Google acquires Quickoffice

Quickoffice, the popular mobile office productivity suite has been acquired by Google. Alan Warren, Engineering Director at Google wrote on the official Google blog regarding the acquisition

We’re happy to announce that we have acquired Quickoffice, a leader in office productivity solutions. Today, consumers, businesses and schools use Google Apps to get stuff done from anywhere, with anyone and on any device. Quickoffice has an established track record of enabling seamless interoperability with popular file formats, and we’ll be working on bringing their powerful technology to our Apps product suite.

Clearly this is part of Google’s strategy of making the use of Google apps seamless regardless of device or platform. It does not come as a surprise seeing how the battle for domination has shifted over the last few years to the mobile terrain. Google naturally is bolstering its mobile arsenal, chiefly Android, in the face of increasing competition from the other platforms.

Desktop – Android’s Next Frontier

                     Android, soon in a desktop near you

The Android operating system is an indisputable success. A few weeks ago, it was with an average of 400,000 activations per week.

But not only that: Tablets, E-readers, portable gaming devices, everything seems to go in the direction of Android (and ARM).

And as a natural evolution, the ARM architecture is slowly entering the server room.

And, it  seems inevitable.

ARM on the server? What a joke …
Yeah, all the critics cite that the ARM architecture is only 32 bits, can not do mult threads effectively, and besides, what operating system would run on this architecture?
Even more as a server …

But several factors are driving the development of servers with ARM architecture: ARM chips  are much cheaper than Intel ones, and much more efficient in terms of power consumption and heat dissipation, the so-called Green Computing

So, after this information, is not  surprising the announcement that ARM would be working to launch 64-bit versions of their processors, targeting the server’s market

But what does the expansion of ARM processors and their journey towards the server’s room has to do with the Android desktop? Many things, since the expansion of the ARM chips is forcing Intel to move…

Android on the desktop – Increasingly close …

The growth of the ARM architecture, and therefore, the entire Android ecosystem is pressuring Intel to do something.

After years and years making  more powerful processors (and therefore) more expensive and energy hungry, Intel is trying to leapfrog in the mobile sector , feeling the pressure of the ARM chips  closer and closer, and watching its influence being undermined. Not that Intel has not tried, it tried, with Meego (thanks to the Nokia / MS deal, it went down the drain) and now with a new attempt, the Tizen. But these efforts are still timid.

The power of x86 fades…

Even Microsoft, Intel partner for many years, is failing to become relevant in this new mobile market (phones, tablets, netbooks), and their new systems are greeted with yawns (at the best).

Intel is cornered, feeling that the legacy software (which always helped Microsoft & Intel) no longer has so much importance (nor relevance). And Microsoft’s attempt at the ARM architecture  begins already flawed
The new ARM platform, however, already has Linux as one of its traditional operating systems (Debian Arm has existed for a considerable time).

If you build it they will come

Exactly, and since Intel can not depend anymore on its largest  partner (Microsoft is also going to the ARM side of the force – has become a licensee, to produce its own ARM processors), it is working to improve Android in the x86, and of course, making mobile x86 chips to compete with ARM ones.

So, Intel is pushing Android to run on x86 architecture very well, even releasing  SoC x86 chips, that rival  ARM chips capabilities.

And some say that Intel will dismantle the reign of ARM in the mobile

And there’s more: The Android kernel is being inserted back in the Linux mainline kernel.

What this might mean?

As Mr. Pogson wrote, this means a whole ecosystem now quite mature (all Android Apps) becoming available for Linux, yes, that common Linux (Ubuntu, Debian., etc…) could run Android applications. And thus, the Android would go the opposite way of what Microsoft intends with windows 8, making a mobile operating system run on the desktop.

But, What About Chrome OS?
Despite being a radical concept, having an operating system that only works “in the cloud” is something that is not ready to happen yet. Not now, we do not have the infrastructure that such a system requires. And besides, who will rely on storing files in the “cloud”? Sensitive files ? Webmail services(a cloudy example) have already given many evidences that they may fail, and fail badly.

