At long last, Google Sheets doesn't need a network

At long last, Google Sheets doesn't need a network

 

Google Sheets now works with or without a network connection. Editing changes are re-synchronized with a shared document when network access is restored.

Google Sheets now works with or without a network connection. Editing changes are re-synchronized with a shared document when network access is restored.

It took a few years, but the Google Sheets spreadsheet app has caught up with its productivity-tool companions, Docs and Slides, with one important feature: it now works with or without a network connection.

Offline support isn't the only change for the online spreadsheet. Google also rewrote the app to make it faster, gave its users the ability to partition private areas off within a shared document, and gave it support for more types of calculations.

Offline support is a key sticking point for Web apps, the sort that Google promotes through its Google Drive effort and Chrome OS operating system. For Web apps to effectively compete against native apps on Windows, Android, iOS, or OS X, they have to work all the time. Internet access is getting more widespread, especially with the arrival of 4G networks, but it's still often a rarity in rural areas, public transit, and airplanes -- and of course the network often fails intermittently in places where it's supposed to work.

Google Sheets icon

As I write this, I'm sitting on a subway headed to a tech conference of the sort where hundreds of mobile phones, tablets, and PCs will bring the wireless network to grinding, ignominious end. So offline support for me is crucial -- and I can confirm that it works in the new Google Sheets.

I've been able to enter data, create charts, fiddle with formatting, and spawn new sheets within a document. It's a major step forward and, though unexpected, a big improvement -- and it's been years in coming. Previously, you could read spreadsheets but not make any changes.

My testing also showed a faster loading speed, which is equally welcome since I found Sheets to be pretty pokey before. "Page load is a pretty tricky equation, but on the whole, the loads should feel faster, especially on large, complex sheets," Google said.

I'm a solo spreadsheet user for the most part, so private areas of spreadsheets aren't that big a deal, but collaboration is a big part of Google Docs in general, so it's smart to add it. To use it, click the Data menu then select Filter views, and the frame around the spreadsheet will invert to become dark.

Here's one big caveat, though: Google Sheets' offline support only works in Chrome.

The revamped Google Sheets has more a more responsive interface and handles spreadsheets with lots of cells better, Google said.

The revamped Google Sheets has more a more responsive interface and handles spreadsheets with lots of cells better, Google said.

Google is still evaluating support for other browsers, but doesn't yet have anything to confirm, the company said. The basic standard that Google Sheets, Docs, and Slides uses for offline support, supported in Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera, but evidently making the technology reliable enough and delivering it to browsers without Chrome extensions is still a challenge.

The revamped Sheets uses JavaScript behind the scenes -- the same calculation on the browser, the server when the app is online, and on mobile devices. Google created it using its Google Web Toolkit software, which boils down human-written Java software into JavaScript code a browser can execute.

And for faster display, Google changed the Sheets interface over to use the Canvas standard. The company said the new Sheets doubles the frame rate for repainting the screen, which should help give it a smoother response.

The new interface will be an opt-in choice for users while Google gathers feedback. People can switch back and forth between new and old interfaces with the Google Drive settings menu.

Microsoft launches network of Azure providers

Dec 12, 2013 03:04 am | IDG News Service
Microsoft's Cloud OS Network extends Windows Azure across the globe

by Joab Jackson

Microsoft has launched the Cloud OS Network, a global consortium of cloud service providers that offer Windows Azure IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service).

More than 25 providers have signed up for the network for its initial launch, including Capgemini, Capita IT Services of Glasgow, CGI, Computer Sciences Corporation, Dimension Data of Australia, DorukNet of Turkey, Fujitsu Finland, iWeb of Montreal and Lenovo in China.

Overall, providers in the Cloud OS Network covers over 90 regions worldwide. The companies collectively now serve more than 3 million customers with more than 2.4 million servers across 425 data centers.

Each provider offers Microsoft-validated, cloud-based infrastructure and associated applications, using the Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows System Center 2012 R2 and the Windows Azure Pack, which provides the same Azure IaaS capabilities Microsoft runs with its own offering.

