Online Document Processing

In Lakeview (New Orleans), a neighborhood devastated by the breach of the 17th St. Canal AFTER Hurricane Katrina, our grassroots recovery group is using Google Spreadsheets to track the progress of neighborhood recovery of over 7400 homes. Read Full Story.

My own cousin in Mississippi runs a small fishing fly business. His dad left it, the family business, to him. The only problem is that my cousin is only 17 years old and doesn’t have any family in Mississippi. Friends are cool but for some things, you can only trust family. So my other cousins and I help him out. We help him prepare letters, quotations and all manner of correspondence. Having studied a bit of accounting, I specifically hep out with the accounts. I’m not anywhere close to Mississippi so helping the guy out has been quite challenging. Dealing with email attachments generally pisses me off. see, I have a slow computer which can get (and is) crashed very easily. Downloading Yahoo! attachments seems to do that, every time. Besides, none of us is a trained writer so the letters have to be authored, edited, and re-edited by 3 to 4 guys half way round the world from each other. Something as simple as helping out my cousin and friend used to be pure hell and somewhat costly. Until we discovered Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

It’s no Ms Office as far as extensive word processing features go, but I love it all the same. Take the tour, you will too. Besides, do you ever even use half of Ms Word’s features? Google Docs and Spreadsheet is the future: Do your work online, store it online and have it accessible from anywhere in the world. The coolest thing, however, is the ability to invite people to collaborate in your work. For my cousin, I write the first draft, then my other cousin in England looks at it and improves on it (if he can, hehe) then finally the guy in Mississippi applies the finishing touches. Neat, huh?

There’s nothing to download; you access your documents and spreadsheets from any computer with an Internet connection and a standard browser. And it’s free.

Some people say that Google Docs and Spreadsheet is too basic and not ‘feature rich’. I think such people are probably trying to compare it to Ms Office. No, it’s not Ms Office! Don’t compare. Just because it different doesn’t mean it’s not good. Personally, I like it that they didn’t set out to copy MS Word and Excel (I am definitely ABM ). Obviously, Google Docs does require a little getting used to but all in all, it’s wonderfully simple, beautifully crafted, and quite a lifesaver.

If you want an online office suite with a little more firepower, try thinkfree. It’s basically an Ms Office clone, but online.

By the way, this post was written using Google Docs. I also published it without signing into Blogger. 🙂 I did have to insert the label later, though.

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