If it happened any other way, it just wouldn't be as satisfying, now would it? After years of leaks, murmurs, hubbub and other familiar synonyms, Google's mythical cloud storage platform is now official... sort of. As Lady Fate would have it, the company apparently outed a memo of the features on its French blog earlier today, but before it could yank the 'pull' switch, an eagle-eyed reader managed to grab the text and run it through -- surprise, surprise -- Google Translate. What's left is an official-as-you'll-get-right-now transcript of Google Drive's features, but contrary to the hype, it all feels way more enterprise-centric than consumers may have wanted. For starters, there's no real mention of music (we guess Google Music is on its own, there), and there's just 5GB of free storage for "documents, videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs, etc." According to the brief, it's designed to let users "live, work and play in the cloud," with direct integration with Docs and Google+.
We're also told that Drive can be installed on one's Mac, PC or Android phone / tablet, while an iOS version will be "available in the coming weeks." Of note, Google's making this accessible to visually impaired consumers with the use of a screen reader. As for features? Naturally, Google's flexing its search muscles in as many ways as possible; if you scan in a newspaper clipping, a simple Search All within Drive will allow results to appear directly from said clipping. If you upload a shot of the Eiffel Tower, it'll show up whenever you search for the aforesaid icon. Moreover, Drive will allow folks to open over 30 types of documents directly from a web browser, including HD video, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and more -- "even without the software installed on your computer." For those concerned about access, the new platform will have the same infrastructure as any other Google Apps services, giving admins a familiar set of management tools on that end.
On the topic of storage, just 5GB are provided gratis, with 25GB costing $2.49 per month, 100GB running you $4.99 per month and 1TB demanding $49.99 per month, with a maximum of 16TB ($799.99 per month, if you're curious) per user; thankfully, Google Docs will not be included in your usage total. Finally, the note played up the ability to "attach documents directly into your Drive Gmail," and given that it's intended to be an open platform, Goog's promising to work with third party developers in order to enhance Drive's functionality even further. The source link below is still dead as of right now, but it simply can't be long before the lights are officially turned on. Oh, and if you're not enamored at the moment, the outfit's suggesting that "many more developments" will be arriving in the coming weeks.
Update: It's live on the Google Play store, and a pair of explanatory videos are embedded after the break!Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Google Docs suffered an extended outage this week, which raised concerns, yet again, about the reliability involved with storing mission-critical documents in the cloud. Personally, I’d rather trust Google’s redundant server infrastructure than my own hard drive. However, for enterprise users, the problem with cloud outages is that local I.T. staff can’t do anything about the problem, unless they use a third-party backup service, for example.
Today, Google is sharing details on what happened to its Docs service, and what it’s doing to correct the problem in the future.
According to a post on the Google Enterprise Blog, the outage was caused by a change designed to improve real time collaboration within the document list, says Google. This change exposed a memory management bug which was only evident under heavy usage.
Writes Alan Warren, Engineering Director:
Every time a Google Doc is modified, a machine looks up the servers that need to be updated. Due to the memory management bug, the lookup machines didn’t recycle their memory properly after each lookup, causing them to eventually run out of memory and restart. While they restarted, their load was picked up by the remaining lookup machines – making them run out of memory even faster. This meant that eventually the servers couldn’t properly process a large fraction of the requests to access document lists, documents, drawings, and scripts which led to the outage you saw on Wednesday.
The entire outage lasted around 30 minutes, with 24 minutes dedicated to rolling back the changes, and 5 more minutes for the normal functioning of the service to fully resume.
According to Warren, analysis of the issue has enabled Google to reduce the chances of future events, decrease resolution times if such an event was to occur again, and limit the scope which any single problem can affect.
Again, for most casual users of Google Docs, the outage probably went by unnoticed. It’s the affected Google Apps business users who are most concerned by cloud outages such as this. Transitioning to the cloud is not without its faults, but let’s remember: no system is perfect, not even the one your I.T. guy used to run for you.