What to expect …?

The strengthening of the Android platform on the desktop will be a great evolution for Linux. The operating system that was received with contempt by some IT companies, as a hobbyist’s toy. It will bring more applications to the Linux ecosystem (that are now exclusive to the Android platform) and  will certainly make Linux very popular.

However, two companies, Microsoft and Apple are not being able to compete with Android in the market, and are resorting to lawsuits to stop the growth of the platform, how will they  react when  Android begins to appear on the desktop?

Google to Murdoch- This is just nonsense

Rupert Murdoch, owner of a world renowned phone hacking newspaper accused Google of making money by slapping ads over pirated content and pouring millions into lobbying, in a tirade in which he also accused the Whitehouse of being in the employment of “Silicon Valley paymasters.”  

Well, Google has fired back and called the accusations “nonsense.” 
“This is just nonsense,” wrote a Google spokeswoman. “Last year we took down 5 million infringing Web pages from our search results and invested more than $60 million in the fight against bad ads…We fight pirates and counterfeiters every day.” 
It’s nice to see the public row between supporters and opponents of both SOPA and PIPA acts that have the potential to derail some of the fundamental tenets of the free web as we know. Is Murdoch right in his accusation against Google? You be the judge.

A Final Goodbye to Nokia and a Hello to Android

Just a little over a year ago, I detailed why I opted for Nokia’s Maemo powered N900 instead of an Android device. To be precise, I purchased my Nokia N900 on the 4th of Jan 2011, and wow, what an excitement it was to hold such an incredible device. A full blown, Debian based GNU/Linux OS in my pocket.

However, it was not long to be before the groundbreaking, expertly leaked burning platform memo to Engadget and the subsequent Elopcalypse of Feb 11 2011. For long time Nokia loyalists like yours truly, it was like a dream shattered. We’d always dreamed of having MeeGo as the third force in a fiercely competitive arena dominated by the two tech giants of North America: Google with their Android offering and Apple with iOS.
But the all knowing Nokia board knew better. To salvage Nokia from its not so desperate situation, they had to bring in a former Microsoft employee to head a company that was at the forefront of pushing GNU/Linux to millions of people around the world. And as was expected, the inevitable happened: the bringing to its knees of one of the most powerful and recognized technology companies on Earth. 

Using the N900 is an experience worth savoring. But the device was rapidly ageing(aged?) given it only shipped with 256MB of RAM, Nokia had discontinued support for it, leaving only the very wonderful Maemo community on their own, new applications rarely got published among a myriad of other factors. Thus I felt the need for a new device, and quite naturally I opted for Android this time around.

Of course I know of the Nokia N9 and N950 both running MeeGo, but with the frantic effort Nokia’s CEO is making to sabotage the success of the those devices, I logically shunned them, fearing Espoo will pull another N900 on users of those two phones. 

You’re wondering what device I went for right? Haha. I opted for the Motorola Atrix. After a long and careful searching and considering the price range of the various devices on the retail market here in Accra Ghana, I opted to go for the Atrix which is both a good bang for the money.

Retailing at $400 on Amazon, it packs all the goodies of a modern Android device (yea well not considering the slew of devices being announced at CES 2012). Running Gingerbread on an Nvidia Tegra 2 Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9 with 1GB of RAM, it’s more than adequate for an intensive mobile user like myself. 

As I’ve stated before, the Nokia N900 was my last Nokia device, until perhaps Elop is fired and the Nokia board wakes up and realizes gallows they’re being led into, it’s a goodbye Nokia and all your offerings and hello Android. It was really nice knowing you, Nokia, for more than 10 solid years of my less than 3 decades old. 

To Ghana’s Minister of Education- Can we please Open Source the CSSPS?

Hello Madam Betty, this mail is being written to you on an OS called Xubuntu, it’s open source and developed by people from all walks of life. The underlying skeleton, or code as it’s called, is open for anybody’s inspection. Anybody who thinks there’s something wrong with it can have a look at the code and if need be, suggest changes that will better the OS for all who use it.

