Google Docs Is a Free, Web-Based Office Essay

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Google Docs is a free, Web-based office tool offered by Google, Inc. that allows data storage and collaboration to businesses. Users create and share documents, spreadsheets and presentations in dynamic and sophisticated ways (Mendelson, 2011). The fact that it is a Web-based tool means that it can work seamlessly across varying platforms (PC and Mac). It also allows members of an organization can collaborate on documents, worksheets, and presentations in real-time, even simultaneously. They can e-mail files, share access to files (either read-only or read/write) with individual contacts or groups, or publish files (to a blog or Web page).

There are three classic productivity applications: word processor, spreadsheet and presentation editor and a very user-friendly interface. There are also complementary apps such as Gmail and Google Calendar. Many small improvements have been made in recent years including Gears, a software platform that works as a browser extension allowing one to work on documents offline, work with Web applications while disconnected, and then sync changes automatically upon reconnect (Mendelson, 2011). Up to 50 people can edit a document, worksheet, or presentation at the same time, and using chat technology communicate privately with each collaborator. A recent study found that about 1 in 5 companies report Google Docs as "widely used" in their workplace (Naraine, 2007).
Taylor McKnight is a co-founder of SCHED; a web-based scheduling and social networking company for conferences and festivals. He used Google Docs to build the business, particularly in the absence of a full scale IT infrastructure. "Google Docs spreadsheets were [ideal] because a majority of conference organizers already had Google accounts and were familiar with the interface. Little to no learning curve, no server overhead, and Google's redundancy made this decision a big payoff" (2009). He noted that document sharing was an easy way to grant access to all those involved in a project as well as troubleshoot any difficulties live within the included chat room. If a client needed help, SCHED members could give them live suggestions within spreadsheets. Revision history also provided instant rollback in case there were any accidental overwrites, which were inevitable.

Similarly, Erik Folgate, Director of Interactive Marketing at RP Interactive, highly recommends that small businesses make the switch to Google Apps if they do not already have a cohesive inter-office system. They looked to Google Docs to provide a secure means of easily sharing documents and working with….....

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