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Google Drive finally released

It has been a long time coming. Rumours of a Google online storage service have been a long-standing joke in the IT community, with Gdrive being a touted name for it. However, Google have officially confirmed the release of Google Drive on their official blog. The service is being rolled out worldwide in stages.

The Google Drive website features the video below, giving more information about the service.

Early users suggest that the service is basically a clone of Dropbox, albeit one that offers 5GB of free storage compared to the 2GB offered by Dropbox. Google Drive is replacing Google Documents, so all documents stored in there will be moved to Google Drive when the update occurs.

I have to admit, despite being an Android user (phone and tablet) and using a lot of Google services, I’m entirely happy with Dropbox’s free service, so at the moment there is no incentive for me to change to Google Drive, unless I need that extra space in the future.

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Chrome for Android updated

The Chrome browser, currently in beta for Android devices, recently received an update. It offers the following new features:

  • Bookmarks can now be added as shortcuts on your home screen.
  • You can select apps to handle links opened in Chrome.
  • Use Chrome with a system proxy if you have one setup.
  • Request the desktop version of a site rather than the mobile version.

This last feature is the best one for me – I hate having a tablet yet still getting served up a page designed for a small smartphone. Here is a screenshot showing the BBC site in Chrome, and the option in the menu to ‘Request desktop site’:

BBC mobile in Chrome for AndroidHere is the browser after the ‘Request desktop site’ option has been ticked. Much better!

BBC desktop site in Chrome for AndroidThe only thing stopping me from switching to Chrome full time is the lack of Flash – I use Flash on various sites such as CBeebies to allow my son to play the games. It appears that Flash will never be supported on Chrome for Android, which is a shame as so many sites continue to use it. I will be happy to see the back of Flash once something standard appears to replace it.

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Problems logging in to Google account on new device

I’ve just taken delivery of a brand new Motorola Xoom, and have been excitedly trying to get it setup. However, I almost immediately hit a problem as it wouldn’t let me log in using my normal Google username and password. Despite checking it several times and entering the proper password, it just wouldn’t work!

Once I discovered the solution, it became obvious. The error was down to my having enabled 2-step verification for my Google account, and it was necessary to generate a one-time password to log in with. The Google help pages have a useful page about this here.

Following the advice on the help page, I went to the Authorizing applications & sites page and generated a new password for my Xoom (I had already done this for my phone so should have remembered!) Once done, I entered the temporary password on my Xoom and voila! It worked. Hopefully if you are having this problem, this article will have solved it for you.

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Instagram now available for Android phones

Last year’s must-have iOS app, Instagram, has finally made its way to Android devices. Instagram was added to the Google Play Shop yesterday and has already been installed over 1 million times!

Instagram for AndroidFor those new to Instagram, it allows you add effects and filters to your photographs, allowing you to enhance your photos and make them more vibrant. There are a multitude of sharing options too, with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare all supported. The app is free so it’s definitely worth checking out.