall, and then warns him that there is a 10% chance it will rain when he looks out of the window.
An alert pops up when a friend sends a text asking if he wants to meet up later in the day. When the user dictates a reply a microphone symbol is superimposed over much of his view.
Other functions include Google Maps showing a route to the wearer’s destination with small arrows keeping him on track, the ability to take a photo of what he is looking at with an option to share it with friends, and a video conference service.
The glasses are also shown to allow music and other audio to be heard, although they do not appear to include earphones.
Shrink to fit
There had been lots of speculation about the project with some reports describing it as an “open secret”, but this is the first time Google has confirmed details of what it was working on.
The New York Times had previously suggested that the first set of glasses would go on sale before the end of the year for somewhere between $250-$600 (£157-£378) – but experts say that the technology shown in the video may still be some way off being ready for market.
Chris Green, principal technology analyst at Davies Murphy Group Europe, told the BBC that other tech firms such as Brother had attempted to pioneer the concept – but became unstuck because their versions had required users to carry separate processing and battery equipment that plugged into their glasses.
“There are huge opportunities for tailored advertising with augmented reality systems – especially if they have in-built GPS location tracking,” he said.
“The monetisation opportunities would be enormous – but there are still big issues involved with shrinking the technology and making the computer that receives and processes the data truly portable.”
Google may have competition if it works out how to shrink the electronics involved.
In 2008, Apple patented a laser-based “head mounted display system” that it suggested could stream video from its iPod among other features.
More recently, Patent Bolt revealed that Sony and Microsoft have patented ideas to create miniture displays to go over users’ eyes.
They were described as being suitable for “gaming and beyond”.
Google has previously revealed details of futuristic concepts years before they are ready for market.
The firm announced in 2010 that it had tested a self-driving car on the streets of California – but has not said when it might start selling such vehicles.
Invitations sent to journalists read: “We have something you really have to see. And touch.”
While not officially confirming the product’s launch, the message was accompanied by an image showing what looked to be an iPad touchscreen.
The iPad range, which first launched in 2010, has sold more than 50 million units worldwide.
It is not yet known when the new device will be available for sale.
Last year, sales of the iPad 2 began in the US nine days after the launch announcement – which also took place in March.
Microsoft will announce details for the consumer versions of Windows 8 at an event in Barcelona on Wednesday evening.
The tablet market – just like the smartphone market – has been subject to intense patent wars, chiefly between Apple and its key challenger Samsung.
“For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia,” says the message on the page.
The actual articles on Wikipedia are actually accessible for a short period of time, after which they redirect the visitor to the blackened main page.
For millions of Wikipedia visitors today, the message will be clear: one of the most influential sites and communities on the internet is clearly against SOPA. Many other sites, including Reddit, will join the protest by shutting down or “blacking out” their homepages today.
- Wikipedia vs. SOPA (cyberculturalist.com)
- Students! Do your homework tonight! Wikipedia to shut down alongside other sites in SOPA protest! (toiletfodder.wordpress.com)
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as House Bill 3261 or H.R. 3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by House Judiciary Committee Chair Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. The bill, if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. Now before the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008 and the corresponding Senate bill, the PROTECT IP Act.
The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who makes the request, the court order could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators such as PayPal from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for 10 such infringements within six months. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement(by either gaming the system or outright lying)
Proponents of the bill say it protects the intellectual property market and corresponding industry, jobs and revenue, and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws especially against foreign websites. They cite examples such as Google’s $500 million settlement with the Department of Justice for its role in a scheme to target U.S. consumers with ads to buy illegal prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies.
Opponents say that it violates the First Amendment, is Internet censorship, will cripple the Internet, and will threaten whistle-blowing and other free speech. Opponents have initiated a number of protest actions, including petition drives, boycotts of companies that support the legislation, and even proposed service blackouts by major Internet companies scheduled to coincide with the next Congressional hearing on the matter.
The House Judiciary Committee held hearings on November 16 and December 15, 2011. The Committee was scheduled to continue debate in January 2012.
- 1/17/12 Is SOPA a Red Herring?? SOPA, PIPA, and OPEN of My! Thick Whois (cohesionmrktg.com)
- What is SOPA/PIPA and Why the Web is Going Dark on January 18, 2012 (aisjournal.com)
- Where Do SOPA and PIPA Stand Now? (mashable.com)
- SOPA / PIPA Will Destroy PC Gaming (gametwonk.com)