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All posts tagged Box

Be Afraid, Very Afraid.. or not?

Venturebeat had an article last week about how companies like Box and Dropbox need to be worried about the pending arrival of Google Drive.


The truth is some will flock to Google Drive simply because of the Google halo effect. Many Dropbox users will remain in place and adopt Google Drive as yet an additional cloud storage option but few will abandon their existing cloud storage.

Really there is no fight between Dropbox or Box and Google Drive. This is all about Google Drive, SkyDrive and possibly iCloud.

This is Your (Next) Cloud OS

We are going to wake up and discover that our “desktop” applications, files, storage and more are all in the Cloud and the choices we made will ultimately require us to say “Yes that’s my OS.” Or, “Oh well, call IT and let’s start migrating everything.”

The fight over your data and where it’s stored is the fight over which ecosystem you choose to work with next.

SkyDrive already provides organic application functionality with Office Web Apps and Windows Phone / iPhone integration. For the professional or company user simply think Office365. We can expect Google Drive to integrate with Google Apps, Gmail Attachments, Picasa and Apps in the Google Marketplace.

Warptest Predictions

Google’s mystery outage several days ago may have been connected to their roll-out of a new Network but many Google Apps and Gmail users were left hanging; once again not selling me on the reliability. However, to roll as massive an undertaking as Google Drive would need a serious upscale of available storage, improved performance and redundancy.

Was this Google Drive infrastructure rolling out?

In a previous blog post I wrote about things Microsoft needs to change to fully adopt a Live OS philosophy one being full SkyDrive-Windows Explorer integration .. Some has been done with Windows 8 but there is more:

For SkyDrive to compete and maintain any advantage it needs to: –

  • Make SkyDrive integral in Windows Explorer (as above)
  • Kill file size upload limitations. 50 Mb, really, REALLY?
  • Work 100% with any Smartphone OS or browser
  • Seamless Antivirus / Antimalware integration
  • Better file management with apps to manage your SkyDrive just the way you do locally
  • Ultimately: I want to be able to install my own apps and run them from my SkyDrive just like my C:/ drive

Basically, for a winning UX the user should not feel any difference between using local or cloud storage and yes, it’s time for this to stop being an add-on to any OS but instead it should come as an integral part of the OS functionality. Will you be moving your files to Google Drive or maybe it’s time to take a look at SkyDrive?

==== 23/04/2012==== update =====>

Since writing this I was contacted by @Arcadiy over twitter. He is the Program Manager for Skydrive and he corrected a mistake I made that the upload cap was increased to 300Mb from last week and hasn’t been 50Mb in over a year. So first let me say  sorry for the error. Secondly, nice to meet you (virtually) and finally thanks for the amazing work on Skydrive.

In addition Skydrive launched a new App today for PC / Mac allowing the user to upload their data via the app which sits in the System Tray of your PC (sorry I don’t have a Mac myself to check the Mac version). Let me just say that first impressions are very positive and I shall be deep diving this over the next few days.

Finally and at last check this was still there, Skydrive are offering a great freebie: existing Skydrive users can upgrade their storage to 25GB from here or actually pay for additional storage.

I don;t know about you but I continue to be impressed by the outstanding work being done on Skydrive, keep it up guys.

Technorati Tags: ,,,,,CloudOS

LinkedIn Gets It Right

LinkedIn doesn’t always stack up well against Facebook or Twitter for User Experience or usability.

Recently I experienced this myself when the LinkedIn API and site GUI were updated. I maintain a web copy of my resume on the LinkedIn Box.Net gadget and suddenly the update rendered it non-functional. This was apparent to me from a brief session using debug mode in the Developer’s Tools in IE.

I also took the trouble to check the functionality with a clean cache and in another browser.

Basically, my resume was offline to someone who expected to find it there. Luckily they contacted me and I emailed them a copy. Since I only have the basic version (unpaid) of LinkedIn go figure who else did or did not want a copy of my resume and didn’t contact me after finding the Box.Net gadget down.

I was a little miffed with the situation but the Box.Net support team came through when I reported the bug and had the Development team resolve the issue within the space of less than 48 hours.

This evening I was indulging myself answering questions in the LinkedIn Answers section and saw what was actually an invitation to try out a Beta version of a neat application that connected to your LinkedIn profile and displayed the linkages on a world map. To access the data LinkedIn went through a similar workflow to Facebook Connect or Twitter’s OAuth except LinkedIn asks the user how long to remain connected between your profile and the application. The user may choose from until revoked / a month / a week / a day or obviously to cancel: not at all.

LinkedIn - permission

This is the crucial difference between LinkedIn and Facebook / Twitter: –

  • LinkedIn asks the user to either commit to permanent connection or define a countdown providing the application with a “half-life” (after which I’m reasonably sure any App Developer worth his salt will be chasing you to reconnect.)

To view/ revoke authorized application settings you need to select the Settings option from the top menu-bar

LinkedIn - applications

  • The user is presented with all the approved applications and may simply revoke authorization by selecting the relevant checkbox and hitting the remove button at the bottom of the page.

LinkedIn has made a huge effort with this to supply the user with flexibility of permission for 3rd party applications and seems to have got it right; they have shown a degree of respect to their users and at the same time understood that users don’t always remember which applications they have approved and in allowing the user to set a countdown on application access to their profile they have done something very cool: allowed the user to get on with using the webapp and not spend all their time acting as IT/ Sys Admin / Data Security for themselves.

In this specific case, there is an object lesson in User Experience and Usability here for Facebook and Twitter.