Microsoft launched the Cloud OS Network with the understanding that regional providers worldwide may be better equipped in some cases to provide Azure cloud services than Microsoft itself, explained Eugene Saburi, general manager of Microsoft Cloud OS marketing.

Governments and organizations may have geographical restrictions about where its data is located. A local provider may also offer better network latency times because its data centers are closer to its customers, Saburi said. Regional providers may also know how to more effectively reach the potential customer base.

Users of Azure services could benefit in a number of ways as well, Saburi said. With a number of competing Azure services on hand, an organization can move their workloads from provider to another, should service suffer. This approach also allows customers to use their own copies of Windows System Center 2012 R2 to manage both in-house resources and those in this cloud network.

The Cloud OS network " allows customers to experience boundary-less data centers, being able to move workloads and virtual machines and manage assets whether they are in the data center, in our cloud, or in a partner cloud," Saburi said.

- See more at: http://www.itnews.com/cloud-computing/72142/microsoft-launches-network-azure-providers#sthash.BmosmwWy.dpuf
Google Sheets now works with or without a network connection. Editing changes are re-synchronized with a shared document when network access is restored.

Google Sheets now works with or without a network connection. Editing changes are re-synchronized with a shared document when network access is restored.

(Credit: screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

It took a few years, but the Google Sheets spreadsheet app has caught up with its productivity-tool companions, Docs and Slides, with one important feature: it now works with or without a network connection.

Offline support isn't the only change for the online spreadsheet. Google also rewrote the app to make it faster, gave its users the ability to partition private areas off within a shared document, and gave it support for more types of calculations.

Offline support is a key sticking point for Web apps, the sort that Google promotes through its Google Drive effort and Chrome OS operating system. For Web apps to effectively compete against native apps on Windows, Android, iOS, or OS X, they have to work all the time. Internet access is getting more widespread, especially with the arrival of 4G networks, but it's still often a rarity in rural areas, public transit, and airplanes -- and of course the network often fails intermittently in places where it's supposed to work.

Google Sheets icon

As I write this, I'm sitting on a subway headed to a tech conference of the sort where hundreds of mobile phones, tablets, and PCs will bring the wireless network to grinding, ignominious end. So offline support for me is crucial -- and I can confirm that it works in the new Google Sheets.

I've been able to enter data, create charts, fiddle with formatting, and spawn new sheets within a document. It's a major step forward and, though unexpected, a big improvement -- and it's been years in coming. Previously, you could read spreadsheets but not make any changes.

My testing also showed a faster loading speed, which is equally welcome since I found Sheets to be pretty pokey before. "Page load is a pretty tricky equation, but on the whole, the loads should feel faster, especially on large, complex sheets," Google said.

I'm a solo spreadsheet user for the most part, so private areas of spreadsheets aren't that big a deal, but collaboration is a big part of Google Docs in general, so it's smart to add it. To use it, click the Data menu then select Filter views, and the frame around the spreadsheet will invert to become dark.

Here's one big caveat, though: Google Sheets' offline support only works in Chrome.

The revamped Google Sheets has more a more responsive interface and handles spreadsheets with lots of cells better, Google said.

The revamped Google Sheets has more a more responsive interface and handles spreadsheets with lots of cells better, Google said.

(Credit: screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Google is still evaluating support for other browsers, but doesn't yet have anything to confirm, the company said. The basic standard that Google Sheets, Docs, and Slides uses for offline support, supported in Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera, but evidently making the technology reliable enough and delivering it to browsers without Chrome extensions is still a challenge.

The revamped Sheets uses JavaScript behind the scenes -- the same calculation on the browser, the server when the app is online, and on mobile devices. Google created it using its Google Web Toolkit software, which boils down human-written Java software into JavaScript code a browser can execute.

And for faster display, Google changed the Sheets interface over to use the Canvas standard. The company said the new Sheets doubles the frame rate for repainting the screen, which should help give it a smoother response.

The new interface will be an opt-in choice for users while Google gathers feedback. People can switch back and forth between new and old interfaces with the Google Drive settings menu.

