Document Sharing and Collaboration ~ Google Docs

by Jeremy on March 18, 2009

Most of us are used to working on a Word document and then in order to share it we have to email it to all the people we are working with.  Then every change requires that another email is sent.  It gets to be unmanagable.  Also, it is difficult to keep your document with you as you move between computers.  If you have a computer at work, at home, and at the client it becomes complicated to keep the doc with you.  So that where the online doc services come in.  Over the last year I have been using Google Docs pretty heavily and I am a pretty big fan.

Google Docs provides pretty robust online word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools.   You can create all of the documents on the web and access them from anywhere.  The actual tools are pretty impressive although they are not at the level of Word on your computer.  They allow for the majority of formatting options that you will need.  Everything from simple formatting (fonts, sizing, bold, italics, etc.) to more advanced formatting like tables.  The spreadsheet application has many of the same functions available as Excel although not all of them.

All of your documents can be stored in your Google Docs account which gives you the ability to access the documents from anywhere with a web connection.  Google has also recently been testing a product, called Gears, that allows you to store the documents locally and use the Docs toolset without being connected to the Internet.  This is a huge benefit to laptop users.

It is also very easy to collaborate on your documents using Google Docs.  You can simply share the documents with the people that you want to have access.  The tool also gives you the ability to designate what access each person has to the document and tracks any changes.  So you can easily have groups work on collaboration documents from anywhere in the world.

Google Docs is a great tool that is getting better with each upgrade.  It would be fantastic for small businesses who are looking for flexibility.  Also, any business who is interested in allowing for more remote options, Google Docs would be a great tool to take a look at.

Grade: A- (Looking forward to coming releases)

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  • Jeff D

    Hey Jeremy-
    Have you taken a look at Office Live Workspaces? It allows for easy online collaboration between many users, and the variety of files types that you can upload to your Workspace exceeds the number of file types allowed on Google Docs. Workspaces also allows you to take full advantage of the features of Office products, rather than having to deal with scaled down versions. Here is a link if you are interested in a bit more information: http://workspace.officelive.com/Examples

    Cheers,
    Jeff
    Office Live Outreach Team

  • Jeremy Lattimore

    Jeff,
    Thank you for stopping by. I have an Office Live Workspaces account. I haven’t used it much as of right now. I was really waiting until Sharepoint online released to get the full featureset but I just haven’t followed up since that has been available. I will take another look at the Workspaces functionality and will put up a blog post in regards to my thoughts. Thank you.

  • http://www.twidox.com Nicholas

    Hi,

    Have you looked at twidox.com? Document sharing, focused on organisations.

    Best,

    Nicholas
    (twidox)

  • Jeremy Lattimore

    Nicholas,

    Thank you for stopping by Refocusing Technology. I have not looked at twidox.com. I will take a look as soon as I can. Always looking for great online tools. Thank you

  • Jeff D

    Jeremy-
    Just wanted to follow up and see if you got set up with the trial of Sharepoint Online.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Jeff
    Office Live Outreach Team

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