Google Doc makeover shows a downside to cloud apps

Google Docs has had another makeover. The online document editing and storage application now has a new user interface that makes it look and feel more like Google+.

There’s been a similar change to Google Spreadsheets.

Less colour

Colours have gone from the icons and most other onscreen elements. The menu bar text font is now clearer and easier to read. The unnecessary Google Docs logo has gone and there are new scroll bars. Google added a new collaborate menu item. Finding your way around is easier.

I like the changes, they cut visual clutter and suit my minimalist mindset. They make it easier to focus on writing or calculating.

It is just as well I like the changes and they suit how I work, because they’ve been made to the application whether I like them or not.

Cloud application problem

This highlights a problem with cloud applications – they are a one-size-fits-all proposition.

If I don’t like the way Microsoft updates Office or if Microsoft makes choices that interfere with my productivity, I can choose to not upgrade.

Desktop applications software goes on working as before for ever. I have friends who still swear by 15 year-old versions of Office applications.

That’s not the case with Google Documents. Thankfully Google has made good choices. But if it made bad ones, I could be forced to use something that makes me less productive.