Google Documents – collaboration made simple

Google documents. What is the point?

Sorry, let me rephrase. There are a lot of advantages to using them, especially if you’re working in a team, and you don’t know what other changes are going on.

However, they’re stored online, and they’re slow to edit. Like, seriously slow, compared to MS Word. Here’s hoping you don’t need to scroll all the way to the bottom…

But more than that, it’s the fact that your field of vision is constantly limited with Google’s ‘smart’ layout. I’m sorry, but I like my Word, where I can open it up full-screen and then easily change the border limits etc…

Maybe I’m being a bit unfair here. It is dependent on internet connection, so maybe my dodgy connection is causing it to slow the whole time. Maybe there is some setting for display that I haven’t found yet.

Regardless though, I’m against the whole idea of online document storage. Sure, it’s great in theory – log on from anywhere to change your files – but unfortunately, that requires constant internet connection. Something the west of Ireland seems to lack.

Of course, one could just download the files when in a wi-fi hotspot, edit them on computer, then upload and update again when back in range. Simple solution? Yes, but what advantage does the online storage have then over keeping files saved on a couple of different computers?

I think I’m a lone voice against this new age of online collaboration. Google documents is taking businesses by storm with its neat and easy collaboration tools and tricks. And then you’ve Apple’s iCloud. I haven’t used it yet (a credit card was needed for the free service), but the theory is that you could save all your documents online, and then access them from any Apple device. Again, simple and elegant solutions, but I don’t seem to fall under their target-market demographic.

Whilst I like the availability of info online, I’m simply not hooked-up enough to make it feasible. I need to be able to write my assignments on the side of the road in Ballinasloe, and not wait until I’m home or at college. Most importantly, there is no way I’m going to bother downloading, editing and uploading a file every time I think of a new introduction.

MS Word works offline perfectly, simply. So until every step of my walk home is covered by free wi-fi, I’m keeping Google documents for the business group meetings.


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