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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