Saturday, March 10, 2007

On using Google Docs

Over the last few weeks I've been using Google Docs & Spreadsheets to great effect. Having documents-in-progress at a centralized network location is simply convenient, especially for those like me who haven't jumped on the USB thumb drive bandwagon. I still carry around 3.5" discs. It's nice not to have to worry about which version of a document I am carrying with me or which version I emailed yesterday. GDocs also appears to keep a complete archive of revisions which can be reverted to at any time.

The sharing is cool too. Right now I'm collaborating with two different people on separate documents that I want each of them to be able to see and/or modify at their convenience. GDocs tracks who you have shared with, what privileges they have with that document, and ties that collaborator's contributions or modifications to an identity so you can see who contributed what, where and when. Collaborators do not need to have a Google Account to have access, you just "invite" them to share your document using their email address. There's also a real-time chat window next to the document for instant discussion.

Also, current documents you're working on offline can be uploaded, modified and then exported (yes, you can export as a PDF) at any time, all major formats (including OpenOffice's ODF) accepted. As far as I can tell all formatting and formulas come through ok. There are publishing options I haven't explored yet, including adding documents to your blog. Maybe this calls for a chart.


E-Doo said...

I've heard great things about Google Docs. I'm still a little leary about keeping personal information on someone else's server, but I'd like to try this sometime with something not-so-private.

shawner said...

GET A FLASHDRIVE! ha ha. doesn't sound like a bad idea though.

E-Doo said...

I've actually started using it to draft blog entries and some task management stuff for work. So far, it's simply awesome. I hate the fat and bloated Word and Excel. These seem like Ferrari's in comparison.

Thanks for setting me on to this once again.

Kevin said...

Glad you're liking it, Eric. The more I use it the more things I think of to upload or create there.