April 26, 2012

The Roundup: Lots Of Drive, G+ Share Button, 3D Maps Tours, And More!

Wow! Google stubbornly refuses to take a break. Another few days pass, and another dozen Google-related updates and releases. The week is not even over and already we've got Google Drive and many Drive-related announcements. We've got a new Google+ Share Button and 3D city tours in Google Maps. We've got soft news like a new data center in Iowa and a spam-fighting update for Google Search and more! Try and keep up, because these will be flying fast.

Google Drive And Then Some

This one is so painfully obvious, I don't know why I'm writing about it. Google Drive is now a thing. If you didn't know that, get out. Now.

Google Drive is a free online storage and syncing service that gives you 5 GB of space and blah blah blah. The real news is not the features. It's how Drive fits in with the rest of Google (like Google+, Gmail, Docs, etc.). Like we predicted, Drive will be tightly integrated with the Google ecosystem of services. In other words, Drive is not a single service. Much like Google+, it will be a unifying layer across all of Google.

Drive is already fused with Google Docs. In fact, Drive is replacing Docs, so that now your word documents and presentations live side-by-side with any other files you upload. Just throw your documents and other files into the Drive folder on your PC or Mac and access it across all your devices, including Android phones and tablets. iPhone and iPad apps will arrive in a few weeks.

You can already share from Drive using Google+, but more integrations are coming. You will soon be able to send huge files through Gmail using Drive.

Right now, Mac and PC have their own desktop apps, but Linux support is coming. Tight Chrome OS integration is also being promised in version 20.

Gmail Grows To 10 GB

In a related announcement, Google has raised its free storage in Gmail to 10 GB. Just because it can.

Iowa Data Center

Google just keeps throwing gigs of storage at us like it's going out of style. How do they do that? Well, by investing hundreds of millions of dollars into data centers. Google announced that they are building their second Iowa data center for $300 million.

Google Maps 3D Tours

The Google Maps team has also been busy expanding their 3D photo tours of popular landmarks. Now, if you do a search for a popular destination or landmark and it has an available photo tour, all you have to do is click a button, sit back, and let Google take you on a virtual flyover complete with 3D imagery created from photos from Picasa and Panoramio.

Spam Fighting Update

Google is once again tweaking its search algorithm. This time, it's after sites that specifically try to milk keyword repetition and offer no useful content. There are sites out there that feature paragraphs of nonsense sprinkled with often-searched-for keywords like Justin Bieber. Google is wising up to these sites and says that 3% of all English web searches will be affected.

Google+ Launches Share Button

You know how Facebook has two separate buttons websites can use to promote their content on the social network? It's pretty confusing. Well, far it be for Google to let Facebook be the only social network confusing its users. Google+ is launching its own "Share" button in addition to its existing "+1" button.

The functionality of this button is almost identical to the +1 button. So why is Google doing this? It's to avoid the dilemma of wanting to share something with your friends but not wanting to endorse it. Say you found a blog post written by Hitler. It's interesting that a dead dictator somehow managed to write a blog post, so you want to share it with your buddies. But you don't want your Jewish grandma seeing that you've publicly endorsed a Hitler article. Enter the Google+ Share button! Now you're free to share articles written by dead dictators without the confusion of publicly endorsing their extreme ideologies.

New Google TV Ad

And to top things off, here's a new Google TV ad that dreams of a world in which technology can help you get your girlfriend back.