Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's All About the Cloud, Baby...

eSchool News just reported that Google took a giant step towards making it easier than ever to spend your life in the cloud and ignore your hard drive as storage space.

While a Google account always gave you unlimited storage space, it always converted any document you uploaded into a Google doc. Now, apparently, will store documents in any format. Your account comes with a free gigabyte or storage space, and only non-Google documents will count towards that allotment. Moreover, files will now increase to a 258 MB size limit.

While not currently available (I tried!), this should be phased in by the end of the month. The real test, will be whether it accepts iWork files.

And, while I'm talking about Google, is anyone else glad to see them finally taking on China? Granted, it took being hacked by, allegedly, the Chinese government to force them to it, but the Wall Street Journal reports their very public stance has had impact on other companies.

Google's statement against censorship in China also set a new standard for many multinational companies that have cooperated with the Chinese government for years, saying that sacrifices had to be made in order to reach China's massive market.

China has often claimed that taking it to task on human rights issues is tantamount to cultural empirialism. But as I tell my Model UN students, they're a member of the UN and signed the charter, which says all members must uphold its principles. There you go.

Of course, while Google took considerable flack for agreeing to the censorhip necessary to run in China, the article suggest they have actually been able to provide Chinese citizens access to information they wouldn't have otherwise:
"Our postings on the Internet are deleted by [other] Web sites, or when we upload pictures showing bad things on the street, they are deleted … I don't know what to do without Google," Ms. Xu said.

Which raises the question: is it better or worse for them to pull out of China? Do you stick with high ideals that could actually hurt the people of China? Or sacrifice the ideal for practical, tangible benefits that overtime may erode the original obstacles? Are these even intelligible questions?

I'll run a little poll of my own on the side, and see what readers think.


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