I have to estimate that I’ve used the same program, Microsoft Word, for my writing for at least the past 25 years. I’ve loved it; it’s been great to store files, build worlds, edit my work and others, and do writerly stuff. Honestly, couldn’t complain about it.
Usually I leave re-posts or shares of articles on writing to my Liegois Media Facebook page or my Twitter feed of the same name. However, this article (How Google Has Quietly Revolutionized Document Editing), got my interest.
During the past three years, I’ve found myself using Google Docs more and more in my teaching environment. On a personal level, I’ve found it to be useful to be able to edit and comment on a document at the same time that another person (usually one of my students) is working on the same document. Obviously, this is an advantage in working directly with a student, or students who are working on a group writing project. It’s also been easy for me to access files, etc. – other than the fact that the Internet can sometimes go down in a school district and leave students and faculty alike twiddling their thumbs.
However, the article goes over a lot of the advantages of being able to open multiple file formats in the Google Docs app, even PDF files. With me even dealing with older Word files, this is an obvious advantage. However, it appears that Google has gone even further with this. From the article:
On [last (:))] Wednesday, Google introduced another update to Google Drive that makes this sort of quick, collective document markup even easier. Now you can comment on Office files, PDF documents, and images in Drive’s preview pane—without even having to fully open the file in Google Drive. For dedicated Drive users, it’s an added level of convenience that can shave a few precious seconds off your workflow. The move also further the negates the need to pay for other traditional productivity tools like Acrobat Reader or Microsoft Office Suite, the latter of which offers a useful real-time collaboration feature. And indeed, it is a strong play against Microsoft Office, which is still the reigning document format and productivity suite, particularly among enterprise clients. Microsoft, it should be noted, has been focusing on the other end of Google’s equation, upping its OneDrive cloud storage efforts in order to lure customers away from Google, Dropbox, and other cloud services.
And, the money quote:
Google is eliminating the need for distinct file types, making it easier to sign or edit documents regardless of the applications you have downloaded on your phone or desktop. It’s a novel idea, really—just being able to open a file, work on it, and not think about “what” it is.
As simple as Microsoft Word is, and how many writing projects I’ve saved in .doc or .docx formats, I don’t believe that I will stop using that program any time soon. However, this new item seems intriguing.
Any ideas where your loyalties lie, readers? Let me know in the comments.