Jonathan Schwartz, chief technology officer of Sun Microsystems, gave a couple of hints recently about what Sun and Google might be working on as part of their collaboration, the one that got everyone (including yours truly) salivating about a Web-based Office suite. On his blog, Jonathan mentioned that lots of people have a need to retrieve documents and files from different computers at different times (the Sun exec has 5 computers and multiple laptops) which makes the idea of storing your files on a shared network drive somewhere more and more attractive (just one question: why not just use a USB thumb drive, Jon?). In other words, perhaps a “Gdrive” run by Google or a version of Sun’s “Grid Utility” network, which according to some critics has very few customers.
Says Jon: “The two features every single user needs are: Save, and Open. So wouldn’t it be interesting if rather than exploring your local file system on your local PC, the Save and Open panels simply looked to a network account on Sun’s Grid? Shareable like any of the mainstream photo services are today? Or how about saving to that 2.5Gb allowance Google gave you in your GMail account? And wouldn’t it be great if you could save to ODF, or translate to Microsoft Word, or generate a podcast or mp3 file – on the fly? From within any app? That would certainly put into question why you’d want to shell out $500 for Microsoft’s Office 12 when OpenOffice.org was free, cross platform, more innovative, and just more for your money. And enabled by the biggest names on the internet.” Sounds like a plan.
In the interim, you can do as Mr. Schwartz suggests and use your Gmail storage as a file system if you wish, and you can also add your name to a petition asking Google to please provide a Gdrive-type service — it’s at petitiononline.com.