Home > innovation, online tools, technology, technology tuesday, Web 2.0, webware > A bit of praise for Google Docs

A bit of praise for Google Docs

Fountain Pen

Every library science student has come upon this situation at least once in their career. The situation being a group project to develop a collection, create library mission statement, develop user policies, write a presentation, or any of the other endless projects which require one point of reference for many people. Many students continue to clog their email servers with countless re-edits sent from one person to the next. But what happens if you missed the update? Or you left your flash drive at home? Or the computer you are trying to work at doesn’t have any publishing software at all?

One easy solution is to log in to Google Docs. The current word processor application may seem familiar to some as it was once known by the moniker Writley. The spreadsheet functionality came a bit later, from the labs at Google. There aren’t too many bells and whistles to make everyone drop what they are doing and sign on immediately, but there is something to be said for several of its features. For one, you can easily add collaborators and share instantaneous edits with others. There is also a wonderful “revisions” map that highlights just who did what and when. You can easily insert images, tables, links, bookmarks, and even comments to help make your document more dynamic. Because of its nature, this file can easily be exported into a proprietary word processor for final clean up and design concerns.

Google Docs also features a rudimentary spreadsheet application. It isn’t as smooth to use as Excel, but for simple tasks and record keeping I would say it is not without merit. Granted there are other tools online that can be used but another Google convenience makes looking into these tools ideal. That feature is the Google Groups service. Though you can add collaborators within the Docs application, having a collected group of members can add more communication options to help in project management. You can also upload static files for other members and even create group web pages.

Other online word processors include:

{Edit} I should note that this service is still technically in Beta, so any glitches or problems are par for the course. I was rather surprised to see a new interface when I logged in on June 27th. {/Edit}

{Edit again} Lifehack posted a great article about the new Google Docs interface and some shortcuts for use. {/Edit}

  1. 06/27/2007 at 12:46 pm

    John : Nice post!

    Other than Zoho Writer, we offer quite a wide variety of tools. Check Zoho out at http://zoho.com

  2. call23ison
    06/27/2007 at 2:14 pm

    RE: new interface — lifehack’s entry today is on googledocs recent ‘facelift’…& includes a list of ‘shortcuts’. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/google-docs-gets-a-facelift.html

  3. 07/10/2007 at 6:11 pm

    Nice list with word processors. Google Docs is the worst.

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