The web is full of really useful tools for productivity, but sitting up the top are Google Apps. Read on to find out why both Timlah and Joel have been using the web office tools so avidly and what benefits we’ve seen through using it.
It’s Thursday night and the votes are in – Yes, it’s time for us to write our Top 10s. When we first started doing Top 10s, Joel and I would be sat at our computers with Steam loaded. Look at the topic, then discuss our choices, then go back and look through what we’ve said, keep a separate file open to store all of the choices, then decide the ordering of our choices and who writes what. We’d then have one person do the hard work of getting the article started up, along with what we call our “spiel” (the parts that precede and prolude the list itself). Once that’s done, the other person would be able to enter their parts manually on the post that had been set up by the other user and boom – We’d be done.
That’s a lot of work when you look at it – Each of our Top 10s took hours to decide, let alone write. We’ve recently gotten into the habit of using Google Docs, though I personally use Google Apps in general quite often. I use it for work, I use it for GeekOut – I’m always using Google Apps. Now, whilst some things you probably shouldn’t use Google Apps for, such as anything containing sensitive data, it’s a really useful way to work on a project, or an article, or whatever you’re working on. The best part of Google Apps is whatever you work on in one place, such as your work, you can access it again from another place, such as your home.
When we started to use Google Docs, we had to consider what sort of benefits we would see over the old, shall we say “daft way of working”. We realised there was a better way to deal with our problems: That was to be able to see what we’re typing as we work on our lists. So we sat down one night, I sent him a sharable link to be able to write with me and we started to type. We were able to see what one another were typing live and needless to say, this cut time down drastically. The only way to make this faster would be for us to do an actual voice chat – But we’d still have had to have written it all down anyway.
Amusingly, you can highlight and delete one another’s stuff. Thankfully between the two of us and how we trust one another, we’re able to occasionally fool around like the fools that we are, without actually losing anything important. Joel has had a few near heart attacks when I get myself going with messing with his work, but thankfully I always manage to put it back. Interestingly, Google allows people to work anonymously by giving you all sorts of funny names, such as Anonymous Nyan Cat, or Anonymous Goat. This means you do not need a Google account to work off Google Apps.
For us, the use of Google Docs has been somewhat life-changing. This might sound dramatic, but as two people who work on a website from different cities, it’s nice being able to make something together, without the need to physically drive to one another’s places just to do this. In the past, I can imagine we would have heavily invested in Skypes chat log feature to keep a track of all of our Top 10s. But of course, Google Docs is just one of the many apps on offer under Google Apps.
If you’re looking for spreadsheet software to share and work on together online, why not consider using Google Spreadsheets? It features some great power and somewhat mimics Microsoft Excel. There’s a few bits of functionality lost, but the majority of it is there. I can’t imagine there being an Excel function that you’d realistically need to use, but you can find out what is and isn’t available here (https://support.google.com/docs/table/25273?hl=en&rd=2). As well as this, there are Presentations, Forms (Such as surveys), Drawings and much more. It’s well worth looking through the catalogue of Google Apps that are available.
Hopefully this article has given you a little bit of insight as to what it’s like to use Google Apps, but now it’s time to pass back to you. Have you ever used Google Apps? What ones have you used, or do you use regularly? Let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. Remember, if you can think of it anywhere, you should be able to work on it anywhere.