Email. It’s good for sending mail. It also seems to be the standard way of sending and sharing files with someone, even if you’re sitting right next to the person who needs the file. But when a file needs updating from multiple people, how does everyone maintain the latest version?
Enter Google Docs
Google Docs is a set of web-based, Microsoft Office-like applications. If you are a GMail user, then you already have access to Google Docs right in the top menu of the GMail page. Docs’ primary purpose is to create new files and edit existing files. Perfect.
“Real Life” Application
Recently, KRD was given the assignment to edit the Gettysburg Address. The original file was supplied to us via email. But Kim was away in Mexico for the week and the Library of Congress needed the new version in two days. So I uploaded it to Google Docs and shared the file with Tom and Kim.
We all went to work on our ideas, channeling our inner patriotic statesman, over the internet. Because Google Docs can show changes live, I was able to see the directions Tom and Kim were going immediately.(see our edits) With the Discussions feature, which acts like virtual sticky notes, we were able to explain our edits. Within a few hours we had collaborated and completed a final draft, ready to deliver to the client.
Once we were ready to present the file, we emailed the link to the good people at the LOC, and they signed into Google Docs. Here we chatted with them about the document using the built-in GoogleTalk module.
They of course loved it, and sent us an autographed photo of Abraham Lincoln.