Technology

Google Docs Explained

Google Docs has really been a blessing for the company I work for. We’re a young company of 5 (just hired our fifth!) and we don’t have a server or shared network appliance. Quite honestly, we don’t need one.

When I started, all documentation was simply passed around via email and quickly became confusing! I fired up Google Docs and started saving documents… then we moved to Google Apps and we now maintain all of our shared documentation in it. We have team members in Dallas, San Jose, and in India that work from Basecamp and these documents on a daily basis and it’s been fantastic!

From a marketing standpoint, I think Google Docs would be a great resource for copywriters and editors to utilize when building content for a client. Since both can login at the same time, make edits, chat, etc… seems like the perfect tool.

I noticed Common Craft shared another video regarding Google docs:

If you’ve not signed up, it’s worth it! For very small businesses with a handful of employees or employees that are not centrally located, it’s a great system.

Our Overall Documentation and Process Strategy

Basecamp is rudimentary project repository where we communicate and capture overall project progress. Google docs is much more collaborative and maintains fantastic change history, so we use it rather than Basecamp.

Between the two, we still need a task management system, so our integration and development firm has me evaluating Atlassian Jira. Looks like a great system, I’ll follow up and let you know how it works out!

7 Comments

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    Great post, Doug. I was talking to one of my friends the other day, a guy who runs a small design shop. He works with a writer 150 miles away, and he sometimes collaborates with people as far away as Denver. How do they make it work? Google Docs and Google Apps. To liberally paraphrase R.E.M., this could be the end of software as we know it, and I for one would feel just fine.

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    I totally agree, but I’d go further and say that it works very well for medium and even large companies.

    I have always considered MS Office an “essential” application, but a colleague tried to convince me that you can do without Office by using Google Docs and the free Office viewers (e.g. Excel Viewer). His argument was that for reading documents you use the viewers (easy viewing from a double-click), but for creating new documents you use Google Docs. I was sceptical because I am a big Exel user, but have since purchased a new computer (Vista, yikes!) and thought I’d give his way a try. It did take some getting used to, but now I am convinced he is right because I have been able to “survive” for about a month without any issues.

    A very good side-effect was that I have realized how often documents are really meant to be shared. Now I am at the point where I get really frustrated when people send Excel spreadsheets around for collaboration purposes via email. It’s so unproductive because you never know what is the latest version. One can argue that Sharepoint server solves those problems, but it doesn’t when you have remote/disconnected users that can’t connect to your Sharepoint server.

    This conversion is very difficult for users in a corporate environment, for various reasons, but still I see more and more corporate users making use of Web based apps.

    As you paraphrased it, “It’s the end of software as we know it, and I..” 🙂

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    I like Google Docs too, but I don’t like Basecamp. I prefer Wrike. The tools is very convenient, as you can collaborate with as many people as you want and all of them will get free accounts.

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    I am doing research on how SMBs use google apps and what are the gaps. Please do write about your experience with integrating JIRA.

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