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

There’s been a similar change to to the look of 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 has added a new collaborate menu item.

All-in-all it’s easier to find your way around the application’s features.

I like the changes, they cut visual clutter go well with my minimalist mind-set. The changes mean it is easier to focus on writing or calculating.

It’s 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.

They are not optional. There is no way to wind back to the earlier version of Google Docs.

Cloud application problem

This highlights a problem with cloud applications – they are a one-size-fits-all proposition. The upgrades are outside of a user’s control. And they often come without warning.

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.

If I do upgrade and it proves awful, then unpacking the upgrade and going back is not impossible.

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

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