The Google Docs collection (word docs, spreadsheets, drawings..) is my favourite online set of web apps. I often work collaboratively with team members and associates using the online tools. The system is quicker to launch than a desktop app, uses a cleaner and easier interface and fulfils all of my collaboration needs.
What I get from Google Docs over any other similar tool:
- Encourages project transparency using flexible user roles and share settings
- Easy to see differences between revisions and changes per user (brings massive trust in sharing a document with everyone)
- Real-time collaboration… it really feels like you’re building something together and in a rapid yet fun manner. (sometimes even competitively)
- Fast! I can start a new doc or spreadsheet and it’s saved automatically. No waiting for the app to load or choosing where to save stuff.. just TYPE.
- Resolves confusing issues quickly. I can go from a text based Skype chat to a privately shared drawing in < 5 seconds. Suddenly ideas make sense a whole lot quicker!
- Die emails, DIE! No more back and forward long email dialogs with mixed edited versions from various contributors. One up to date google doc solves that problem and kisses that massive email thread goodbye.
- Importing and exporting to any format is simple and actually works! I know I can go from anywhere to anywhere with Google Docs.
- Offline access is possible with Chrome and the offline option enabled. When you come back online, syncing works like it should.
- The web app is always up-to-date meaning new spreadsheet formulas are available and new features are available faster than traditional desktop based apps.
- Did I mention the interface? Working without frustration from computers can actually be free?
- Bug-less. I have so much more trust in Google Docs than I do with Micro$oft products.
Additionally, Google understand the user. Scenario: a few paragraphs of text need revising and approval from the team. One google doc can be shared and the changes edited in real time. Any questions or unsure changes can be made as comments that appear separately next to the content in question. Comments can then be replied to and resolved. The comment systems means that the original document has not been corrupted. Email simply can’t do this. I commonly see agendas being sent around asking for input. The scenario described above would greatly reduce manual merge issues and save time.