I like Google Docs (Drive). I used it to compose this post. Even though I write almost entirely on my own computers, use Dropbox, and have plenty of options for word processing and text editing, I just enjoy using it. It makes sense.
I’ve been using Google Docs for as long as the public has been able to; in fact, I used Writely a little before Google bought it out.
The text editor is great for short, simple documents, especially if you’re collaborating. The spreadsheet is just an awesome alternative to Excel. And who doesn’t like not having to Save?
All that being said, there are problems with G-Docs document writer. It’s not fully compatible with MS Word. And sooner or later, most of my documents will get exported to Word for advanced formatting and layout, before publication.
G-Docs exports OK in rtf and odt, but not in doc (I use Word in MS Office 2003 Pro). If I export to doc and open the file in Word, the spelling checker in Word won’t work. I’ve tried it in Win7 and XP, using Chrome and Firefox (not that the browser should matter.)
There must be an artifact in the G-Docs document template which conflicts with MS Word. The spellcheck won’t work, even if I copy-paste into Word from Google or open a new Word file and paste in from the original Word export.
There are 3 workarounds:
- Paste into Notepad, then copy and paste again into Word (and lose all your formatting).
- Export to rtf then open in Word.
- Export to odt, open in LibreOffice or OpenOffice, then save as doc.
I’ve noticed other problems with line and paragraph breaks, and paragraph formatting, when exporting to Word. Tables almost always get messed up, and must be formatted again. And when I pasted this blog text from G-Docs into my blogging software for upload, the text was one big glob, no line breaks. So I pasted into Notepad first, and that worked fine.
The release of Drive has revealed more glitches, such as the fact that folders created in the desktop app may never show up online. But it seems to be fine to create folders online, then use them on the desktop.
I know, this has to be the epitome of First World Problems. But geek is as geek blogs. (Now that’s a sentence that my Grandfather wouldn’t recognize as English.)
Google docs – Drive – is surpassingly cool. I hope in time Google will iron out the kinks, so that it grows into a platform worthy of trust and respect, not just admiration.