Google Maps Reviewers to be Rewarded With 1TB Free Cloud Storage

Google has outlined a new rewards system for users of its Local Guides program. Regular reviewers will earn points for contributing to Google Maps, with redeemable rewards ranging from early access to Google products to 1TB of free cloud storage via Google drive. Users who reach the level 5 points threshold will even be invited to attend the 2016 Google Local Guides summit at the Google Campus.

Google is offering the following rewards:

  • Level 1 (0 – 4 points): Enter exclusive contests (think new Google devices!) in select countries. 
  • Level 2 (5 – 49 points): Get early access to new Google products and features. 
  • Level 3 (50 – 199 points): Show up in the Google Maps app with your official Local Guides badge. 
  • Level 4 (200 – 499 points): Receive a free 1 TB upgrade of your Drive storage, allowing you to keep all the stories, photos, and videos from your travels in one safe place. 
  • Level 5 (500+ points): The very top Local Guides will become eligible to apply to attend our inaugural summit in 2016, where you’ll be able to meet other top Guides from around the world, explore the Google campus, and get the latest info about Google Maps. Look out for details early next year.

Progress can be tracked via the ‘Contributions’ tab on the Google Maps for Android and iOS.

OneDrive Can Finally Sync Shared Folders

The long-awaited option to synch shared folders on OneDrive is finally here. Microsoft finally started to roll out an update that allows users to sync content in shared folders and have it pushed to other users as soon as the files get synced.

Up until now, Google Drive and Dropbox took the lead in sharing folders and making it easier to collaborate with other people on the same projects. I personally preferred Dropbox so far due to the fact that it synced files and delivered the updated files to colleagues almost instantly (depending on the internet speed, of course). However, as Microsoft wants to integrate OneDrive in its upcoming Office 2016 suite, changes needed to be made.

Besides, synching folders in OneDrive was one of the top upvoted features in Microsoft’s feedback forum, so it was bound to be implemented sooner or later. You may not have the feature yet, but Microsoft is said to have started gradually rolling out the update to users. Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 and Mac OS X will get the aforementioned update, and yes, it seems that Windows 8.1 will be skipped. OneDrive Director of Product Management, Angus Logan, tells that Microsoft is focusing on Windows 10 and this might be a way to ‘force’ users to update to the latest Microsoft OS.

It seems that Microsoft is moving one step closer to helping businesses collaborate and make it easier to share and sync files, but is it enough to get you to switch to OneDrive? We like to know what software you are using to share folders. Is it Dropbox, Google Drive, or will you switch to OneDrive in the end? Let us know!

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of macitynet.it

Google Drive Receives an Information Rights Management Feature

If you are working with sensitive information all the time, then perhaps Google Drive is not your first choice when it comes to storing important documents. However, thanks to a new feature called Information Rights Management (IRM), Google Drive is now a much more viable option, as it allows its users to remain in full control of the sensitive information even after the document has been shared. IRM prevents viewers from downloading, printing or copying shared documents, and it can be activated easily enough by checking a box in Drive’s “advanced settings” section.

For now, the new feature only works in the full web version of Google Drive, which means that it cannot be accessed through mobile apps. A downside to IRM is that it automatically disables printing, copying and downloading at the same time, which means that the user cannot choose to restrict these actions individually. This new feature can definitely come in handy for big companies, as it is likely to prevent leaks. Furthermore, developers will enjoy access to IRM’s options through the Google Drive API.

Information Rights Management will become available for all Drive users in the following days. Are you more likely to use Google’s file storage service now?

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information.

Get 2GB Extra Google Drive Storage for Taking Security Check-Up

To celebrate Safer Internet Day, an initiative to encourage computer users to consider the security of their systems, Google is offering 2GB of storage to Google Drive users to anyone who takes a security check-up by 17th February.

The check-up reviews your sign-in activity, your app permissions and asks you to check that your account recovery details are up-to-date.

After completing the check-up, users will receive their 2GB storage boost on 28th February. Interested users should click this link to complete the security check-up.

Source: The Next Web

Get 1TB Free Google Drive Storage with Every Chromebook Purchase

Google Chromebook has limited on-board storage by design – it’s an entry-level, stripped-down netbook, running the lightweight Chrome operating system, designed to be easy to use, run, and maintain, functioning mainly as a portal to the internet. Google has decided to expand the potential of its laptop by introducing 1TB of Google Drive storage for every new Chromebook purchase between now and 1st January 2015, free for two years.

Although Google has offered similar deals with specific Chromebook models – the high-end Chromebook Pixel offered 1TB cloud storage free for three years – this is the first time they have expanded the offer to all Chromebook models. Google Drive subscriptions usually cost $9.99 a month for the 1TB plan.

Source: Ars Technica

Google’s Web Designer Updated with Animation Tools and More

It’s been almost a year since Google introduced us to their HTML5 Web Designer, a free tool for all major platforms created to make it easy for any one to create interactive HTML5 sites and advertising. We’ve only seen a couple minor patches and updates since then, but now Google is ready with the first big one.

According to the DoubleClick blog, ad impressions from HTML5 grew 140% in the first half of 2014 compared to the second half of 2013. Ads build with the Web Designer have gained 2.5 Billion impressions since launch and over 20% of the user-base is said to be returning.

While the main focus of the Web Designer always has been the creation of advertising, there is nothing holding you back from using it to create anything else your imagination might spark. There are however many features that are build just for that, like the new direct integration to the DoubleClick Studio where those ads then are automatically tagged with the right account, advertiser and campaign information for publishing.

Google’s AdWords service has also switched to HTML5 now, and any Flash ads that are uploaded will be converted to HTML5 automatic. This is of course to support  HTML5 ads created in the new Web Designer.

The new animation tools are however what will get most people excited. With the new reworked animation timeline with features like animation scrubbing, timeline events and auto key-framing, it’s never been easier building HTML5 based animations. A couple new 3D features have been added as well.

Since this is Google, we’ll of course also get an integration with Google Drive to make it easier to share our Web Designer files with friends and co-workers. The text editor CodeMirror also got a direct integration now.

You can watch the video below to get a visual presentation of the updated Google Web Designer or you can just head over to Google, download it and start creating your very own HTML5 animations.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTfJFf8f5eg[/youtube]

Thank you DoubleClick for providing us with this information

Image and video courtesy of Google

Google Trialing “NSA-Proof” Encryption For Its Drive Storage

According to a CNET report Google is preparing a new method of encrypting its Google Drive files to prevent the NSA and other intelligence organisations from accessing the files. This is apparently being designed to increase user privacy of its cloud storage and synchronisation service.

Google has been mentioned in the NSA PRISM scandals so taking such measures, according to two unnamed Google sources, is being done to improve Google’s public image and the public’s confidence in their services. By securing users’ private files with high-level encryption Google would not be able to give out the contents of storage data even if intelligence agencies demanded it with the help of a legally obtained warrant.

Widely circulated rumours have recently implicated Microsoft in assisting the NSA to get around its encryption for its SkyDrive service. Microsoft of course denied all allegations but the damage to their public reputation is unmeasurable. That said the Microsoft example dictates that encryption just isn’t enough for cloud storage as legal protection is also necessary to prevent companies being forced into sharing user data. As we mentioned a while back this has contributed to a growth of Swiss data storage as Switzerland has strong data protection laws.

Image courtesy of Google