You may be asking why this long preamble? Well because as a youth of this dear country of ours, I always get headaches, heartaches, fever, high blood pressure among others anytime the senior high school placement- you know, that piece of algorithm that supposedly auto selects which school to place every junior high school student- system kicks in every year. To the best of my understanding Madam, that system was put in place to curb the annual frustrations that hard working, tax paying parents of this country go through every year in getting their wards placed in high schools.

That old system we were told- and we agree- was fraught with irregularities, corruption among others thus the need for a computerized system that does all the placements automatically, without any human intervention. Wow, that was an awesome idea for a country that still is technophobe at the government level. Until the computerized system became worse than the old system. You’re a witness to it Madam, year in year out, parents keep going through untold agonies because the so called computerized system that we were told could not be comprised, is not doing what it was intended to. Far from it. 

We, and by we, I mean myself and like minded youth like me, don’t have any evidence to suggest the computerized selection and school placement system has been compromised. However, what we are humbly demanding as a matter of urgency and desperation is for the system, the entire piece of software that makes up the CSSPS be open sourced. We want the government of the Republic of Ghana to make the code of the CSSPS available as an open source project for anybody to be a watchdog over it. 

We want to be able to see what the code looks like, keep an eye on it so no single entity has complete control over it. We don’t know who the government did contract to write that software, but as tax payers, and as a democratic country that prides itself on the tenets of transparency, we the youth of this country want to be vanguards of the code that has been the cause of so much controversy in our educational system for sometime now. 

You may be wondering what’s there to gain by open sourcing the code right? Well for starters the government won’t need to spend hard cash in paying whoever it contracted to write that code. Me, him, they, us and everybody around the globe can be a maintainer of that code once it goes open source. We save money which can be used elsewhere. Secondly all doubts will be cleared and trust restored in the system. You know for sure parents have lost trust in the entire selection and placement process. They strongly believe the system is corrupted. And what’s there to stop them from believing that when only a select few know what the code is like and have access to it?

Third, we can be a model for other African countries when we open source the code. They can look at it,  adapt it to their needs and then on we move as Africa. To give you an example of what open source can do, take a look at that massive, 800lbs gorilla called Google. Yea. That company whose annual revenues is almost equal to our GDP runs on open source. It’s a central, necessary part of that company. It’s Android OS is a prime example of the power of making code available to all and sundry.

I could go on and on about the benefits of open sourcing the CSSPS. But I know you’re hard pressed for time so I’m just going to end here. Just a recap Madam, we’re asking that the gov takes the CSSPS project and make it available as open source so the entire nation can be vanguards of the process and we assure you that the entire hiccups that have become a necessary annual ritual and characteristic of this school selection and placement exercise will be a thing of the past in no time. 

This is my first mail to you Madam, but you can bet it won’t be last. We’re waiting to hear from you. 

10 Reasons Why Google Would Make an Ideal Boyfriend

All of us want to find the perfect partner with whom we can spend the rest of our lives. After several failed relationships and imperfect boyfriends, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to get perfection would be to date something non-human. I asked myself what inanimate object would make an ideal partner and I came up with a clear answer—Google! (My second choice would be Apple). Here’s why Google and I would make such a perfect match:

