Zadling's Google Blog
I have been wondering for the last five years if Google Apps was ever going to allow their users to purchase additional email storage over the 25 GB limit that comes with Google Apps for Business. I am sure Google received complaint after complaint from users who have or were close to hitting the 25 GB email quota who didn’t want to delete archived emails for record-keeping purposes. After years of waiting, Google has finally announced that they will allow users to increase their email storage.
Google is going to combine the 25 GB Gmail and 5 GB Drive quota for all current users to give users a combined 30 GB of storage and then allow users to upgrade their storage beyond the 30 GB limit. The roll out will start May 28, 2013 for rapid release domains and on June 11, 2013 for scheduled release domains. Storage up to 16 TB can be purchased. 100 GB of storage can be purchased for $4.99/month.
Google Drive storage can be upgraded here. Google may or may not use the same link once the the changes are rolled out. We last wrote about the ability to upgrade your Google Docs storage back on March 5, 2011, and have been waiting for a similar option to upgrade Gmail email storage ever since then.
The Chromebook Pixel is the latest Chromebook introduced by Google. Most people just learning about the Chromebook Pixel will get some sticker shock from the price. The price starts at $1,299 for the 32 GB Wi-Fi only model and goes to $1,449 for the 64 GB Wi-Fi and LTE model. You’re scratching your head saying, “For a Chromebook?!? What could possibly warrant such an outrageous price for a Chromebook?”
The Chromebook Pixel was developed by Google for the purpose of demonstrating to their hardware providers (Samsung and Acer) that they want to go in a direction of better hardware specs. Those who complain about the original Chromebooks usually complain about the hardware, but hey, you get what you pay for, and what were you really expecting from a laptop priced at $249?
The Chromebook Pixel, as the name suggests, is all about its unbelievable graphic display that you’ll get. The Pixel could have the very best display of any laptop ever created. It boasts a resolution of 2560 x 1700 at 239 PPI on a 400 nit screen. The screen is also a touchscreen as well. The body and feel of the Pixel is almost identical to the Macbook Pro, but just a bit more squarish.
The Chromebook Pixel was clearly not created for the typically consumer. Google knows and understands that the Pixel will not be a big seller. That’s not the goal or the idea with the Pixel. The Pixel is meant to be a pet project to continue the innovation of the Chromebook and hopefully get the manufacturers to put together Chromebooks with better hardware specs and hopefully keep the same attractive price point that has initially led some users to begin using the Chromebook. As the Pixel website states as the tagline “for what’s next” and the description on the Google Play store description says “to inspire future innovation.”
Marques Brownlee provides an excellent explanation of the features of the Chromebook and what it’s all about in this video:
Google’s popular Chrome Browser can now be downloaded for your phone. The browser is available for Apple iOS 4.3 or later devices, which includes the iPhone 4 and iPad 2. For those with an Android device, the Chrome browser is just running and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).
To download the Chome Browers on your iPhone, visit the App Sotre, or visit Google Play from your Android device. Unless your Android device is brand-spanking new, you likely cannot download the Chrome browser for your Android which is disappointing.
I have the Droid Bionic on Verizon’s 4G LTE which is running Android 2.3.4. I don’t understand why the phone is unable to run Chrome since the phone does have a dual-core processor and plenty of RAM to support it. Hopefully, it will only be a matter of time until Android is available on 2.0 and 3.0 devices. We’ll be waiting for a release date and will be sure to update you when that information becomes available.
I did get a chance to test out the Chrome browser on my iPad 2 though and absolutely love it. It’s a huge browser upgrade of Apple’s Safari browser. The greatest feature is being able to sign in with your Google username and have all of your data such as your bookmarks syncing together and accessible from whatever device you are using.
Chrome’s browser search features are also a huge plus compared to Safari, which includes the popular auto-suggestion and voice search features. And of course, the Chrome browser loads webpages in a flash. The increase in browser speed is quite significant and perhaps the greatest thing that you’ll love about Chrome for your smartphone or tablet.
Learn more about the Chrome Browser on Google’s website for the release.
1.) Reduce Tabs — The more that’s going on with your Chromebook, the slower it’s going to get. Although the Chromebook is great for mobile computing, its processor and RAM aren’t top of the line. The lower specs also help the Chromebook achieve 8 hours of battery life. The first and easiest thing you can do to speed up your Chromebook is to eliminate tabs you’re not using.
