Jana Technology Services Blog

March 2, 2010

Using Google Docs with Windows Virtual Drive and Sync

Like everyone else we were pretty please that when Google Docs announced that they would support the uploading of any file. We use Google Docs a lot and being able to use this as our Storage Cloud for everything made perfect sense. What we would have liked to see is more default windows integration or even the famed GDrive that has been for so long bandied about.

Luckily we discovered SMEStorage.com who now support Google Docs (amongst other clouds, including SkyDrive – more of that later). Using the full version of their windows tools we were able to get some tight integration with Google Docs on Windows.

Firstly, after registering for the Google Docs beta on the SMEStorage website, and syncing our account we were setup to access our Google Docs file through the SMEStorage platform.  This involves us providing our Google Docs authentication details but this can be done on a per session basis if you worry about security (although the site says all authentication held is encrypted).

Installing the full version of the windows tools (which you need to pay ($29.99 for) is straightforward but note that if you are installing on Windows 7 you should install as Administrator.

Once this is done you have several new tools. The first is the infamous GDrive, except it is called the SMEStorage Drive. Note in the picture below I dragged a shortcut to the desktop

Double clicking on this enables you to access all the files you have stored on Google Docs in a folder / file view exactly like you have on normal windows files. You are able to drag and drop and launch files here exactly as you would with other files, albeit slightly slower given you really have a view on files that are held remotely, so in reality files are being uploaded and downloaded, but it works well.

Another tool that you get is a dedicated explorer for the files which resides in the taskbar until you click it. This has lots of options including creating of Winamp playlists for MP3 files that you may store, streaming videos directly from the GDocs cloud, the ability to share files, encrypt files, and lots more.

More features are enabled depending on your account. SMEStorage enables you to have more than one storage cloud in a virtual view, so you can have folders that say “My Google Docs files”, “My SkyDrive files” etc. Anything you upload in these folders is automatically added to that particular underlying storage cloud which is pretty neat. In fact, you can add a lot of Cloud Storage this way. Microsoft SkyDrive has 25GB free storage, and the SMEStorage Lifetime Cloud package, which is what you need to purchase to get the full version of the windows tools, lets you add up to 10 storage clouds to your package. These can be the same instance of the same cloud, so you could add 10 Google Docs accounts for example, or 10 SkyDrive accounts, giving you 250GB of accessible storage !

We chose to have Google Docs, SkyDrive, and GMail. SMEStorage also lets you treat GMail as a storage cloud, and it seems to work pretty well. Given that GMail has 10 GB storage it is a nice addition when using Google Docs and files can easily be opened in Google Docs from GMail.

Sync is also another tool that you get with the windows tools. This enables you to sync any file or folder with your Google Docs account. In SMEStorage these files reside under a folder called My Syncs, but in Google Docs they are just in the root of the account.

There is also shell integration which enables you to right click on any file in the normal windows explorer and upload it to SMEStorage, and thereby your underlying Google Docs Cloud. Once the file is uploaded a TinyURL is copied to the windows clipboard giving you a unique url for the file which is useful if you want to instantly send out a link for the file you just uploaded. You can also right click on any folder and choose to add it to Sync.

There is also integration with Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, and Microsoft Outlook. In Microsoft Office you get a new cloud toolbar which enables you to open files directly from Google Docs and save them back. Any files saved back seem to be automatically versioned if the file name is the same without having to do anything. I presume OpenOffice works the same way.  Microsoft Outlook is integrated in a couple of ways. firstly there is an integration that enables you to backup your email straight to your nominated cloud, and secondly, when in the dedicated cloud explorer that you can launch from the taskbar, you can choose to backup your outlook contacts to the cloud. All of these features can be enabled from the SMEStorage control panel.

There are many other features that we’ve into touched upon but you should get the general gist and important stuff of how this works.

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September 27, 2007

Enterprise Mashups Hurtle Toward Mainstream

Filed under: Web 2.0 Apps — janats @ 4:01 pm

Enterprise mashups have reached the peak of their hype cycle and are on their way to popping up in the enterprise.ADVERTISEMENTMany companies looking to cull data from multiple sources to help their employees do their jobs better are seeking mashups as an answer, said Anthony Bradley, a Gartner analyst, Sept. 21 at the Gartner Web Innovation Summit 2007 here.

Mashups are applications that pull data from multiple sources, often applications, to fortify the value of the information the software yields. Calling mashups a Frankenstein of sorts, Gartner analyst Bradley said mashups don’t own their own data. Rather, data and business logic are sourced externally.

