When I see people buy CDs for music in 2017, I want to grab the CD and fling it so my dog can play a game of fetch with it. Technology has evolved way past CDs. Many years ago, artists were told to start recording songs in MP3 format, iTunes came and sold digital songs, yet the more traditional artists believed that CDs would last forever – including Prince.
Many technological trends have shaped the way we operate, carry out transactions and live our lives. Who would have thought you would end up hailing a car owned by some random guy- in the case of Uber or who would have thought it would be a good idea to pay a random person who you never met to live in their house- Airbnb.
In my years as the Head of Technology for Ringier in Nigeria, I often got requests from colleagues to install Microsoft Word on their computers. This was despite us paying licenses for Google Suites! Those requests mostly irked me. I decided to do a quick rejoinder for my friend Bamike, dealing with this once and for all!
Microsoft Word is amazing
Yes, I said it. Microsoft Word has its place. No doubt. But that place is really for people who have lived their better lives in the 50s. Microsoft Word has macros and mail merge functions. Those functions are very advanced and very useful. However, they are useful for those who haven’t moved with new marketing trends. See, Microsoft Word was better for its editing, formatting and markup capabilities many years ago. Google Docs just thrived on collaboration. But times have changed and there’s not so much that’s different. In fact, Microsoft Word which is now part of the Office 360/ Office 2016 product offering allows for collaboration while maintaining most of its earlier features. If you love the native feel, then maybe Word is for you. However, just listen!
Let’s face it, more people are Google users. Chances are you have a Gmail account(and if you don’t have one, geeeeeez!!!! Under what rock do you breed????). If you are one of those people who keep a Yahoo email(or whatever else) at this age, we can’t be friends.
With a Gmail account comes access to Google Docs. FREE!!! Why fuss over installing a paid software that would run on your local memory and space when you can get something that’s equally good(and I would argue, better).
And the interface is less clunky!
I still cringe when people send me Microsoft Word files in an email. What the heck is that??? With Google Docs, all you have to do is share. Sharing here is different from sharing physical files. When you share files and you want to collaborate with them, you end up having multiple versions of the file. For instance, I send Bamike a Word Document to make edits to. She sees it, downloads it, edits it, sends it back, then I rename it on my computer, edit it, send it to her, she renames it again. With collaboration, all we are doing is working on the same file on a central location(on the cloud). No multiple physical versions. Just ONE BLOODY FILE.
Legacy Word application can’t do this.
Saving your files
There are many aspects to saving files. First, with the legacy Word system, you would save your files locally.
Do you remember how many of those files you’ve lost already. Some were corrupt? Yea? Some got wiped away after a hard disk crash? Abi? With Google Docs, you are saving to your Google account without explicitly ‘saving’. No Ctrl + S, no save to Document folder(on local). Oh, and if you wanted to even save locally so you can send to your other Microsoft Word fans, then you can Download the files as whatever(PDF, DOCX, EPUB etc).
So, you are typing your project on Google Docs, but you have to go hang out with friends. You can’t take your laptop but you know they’d come later than you. Well, no worries, your mobile phone picks off where you left through the Google Docs app that’s available on all mobile platforms. No sweat!
If you were going to do this on your legacy Word app, you would first save to your computer, copy it out to your phone or whatever, maybe email it to yourself then download one of those stupid apps that say they can edit .docx files.
Ah! I hear a lot of ‘but what if I don’t have internet’. If I knew how to roll my eyes well, my eyeballs would fall out of its socket every time I heard this. To make documents available offline, you can click on the options button(the three dots) and select ‘Available offline’. Oh, you want to start a fresh document while you are offline?
There are other features and advantages that I would rather not spend time writing about. Of course, there are add ons you can include to make your word processing experience even richer. It’s notable that you can chat with collaborators within that window, you can add comments and create threads on comments also. You have version control, so you can go back to a previous version of your document.
Like mentioned earlier, Google Docs is free for Google users. The Google Suites for Business users(that’s about $5 a month) have added features(like more storage space etc). But I triple dare you to wait for Microsoft to give you Word for free! And to all those who look for cracked versions of Microsoft Word, God is watching you!
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