Until yesterday, I just didn’t see the point of online office suites and of apps like Google Docs. Sure, I thought they were nice as proof-of-concept stuff. They made me go “Ooh! Look, cool Ajax!” but I didn’t use them. But this past weekend, I needed to find and work on an old document. Problem was, I hadn’t touched that thing in months. So I had to wonder which one of my computers I used when I last made changes to it, because that’s where the latest version would be.
Finally, I dug it up, and emailed it to my Gmail account. I figured I’d open it later and review it. And when I opened that email containing it, there was an option to open it up in Google Docs instead of saving it locally and editing it in Word. So I thought, why not, let’s give Google Docs a shot! I opened it up there, and all of a sudden, things clicked! I realized that instead of always digging up the latest version on my local computer, I could simply keep one version on Google Docs, edit it where I like, and attach it to emails I send from my Gmail account or save it locally. I know, this is basic stuff, but until I actually correlated the access-anywhere functionality of Google Docs with the need to use it, it didn’t click for me. And I suppose it’s the same with a lot of other people.
Storing important documents online makes sense. It especially makes sense for those things you only need infrequently, and by the time you need them, you can’t remember where you put them. For example, a list of your belongings (to use for home owner’s insurance claims), or letters to people (for those rare cases when you need to write and mail them), or a list of places to see when you go on a trip, etc. are all documents that can benefit from being easily accessible and editable. Or how about that short story or article you’re working on? Give it a try and see how it works for you!
While I’m on the subject of Google Docs, I should mention there was a bug with the option to email a document right from the Google Docs interface. It just didn’t work for me, so the Google engineers might want to have a look at that. I also think it’d be nice if an option to attach a Google Docs & Spreadsheets file was added to Gmail’s file attachment dialog. Currently, if I’m writing an email and wish to attach a Google Docs file, I need to either save it locally (defeating the purpose of using it online) or publish it, and include the URL to that file in the email. I’d like to be able to browse my Google Docs & Spreadsheets storage area and select a particular document right from within Gmail’s interface.