As with many Internet-driven technologies, mashups got their wings in the consumer space, with enterprising programmers splicing Google Maps with retail information or some such configuration.But Bradley said businesses are increasingly using mashups to improve workflow efficiencies at a time when knowledge workers are looking to get information faster. The major benefit of mashups is rapid application development, he said.

Enterprise Mashups Hurtle Toward Mainstream

We’re not surprise to to see this at all.  It makes a lot of sense for all sizes of business to take advantage of Mashups to make access to no only make working with inter-related data easier, but also to build new applications that can help their business or which they can use to promote their business.

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September 19, 2007

Salesforce.com Launches New Apps: Content, Ideas

Filed under: SAAS,Technology,Web 2.0 Apps — janats @ 7:26 am

SAN FRANCISCO—Salesforce.com is rolling out two new applications that are designed to extend its application set from four to six, but will still keep the company rooted to its origins: CRM.The new Salesforce Content and Ideas applications, announced at the company’s Dreamforce user conference here Sept. 17, will grow the use of Salesforce.com’s applications from what might typically be the sales, support and marketing teams—and IT, as Salesforce creeps ever deeper into the platform market—to just about any department within an enterprise.

Salesforce Content, for example, provides a raft of Web 2.0 technologies—tagging, subscriptions, recommendations—that help users to manage unstructured data. Salesforce Ideas is a service that enables companies to build communities where participants can post and vote on ideas.Based on its own experience with IdeaExchange, a Web page on the Salesforce.com site that lets just about anyone post ideas for upgrades and rate other ideas—and where much of Salesforce.com’s development initiatives stem from—Ideas enables customers to build online communities where participants can submit, discuss and promote concepts around such issues as software development. Salesforce officials said in a statement that its own internal use of IdeaExchange has “changed the face of development,” with customers and partners shaping future product releases in live debates. To date, more than 5,000 ideas have been posted and “numerous” ideas have been incorporated into Salesforce applications.

Salesforce.com Launches New Apps: Content, Ideas

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June 5, 2007

Salesforce.Google !!

Filed under: SAAS,Sales and Business Development,Web 2.0 Apps — janats @ 10:39 am

There’s been a lot of speculation about Salesforce and Google lately. The two companies will soon announce a marketing and distribution alliance that will tightly bind Google Adwords to existing Salesforce tools that track sales from online advertising.

Salesforce and Google will be starting an extended partnership encompassing marketing and distribution of their products across 43 countries. It will begin with the integration of Google Adwords and Salesforce’s lead generation tools into a new application called “Group Edition”. Group edition replaces Salseforces earlier version Team edition.

Group Edition will enable Adwords users to track Adsense referrals to their site and build up a customer profile based on a the data a user enters into a site and their navigation path. Businesses will handle their Adwords campaigns through Google, as usual, but Salesforce takes over from there. When potential customers click through to the businesses site, Google tells Salesforce what search terms brought the user to the page and where they navigate throughout the site.

Techcrunch

This is a very interesting alliance –   Kieden, a company acquired by SalesForce last year seems to be the technology they are using for this.

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Google Buys Feedburner

Filed under: SAAS,Sales and Business Development,Web 2.0 Apps — janats @ 7:15 am

Seems Google is at it again…..this looks to be a smart buy for Ad syndication….

Google has continued its recent spending splurge with the purchase of FeedBurner, the Chicago-based distributor of news feeds to web browsers . Thought to be in the region of $100m (£50m), the deal offers the web giant a chance to extend its huge online ad network into the realm of RSS and off-site consumption of content.

InformSME – The latest news and information for small business – Google confirms FeedBurner buy

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June 4, 2007

Google Buys Photo Service Panoramio

Filed under: Technology,Web 2.0 Apps — janats @ 6:44 pm

Google announced May 31 that it has acquired Spain-based Panoramio, a Web site that links photographs to the exact geographical location where they were taken.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.Panoramio is a community-driven site that lets users store and organize their photos and display the photos’ location in Google Earth.

Google Buys Photo Service Panoramio

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May 13, 2007

Changing Nature of Web 2.0

Filed under: Technology,Web 2.0 Apps — janats @ 3:13 pm

In the past if you cannot access the Internet then you cannot use your Web 2.0 applications. This model is rapidly changing.  New pogramming models are emerging that alllow Web 2.0 to be offline /online dependant on what is needed.

