ITM 306 Case 3
The need of software programs in computers has led to several programming trends and initiatives. Among the most popular are in-house development, vendor development, and outsourcing. All of these initiatives have provided plenty of opportunities for software selection. This assignment tries to evaluate a software package-Google Drive that I am familiar with and personally use in my daily activities by briefly describing the advantages and disadvantages of the software; how this software will help me in a present or future job situation and finally I make recommendations to improve this software. All this will be done keeping in mind the core objective of the course module which is to review a comprehensive list of software concepts as well as advances for developing effective global information systems.
Google Drive is Google’s “software as a service” office suite. Google Drive is file storage and synchronization service provided by Google, released on April 24, 2012, which enable user cloud storage, file sharing and collaborative editing. Files shared publicly on Google Drive can be searched with web search engines. Google Drive is the home of Google Docs, an office suite of productivity applications, that offer collaborative editing on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more (Google, 2012). This falls under the most current software development offering which is bundled cloud computing software, which not only provides solutions to hardware but also to application software (Gallaugher, J., 2012).
Features of Google Drive (What it can do)
Storage: All Google users get 5GB of storage for free. Paid plans start at $2.49 a month for 25GB, and are incremental plans all the way up to 16 TB for $800 per month. You can store any file in Drive, and it can understand and display over 30 file types. On the Web, it does full-text search of documents, optical character recognition of text in scanned documents, and it has some early image recognition capabilities thanks to Google Goggles. Drive also has powerful video features. Video files uploaded to Drive are encoded automatically, just like YouTube uploads, so they can be viewed in whatever format is necessary on a variety of systems.
Google Drive has an SDK for developers to build apps on top of it. In addition to the existing Google Docs apps, Google Drive has many third-party app partners to enable developers create in it many applications. Google Drive is Google’s “software as a service” office suite. Documents, spreadsheets, presentations can be created with Google Drive, imported through the web interface, or sent via email. Documents can be saved to a user’s local computer in a variety of formats (ODF, HTML, PDF, RTF, Text, Microsoft Office).
Google Docs is a tool for real time collaborative editing. Documents can be shared, opened, and edited by multiple users at the same time. The application supports two ISO standard document formats: Open Document (for both opening and exporting) and Office Open XML (for opening only). It also includes support for proprietary formats such as .doc and .xls.
Google Forms is a tool that allows users to collect information via a personalized survey or quiz. The information is then collected and automatically connected to a spreadsheet with the same name. The spreadsheet is populated with the survey and quiz responses. Google Drawings allows users to collaborate creating, sharing, and editing images or drawings (Google, 2013).
Advantages and Disadvantages of Google Drive
Google Drive offers cloud sync and storage like its formidable competitors. But its search, image and video processing features are way ahead of the pack of its competitors like Dropbox. It has extended the tremendous advantages for syncing, sharing and collaborating on documents using cloud services, to the local devices where users do most of their work. It also offers ease of sharing through Gmail, Google+ and the collaboration features of Google Docs. This also places it ahead of its competitors like Dropbox. It is also cross-platform, and Google launched Drive with third-party partners and developer tools to emphasize that so it can be used across many platforms (Lockhart, 2013).
For Google, even as it ships these universal services, there’s a business imperative to lock users into its own platforms at the same time. Google Drive allows syncing and sharing of any file, but it is built around integration with its own company’s work applications. Google Docs files can only be edited in Google Docs, whether in Android’s native apps, a third-party client, or in a browser. If a Google Drive user wants to edit a Microsoft Word document, she has to convert it to Google Docs first (which is, admittedly, quite easy to do).
In a cloud environment, data security issues and national interests mean that on-line document storage (e.g. electronic mail), and processing (e.g. Gmail) can be unsuitable for use by governments or commercial organizations, especially where sensitive data (e.g. electronic mail) or confidential data is being stored, edited or shared on systems and infrastructure that are outsourced (e.g. by senior US government officials to Google) and shared with many other organizations, individuals, users (e.g. the Internet). For example in 10 March 2009, Google reported that a bug in Google Docs had allowed unintended access to some private documents. Google believed that 0.05% of all documents stored via the service were affected by the bug, and claims the issue has now been fixed (Laudon, 2012).
Recommendations on how to Improve Google Drive
Google should remove the lock-I effects and allow more third party applications to ensure it is more cross platform than it is currently. Specifically it should favor Microsoft Office formats such as DOCX, XLSX, PPTX. These are formats that almost any desktop and online productivity software can open. One should be able to edit such files without converting them first to an exotic format (Lockhart, 2013).
Some of the issues that have to be considered to see if Google Drive is “enterprise-ready” include: Encryption of data in transit and storage; Service Level Agreements (regarding electronic discovery and incident management); Audit trails for users and administrators and finally Data Segregation and Data Isolation (Laudon, 2012).
The assignment has provided a case study of Google Drive an example of Software as a Service (SaaS) provided by Google application servers, a concept which is intimately linked with cloud computing. Through this review a real life example of cloud computing is presented including the pros and cons of this concept of creating global information systems that is causing hype in the current world.
Gallaugher, J. (2012). Information Systems: A Harnessing Guide to Information Technology. FlatWorld Knowledge. E-textbook Chapter 9.
Google (2013). Google Drive. Google.com retrieved on 18/03/2014 http://www.google.com/drive/about.html
Laudon, K., & Laudon, J. (2012). Essentials of MIS. (10th Ed.). Learning Track 3: Cloud computing. Retrieved from http://wps.prenhall.com/wps/media/objects/14071/14409392/Learning_Tracks/Ess10_CH04_LT3_Cloud_Computing.pdf
Lockhart, J. (2013). Google Introduces Unified Cloud Storage: 15GB For Google Drive, Gmail, & Google+ Photos [Updates], MakeUseOf, retrieved 2014-03-18 http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/google-introduces-unified-cloud-storage-15gb-for-google-drive-gmail-google-photos-updates/
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