Google Doc’s is an online productivity suite that offers applications for information processing. It is Google’s free service that competes Microsoft Office Suite, OpenOffice, SharePoint, etc. It offers web-based applications comparable to word, excel, PowerPoint, and SurveyMonkey through the cloud. These applications can be accessed anywhere at any time on a computer with the internet (or the downloaded application). It was launched in October of 2006 after Google acquired and adapted Writley. This launched included the web-based applications for documents and spreadsheets. Slide presentations were added in September of 2007, and the beta label of the service was removed in July of 2009 (Google, 2013). Multiple users can collaborate and edit files with the use of the cloud system. Files can also be set to private, viewable by URL, or searchable by the web in the Share button. The Share button is a part of each Google Doc application. A big feature of Google Doc’s is the instant saving feature. There is no save button, as all changes are automatically saved. Users can also make comments in files in order to make communication amongst users easier. Users can download the files as PDF’s, Microsoft Office Files, OpenOffice, rich text, and other comparable and compatible file formats (Apps Documentation and Support, 2013).
In April of 2010, Google launched Google Drive, which incorporated Google Doc’s with the ability to create, share, and keep your files in the cloud based system (Google, 2013). It is the cloud saving and sharing updates for Google Doc users. The Search button and the filing system are a big part of Drive. Google Drive gives the user the ability to manage files with folders that can be shared with other users. Folders can also be shared. As of 2010, Google has introduced a revision history feature that highlights the changes each user makes. This feature is available in Document, Spreadsheet, Presentation, and Drawing (Haldimann, 2010). You can save and open a variety of files in Drive, including all Microsoft Office products, video, pictures, and PDF’s (Apps Documentation and Support, 2013). A user can also convert the files that are uploaded to one of the Google applications so they can edit and share it in Google Drive. A user, when they download the Drive application onto their computer can edit files on their computer instead of through the web. Some see the change from Google Doc’s to Google Drive as a seamless integration, while others consider Google Drive as a replacement for Google Doc’s.
Applications in Google Doc’s:
Google Document is Google’s version of Microsoft Word. It does not have all of the features of Word, but it is very, very close. A user can insert tables, pictures, and objects in addition to having fundamental features that manipulate the text in the document.
Google Spreadsheet is Google’s version of Microsoft Excel. Users can enter data, enter formulas, create charts, manipulate the text in the file, create borders, manipulate cell color, etc. Users can also enter notes in cells, in addition to making headers and footnotes. A single file can hold multiple sheets. There is also a feature that allows the user to create a Google Form that will collect the data for that spreadsheet. (Tools--Create Form).
Google Presentation is Google’s version of Microsoft PowerPoint. Users can add slides, insert a table, manipulate text, insert photos and videos, choose a background, and pick a theme. In addition, there are animations that will enhance slide transitions.
Google Form has no Microsoft equivalent, but SurveyMonkey is an application this compares to. Forms is a way to collect data, using a survey. Seven question types are offered, in addition to many different themes. Section headers, images, and video can be inserted into the form. Page breaks can be created, and users can be sent to specific pages based on their answers to questions. Data can be stored and analyzed in Forms directly, or be collected in Google Spreadsheet. The form, as with the other applications, can be shared by email. There is an option to include the survey/form directly in the email so people can answer the form directly on the email they received. Users can embed the form on web based applications or websites.
The closest thing Microsoft has to Google Drawing is Paint. The application is available as a stand-alone application and can be found in both Spreadsheet and Document. It allows users to accomplish some of the more artistic aspects of document and spreadsheet. It contains a limited WordArt, textboxes, allows for multiple text directions, insert images (clipboard), a table, shapes, lines, and the manipulation of text. When used in Document or Spreadsheet, the objects created in Drawing are inserted as images or textboxes.
In 2006, Google made a huge step into grabbing the market of Microsoft Office and Open Office productivity suites. Why take on one of the largest companies in the world? Because they can offer a similar service for free!
While the applications do not have the same advanced features of Microsoft Office, Google Drive has become a legitimate threat to Microsoft. It is estimated that 1.2 billion people will be using cloud-based productivity services. Microsoft has answered Google’s threat to their market share with Office 365 that goes with their updated Microsoft Office 2013 and SkyDrive. However, Office 365 still costs $100 a year. Apple has created iWork suite in response to Google (Covert, 2013).
As Covert, the article of the article cited wrote: “But it’s awfully difficult to beat free” (Covert, 2013).
Covert, A. (2013). Will Google Docs Kill off Microsoft Office? Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2013/11/13/technology/enterprise/microsoft-office-google-docs/
Google. (2013). Our History in Depth. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/about/company/history/
Haldimann, N. (2010). This Week in Docs: Revision History in Spreadsheets. Retrieved from: http://www.googledocs.blogspot.com/2010/12/this-week-in-docs-revision-history-in.html
Apps Documentation and Support. (2013). Google Drive Overview. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/drive/about.html