Monday, October 29, 2007

14. Play with Google Docs

Play MP3 Play audio introduction for this task

Another application offered by Google is Google Docs. This is an online word processor and spreadsheet application.

Web based applications to rival desktop applications

New support of web technologies by current web browsers allows for more complex and interactive web applications to be made, and this proof of concept by Google shows that it is possible for a web application to act as an entire office suite.

Unlike a desktop application, there is nothing to install on your computer in order to use a web application. The application itself resides on a server somewhere on the web, and you only need your web browser to access it.

One main benefit of web based applications is that they can be accessed from any computer. This is good if you frequently switch computers or you want to be able to access or edit your documents from home and work. You could use it for notes to yourself or for important documents you want to access on various computers. If you don't have Microsoft Office, it can be an quick way of creating or editing a document.

Your task

Log in to Google Docs and create a new 'Document'. Notice the 'File' button near the top left. This gives you access to save or print the document, or to 'Export'. Saving the document keeps it in your Google account, so you can access it from any computer. When you want to send the document to someone as a Word document, you would use 'Export as Word'.

You should also try creating a spreadsheet by choosing 'New' and 'Spreadsheet'.

Write a blog post about Google Docs. How much competition do you think it poses to desktop office suites such as Microsoft Office?


1 comment:

TRR said...

I just read about a technology from Mozilla Labs called Prism.

It allows existing web applications to more easily be used as if they were desktop applications, outside of a browser. In fact it looks as anybody can 'convert' an existing web application (like Gmail, or Google Calendar) into a desktop application, while the future will allow for specialised desktop applications.

On a related note, Mozilla Firefox is built upon Mozilla's XUL engine, which allows developers to easily build new browser-based applications, extensions, and even standalone applications - that can be launched from the web, if you have a Mozilla product installed. It's why there are so many great extensions for Firefox.