Hard lessons from Google Docs

Events forced me to take a second look at Google Docs.

First, the power tripped out while I was three-quarters through a long piece of writing using Microsoft Word.

Normally the application makes periodic back-ups of my work so recovery is easy. For some reason that didn’t happen. I lost about 45 minutes work.

Not a major disaster I grant you, but picking up the pieces and recreating my brilliance from scratch screwed my morning.

A colleague, who uses Google Docs for all his writing, reminded me that application automatically saves every keystroke while it remains live. This makes it almost impossible to lose an entire story the way I did with Word.

Better still, if my computer or hard drive were to fail, I’d be able to carry on with a Google Doc writing job at another computer or on my iPad.

In an extreme case I could even get at the work from my phone. In fact I had to do exactly that a few days ago when I got a message letting me know I forgot to file a story. I was across town in a meeting, but managed to reach the document on my phone and send it to the editor in seconds. Try doing that with Word on a desktop.

The second event was more serious. A flash flood meant our power was off for hours one day.

I couldn’t use my desktop, but managed to handle some urgent work on my phone using Google Docs. Typing on an Android phone keyboard isn’t a fun experience – I wouldn’t be able to keep it up for long. Nevertheless, I could keep going.

Another plus mark to Google Docs.

4 thoughts on “Hard lessons from Google Docs

  1. How about Skydrive? I don’t think it autosaves, but you can certainly access work remotely.

  2. Bill, not sure if you are on Windows or Mac, assume Windows. Since Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) all supported apps current position is always stored in memory so any unexpected restart will cause the app to be restored to where you left it before the crash.
    Point being, you don’t need to give anything to Google or other cloud providers to do this.
    And of course, if you had a laptop… 😉

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