Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Google Docs

A request for more cloud computing applications was received in my mail box so I decided to write on a long overdue application which is widely in use. This application is from Google and is called Google Docs which is an open source application and falls into this requested area of cloud computing. It allows you to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations online; share and collaborate in real time; safely store and organize your work and control who can see your documents. This type of application for home computing is very effective in sharing/collaborating on school work and projects such as family and group events and has numerous possibilities for the home office and small business entity. The feature of always available is also important in this information persistent society and if you already have a Gmail account you already have access to Google Docs. Below are some of the benefits of using this free Web based/cloud computing application from Google.

Creating documents – this can be accomplished from scratch or use a template. The type of document you can create as well as existing documents to upload are DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, PPT etc. The toolbar buttons in Google Docs are similar to those you already use in creating your desktop documents so this familiarity makes getting started easy.

Share/Collaborate – This aspect of Google Docs allows you to choose who can access your documents by entering their email address and sending them an invitation. This is similar to using Windows Office Live Workspace (OLW) http://www.webbytesblog.com/2008/11/microsoft-office-live-workspace.html. Unlike OLW, Google Docs allows for real time collaboration with multiple users and editing as well as an online chat window to show who changed what and when on spreadsheets and documents. This makes ever having to share information via email passé with it’s back and forth time delay.

Safety online/organizing – This is a cloud application so there is no downloading to access your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. All you need is a computer with Internet access and a browser to view and create your documents. This aspect of Google Docs also saves storage space on your PC and is a plus in the event of a hard drive crash or power failure since all is in the cloud. You can also organize your documents by placing them in folders for easy finding when needed.

Publishing – In publishing your document, you have choices in who can access your document --- allow all to see, a few people or only you…you decide. You can also stop publishing the document on the Web at any time. Google Docs allows you to post a document to your blog and within your company or group.

Some need to know info:
• Create from scratch or template
o Upload from PC or enter a URL of a file or a Web. You can email documents and files directly to the email address given after you sign on to Google Docs. This is a long and complex address, but it is a necessary security feature to this option. This emailing feature does not work with spreadsheets and PDFs.
• MS Word (.doc, .docx), Rich Text (.rtf), Open Document Text (.odt), and Start Office (.sxw)
• Presentations (up to 10 MB from your computer and 2 MB from the Web, 500 KB via email)
o Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt, .pps)
• Spreadsheets (up to 10MB)
o Comma Separated Value (.csv)
o Microsoft Excel (.xls, .xlsx) files and Open Document Spreadsheet (.ods)
• PDF Files (up to 10MB from your computer, 2MB from the Web)

This is a short overview of Google Docs and the links below will provide more information for those who would like to use this application. If you have used OLW and decide to try Google Docs, let us know your take on both.

As always, email me with your topics and let’s have a good time learning together!

In His Service
AvaByGrace


Links:
Google Docs

http://docs.google.com/

What’s New in Google Docs?
http://www.google.com/google-d-s/whatsnew.html


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