What's Up, Google Docs?

The Google Docs team announced preview versions today for the new Google document and spreadsheet editors. There is also a new standalone drawings editor. All of these were built with a larger focus towards speed and collaboration in mind.

With the document editor, Google has included the real-time editing experience you rely on in their spreadsheets. Now you can see changes the moment other collaborators make an edit. They’ve also included the sidebar chat feature from the spreadsheet side of things. You’ll be able to talk with others while you’re working on the document. Highly-requested features have now been added including better import/export capabilities, a new commenting system, real margins and tab stops and an improved image layout within your documents.

For spreadsheets, Google has created a back-end that helps your work load and run faster. “You’ll see significant speed and performance improvements — spreadsheets load faster, are more responsive and scroll more seamlessly.” Other new features include a formula bar to use when editing cells, auto-complete capability, drag-and-drop columns and easier navigation between sheets you’ve created.

The biggest news, of course, is the inclusion of a new collaborative drawing editor. The new tool lets you work in real time with others on things such as flow charts, designs and diagrams. You can copy your drawings into documents, spreadsheets or presentations using the web clipboard. You can also share or publish your drawings just like you do with other Google Docs you have created.

The drawings editor will be available later today, and preview versions of spreadsheets and documents will roll out to all individual users over the next few days. To try them out, click “New version” at the top of any spreadsheet or go to the ‘Document Settings’ page and select ‘New version of Google documents.’

These types of changes could mean an even larger share of the market for Google. Millions of us already use (and love) Google Docs. I have a feeling thousands more will jump into the fray and make this their preferred “document suite” of choice. Cloud Computing isn’t just a term that will soon disappear. It’s something very real – and very important. With so much of our lives spent online, working in the Cloud is nearly a necessity. Google Docs is just one way to get things done – whether you’re working from home or on the road.

Better Than Google Docs – Etherpad Alternatives

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I have been using TypeWith.me constantly since it became available. Having to collaborate with others on a document in real-time isn’t always easy to do. However, using TypeWith.Me is completely simple. The service can handle 16 people at a time, all editing and working together to create an amazing document.

If this looks like EtherPad… it’s not. It IS based on EtherPad’s open-source code, which has been released by Google. A lot of us liked the way EtherPad worked, even if we didn’t like the name. Since EtherPad may now disappear at any given time, Jake and I decided to work together to create TypeWith.Me. We believe we have come up with the perfect solution.

I KNOW many of you may complain and whine, and claim that Google Wave is better or easier. You are wrong, my friends. Google Wave requires you to register, and it’s not as simple for everyone to use. When you have people from all levels of computing needing to work together, TypeWith.Me provides the perfect solution.

If you take a look at a document, you’ll notice different colors in the text. Those represent the different authors who are working on the document at any given time. TypeWith.Me also gives you constant auto-saves, so that you can restore anytime you need to.

You can use lists, bolding, underlining, and more – just as you can with other popular document collaboration software. This one, though, is just easy to use. It’s a clean interface, and it’s not going to beg you to donate or register!

TypeWith.Me is perfect for office collaboration, or for classmates in a school or college setting!

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Do You Google the News?

A report released today says that about 44% of Google users simply skim through news headlines, and never click through to read the full stories. The report goes on to predict the continuing decline of print news in favor of being able to get it online. This doesn’t come as much surprise to me – or anyone else, really.

However, I don’t agree that that many people never bother to click through. Sure, I scan headlines, much like the rest of you. However, if something catches my eye then I cannot stop with just a few sentences in a Google search. I have to click through and read the rest of the article. I have a feeling most of you are the same way. The article states that 2,787 US news consumers were polled. That’s fine… but who did they poll? How do we know that very tiny number of the population truly represents us all? I don’t agree that they possibly could.

What are your thoughts? Do you turn to the Internet for your news? Do you scan and go, or click and read? What other sites do you enjoy reading articles on, to find out what’s happening in the World around you?

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What’s Better Than Microsoft PowerPoint?

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Did you ever know how most presentations suck? It’s bad enough that people doing them tend to suck, as well. It’s not their fault, though. Most of the presentation software is just not that good. A good presentation shows pictures, and don’t have much text. The worst ones to watch are where the speaker just reads every word from the slides! They drive me nuts! What do you use to create presentations? Tell me you aren’t using desktop software! Adobe has thrown their hat into the ring. They have a basic, online office suite and a new presentation software!

Acrobat Presentations is excellent. You have tons of options. Best of all, of course, is the ability using an online platform gives you to easily collaborate with others. When you create a presentation with desktop software, it’s very difficult to allow multiple people to work together on it. Using Presentations, it’s a simple process.

Presentations is a better way to create, edit, and share presentations with others online. Built on the Adobe Flash platform, Presentations looks and behaves like a desktop presentation application – but operates inside a web browser.

It’s free, and cross-platform. There’s no reason to not try it!

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