  1. Google always has the solution to my problems. No matter what random or crazy question I have, Google will find all the solutions possible for me to consider.
  2. Google always wants to do what I want to do. There’s never any arguing about what movie to watch on a Friday night or which restaurant to go to for dinner.
  3. My family already loves Google. And not only does my own family already love it, but Google doesn’t have family, so I’ll never have to deal with in-laws.
  4. Google and I will never fight. If we do see things differently, or misunderstand each other, Google can always be used as a conflict resolution for it’s own problem. Email not working right? Google it! Can’t figure out how to get your document to save correctly in Google Docs? Google it!
  5. Google earns billions of dollars a year. What girl doesn’t want to marry a billionaire?
  6. Google knows how to listen. Literally, if I set up my computer or phone with voice command programs, I can tell Google exactly what I want by only speaking a word.
  7. Google responds instantly and never leaves me waiting. In fact, Google starts responding before I’ve even finished asking. It’s almost as if he can read my mind because as I start typing, it predicts what I want to know and automatically fills it in. Sometimes he guesses slightly wrong at the beginning, but he always gets it right in the end.
  8. Google has almost infinite depth. Google has the capacity to store and remember every detail of every little thing that has ever happened. Most guys can’t even remember an anniversary, while Google will not only remember it, but notify me when the big day is coming up.
  9. Google is at my beck and call, 24/7. Support at any time, anywhere. Can a real man do that?
  10. Google never complains. If I make a mistake, Google autocorrects it for me rather than giving me a frustrated look. Plus, Google never shouts or gets moody.

Now, if it looks like I can’t seduce Google into marrying me, I already have another option simmering on the back burner—Apple! Here are just a few reasons why Apple is second in line, although many of the above points for Google can apply here as well:

  1. Apple may have it’s problems, but its good looks make up for it. While their systems can sometimes have glitches, it’s usually easily fixed and doesn’t matter so much since it’s physical features will always remain attractive. It’s kind of like dating a model—sometimes it has brains and sometimes it doesn’t—but either way, there will always be good looks.
  2. I have Apple wrapped around my little finger. Apple has so many great preference choices when it comes to individualizing their products, particularly laptops and touch screen devices.
  3. Apple is constantly improving. Every few months or so, updates and new products are released so that I will always have the best of the best and never get bored.

About the Author
Tiffani Azani is a freelance writer for My Colleges and Careers. MyCollegesandCareers.com assists students in the process of completing their education through an online college or university and then start working in one of the top careers in their industry.

Building Forms with Functions- 5 Cool Tools to Create Online Web Forms

The internet may be a paperless world, but when it comes to doing business online, it’s a world filled with forms. The challenge is to make sure that your site offers the forms you need to effectively communicate with customers while obtaining the kind of information that can help grow your business. Although professional site builders already have form options built in, there are many free and easy options for the DIY entrepreneur. Here’s a look at 5 very reliable tools you can use to create online web forms.

1. Google Docs:  – Face it. Aside from being free, Google Docs “rocks” on many levels. And the “forms” function of Google Docs—which started out as a feature of the Spreadsheet app and has now become an app on its own—is no exception. What’s not to like about creating a form that’s automatically connected to a corresponding spreadsheet upon which all the incoming response data is collected? As far as form integration goes, once you’ve created your form —in Google Docs—and saved it, you can access a designated link from the drop down menu that will give you a special URL to embed the form directly into your website or blog.  

2. JotForm: Another very user-friendly form creating tool is JotForm. Although originally designed for use by professional web builders, the program has evolved to the point that web-building skills are not a prerequisite. Requiring no downloads or sign-ups, JotForm facilitates form creation via a simple and straightforward drag and drop user interface. The free basic program—which is refreshingly free of annoying ads and distracting directions to the JotForm website—provides 100MB of storage and allows your account to receive 100 form submissions per month, which may be all you need if your business does not highly depend  upon form users. Another great feature of both the free and paid programs is the ability to create and display post response, thank you messages or send automated emails to users, acknowledging receipt and appreciation of their submissions.

3. FormSite: Starting with a limited “Free forever” plan which allows for the creation of 5 forms per month—with up to 50 items per form and 50MB of storage and a maximum of 10 submissions—FormSite offers another simple solution for creating and embedding forms into your website, blogsite or email. With very affordable pricing, you can take advantage of plan upgrades which give you the ability to integrate e-commerce tools such as PayPal and  Google checkout. With FormSite you can create web forms for any use, complete with images, graphs, logos etc. You can even create forms to reach users on mobile phone platforms.

