A history and future of Google Books

Google Books logoScott Rosenberg has an interesting essay that traces the rise, development and possible future of Google Books and, to a lesser extent, similar efforts like Internet Archive and HathiTrust. Rosenberg’s narrative is largely one of decreasing momentum. He comments,

There are plenty of other explanations for the dampening of Google’s ardor [for Google Books]: The bad taste left from the lawsuits. The rise of shiny and exciting new ventures with more immediate payoffs. And also: the dawning realization that Scanning All The Books, however useful, might not change the world in any fundamental way.

But, interesting possibilities definitely remain on the horizon. While it remains to be seen what of those materialize, Google Books still provides a useful tool in its own niche area.

For the balance of Rosenberg’s discussion, see his original essay.

Google Reader RIP

Though it has apparently been on the chopping block for some time, Google Reader was a very useful tool. Even so, it has apparently come to the end of the road:

Google Reader will be retired on July 1, 2013. If you’d like to download a copy of all your Reader data before then, you can do so through Google Takeout. You’ll receive your subscription data in an XML file, and the following information will be downloaded as JSON files:

  • List of people that you follow
  • List of people that follow you
  • Items you have starred
  • Items you have liked
  • Items you have shared
  • Items shared by people you follow
  • Notes you have created
  • Items with comments

via How Can I Download My Reader Data? See also Powering Down Google Reader.

Google Drive and Office 97–2003

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Google Drive’s Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps are scheduled to cease supporting exports to Microsoft’s older Office 97–2003 formats at the end of the month. According to the Google Apps blog,

In September, we added the ability to export Google documents to the newer Microsoft Office formats that rely on open standards (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx). . . . As we announced in October, after January 31, 2013, users will not be able to export files to the older Office 97-2003 formats [e.g., .doc, .xls, .ppt]. For users who still use Office 97-2003, we recommend installing the free compatibility plugin from Microsoft, which will allow them to open the modern Office file types.

Edit Spreadsheets on Google Drive for Mobile

The Google Drive mobile apps for Android and iOS now allows users to create and view spreadsheets:

Edit spreadsheets on the go with the Drive mobile app | Google Drive Blog
Photo credit: Google Drive Blog

Previous versions had allowed creating and editing of documents but only viewing of spreadsheets created elsewhere. For more information and links to download the appropriate apps, see here.