Thursday, January 24, 2008

Project Play: Google Docs

Google is dangerously seductive. It's just too darn useful. It could be the next Microsoft: They mean to rule the world! Or at least control all information. But we can trust them -- their motto is "Don't be evil!" Their staff plays a lot of frisbee.

Of course, this blog is published with Blogger, from Google. I get my home email via Gmail, from Google. I use iGoogle as one of my regular home pages, with nicely customized newsfeeds and aps. Lest we forget -- as if we could -- Google is the search engine of choice. Google translator absolutely rocks! Google calendar is currently the product of choice on our library website. Oh yeah, and they own YouTube -- you gotta love these guys! Google books and the Google Library Project? A little controversy there -- let's not get started... and we won't talk about all the people who are deluded into believing that Google has made libraries obsolete.

Okay, then there's Google docs, the subject of this week's Project Play lesson. I love Google docs. My regular use is sharing files between home and work, but sometimes they're shared with other folks I'm working with. I've published some to the web and linked them from this blog. Barb Kelly, our Assistant Director, devised a way for people using catalog terminals in the library to take notes and save them in Google docs.

For my Project Play lesson, I logged into a shared Google docs account and messed around with a few documents. I read the Google docs blog and was truly impressed with some of the recent changes, particularly to presentations. This is really sophisticated stuff in creating external applications that provide most of the function of the basic "office" productivity, then host it remotely, allow customized publishing and sharing, making it easy to use with bells and whistles.

What's not to love? I just hate to put all my eggs into any one basket, so it's Flickr, not Picasa for me, and Bloglines, not Google Reader. Google Finance is pretty cool for tracking investments, though.

For more on Google, see:
Here's a presentation I whipped up from part of Joy's Google Docs post on the Project Play Blog. Reformatting it and putting it here took me about 15 minutes.

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