What's New, Google? Drive & Chrome for iOS

 

Earlier today, a couple of colleagues and I were talking about what’s new in tech this week. I didn’t even hesitate – for me, the big news is Google Chrome and Google Drive for iOS. Not surprisingly, the news is full of Google right now with the Google I/O in full swing. While Chrome for Android is now officially out of beta as well, which is very cool, Apple device users have had to wait to leverage Chrome on their mobile devices.

 

So, what can you expect from the free apps? Chrome is, of course, Google’s agile browser. Drive is Google’s answer to Dropbox. Chrome for iOS, while slower than Safari because of some technical advantages offered to Apple’s own browser, Safari, still syncs bookmarks, passwords and your history pages, has unlimited tabs, offers incognito mode, it comes with Omnibox and Google Voice Search. In short, you can access your saved stuff – bookmarks and pages – from you desktop to your mobile. If you are a diehard Chrome fan, you will love it. If not, then it might not sway you from Safari, with the superior speed and native integration.

 

Like the Chrome for iOS, which is missing some of the features of the Android counterpart (what do you want? Android is a Google property), the Drive app is also less full figured than the Android version. You can’t edit documents or upload. You do get a much better interface than the web, and you can leverage the awesome image search Drive offers via Google Goggles. And, you can access files,  share with others, preview or open files with other applications and download the files for offline availability.

 

While there are some features left desired, hopefully we are dealing with Version 1.0 here and Version 2.0 will pick up the slack. In the meantime, it is far better to have them than to want them, so I see these infant apps as a good first step. And, just to throw something else in there, Google Docs is now offering offline editing of Google’s own docs – long awaited and highly anticipated. Thanks Google.

 

Google Chrome vid:

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Search Docs On Your Thumb Drive? Yes You Can!

Convenience comes at a price – those ubiquitous little thumb drives are mighty handy for toting documents around, but just try to figure out where your desired document is once you fill up the sucker. Windows search and Spotlight won’t allow you to figure it out – the contents aren’t indexed yet.

If you are on a Windows machine, you are in luck. With a portable utility called Dropout, you can install its .exe on the root or home folder on the USB drive and, voila!, you will get a searchable index of the drive. Once installed, it will keep indexing and updating any new content. Even cooler – it offers FULL TEXT SEARCHING! Woot.

I sometimes wonder what I would do without Amit over at Digital Inspiration Blog. More useful content per square inch than a complete Encyclopedia Britannica on the head of a pin.

Should I Fly or Should I Drive?

Everyone is pinching pennies these days. What, with gas prices hitting $4 per gallon, and flight prices hitting the roof, sometimes it is hard to say whether your next business trip should be a flight or a drive. Enter BeFrugal – a website devoted to all sorts of ways to save money. Of particular use in addressing this question is their Fly or Drive Calculator – a handy tool for figuring out whether it costs more or less to fly or drive to your destination. Simply enter your start and end points, your travel dates, the number of travelers and whether one way or round trip. Then, enter the type of vehicle you will be driving, your anticipated driving amount each day, hotel costs per night and tolls. Then, enter the start and destination airports and your anticipated time checking in and leaving the respective airports. Then, enter how you plan to get to and from the airports, estimated plane ticket cost, baggage fees and means of transportation while in your destination locale. You will then get a comparison between the costs and time expenditure for both flying and driving to your desired destination, as well as the carbon dioxide impact on the environment associated with your choice. For comparison’s sake, I entered a roundtrip from Boston to Chicago for five people and found that driving resulted in a money savings of over $800 and a CO2 savings of over 5,000 pounds. I also got detailed time and cost breakdowns for my options. And, because everything is social these days, I could even share my results on Facebook. Pretty darn snazzy.

Next time you have a business trip, or even a trip for fun, check out the calculator before you decide how to get there – you might be surprised at the results.