I have been using and testing Google Docs to determine if it is a practical resource and solution for the everyday home computer user.
Google Docs is a free, Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, form, and data storage service offered by Google. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users. – Wikipedia
During my testing I have been creating documents, primarily using the word processor and spreadsheet components of Google Docs. I am finding that for what the home based computer user would need, Google Docs is a practical FREE solution. So before you go out and spend hundreds of dollars for Microsoft Office, give Google Docs a try. As a matter fact, Google Docs and Microsoft Office (i.e. Word and Excel), at the basic level of document formatting, work together nicely.
As a result of my testing, one feature that I believe is needed is the ability to automatically sync (or backup) your Google Docs to your PC. Google has yet to address this concern; however, if I know their strategy, this is something that we will eventually see happen. Keep in mind Google Docs is in constant development and when advancements are made, they are very noticeable. You can give Google Docs a try with Google’s online demo [HERE]
In the meantime, the best solution I could find (for FREE) that allows you to sync your online Google Docs to your PC is an application called Syncplicity.
Syncplicity instantly syncs files across your Macs, PCs and Google Docs, so that your files are always available across all the computers you use and the Web. Instant sync with automatic back-up to our cloud ensures you have access to your data wherever you are, and that your days of worrying about manual back-ups and data loss are over. Our instant restore means you can recover deleted or lost files immediately.
Once you install and setup your online Syncplicity account, you will see in the file browser of Syncplicity a tab titled, “Google Docs”. This is where you begin the process to setup the sync between Google Docs and your PC.
Once you have everything setup, it may take awhile for any Google Docs that you have stored online to show up on your PC. Now that I have Syncplicity up and working, any Google Doc files I work on, from any location in the world, will now sync with the folder I have setup on my PC. Same goes, with any Google Docs I work with from the PC level will automatically be synced with my online account.
To learn more about Syncplicity and what it can do, click [HERE] . For my situation Syncplicity has worked seamlessly and gets the job done. Who knows, this may be the next cloud app on Google’s payroll.