Thing 19 – Play with Google Docs

Another application offered by Google is Google Docs. This is an online word processor and spreadsheet application.

Web based applications to rival desktop applications

New support of web technologies by current web browsers allows for more complex and interactive web applications to be made, and this proof of concept by Google shows that it is possible for a web application to act as an entire office suite.

Unlike a desktop application, there is nothing to install on your computer in order to use a web application. The application itself resides on a server somewhere on the web, and you only need your web browser to access it.

One main benefit of web based applications is that they can be accessed from any computer. This is good if you frequently switch computers or you want to be able to access or edit your documents from home and work. You could use it for notes to yourself or for important documents you want to access on various computers. If you don’t have Microsoft Office, it can be an quick way of creating or editing a document.

Your task

Log in to Google Docs and create a new ‘Document’. Notice the ‘File’ button near the top left. This gives you access to save or print the document, or to ‘Export’. Saving the document keeps it in your Google account, so you can access it from any computer. When you want to send the document to someone as a Word document, you would use ‘Export as Word’.

You should also try creating a spreadsheet by choosing ‘New’ and ‘Spreadsheet’.

Write a blog post about Google Docs. How much competition do you think it poses to desktop office suites such as Microsoft Office?


Credit: Adapted from the PLCMC Thing posted by HeleneB, under a Creative Commons BY-NC license, and from the Swinburne University Thing posted by TRR, under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Video from Google (by Common Craft).

Original content by Jason Peart for the Chisholm Institute Library.
© Chisholm Institute 2008, released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license.


One Response to “Thing 19 – Play with Google Docs”

  1. BIGcol Says:

    Google Docs

    A fantastic tool which I will personally use. I have been to several presentations where Google Docs was used and the internet failed or was slow. This can be very embarrassing when you have a large audience. When I use Google Docs in the future I will definitely have a Flash Drive backup. Nevertheless a very swish collaborative tool.


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