I wrote about it almost a year ago here (Dropbox & Google?) and here (Dropbox & Gdocs: conclusion): why, oh why Google don’t launch a service "à la Dropbox" to sync files and edit them online?
Well it seems Mountain View heard me (because we all know they thoroughly read my blog).
Let’s come to the facts: this week, Google Drive went public. This service replaces Docs and works pretty much like Dropbox, synchronizing one folder between all your devices (smartphone, tablets, etc.) and with Drive homepage. But it offers the possibility to edit and create new documents directly online, which can be quite useful when you don’t have access to your computer.
Also, both services allow for only one folder to be synchronized. Don’t worry, if you’re a classifying crank and you don’t want to mess up your folders, here’s a solution: symbolic links.
But I’ll stick to what I’ve said: Google own file format (gsheet, gdoc) is not 100% compatible with MS Office. This means if you want to modify a Word document on Drive, you’ll first have to convert it, which can cause loss of format and maybe data (imagine converting a pretranslated doc with Crados...). For this reason, I cannot recommend Drive for a professional use. The risk of modifying my clients’ source documents is just too great at the moment. And contrary to Dropbox, you can’t retrieve older versions of your files.
And there’s the issue of available storage space. Drive offers 5 Gb; Dropbox only 2, but you can extend it to 18 Gb with referrals and various promotional offers. You can also buy space, and in this case Drive is much more attractive (even if prices skyrocketed with Drive: from 5$ per year, the 20-ish Gb cost now 2,50 $ per month).
So: Drive or Dropbox? Personally, I’ll use both: Dropbox for my professional files, as I am assured they won’t be deteriorated, and Drive for all other file types, such as drafts for my blog, letters, images, eBooks...
Anyway, be aware that Dropbox recently improved its referral system and offers now 500 Mb for each referral (vs. 250 Mb before). So if you don’t have a Dropbox account yet and want some extra storage space, click on this link.
Reminder: this is only a recap of the French article. To read the full post, choose French in the drop-down top menu.
And we're back to useful tools! In the full version of this article, you will learn how to convert a document into PDF, which allows you to protect your files such as invoices and quotes. It's quite simple actually: you just have to "save as" and choose the right filetype with the latest versions of MS Office.
If you don't have Office 2010 (or use an older version), you may want to install a virtual printer such as Cute PDF Writer, which allows you to save any type of document - from your Word and Excel docs to webpages or emails - in just a few clicks.
And if you're as tech-savvy as I am and use a tablet, you can try Office Converter for Android and iOS. It's free and fully working.
Finally, if you still don't have an online back-up solution such as Dropbox (I wrote about it here), I'll be happy to send you an invitation, and we'll both get a little more storage space. Just send an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
They (almost) done it !
Dropbox is great. I wrote about it right here. Google Docs is also nice : online collaboration is easier than ever and you can directly edit documents, which is useful when you are working from a smartphone or a tablet (such as this one, which will soon be in my hands).
The trouble is that Dropbox won't allow you to open or edit documents without downloading them, and if you need more storage space, you'll have to spend at least 10 $ per month (or 100 per year) for 50 Gb. On Google's side of the fence, there is no way to sync your local files with GDocs (forget about Google Cloud Connect, really not user-friendly). But on the other hand, storage space is really cheap: only six dollars (w/ tax) for 20 Gb. And if you really want to spend a Franklin, you'll have nothing less than... 400 Gb!
(Click on the image for full size)
Anyway, you saw me coming: for some time now I have been looking for a system to sync Dropbox and Google, and I finally found it: let me introduce you SyncDocs.
It works exactly like Dropbox, and if you set the same folder for both services, you will have two backups for your files. Plus, SyncDocs is free and does not require you to create an account. However, there seem to be some bugs converting files from Microsoft Office to Google, but it is still in beta version. You also have to have two services running in background on Windows, but I guess it is not that bad, while waiting for an official Google Sync!
Update: Not that happy. After a few days of test, there are still many things to improve. First, Google Docs conversion is pretty approximative, to say the least. Second, when you set the same folder for both Dropbox and Syncdocs, DP's cache is downloaded to your computer and to GGdocs (a solution here). Third, all my files are also downloaded twice to the root of my sync folder. The trick, not really convenient, would be to select all files under the Home page in Google and choose Actions>Not show in home. Not fully working for me.
Update 2 : I'm starting to have a headach with all of this. I think I will drop the idea for the moment. I'm just going to test Cloud HQ for a few days, I will follow-up on this. If you are interested, you can also try Syncplicity, but it is limited to 2 Gb for the free version.
Blogs et traduction, Mes Outils
While I'm frustratingly trying to enjoy the sun and nightlife study my Spanish in Barcelona between two projects (no one's complaining here), I wanted to share a few more useful tools.
For the record, I already presented Xmarks (and Firefox Sync, which works with FF mobile on Android phones and tablets), Dropbox and iDispo (which doesn't seem to passionate my readers), let me introduce you to some useful websites.
1) Others already wrote about it (in French), and that's why I hadn't mentionned it yet, but Linguee has became an essential tool in my work, especially as I regularly work on EU and UN texts. I only regret the lack of Italian to French search, just like Word Reference (while there's Portuguese).
2) I found this one on About Translation blog. I am sure you already googled some phrases to see which one was more frequently used (we all did)? Well, "there's an app for that" now. It's called Phras.in; enter the two phrases you want to compare and you'll immediately have the number of hits for each one. Easy, fast, efficient. Plus, it works in every language.
3) Another very simple website: Corrige-moi (spellcheck me)! The name says it all: this is an online spell checker (which is far from having the efficiency of a professional software such as Antidote for French). Just choose your language and paste your text in the box. The big pro is that you can choose 15 national languages, 3 regional (Afrikaans, Breton and Catalan) as well as Esperanto!
High Tech, Mes Outils
After Dropbox and Xmarks, let's continue with useful tools. The one I am going to talk about today is not ready yet, but it's already full of promises. And it's a French who created it, Ismaël Nzouetom. This potentially big gem is named iDispo. The principle is fairly basic, but its potential is almost infinite.
Here's a screenshot of its homepage:
So this project is all about creating a "universal service to manage availabilities" (you can read a detailed article in French here).
In other words, this service allows you to book a restaurant, a doctor and why not a week of translation! It will help making appointment between business and consumers or business to business. You will be able to link other accounts like Facebook or Google, and every event in those calendars will be automatically added to iDispo. You will then be able to share your availabilities with your friends, for example. Service providers will also share their free time slots, and you'll be able to book an appointment with just a click.
Let's imagine: you doodle your colleagues for a meeting. Then, the assistant just has to set a new meeting in iDispo and it's automatically shared will all collaborators' calendars.
What about the translation industry? It's still hard to imagine the full extent of its implication, but we can guess that project managers would have access to all translators' calendars and will dispatch translations more easily and quickly.
iDispo should be officially presented in the next few weeks. IMHO, all the ingredients are here to make iDispo one of the biggest innovation since Google.