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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

gDocs and Apple would taste great together

I've become an ardent Google Documents fan over the past few months -- especially as its support for Safari has improved (didn't say perfect; just improved). I use it for collaborating with clients and 43f guest authors, as well as for managing small projects and keeping various small teams organized. Personally, I find it simpler than a wiki and a lot more powerful than using a static .doc.

My favorite use right now is to use a single shared document as a common space that 4 or 5 people have access to and that they can use to give each other to-dos, ask questions, etc. I know stuff like Basecamp does this better and certainly with more sophisticated features, but I'm really attracted to the simplicity of the one-document approach -- especially for informal, remote teams.

I think my gDocs cincher was the first time that it occurred to me to see if I could even look at my documents on my iPhone; I was gob-smacked to see that it actually worked. Obviously it's not optimal for doing lots of editing, but you can see and perfunctorily edit your documents without a laptop, and that's just pretty mind-blowing to me.

As I'm wont to blather on about on MacBreak Weekly, I just can't rid myself of the suspicion that Apple and Google will eventually formalize a relationship around the suite of Google tools and the iPhone. It just seems like such a great fit -- especially if they can work up some kind of conduit for .Mac syncing that lets you keep everything humming along without manual updating. The idea of combining iPhone portability and style with Google ubiquity and power could pose a small but fascinating challenge to conventional big business apps.

Finally, the thing that got me thinking about all this in the first place this morning is this adorable video explaining how gDocs works (thanks, Mike). As far as I'm concerned, there's just not enough use of string in modern demonstration videos.

Erin Wade's picture

I Dunno...

I use collaborative documents in my (very small) company. I can see the value of having a central doc rather than the multiple copies - I've certainly had occasion where I'm having to double and triple check that the copy I think is final is the "real" final copy.

However, we use a pre-formatted report, and the initial work-up gets done on that. The google docs don't seem to support that option - or at least not very easily. I suppose that I could do the text first, and then plug it into the template, but that seems more like different work rather than less work.

Am I missing something on this that would make it more wonderful for me? Also - how secure are these docs? I work with confidential materials...




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