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Once upon a time, there was something called Google Docs.  If you had a gmail account, you could click over to “documents,” where you could create and edit word processing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, or forms, all stored safely on Google’s drives “in the cloud.”  You could also upload your Microsoft and some other documents to the cloud for safe keeping.  All this was for free, up to some high level of gigabytes.

If you wanted more storage, you could get a Google Apps account for a reasonable fee.  Again, you got to store more, but you also had access to the App store, where you could get various applications, some for free and some for fee.  CRM, payroll, accounting packages, along with some email groupings and collaboration tools.  Aimed at small businesses, but also useful for some large ones, there was certainly some interest here.  Nevermind Microsoft Office, licenses, and upgrades; this was all in the web browser.

Now, Google has come out with Google Drive.  It is very much Google Docs, but it allows you to store far more types of documents out on the cloud and also has the Apps store, all for free, though some of the individual apps might not be.  The Apps store seems to be much more modest than what I remember for Google Apps, but they still have quite a selection.

The other night, I was able to use a floor-planning tool to draw a plan of my house.  It took less than an hour and it was all done in the browser – no software to download.  You do have to use Google Chrome as you browser for most of the apps, but that is free as well.

And, just looking around last night a little more, it turns out I can write and run scripts in Drive.  Similar to Java Script, Google Script can be used to connect to everything Google and create useful output.  For instance – I think – I could write a script that would run every morning, look at my calendar appointments, and send me an email with the day’s events.  Not all that helpful, I suppose, but if I conducted a lot of business with online documents and such, I would find a lot of uses for this kind of tool.

More to it, of course, and you should have a look.


Categories: Technology
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