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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Kiko is for Sale. Buy Kiko.

The makers of this online calendar app Kiko have decided to hand things over to someone else…someone willing to shell out $50K.  This comes as upsetting news as I had started using the application earlier this year and came to really love it.  I certainly hope development continues and I also look forward to seeing what the developers have in store for us next.

The eBay link above basically states that, for $50K, you’ll get the Web site, the domain, and the software behind Kiko.  And, for an extra $1,500, you can have the development team fly out to where you are for five business days to aid you in setting up the Kiko application into a new or existing project.  Not a bad deal.

Just imagine how many times you’d get to say “Kiko” if you bought it.  C’mon…do it.  You know you want to.

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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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Flock Beta 1 Now Available

The Flock team has finally released the first official beta of the “social browser” – available for download at Flock.com.  Flock, for those of you who don’t know, is a new browser based on the Mozilla Firefox browsing engine…but with a few twists.  Flock allows you to blog, share photos, share favorites, read feeds (RSS, Atom) all from within one window and all from the initial install. Read the official announcement here.

Firefox is the best browser out there, in my opinion, because of its’ extensibility.  So many various extensions allow for so many various things and I ditched all of it months ago so I could have one feature that won’t even be available in Firefox 2.0: search-as-you-type of the Web, your favorites (del.icio.us or Shadows), and your browsing history.  Fortunately for me, many more extensions are now available alongside the new beta release and, before too long, I’ll be able to officially (as opposed to un-officially) convert Firefox extensions for use in the Flock browser.

Give it a spin.  I highly encourage it.  Perhaps, if enough people moan and groan with me, Firefox will bring “Places” back into the Firefox 2.0 release.

Oh, and I must mention that, without Flock, I may not have ever gotten around to my first post here at WordPress.  You see, when WordPress.com first launched, the only way you could get an account (with the exception of a very rare invite) was by downloading Flock.  I don’t regret that download one bit.  I found my browser and blogging software of choice that day. 

(Although…I’m in perfect health and I have a beautiful wife, wonderful family, and a loving God who cares for my well being so there’s plenty more to be excited about than just Flock…that’s for sure.  Just something to keep in mind as you hit the Blogosphere head on tomorrow.  Yep, I said “blogosphere.”  Nerd out.)

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