Google Docs & Spreadsheets

Google has finally begun merging their Writely & Spreadsheet services into a single collaborative environment.  As you can see from the screenshot above, the homepage of Google Docs & Spreadsheets gives you an overview of your currently active documents.  From here, you can upload a new document or spreadsheet as well as tag and share existing documents.  This marks the first time that Writely (which now redirects to docs.google.com) features have been available within the “classic” Google interface.

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Google Reader Launches New Interface

Google has decided to COMPLETELY change the interface of their online RSS reader application.  The “new and exciting” changes, as listed on the Reader home page and on the Official Google Reader Blog, are:

  • Expanded view and list view
  • Simplified sharing functionality
  • Improved read-state management
  • Infinite scrolling
  • Unread counts
  • Mark all as read
  • and a bunch more…

To be perfectly frank, I was actually a big fan of the old interface and the only suggestion I had ever submitted to Google was to be able to customize the length of the “reading list.”  Regardless, check out the new version at http://reader.google.com.

Update: Okay, we posted this about a half hour ago but I’m already a very big fan of the new Google Reader…it’s a HUGE improvement over the old interface.  The infinite scrolling in list view is extremely similar to your Gmail inbox.  Each list item shows where the post came from, the title, a snippet of the post, and the time it was posted.

Another new feature is the addition of a few different bookmarklets which you can put in the Links toolbar of Firefox or IE.  The “Next…” bookmarklet is for navigating through your Reader feeds without even being inside the application.  The “Subscribe…” bookmarklet does as you might expect…it allows you to subscribe to any feed of a page you are viewing.

Also, many more keyboard shortcuts have been added – it would actually be extremely easy to navigate this entire site without even thinking about touching your mouse.

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Google to Officially Release Writely in Just a Few Days

According to an e-mail we just received (other Writely beta users should also have received this e-mail), Google will soon be switching the Writely online word processor (a company they acquired back in March) application to be accessible only with a Google account. This should take place before the end of the week:

In a few days, we will update your Writely account to use your ———-@gmail.com Google Account registration settings.

This means you’ll need to use your Google Account password when signing in, not your Writely password (if they’re different).

If you’ve forgotten your Google Account password, just go to https://www.google.com/accounts/ForgotPasswd

Thanks!
Google Writely Team

Update: It appears as though this change has taken place…Writely.com is now prompting for your Google Account credentials.

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Live Drive Confirmed

According to Angus Kidman of ZDNet Australia, Microsoft has finally confirmed their long-rumored “Live Drive” service: an online offering from the Live.com series of services aimed at providing users online storage to be tightly integrated with the upcoming Vista operating system.  Microsoft’s own John Hodgson confirmed that there will be multiple tiers of services but that the basic service would offer users 2gb of storage for free.

Before that happens, though, we’ll be given 4gb from Google’s identical rumored service.  Then, after MS launches LiveDrive, Yahoo! will present us with 2gb in yet another online storage service. 

Yawn.

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Google WiFi in Mountain View, CA is Live

Google officially announced the launch of their Mountain View WiFi Network.  According to the lead WiFi product manager, Minnie Ingersoll, “this network is a way for us to give back to and engage with the community where our headquarters are.  Another goal of this network is to promote alternative access
technologies by using Mountain View as an example for organizations
considering investments in the WiFi arena.”

A map of the (crazy amount of) available WiFi spots can be found here and you can read the rest of the entry at the Official Google Blog.

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A Slight Change in Google's Reader Interface

The viewing of Subscriptions and Labels in Google’s feed reader application are now by drop down menus as opposed to the colored AJAXy sections that used to appear as if from nowhere.  Overall, a very small update to an application that I used to hate but now can’t live without… and it’ll happen to you too. 

Now, if only they’d allow me to expand the topic listing on the left so I can make it quite a bit wider.  I can’t tell what the crap I’m scrolling through the majority of the time.

Update: Download Squad also points out that Reader now has an entire “settings” section from which you can manage your subscriptions (make public/private, rename, etc.) and labels as well as review import/export options (OPML only.)  You can also disable animation from within the program…which is great if you get sick and tired of the cutesy folding and unfolding of menus and the slow scrolling through the topics list.

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Google Brings “Notebook” Live

Google has officially released their Notebook application they announced last week at Google Press Day. According to the official page, Notebook allows you to "clip and collect information as you browse the web."

Here are some of the highlighted features:

  • Clip useful information.You can add clippings of text, images and links from web pages to your Google Notebook without ever leaving your
    browser window.
  • Organize your notes.You can create multiple notebooks, divide them into sections, and drag-and-drop your notes to stay organized.
  • Get access from anywhere.You can access your Google Notebooks from any computer by using your Google Accounts login.
  • Publish your notebook.You can share your Google Notebook with the world by making it public.

Think of Notebook as a not-so-advanced Web version of Microsoft's OneNote…an application we use daily. Be sure and tell us your thoughts on this new application from Google.

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