Microsoft launches network of Azure providers

Dec 12, 2013 03:04 am | IDG News Service
Microsoft's Cloud OS Network extends Windows Azure across the globe

by Joab Jackson

Microsoft has launched the Cloud OS Network, a global consortium of cloud service providers that offer Windows Azure IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service).

More than 25 providers have signed up for the network for its initial launch, including Capgemini, Capita IT Services of Glasgow, CGI, Computer Sciences Corporation, Dimension Data of Australia, DorukNet of Turkey, Fujitsu Finland, iWeb of Montreal and Lenovo in China.

Overall, providers in the Cloud OS Network covers over 90 regions worldwide. The companies collectively now serve more than 3 million customers with more than 2.4 million servers across 425 data centers.

Each provider offers Microsoft-validated, cloud-based infrastructure and associated applications, using the Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows System Center 2012 R2 and the Windows Azure Pack, which provides the same Azure IaaS capabilities Microsoft runs with its own offering.

Microsoft launched the Cloud OS Network with the understanding that regional providers worldwide may be better equipped in some cases to provide Azure cloud services than Microsoft itself, explained Eugene Saburi, general manager of Microsoft Cloud OS marketing.

Governments and organizations may have geographical restrictions about where its data is located. A local provider may also offer better network latency times because its data centers are closer to its customers, Saburi said. Regional providers may also know how to more effectively reach the potential customer base.

Users of Azure services could benefit in a number of ways as well, Saburi said. With a number of competing Azure services on hand, an organization can move their workloads from provider to another, should service suffer. This approach also allows customers to use their own copies of Windows System Center 2012 R2 to manage both in-house resources and those in this cloud network.

The Cloud OS network " allows customers to experience boundary-less data centers, being able to move workloads and virtual machines and manage assets whether they are in the data center, in our cloud, or in a partner cloud," Saburi said.

- See more at: http://www.itnews.com/cloud-computing/72142/microsoft-launches-network-azure-providers#sthash.BmosmwWy.dpuf

Microsoft launches network of Azure providers

Dec 12, 2013 03:04 am | IDG News Service
Microsoft's Cloud OS Network extends Windows Azure across the globe

by Joab Jackson

Microsoft has launched the Cloud OS Network, a global consortium of cloud service providers that offer Windows Azure IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service).

More than 25 providers have signed up for the network for its initial launch, including Capgemini, Capita IT Services of Glasgow, CGI, Computer Sciences Corporation, Dimension Data of Australia, DorukNet of Turkey, Fujitsu Finland, iWeb of Montreal and Lenovo in China.

Overall, providers in the Cloud OS Network covers over 90 regions worldwide. The companies collectively now serve more than 3 million customers with more than 2.4 million servers across 425 data centers.

Each provider offers Microsoft-validated, cloud-based infrastructure and associated applications, using the Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows System Center 2012 R2 and the Windows Azure Pack, which provides the same Azure IaaS capabilities Microsoft runs with its own offering.

Microsoft launched the Cloud OS Network with the understanding that regional providers worldwide may be better equipped in some cases to provide Azure cloud services than Microsoft itself, explained Eugene Saburi, general manager of Microsoft Cloud OS marketing.

Governments and organizations may have geographical restrictions about where its data is located. A local provider may also offer better network latency times because its data centers are closer to its customers, Saburi said. Regional providers may also know how to more effectively reach the potential customer base.

Users of Azure services could benefit in a number of ways as well, Saburi said. With a number of competing Azure services on hand, an organization can move their workloads from provider to another, should service suffer. This approach also allows customers to use their own copies of Windows System Center 2012 R2 to manage both in-house resources and those in this cloud network.

The Cloud OS network " allows customers to experience boundary-less data centers, being able to move workloads and virtual machines and manage assets whether they are in the data center, in our cloud, or in a partner cloud," Saburi said.

- See more at: http://www.itnews.com/cloud-computing/72142/microsoft-launches-network-azure-providers#sthash.BmosmwWy.dpuf


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