Google Docs: Your Online Office?

Over the next few weeks, Google will be rolling out a new feature that allows Google Docs users to access their documents even without an Internet connection. For now the change only applies to the word processor, but similar capabilities are expected to become available for spreadsheet and presentation documents once the initial trials are complete.

This move wasn't unexpected. The updated Google Docs take advantage of the company's Google Gears library, a programming tool that allows Web application developers to synchronize online data with files on the user's local hard drive. It also intensifies the burgeoning competition between Google and Microsoft, which offers Web-based collaboration features similar to Google Docs in the form of Microsoft Office Live Workspace. Some pundits feel that online services like Google's are the Number One threat to Microsoft's dominance of the productivity software market.

Myself, I remain skeptical. Current fans of Google Docs will surely appreciate this new feature, but I still have a hard time seeing how a Web-based application could ever replace traditional word processing software for serious business computing. I have a hard enough time getting all the capabilities I want out of alternative office suites, such as OpenOffice.org.

And then there are the security and liability concerns. Having access to your documents from any computer anywhere is a powerful productivity enhancement, but quite frankly I work with a lot of documents that should never leave the walls of my office -- and I'm just small potatoes. Google, Microsoft, and other online application providers will have to demonstrate a serious commitment to document security before they can attract enterprise customers to these services, especially given the current regulatory climate.

How comfortable are you with shifting your business computing off the desktop and into the network? Do you see browser-based applications becoming viable alternatives to the apps of old? Or are they just another flash in the pan we call "Web 2.0"? Sound off in the PC World Community Comments.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Neil McAllister

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?