Head in the Cloud: Google Docs

cloud_streetsby Christian Brucculeri

Recently,  I’ve encountered more and more situations in my personal, professional, and student life where cloud computing has made a seemingly complicated situation much simpler.

Working in groups with traditional email can be extremely complicated.  The idea that we email one another, with parties in “to” and “cc”  fields seems so antiquated.  How does that communication system reflect real life?  It used to make sense because we were doing the best with the technology that we were given-  but cloud computing allows for greater touch points and better interaction.  The most compelling reasons to move to the cloud, in my mind, are data/file storage and communication among parties.

The Beauty of Google Docs

Google Docs has changed the way I think about work collaboration.  Writing a white paper, creating a presentation or doing shared research can be a cumbersome task on a traditional server;  there are so many needless complications:

If I open an excel document and start doing some research that I need other people to contribute to,  I have to email a draft  (with a date or draft ID) or I have to store it on a shared internal server for others to access it.  Okay, fine– done.  But what if two or more of us are working on the same document at the same time (as is often the case)?  Not possible.  One person gets the master document and everyone else opens read-only copies, has to res-ave, then someone needs to compile the various drafts into a new master.

With Google Spreadsheets I can create a file and share it with collaborators (or viewers who cannot edit).  Every time anyone wants to view or edit the document, they just log in and start working.  As a collaborator,  I can see in real-time who is viewing and working on the document.  I can see updates occur in real time.  We can all work on the same file simultaneously and even chat about the work in a chat function.

The real beauty in working this way is that,  when collaborating on a Google Document,  the Document is the center of the conversation.  Emailing back and forth to multiple parties about a document that’s attached or on a server is counter-intuitive to the process.  If the document is the product, it should be the place where everyone meets.

If you haven’t yet, give Google Docs a try.

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