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When it comes to making litigation decisions, lawyers usually depend on their experience, research, and gut instincts, rather than hard data. That's slowly changing, however, as more firms begin to embrace the use of data analytics when deciding how to pursue litigation.

Of course, startups and the media have been calling data analytics the future of the legal profession for years now. While data analytics are becoming more common, they still have a long way to go to meet their full potential.

Google and Microsoft should be mortal enemies, right? After all, in the world of office productivity, Microsoft's Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the rest) has been the dominant program for a generation, despite challenges from Google. The competition is much more robust when it comes to consumer cloud storage, where Google Drive holds its own against Microsoft and Dropbox.

There's good news for fans of both Drive and Word, however. A new plug-in will soon make these two nemeses more friends than foes, allowing you to save Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files straight to Drive. Things just got a lot simpler for lawyers and others who use Office for work, but Drive for cloud storage.

Have you heard about The Cloud? Of course you have. For the last five years or so, cloud computing -- using remote servers, accessible via the Internet, to store, manage and process data -- has been everywhere. There's cloud-based apps, cloud-based accounting, even cloud-based operating systems of sorts.

What there hasn't been much of is cloud-based eDiscovery. Two new start ups are focused on changing that, offering electronic discovery services built from the ground up to take advantage of the scalability, processing power, and lower cost of cloud computing.

Does Google Earth have a secret identity as a crime solver? Apparently. The digital eye-in-the-sky has been revealing street crime for years, from petty drug deals to apparent murders. The program has also been used to investigate illegal deforestation, housing violations, and even tax fraud.

With all the evidence that can be found on Google Earth, one might be surprised to learn that courts have not always treated it as admissible. That might change, though, as the Ninth Circuit gave Google Earth its stamp of approval last Thursday.

Lawyering is, in many ways, about writing. Sure, you're not Faulkner, but plenty of attorneys spend their days tapping away at the keyboard, composing motions, answering emails, drafting contracts. But you can give the typing a break every now and then, even if it's only to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome.

If you want to compose a message on the run, easily get a client interview down on paper, or just like working out your ideas verbally, dictation apps are the way to go. These speech-to-text apps turn your smart phones into expert dictation machines.

If you ask certain tech prognosticators, money transfer apps are the future. Forget Twitter, Candy Crush, or Kim Kardashian's $200 million app -- apps that let you buy a beer, split a bill or pay back a debt with just a few swipes of the finger are where the future is, supposedly. As such, Facebook, Snapchat and a host of new start ups have been scrambling to lock down the market.

If money transfer apps are the future, the legal sphere isn't going to be left behind. At least one company has put together a law-centric payment app, SettlementApp. It's not the omnibus cash transfer app that Square or Venmo are, but rather a tailored app allowing attorneys, large creditors, billers and the like to receive easy, electronic payments with less overhead.

If you've been watching your Facesnaps, Twitbooks or NSA data collection feeds lately, you've probably seen more than one share of writer and programmer Paul Ford's "What is Code?" article. The immersive, experience-based feature attempts to lay out the basics of code for a lay audience, in just around 38,000 words.

But what does code mean for lawyers?

Google I/O, the tech company's annual developer conference, came and went last weekend. The conference focuses on encouraging development in Google platforms such as Android and Chrome. But for the non-techies out there, it's much more of a two day press conference about Google's new developments.

Google I/O had some good news for lawyers, from simple developments like longer battery life and easier email, to potential game changers like virtual reality and NSA-connected toasters.

Here's an overview of five promising developments.

When it comes to taking and organizing client notes, the physical notebook went out of style long ago. There's just too many benefits to having electronic notes, which you can sync across devices or search for specific information.

If you're just looking for basic word processing, using Word or even Google Drive for your notes is fine. But you'll have to go through a few extra hoops if you want to really take advantage of electronic notes. Fortunately, there's plenty of note-taking software that's already done the work for you. So, which one is best?

It's been almost 25 years since Microsoft launched PowerPoint -- it's official birthday is May 22nd, 1990 -- and since then, the program has pretty much taken over the world. It controls virtually the entire presentations software market, with an estimated 350 PowerPoint presentations given every second.

But, like many programs we use frequently, we often get used to one version. That means you might still be operating on a PowerPoint program that is five, even eight years out of date. Is it time for an upgrade?