Indeed cloud computing is here to stay, and spells the next generation of shared resources, software and general web experience. And as applicable to office documentation, Google has brought the trend to the indomitable MS Office by a service termed Google Cloud Connect.

Google Docs success has stemmed from the fact that the service is 100% web, real-time accessibility from anywhere there is an internet connection, without the need for a software. Given the incumbent nature associated with Microsoft Office, being integrated on the de facto Operating Systems of many corporations, and the fact of enabling the new information age which Google represents; has deemed the choice of a collaboration tool necessary.

The Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office is the accessibility answer for those who have not made the full move to Google Docs and are still using Microsoft Office. Cloud Connect has given users the benefit of still using the familiar MS Office interface, but with the advantage of great accessibility.

Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 users can now sync their Office documents to the Google Cloud, and ensure access even out of Office. Documents synchronized are backed-up and given a unique URL, making it accessible from anywhere (including on mobile devices) at anytime through Google Docs.

All a user requires to access the feature is having a Google account, as Google Cloud Connect is available free to everyone.

Mac users, however, will have to wait awhile, as the service is not yet available for the Mac OS X. The full program subsequently is still being tested, and will be generally available soon.

Office On The Cloud

Mark Zuckerberg, at the Facebook Media Event in San Francisco on Monday unveiled a new messaging service which rumors had tagged a 'Gmail Killer'. The messaging system, however, is basically not an email service, but comprising Email, IM, SMS and other messaging services delivered in a seamless platform, albeit that users will be given an email addresses

The Facebook messaging uniqueness stems from the fact that such messages can be received in any medium or device that is convenient for the receiver.

It offers seamless messaging across different forms of communication mediums: in addition to aggregated conversation history between two Facebook users, and what seems like a copy of Gmail's 'Priority in-box' termed 'Social in-box'. The 'Social in-box' weighs messages based on user priority alongside conversation history and will help in filtering out spam.

According to an official blog post, the actual service launch will follow gradually along with making an email address available to everyone over the next few months.

Indeed, social messaging capability holds the key to the next generation messaging system, as attested by Google's earlier foot print on that domain with its Buzz service. Also, implicit as it where, all communication will happen within a single domain, but as to the extent of success the Facebook trip will go, only time will tell.

Is This Next-Gen Messaging System?

The open source Chromium project has heralded a new social experience in web browsing technology, called RockMelt, that aims to bring to the fore the new social networking capabilities and integrations that will drive the next generation of web users. The innovative approach of the browser is built upon a massive shift from the conventional focus, integrating social tools as a core browsing experience.

RockMelt web browser features a cloud-based backup to store users' bookmarks, thereby making users' data accessible from any location. It's the first browser to be fully backed by the cloud.

The overriding idea, however, is to ease communication and interaction on social networking platforms, as it incorporates social applications. It does not just navigate the web, but enables you to share and interact with friends, stay up-to-date in news and search information.

It is fast and secure from architectural point-of-view, been based on the Chromium project that gave rise to Google Chrome browser,  also riding on the WebKit layout engine to which Apple subscribe.

Tim Howes,  RockMelt co-founder, has dubbed it a 'personal experience' on the web wherever you go and stated categorically on the peculiarity of the login feature, feeds and bookmark preferences according to its official blog.

However, similar projects have been undertaken previously on that line as in the Flock web browser released in 2005, based on Mozilla Gecko engine. But given the actual timing and massive shift in user behavior driving the current social web, may perhaps serve a credible challenge and ensure the success of the RockMelt project. Also, the renowned pioneer of web browsing technology, Marc Andreessen, co-author of the Mosaic browser, has endorsed the project.

Enter Social Web Browser - RockMelt

Opera Software release for Android running devices, Opera Mobile 10.1 beta is reported to feature in-built geolocation support according a release note on the official blog Tuesday. The free mobile browser release is the first product for the android platform, following the company's fully endorsed version, Opera Mobile, as against the erstwhile Opera Mini versions.

Opera Mobile for Android also feature notable improvements in the area of speed owing to its renowned Opera presto rendering engine. It is packed with these additional Opera signature features: Speed dial, Visual tabs, Sync bookmarks, Password manager, Zooming and Panning and many other add-on as available to Android users.

Opera, however,  promised to add support for HTML5 video and Flash in the coming months. As well as upgrading to the Opera Presto core, thereby enabling standards like application cache and web storage.

Its main focus will be on platform optimization like hardware acceleration and JIT compilation to further improve both usability and performance.

The browser is available in 16 languages for now, namely: Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German Italian, Danish, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. And now available for download by searching for 'Opera Mobile' in the Android market place, or direct on your PC.

Opera Mobile Adds Geolocation

The streaming search technology, Google Instant, introduced September by the search giant is now available on mobile devices according to a report on the company's blog. The technology afforded users faster search experience by predicting the actual search term even as the user type-in the query.

Google has made the beta version available to Android devices (running Android 2.2) and iPhone/iPod (iOS 4) in the U.S. in English language and accessible through the Google search portal, simply tap on the Google Instant 'Turn On' link beneath the search box to begin.

The mobile application of the new search technology has again demonstrated Google's support for open standards, as the implementation runs on HTML5, thereby eliminating the need to load a new page for each query based on the dynamism of the platform.

Google Instant on mobile devices works better on the 3G network or across Wi-Fi hotspot. However, given that wireless connections fluctuate, Google has made it easy to enable or disable the feature without leaving the search page.

The predictive input on the Google Instant feature came as a result of the pool-of-information users are generating through the search query, by analyzing the number of queries, Google is able to come-up with the word combination a user intends.

Google has stressed the value for the new feature as saving users more time and to search more efficiently, it however, expected minimal impact on its bottom line by the new technology.

Mobile Application Of Streaming Search

Firesheep, the open-source Firefox browser extension, generated lots of attention the previous week owing to its insidiousness, enabling it users on public Wi-Fi networks to log into other peoples account on unsecured websites. It accesses users vital information through cookies, and wired to identify some dozens of popular websites known to be vulnerable to attackers such as social networking portals.

A glaring instance of how unprotected Wi-Fi networks can make sensitive data available to anyone with the technical ability to decode them is the Google Street View Wi-Fi data gathering, that almost marred its public trust.

Eric Butler, Firesheep creator, in a blog post stressed the need for more caution on the part of users as to the extent of their sensitive information they make available online and calls for websites to take more responsibility in protecting their users.

However, the best possible solution has been presented by end-to-end data encryption, which is generally denoted by HTTPS or SSL.

Firefox users over Wi-Fi networks are thereby enjoined to employ the inbuilt HTTPS Everywhere extension to counter the threat, albeit that the feature works only when the given website has implemented HTTPS. And major websites as a matter of urgency must implement HTTPS completely, as new hacking tools continue to exploit the unprotected medium through which data is transmitted to victimize users.

Online Security: Data Encryption Prioritized