|Summary: Google Docs is a FREE online collaborative word processor. It is easy to learn and use and it has features that aren't found in Microsoft Word and Wordperfect.|
In 2005, Google bought from the Silicon Valley start-up company Upstartle, Writely, an interactive and online word processor and renamed it “Google Docs.” It does some tricks that your current word processor probably can’t do.
I’ve been a Microsoft Word user for a long time. You probably use a Microsoft word processor too; most computer users do. While it’s easy for you to continue using the word processor that you’re already know, there are a few reasons why you may want to try Google’s FREE program, Google Docs.
One important feature of Google Docs is that you can access your documents from any computer that has an Internet connection. You simply log in to your personal Google account, and you’ll see a list of your work. You can view your documents, edit them, or publish your documents for others to see on the Internet.
Because your documents are saved on Google’s computers outside your home, your documents are safe if your personal computer breaks down or is stolen or lost. You can still save copies of your documents to your computer’s hard drive if you wish, but I find it easiest to just work with the copies that are stored online at Google Docs.
So, if you use one computer at your home and a different computer at the office, you can log on to your Google account in either place to see and edit the latest versions of your documents.
One Sunday the minister of our church forgot the
printed version of his sermon at home. He had to rush home to get it, but it occurred to me that had he typed his sermon in Google Docs from his home, he could have easily logged on and printed it off from the church’s computer.
Likewise, your kids may have Internet access at home and at school. If they forget to take their printed essay to school, no worries, they can easily log in to Google Docs from the school library and print a current copy so they can meet their teacher’s deadline.
Also, if your child doesn’t already have command of a word processor, you’ll find that Google Docs is easier to learn than Microsoft Word and other word processors.
Google Docs has many of the same basic word processor functions as the word processor you’re already using and it uses the terms and labels you’re already accustomed to. The simple desktop layout makes it easy for you to orientate yourself. Options to create bullet lists, change fonts, insert images, change color of cell fields, underline, bold and indent makes for organized work. Also, if you have existing files you can upload them to your Google Docs account. All of this is free.
If you’re a “power user,” that is, if you use your word processor for mail merging and other obscure “power” tasks, then Google Docs may not be powerful enough for you. However, if you’re like me and you have just simple word processing needs, then you may find Google Docs is useful as a great “companion” word processor.
Now for the cool trick that your desktop word processor can’t match: Google Docs is a “collaborative” word processor. This means that you, and others can all view and edit the same document at the same time on the Internet. I’ll write more about that in my next article.
You can get your free Google Docs account at: