Firstly, and less controversially, Google has expanded Docs to enable users to store any type of file. 1GB will be provided free with an annual cost of $0.25 for every additional gigabyte you require and individual files up to 250MB are supported. Uploaded files can also be organised into folders, shared and are searchable.
Google denies this turns Docs into the fabled GDrive many have long waited for and in truth - while useful - it doesn't offer the same seamless operation existing services like Dropbox which also provides 2GB of storage for free. Still, it is hard to see this as anything other than a good thing.
Equally the same could be said of a bold rethink Google has announced regarding China. Citing both a wave of China-originated attacks on its service and the censorship of its Google.cn search engine, Google SVP of Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond (picture courtesy of Brian Powers, Western Integrated Media) has said things must change.
"We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results," he explained. "At the time we made clear that "we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China."
"These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered--combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web--have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China," he continued. "We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China."
I'll steer clear of the politics here and just say I can see Google's point of view. Let's hope an unfiltered search engine can be agreed upon, but it seems very doubtful.