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Double Stamp is an easy-to-understand guide to useful computer and internet technology. It's written to be readable by everyday computer users.

Collaborate with Google Docs

Do you ever have the need to collaborate with multiple people on a document, spreadsheet or presentation? Maybe you are a student who is writing a group paper, a captain of a team that needs to keep roster information up-to-date, or a business that needs to keep documents in sync with input from every employee. If you haven't heard of Google Docs, you need to read this.

Google docs is an online office suite with tools for creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. All the tools run right inside your browser, so you don't need to actually download and install anything to use it. With Google Docs, multiple people can edit a document with no need to email revisions or keep track of what has changed. It stores the files on the web so that all users can see the latest revision, and no one gets out of sync.

The benefits of this kind of service are huge. No matter where you are, you can get on the web and edit your documents. Forget to make a change at work? No prob, just log on from home and make the changes. Maybe your computer crashed and you didn't make any backups of your files. Under a traditional office setup, this would be a catastrophe. With Google Docs, no problem.

Here's some ways in which I use Docs:

  • A friend of mine and I are researching a certain market for a possible business startup. We keep track of existing products that are similar to ours.
  • A friend of mine and I play pinball all the time. Just for fun we started recording our scores. We now use an online Google spreadsheet to keep all kinds of stats on our games.
  • When I do web design, I keep track of the hours spent and what I did. I can easily share this information with a client so that they can keep tabs on what is going on. It makes them feel comfortable, and prevents me from having to respond to status requests.
  • I am creating an online presentation of some research that I am performing as a PhD student. I can easily embed my presentation on my academic website, and my advisor can join in on the editing.
The features of Google Docs are not as rich as Open Office or MS Office, but that doesn't mean it is not useful. In fact, the fact that your information is always available more than makes up for the deep features that you may never use anyway. If your internet connection is really slow, Google docs may not be your best option.

Give it a try and explore the features. As usual, you have nothing to lose!

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