2.) Eliminate Extensions — Don’t get too crazy with extension add ons. If you have any extensions that you absolutely do not use, I would uninstall them. These extensions take up RAM and end up slowing down your Chromebook.
3.) Check Your Processes — With Shift + Esc, you can check out your Task Manager to see what processes are running.
4.) Clear Your Cache — Whenever you visit websites, the files are downloaded to the computer to speed up browsing. After a while that can clog things up and slow down your computer. In order to clear your case, open your Chromebook settings, click the Under the Hood tab, and click Clear browser data.
If you’re looking to spend $500 on a new gadget, you may be thinking what suits your needs better: the Google Chromebook or iPad 2. With the $499 Samsung 3G Chromebook, you’ll have free 3G internet access (up to 100 MB per month) for two years. With the $499 iPad 2, you’ll be limited to WiFi. If you want to upgrade to a 3G version, the iPad 2 starts at $629. You’ll then have to shell out $20 per month for the mobile 3G hotspot with a 2-year contract or $30 per month for a month-to-month plan with Verizon. With AT&T, 3G plans start at just $15.
With the Chromebook, there are no contracts and pay-as-you-go data plans are available. After you use your 100 MB of free data, you have several options. You can opt for a $9.99 day pass, sign up for a $20 monthly plan for 1 GB of data, or buy an additional 3 GB of data for a one-time fee of $35. With the one-time $35 payment, you may have enough data to last you several months.
The Chromebook and iPad serve very different functions. Which is best for you depends on your needs. The iPad 2 is an entertainment device. The Chromebook is a computing device. If you’re playing games, casually browsing the news, and fooling around with apps, the iPad 2 is the way to go. If you need a mobile device to reply to several emails and browse websites, the Chromebook is the winner.
My main use for a new device is to be able to browse the internet and send emails when I’m on the go. As a website developer, I wouldn’t be able to edit websites on the go with the iPad since I would need a fully functional browser. If I need to respond to emails, replies wouldn’t exceed 10 words with the iPad. The Chromebook would suit my needs much better than the iPad 2 would.
So far the Chromebook looks to be a real winner. It’s the 3rd highest selling laptop on Amazon.com behind the Macbook Pro and Toshiba Satellite and they’re outselling Android tablets. So far reviews on the Chromebook are mixed. For people buying the device, they need to understand that it’s just a browser so you’re limited in what you can do with the computer. Editing Microsoft Office files requires use of Microsoft Office Web Apps and downloading your docs to your Sky Drive. However, the positives to stripping down the device to just the web is an 8 second boot time and 8.5 hour battery life.
I was browsing around the Google Docs blog to see if Google might have anything to say about the possibility of being able to edit Microsoft Word files directly in Google Docs. I was really hoping for some Microsoft Word functionality within Google Docs with the arrival of the Chromebook. Unfortunately, I did not come across any information about that topic, but I did stumble upon some very neat features that have been added to Google Docs.
The last features that I am really fond of are the ability to now upload entire folders, drag-and-drop files for uploading, and pagination.
With the new Google Docs Android app, you’re now able to take a picture with your phone and have the text in the photo converted to a Google Doc. So the next time you stumble across a poster or book and just wished you could copy it verbatim, download the Google Docs app, snap a picture, and have it converted in no time.
Checkout out the screen shot below where you can select Create a new document from photo.
The Chromebook made its much anticipated debut on July 15, 2011 after the project was announced all the way back in 2009. It was originally supposed to debut in the fall of 2010. The device is just the web — literally a Chrome browser on a netbook — but it boasts an 8 second boot time. I thought Google was really onto something when I began diving into the details of the project back in December 2009. However, the jury is still out on this device.
When the device came out, I thought it was a bit pricey, but the manufacturers obviously want to milk the early adopters for what they’re worth before lowering the price. The Acer model starts at $349, while Samsung’s model runs $429 for Wi-Fi and $499 for built-in 3G. Google was suggesting that models would start at $299 when the project was first announced. I’m sure that the Acer price will drop to $299 this fall.
Here is one thing that makes the Samsung 3G Chromebook worth $499 for those who opt for the Samsung 3G model: up to 100 MB of free data for 2 years and pay-as-you-go data when you need it and it doesn’t require a contract. I’m curious to see if a 4G model would be available in the near future. 3G speeds are painfully slow. Although it would get the job done of checking email on the road or browsing some news, don’t expect to do much serious browsing with a 3G connection. Rumors are going around that a 4G Chromebook would be available around Christmas time, but that is just speculation.