The first of these is Adobe Apollo, which is a cross-platfrom technology that combined Flash, HTML, PDF and JavaScript into one universal application programming model / paradigm.  What is unique is that id doesn’t care if if it runs on its own or embedded in a webpage, the API calls remains the same.

A competing project using the same core concept is Dekoh, except this is done with Java rather than the Adobe combination of technologies.  More libraries are due to be released for web languages such as PHP and you can find some demo apps from the site.

More cutting edge languages are also not left out. Slingshot is geared towards Ruby on Rails and this also features the ability to create an offline version of all your data and run it straight from the original code.

Rather than this being a YAPP (Yet another Programming Paradigm….) this truly has the ability to change the nature of how and where software is used, and how it is built.

At Jana we’ve already started using Apollo and our early feedback is that this really does deliver compelling results. Watch this space, this is going to be big !

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April 24, 2007

GizmoSMS – Free SMS sending

Filed under: Technology,Web 2.0 Apps — janats @ 1:45 pm

Michael Robertson, the man behind mp3.com and Linspire has added a new twist to his Gizmo free phone project. Gizmo has launched its new Gizmosms service.While the SMS market is huge, 45 billion dollars worldwide approximately. This service is certainly not the first of its kind.So whats exciting about this service, besides the man behind it all, when we have already seen so many sites providing an sms service.a) With Gizmo, you do not need to know the carrier of the number you are smsing(or texting as it is known in some parts).

b) There doesnt seem to be any restriction on which carrier is supported. Or a large number of carriers are supported and this ofcourse is hidden from the user.

c) That makes the user interface clean. Requiring you to just know the number and the country where the sms needs to be sent to.

d) the site doesnt require you to register.Michael does make tall claims of it being the best of its kind and the fastest. But I havent received my sms in the last 15 minutes. But all u text freaks, do check it out.

Goozilla: GizmoSMS

It will be interesting to see how Micahel plans to make money out of this, unless his only aim is to gain mass market and then introduce premium feature charges i.e. instant delivery instead of ‘it will get there when it gets there’ delivery..

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March 20, 2007

Top 25 UK Web Startups

Filed under: SAAS,Technology,Web 2.0 Apps — janats @ 11:47 am

Good Article on the Top 25 Web Startups in the UK.  Rather than this being measured on fiscal metrics its based on the authors “companies to watch out for”.  It’s an interesting read, and there are some interesting companies in the mix.  You can find the out more here.

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March 13, 2007

The Phone Revolution: Saving Communication costs within your Business

Filed under: SAAS,Technology,Web 2.0 Apps — janats @ 4:08 pm

I don’t know about your business but communication costs are still a big part of ours.  We deal with  international clients and our the total sum of call costs amongst our business are high.

Internally we have done an assesment of the most useful way of keeping costs down and we have also evaluated technologies that allow us to do this.

Now everyone knows about VOIP and everyone knows about Skype.  Skype is pretty useful if you are doing Skype to SKype calls or even SKype to phone calls from your desk.  Currently however mobile Skype just does not cut it.  It doesn’t work over GPRS, barely over 3G (if you can get a consistent decent signal) and Wi Fi hot spots are not always easy to find and still tend to be quite expensive.

What is needed is something simple and easy to use.  What is needed is something like Jajah.

Jajah was founded by Daniel Mattes and Roman Scharf.  It is a service based commercial model in which you register and purchase minutes, as well as registering handsets or moible phone numbers.

The basic premise of this is that you enter details (either using the web, a midlet on a phone, or using the integration with Outlook and Mac Addressbook) of the person you want to call and which handset of yours you want the call to come to.  Jajah then calls you and calls the number you want, and tadah !  You are connected.  Underneath the hood it is routing the call over the least expensive network infrastructure so that it can charge you the least amount of money for your call.  We estimate that using it via a mobile could reduce our bills by more than a third.  That is a fair amount of money spread over even 10 employees.

What I like about Jajah is that they don’t pretend not be a telephony company.  They embrace it and work on using new technologies and providing the best value they can.  They don’t insist on using VOIP for VOIP’s sake.  They offer the least expensive way of attaining quality of service.

what is even more interesting is their business model. The system itself is built using Asterisk but they also have some propreitary IP for when it comes to routing calls, and for the actual voice algorithm. The first version prototype was built in two weeks. Version one was built in 92 days !

Off the back of this they have more than 1 million registered users and 82% of all visitors to their site try the service straight away – that is some success story.

Watch out Skype, Jajah is coming to get you !

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