4. Acrobat FormsCentral: Free to try and easy to use, Adobe Forms Central will help you design, customize and preview forms that can be accessed by any user on the platform of their choice, be it desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile. Much of FormsCentral’s appeal lies in the simplicity of creating forms using pre-made templates. Custom forms may also be created via a simple drag and drop editor. Other features include a very well designed text editor which makes it easy to add text, create single or multiple choice options, paragraphs and date and drop down options. Forms are also customizable as to images, logos and color schemes, a nice feature to keep your logo prominent and consistent throughout your site. Finally, for ease of analysis, the data collected from your form can be sorted, tabled, formatted and exported to formats such as XLS and CVS.

5. WuFoo: With a name that sounds more like a choice on a Chinese take-out menu than a form building program, WuFoo is another solid option that has managed to take the code writing credentials out of the form creating process. Starting with a free trial that gets you started with a maximum of 3 forms, one user account and a total of 100 responses per month, WuFoo offers plan upgrades that can be tailored to your needs, including the popular “Bona Fide” plan that allows for up to 5 user accounts and unlimited forms and reports. Once a form is created it can be incorporated into your website in a number of ways, such as downloading and integrating the HTML, embedding the form into the site as an iFrame, placement on the page via JavaScript, or simply providing a link to the form. To track form entries and activities, custom reports are also very easily created.

Derrick Lewis is a freelance writer for Acrobat.com.

Good To Know – A Consumer privacy guide from Google

The European Public Policy blog of Google yesterday announced Good to Know,  a consumer advertising campaign designed to give people practical guidance on staying safe online. The aim of this service is to educate and create awareness among online citizens with regard to their privacy and data.

According to Google, most people would like to stay safe online but aren’t equipped to do so. The Good to Know site is the answer to the lack of an in-depth, easy to understand guide to privacy and security for the majority of internet users.

Today we’re also launching a new section of the Google website that makes learning about security and privacy easier for the average consumer. We know that in-depth resources like privacy policies and terms of service are often too long, complex and legalistic. In the past few years, we’ve tried to make it easier to learn about privacy by creating short videos and by working to reduce the length and complexity of our privacy policy. The new Good to Know website builds on this commitment to explaining things in simple language. The in-depth resources are still there, but we hope a more layered approach will make this information more accessible for everyone.

Yes I want the Samsung Galaxy Nexus

With the debut of the latest iteration of the Android OS and the latest install of the Samsung Galaxy family of phones, there’s only one word that comes to mind; astounding. From the screen display to the completely overhauled OS, there is no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the one device to rule them all. Let’s hear what Larry Page of Google has to say about the new release.

I’ve absolutely loved using my pre-release Galaxy Nexus phone running the new version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich. It is truly beautiful hardware with incredible software. Today in Hong Kong, our partners from Samsung took the stage with Andy Rubin, and introduced the world to the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich. Both Google and Samsung spent a lot of time getting everything right, and it really shows! People are at the heart of Ice Cream Sandwich with an amazing new contact manager. We focused on re-inventing sharing on mobile devices. This is what I was talking about when I recently mentioned one way to think about Google+ is that over the last quarter we shipped the +, and now we’re going to ship the Google part. There are ton of other features from super fast camera with amazing panorama mode and 1080p video to Voice Typing which transcribes text nearly instantly as you speak. You can even unlock your phone with just a smile. The screen is unbelievably nice and has 720p resolution and is a gigantic 4.65″. Now that Ice Cream Sandwich is unwrapped, the first Galaxy Nexus phones will ship worldwide starting in November. Sign up to get one, you’ll love it just like I do!

Is there anyone out there who does not like the Galaxy Nexus, please let’s see by hand!

[INFOGRAPHIC] Linux then and now

From Android, to Amazon, to Google to Twitter, Linux has come a long way since the first bulletin board posting by Linus Torvalds some 20 years ago. The infographic below paints a summarized picture of this monumental journey from a hobbyist project to a global, pervasive platform.

Linux, 20 years later.

Image courtesy GigaOM.