Before grabbing a Chromebook, the key factor for me is the ability to edit Microsoft Office files. I love Google Docs and use it a lot, but I have to do all of my document creation in Microsoft Word because I need it’s functionality. Unfortunately, if you upload your Word Docs to Google Docs, you cannot edit the file unless you convert it into the Google Docs format. Then when you edit the Google Doc copy, it won’t update the Microsoft Word file, which is hugely annoying.
There is a Top 5 Chromebook myths article that states that the Chromebook can edit Microsoft Office files. Technically, it can edit office files if you convert it to Google Docs, but it won’t sync back with the previously existing file, which basically kills the point of it. The article states that you can also sync your files with Microsoft Web Apps. I’ve tried playing around with Microsoft Web Apps and it sucks. It doesn’t have the simple seamlessness of Google Docs.
If Google was going to wait this long to release the Chrombook, they should have figured out a way for DOC files to be editable right in Google Docs without having to convert the file into Google Docs format. Until that happens, I don’t see the Chromebook as being a threat to Microsoft.
Unfortunately, I still have to do a lot of work in Microsoft Office since I use a lot of custom headers, footers, and tables of contents. However, I still want the ability to always be able to access my documents from anywhere and have them backed up, which is why I store my documents in Google Docs. I previously used the OffiSync plugin to backup and sync my documents in Microsoft Office. The annoying part was not only saving the file to your hard drive but then having to open the tab in Microsoft Office to store a copy in Google Docs.
I always wished that OffiSync would be able to automatically sync my documents. Fortunately, Google Apps recently released the Google Cloud Connect Plugin. Now documents can be automatically synced with Google Docs. The plugin works great. You have the ability to choose whether to sync automatically or manually and you can change the sharing settings right in Microsoft Office. The only downside is the inability to add a document to a specific collection. Hopefully, Google will upgrade the plugin shortly to give you the ability to organize documents in collections right in Microsoft Office. Great work by Google.
We’ve been keeping a close eye on when Google Apps users would be able to upgrade their storage in Google Docs. Google Docs storage upgrade has been available for Google Accounts since this past May. However, until today, Google Apps users could not upgrade their Google Docs storage. This was driving me mad because I store tons of PDF documents in Google Docs, essentially using it as my server and I cannot work with 1 GB of storage.
Google announced months ago that extra storage would be available for Google Apps users. For those using their personal accounts, extra storage is affordable — just $5 a year for 20 GB. When Google announced that Google Apps users could upgrade their storage, they tried implementing it at much higher rates. What would run $5 a year for 20 GB for a normal Google Apps user would cost $70 under the price table that Google released for its Google Apps users.
This created a huge outburst and it was only a matter of time until the page was removed. However, we have a copy of the old proposed fee structure. It now looks like Google did the right thing, listed to their customers complaints, and have permitted Google Apps users to upgrade their Google Docs storage for the same price structure that it gives to personal accounts. The only difference now is that the extra storage cannot be applied to email boxes and only applies to Google Docs and Picasa accounts for Google Apps users.
This past November Google rolled out a big update for Google Apps users by giving them the ability to use their Google Apps accounts as full-service Google Accounts. It seemed like a silly setup in retrospect. If your organization signed up with Google Apps, users had access to Gmail, Docs, Calendar, etc. However, they did not have access to other Google services such as Picasa, Blogger, and AdWords. If they wanted to use these services with their Google Apps email address, they had to create a personal Google account.
Google realized that this was slightly problematic and that they should open the gamut of all Google products to Google Apps users. Organizations that were already signed up could simply click a button and transition their organization to the new Google Apps setup that allows Google Apps users to use their Google Apps account as an account for all Google Apps services.
However, there was one slight problem. If a user already had a Google Apps account but then used their Google Apps email account as a personal Google account so they could use services such as Blogger, Picasa, and AdWords, the account was considered a “conflicting account” preventing them from being transfered to the new infrastructure.
Before a conflicting account can be transition to the new infrastructure, the account must change their email for their Google Apps account. Google provided some instructions here. Be warned that it may give you a bit of a headache, so if you want Zadling to take care of converting conflicting accounts so you can transition your users to the new Google Apps infrastructure, give me a buzz. Call us toll free 1-888-652-3135.