Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Google Documents

I've been playing with Goole Documents for most of today.  Or perhaps I should rather say "struggling with".  They can't be serious, surely?  This has been out for 4+ years and the features are still pitiful.  Try inserting a table - 5 rows by 5 cols is the max, then, if you need more, you have to add one row/col at a time.  Try merging cells - no can do. Try inserting an image - fine, if you don't want text beside it and certainly not possible within a table.  Want to copy and paste from one table to another - not a chance. Measurements, like column widths, are in inches only.  It's useless!

So why am I trying to use Google Documents?  It's Cloud Computing, innit!  The document is kept online and can be accessed and edited by anyone who has permission.  Adopt Sri Lanka serves 80 schools, the profiles of which are kept on hard disk.  The two offices each look after 40 schools.  But sometimes one office needs to look at the records of the other, or one staff member needs to work from the other office. And then sometimes a manager might need to go out of the country yet keep tabs on the schools.   Cloud computing is the obvious answer - with a browser and a password you can pick up and edit the documents from anywhere with an Internet connection, and multiple editors can simultaneously collaborate in the production.

Fantastic in theory, but Google's implementation is buggy.  Microsoft are rolling out their web apps in the next month or so - no longer will you need MSOffice installed on your PC.  You can bet that MS's offering will be far more capable than this ,,, thing.

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