By Ralph Phillip, CIS
I love Google Docs! If you regularly use different computers at home, work, and/or school then using a web-based suite of productivity tools is for you.
Getting a Google account (also a Gmail or Blogger account) is free and easy to setup at http://docs.google.com. After you create an account you can start creating new documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and web surveys. You can organize your files within folders and with keywords.
Editing a document in Google Docs is pretty much like using installed software on your computer. It’s very easy to create and edit. You can also insert images, tables, charts, etc.
Then, you can access your documents from any computer. You don’t need any special software–just Internet access. So, you can start a document at work and continue it at home without having to use a portable storage device.
One of my favorite features of Google Docs is the sharing. You can share your documents in several ways. You can publish your document as a web page with live editing. As an example, I create my course syllabi in Google docs and share them as a web page. Students can see (or print) the syllabus at any time by going to the web page. If I make a change to my syllabus, I don’t have to republish because the published version is automatically updated. Yeah! No more printing.
You can also share a document with others whom have editing capabilities. This allows multiple people to work on the same document at the same time from different locations. This is a fantastic collaborative tool and you can see who is changing what parts of the document while they’re doing it.
I’m having students create documents and share them with me. I can access their shared documents and type comments right on their document.
Give Google Docs a try. It’s free, reliable, and has many features that will improve your productivity.