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Run from Cloud - Google Drive?

cristco - September 7, 2012 - 7:34pm
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I'm a little perplexed that on the home page it alludes to the app being able to be run from a cloud drive rather than a portable device? Yet there is no instructions anywhere on how to do this? Is it really meaning storing data on the cloud?

I'm an Analyst and believe as Internet connectivity gets even more robust and ubiquitous, the decentralized approach of running all your apps and fetching all your data from cloud storage (what us old school people used to call a FILE SERVER) will be the norm. This is confirmed as you see Microsoft Office 2012 (aka 365) is moving towards a per month per user subscription format.

My opinion is that Google will be the leader in the end. I believe they have the best development resources and capital. So I am standardizing on their platform and currently using Google Drive combined with InSync. InSync allows you to sync files without Google converting them to Google Docs format. I assume I can easily use portable LibreOffice and get my data from my synced Google Drive. I believe there is an extension to access the Google Drive directly even as opposed to a synced local drive.

Ultimately, I don't want to have to carry around a USB drive to run my apps from. I'd like to just login to my Google Account and run LibreOffice from any Internet Connected PC and have direct access to my Google Drive. Sadly, my gut says what I want makes too much sense for anyone to have yet implemented. Hoping I'm wrong.

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When we say from a cloud drive, we mean from your Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, etc folder on your local desktop, synced to your laptop, synced to any other computers you have. That way you can use all your stuff on every box you own and it'll sync up and continue to work. We make our launchers so they adjust relative paths, not just drive letters, so they work with this scenario.

As far as being able to run directly in the cloud... setting aside the fact that the cloud drives don't just let you map a drive letter to them and use them, the apps would run incredibly slowly. The average home user's internet speed in the US is USB 1.1-ish.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Makes sense. The problem

Makes sense. The problem with this scenario is if you don't have a USB drive and you don't have access to a computer that is synced to your Google Drive. Ideally, you should be able to login to any computer and run your apps or access your data. I guess the only solution for that right now is either Office 365 or Google Drive where you can edit word docs and spreadsheets from within the browser. Then you don't have to mess with USB drives, drive syncing, etc. etc. But for those of us that want to use something like LibreOffice to get a free Office Suite that is more powerful than Google Docs Apps, you either need to have the app on a USB drive or a synced local drive.

LibreOffice Portable is only 137 MB (compressed.) I've recently done some connection speed testing in places like Starbucks, McDonalds, etc. Granted their wireless speeds are only in the 1-2 mbit/s range. Most home cable customers are getting closer to 10 mbit download (for the middle of the road package). At the T1 (1.5 mbit speed) that's 13 minutes to download and install the app. Cable speed, it's a very short wait. But that 137MB is a suite of multiple apps. If you just wanted to load the spreadsheet app for instance it would be a lot faster.

The problem is most public computers (hotel, FedEx Office, etc.) are going to be locked down preventing apps from installing. A truly portable solution would need the app to run within the browser - then we are just back to Google Docs.

Some Clarifications

LibreOffice isn't a suite of apps. It's really one big app with multiple frontends. If you choose to just install the spreadsheet, it wouldn't even save you 20MBs. That's always been true.

Download and installing (or unpacking in portable sense) isn't a viable option.

And browser-based apps are just that. They are limited by the speed of the connection, by the server speed on the backend, but the base browser you are using, etc. They are no where near as capable as native apps. Google Docs is incredibly feature-limited compared to a real word processor. Not to mention incredibly unreliable. And that's coming from someone that uses and depends on it weekly for 6 months now. We use it for the collaboration features for a project I work on. But it routinely has connectivity/availability issues, formatting issues, loses text you've entered, etc. Heck, it can't even line up the cursor with the letters in Firefox 1/2 the time, which is just absurd.

So, you can carry your flash drive and use real apps (possibly even also syncing your cloud drive to your flash drive), but that involves carrying something. Or you can not carry anything and have to deal with inferior browser-based apps that kind-of mostly work. That's the basic choice today. Smiling

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!