Guest Author - Chris Curtis
Lately there has been a lot of scuttlebutt about Google's latest new service. Google has released its beta version word processor, Writely, now integrated with its previously released spreadsheet program. Much of the press is focused on whether this latest feature will give MS Office a run for the money. Google denies it and while the new online capabilities provide a functionality that isn't readily available with MS Office, the programs are not as sophisticated or robust as the MS Office programs. With that said, most home users will find its interface and ease of use quite attractive and the tools sufficiently sophisticated for most of their needs.
Some of the features offered with the new Google productivity duo include:
Create documents and spreadsheets online directly in your web browser
Secure document and spreadsheet storage on Google's servers
Share documents and spreadsheets in a collaborative environment with private invitation
Editing in real time with other collaborators including a chat window showing you exactly what has been changed and by whom
HTML editing capabilities
Upload existing documents created in other productivity suites
Familiar and recognizable icons and menu structures so that you do not have to relearn basic skills
Access from anywhere with an internet connection through a simple log in process to the your Google account
Save to your computer in compatible formats readable by the most popular productivity suites
Publish to a website, blog or to an internet page supported by Google while controlling who can view
Easy interface with other Google Applications such as Gmail and Google calendar
Similar to the gmail format for displaying messages, the docs and spreadsheet page shows a list of the documents and spreadsheets you have saved on the Google Server. To open a document or spreadsheet, you would click on the file name. The list also displays the Owner/Collaborators/Viewers for each of the stored files, as well as when it was last edited and by whom.
The word processor is rich with the basic features but lacks the advanced features of the productivity suites currently on the market. It has a full selection of edit and formatting features, plus insert features such as tables, bookmarks, hyperlinks etc. It also provides revision features that support the collaborative environment.
The spreadsheet appears to have a full array of functions (over 200) for formula creation. The functions are categorized and consistent with those found in Excel and other traditional spreadsheets. The help feature, however, does not provide much guidance in their use for those unfamiliar.
All that is required to check it out for yourself is a. Google Account. If you are using gmail, you already have a google account and login. If not, registration is easy from this link Google Docs and Spreadsheets