Being an editor/writer of sorts, I'm always on the lookout for any tool that will help me compose my articles. Now, I realize that many of you may not be writers, but don't, for a moment, let that stop you from reading this article. What I'm going to share with you is a tool that is so useful that if the extent of your editing is putting a heading on a report and safely storing it in a file, then you STILL need this tool.
Google, being the juggernaut they are, can't be content with simply having the number one search engine and the number one web based email server. No, they have some little guy, sitting in a cramped southwest ground floor office, who feels that developing a method for sharing, editing, and storing your documents should be of importance to the average internet user, and that Google, again, should be at the forefront.
Give the little guy a raise and a corner office. WRITELY is Google's latest web based tool to show the possibility of dominating a market.
Will it? Who knows. I do know that I will use it, over and over, as it will virtually eliminate a product that, until now, cost the end users anywhere from twenty to sixty dollars and used up vital hard drive space.
Writely can best be described as a web based word processor - on steriods. Developers have took heed of the business trend that allows small groups of workers to work together on projects, with each employee having the ability to alter and/or edit documents for the collective good of the group. File sharing has always been problematic. Google email provided users with the ability to swap large files back and forth. But you had no way of seeing the 'latest' version, unless someone took time to mail it to you.
With Writely, everyone, and I mean everyone with an email address, can sign up for the newly released beta version and share documents instantly, edit documents from any location with internet service, and store your documents in a secure enviroment that backs itself up every ten seconds. Collaboration is in real-time, so the right hand always knows what the left is doing.
You can store your documents online and grant access and editing privileges to anyone in your circle of family,friends, and co-workers. And the type of documents you can upload and store is not limited to the conventional text documents. Writely stores all documents in html. What this means to you is - you can upload Microsoft Word documents, OpenOffice, RTF, HTML, and the normal text documents, and all will be securely stored, and can be edited, in the Writely editor.
Here's where it gets good. Documents can be 'saved as' in a number of different ways. You can save a document to HTML and upload it to the web. You can save a document as a .zip file. And the kicker - you can create documents with the online editor, then convert the document to PDF and save it to your desktop. Onced saved, the converted document will retain all the links and images in the original document.
Like any good WYSIWYG editor, the Writely editor will allow to to perform all the usual functions, including indentation, bulleted lists, coloration, table functions, image importation, and url conversion. Then, save your document as a PDF file, and you will automatically create your own PDF's with imbedded links, color, and images. Aside from file storage, this is the reason I use Writely. Why should I pay for a PDF converter, and have to upload something else onto my already taxed computer, when I can use Writely's online converter and create all the PDF files I want for free?
Oh, there are many other reasons for signing up for Writely. Many use it for it's ability to allow you to create and/or edit blog post, and then upload them to your blog. Others love to use the 'email in' feature, and upload information via email. At any rate, I'll let you discover your own favorite reason.
Writely will perform with most browsers, including Firefox, but will not support Netscape 4, Opera, IE 5 (Mac) or IE 4 (Windows).