Before we go any further I think it is time to acknowledge that Google is going to take over the world. I'm not so sure that's a bad thing really.
I mean if anybody else can come up with the wide array of tools that Google provides for free, they should step right up... Bueller, Bueller - anyone...
For this exercise I took a look at Google Docs.
I'm actually typing this blog entry as a Google Document and I've already started my blog post about Web 2.0's effect (or is it affect - I always mix those two up) on Libraries and people, including Jimmer using Google Docs as well.
Google documents are pretty straight forward with maybe a few less bells and whistles than Microsoft Word. Wait, that might not be a bad thing. Then again, what would I do with these gems from my repertoire? "No, I do not want that to be autoformatted - fricken, fracken styles. Autocorrect this Bill Gates!"
I imported a PowerPoint presentation to test a Google Presentation. It seemed to run just fine, but I lost some of the animation I had built in. Curious, I created a new presentation to see if any animation effects would be available. They are not. Again, a few less bells and whistles - this time not so good as I consider animation to be a key ingredient to slide show presentations.
Finally, I tested Google spreadsheets. This one tested me a bit. I started by importing a spreadsheet I use on a weekly basis. If you follow me on Twitter, you know exactly what I am talking about. No losses this week - well I didn't play.
One of the reasons I didn't play is because I had some hangups manipulating the spreadsheet. For starters, there's no autoformat for column size. Folks this is a season long spreadsheet with several columns factoring in - I need those columns to be sized perfectly so I can see everything, and I don't want to have to take the time to do it manually.
Second, my formulas, or zeros or even "REF!" were not visible. Oh they were there, I just didn't realize it until I went back to the original spreadsheet to see what numbers might be missing or if I might have copied something incorrectly. This is when I realized there is no formula bar. What the heck - how do you edit a cell and see what you're typing? Well, as it turns out you edit a cell by double clicking the cell. You can also do this in Excel, that's just not my normal workflow. Ah well.
One other thing I would like to mention from testing is the wide array of templates Google Docs offers. Everything from letterhead, to invoices, to scrapbook presentations - pretty cool stuff.
On the whole - Google Docs are very usable products, and I know I'll find myself returning to them at some point.
Of course I'm thinking MJB Foundation collaborative work. Kind of exciting actually.
The coolest thing about Google Docs is they are available online to be shared or edited by multiple users. As usual the Commoncraft folks explain this best.
Collaboration is the word that keeps running through my head when I think about Google Docs. Because the documents are available online to anyone you give access to there are not 50 kajillion copies floating around of each document. Instead, there is one consistent copy available to anyone in a group who might need it.
Imagine how this might work for your library task force or committee. I know right?!
And remember it's all FREE!
Google will one day rule the world MUHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!
(Editor's note - I posted this to my blog directly from Google Docs. Now that's cool.)
12 hours ago