Saturday, November 22, 2008

Google Docs & MS Works

I was looking through the Google Docs template gallery this morning, and thinking a bit about Docs in terms of a competitor to Microsoft Office. I work in the legal industry (in IT) and I can say with no degree of uncertainty that people in Legal (and other professional services) use Microsoft Word differently from everyone else in the World. I can say with confidence that it will be years before a web based word processing tool will come close to replacing Word on the desktops of those in most law firms.

However, I think that Google Docs has beaten Microsoft in one area, and that is Microsoft Works. I know that Works does not get a lot of respect in the tech community, and likely for good reason. I have actually used it before, for one primary reason. They had loads of easy to use templates for home use. Things like holiday letters and labels, name cards and invitations. The Google Docs template gallery reminds me a lot of that feature in Works. They even have a listing of the templates I have used, pretty nice.

While I believe that the online office suites have a long way to go before they can really make a dent into the Microsoft Office world, I do think that Google Docs is set up to nicely replace the tasks most often done at home (at least in a highly connected home).

I was inspired to write this when I found an article on using Google Spreadsheets for creating Collaborative Spreadsheet Art. A very unique idea that makes great use of the collaborative functions of the program. I am going to start drafting a holiday letter to family and friends in Google Docs, look for a copy later this year (if you make the list).

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