Google docs

Google Docs

Google Docs is a suite of online web applications like those you use in Microsoft Office. Google Docs contains word processing, a spreadsheet and a presentation program similar to MS PowerPoint. Because these are web-based applications and not programs that are housed on a hard drive, you can access them from any computer. Documents that you create are also stored online. You can export Google docs to your hard drive or as a web page. (You can use this feature to publish a Google doc in your blog).

You don’t have to worry about saving a document — all documents are automatically saved as you work on them. Document changes are tracked and you can always review or revert back to earlier revisions of a document.

One of the great features of Google Docs is document sharing — the ability to share a document with multiple users so that people in different locations can collaborate on a document, individually or at the same time. A Google Doc can have up to 10 simultaneous editors, a Google spreadsheet can have 5o. So, instead of attaching a document to an email and sending it to 5 or 6 people to review, and maybe getting 5 or 6 different versions back, you can send the users to the document and have all revisions in one place, and in real time.

To share a document, go to the “Share” tab and enter the email addresses of people you’d like to have view or collaborate on the document. This will let you send an email to everyone on your list with a link to the document, like the one you received about the tracking log.

Here’s a short YouTube video about Google Docs and a link to Google’s mini-tour.

If you want to find out more about the new Presentation application (on online version of Microsoft’s Power Point), visit the official Google Docs blog.

A couple more links:

  • Here’s a link to a WebWare article about some advanced features of Google doc, like “Live Update” — spreadsheet data that is automatically and continuously updated from web sources you select.
  • Another article, this one in Goundswell, gives some examples of how Google Docs can be used.

Other Online Applications

Zoho is another suite of free online application. In addition to the programs available in Google Docs, Zoho also has project management, a database application and a number of other programs. Give it a try!