In trying to use a new word processing program, such as Google Docs, it is typical to resist a new order of icons. Fingers follow muscle memory, and the mind, focused on the task of composing that perfect sentence, is loath to break off from the task at hand to figure out new ways to tinker with a new program.
But, with Google, there is always the allure of the new kid on the block – the one with all the lollipops, the one with all the surprises. So, I open Docs and, oh wow, it looks a lot like word. Nice, nice….and I move onto the task of writing. While I am at it, Docs jumps in and automatically saves a copy, using the first eight words as a kind of file name. I try the revisions function, and see that it works a lot like my gmail account, with versions stacked up on top of one another, allowing me to pick the one I want. (A godsend for the careless editor who hacks off a line and then goes scrambling to get it back!)
Then it is onto spellcheck – I click on an icon on the bottom right side of the page and promptly a couple of words zoom out in yellow highlights. Right click and I have options to replace the words with. Cool. Nothing new of course, but it’s convenient to have it all on one page instead of clicking on Word’s tools drop down menu.
I can insert images, tables, special characters – it’s all on top, without the hassle of too many drop down menus.
But of course, this is Google we’re talking about. I have misgivings about having all my ideas, thoughts and documents out there in the fist of the world’s largest search company. And yet, why bother buying a word processing programme, when I can use Google Docs. Why get in a flutter about my photographs, when Picasa can order them all for me, without the trouble of sizing, and titling and ordering and labeling. Why bother with other social networking sites when my gmail id can get me onto the social networking site Orkut. Why bother with any email service, when gmail does just fine, well most of the time anyway. And why search anything anywhere, when Google is god!
And still, that little voice in my head says, “And you really want to put ALL your eggs in this one basket?” I must be a basket case, but I’m sorely tempted.
First published on August 3, 2007