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Google Office vs. MS Office Home and Student  (View post)

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

Sunday, April 29, 2007
17 years ago8,176 views

I don't use Google Office, and don't pay for MS Office. Free and fast Abiword satisfy all my basic world processing needs. And there is always OpenOffice.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

I think it really depends on what you want from your office product. For instance, when you want to write a book, Open Office might be too incompatible to some tools you're working with... and even Microsoft Word may not be fitting for a book project.

For most heavy users of MS Office products, I guess the Google Office just doesn't offer enough features... yet. But if you want to look for a quick, casual rich-text/ spreadsheets/ soon-presentations editor, the free Google tools might be more along your lines. It's not only the price, you'll also save time buying the software & installing it. Maybe installations aren't noteworthy for most of us, but for some people an installation might be a bit confusing. Plus, web apps allow you to use them from internet cafes around the world, and you also don't have to archive your setup CDs.

Ricardo Sanchez [PersonRank 2]

17 years ago #

I think you missed and important point: collaboration. I currently use Google Docs to write informal work-in-progress reports, so my project mates can see the progress and write in their parts. The supervisor has to wait until the final version. When it is finished, we copy the stuff out of Google Docs and fomat it properly with Latex or whatever.

There are other very convenient use scenarios for Google Docs, for example, a poor-man changelog or revision system for writing software. Developers can keep 'to-do' and 'already-implemented' lists, and everybody can see in real time the current state of the software.

Finally, another great use is collaborative writing of fiction. A friend and I are working on a script for a short film (which might never get shooted), and Google Docs is great for this kind of stuff, because you never loose old versions thanks to the 'Revisions' feature.

I reckon using Google Docs for important stuff is not too wise, specially after the recent Google Personalized Homepage bug, but what's life without a little risk?

Freiddie [PersonRank 7]

17 years ago #

I think web applications are just not what I need right now – they are too slow for me. But there is a concern, however, that the new Office software has a distinctive lag every time you perform some command – I don't know why. It's like whenever I open or close a file or maybe switch between open documents, the Office application just stalls for a second or so. I find this annoying. But Google tools are not that satisfactory either for a person like me who really likes fancy tools. So I'm stuck with them.

Remco Kouwenhoven [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

I have been trying to get along with google docs, but the editor doesnt really give me what i need (a fast simple editor). Having to work online gives all sorts of lags. However, the collaboration possibilities of docs is an important feature in my opinion.

I for one always use OpenOffice.

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

<< Plus, web apps allow you to use them from internet cafes around the world, and you also don't have to archive your setup CDs. >>

True. I generally don't need to write documents or use spreadsheets when I'm not on my own PCs at home or at work though, so that's not really an issue with me.

<< I think you missed and important point: collaboration. >>

Thanks Ricardo. I completely forgot about collaboration because I have no real need for it.

I think Philipp's hit the nail right on its head when he said, "it really depends on what you want from your office product." For me, I don't really need collaboration or access from any PC connected to the Internet anywhere in the world – but I do need some advanced features, stability and the ability to work offline.

Ramibotros [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

I think Google Office will be extremely useful when collaborating, which Word does over weird servers I guess. It's not about making the most customized, beautiful documents, it's about designing something that will be stored online and be edited by others.
In most cases, at least for me, I don't need to format and design the document as much as I need to type some lines and store them somewhere, or print them in a plain format.
Of course money doesn't make a difference for me (in Egypt we just download and crack and all), but I prefer the simplicity of Google Docs to avoid the heavy memory consumption of MS Word.

Hong Xiaowan [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

Buy Openoffice, then make Openoffice as a part of Google account. Save file at local and Google sever at the meanwhile. While modify local file, update the file on the sever. Modify sever file, also update the local file.

Although local software is old business and online software is new, old business is still big.

Femi Oshagbemi [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

I personally use the Google "Office" a lot, especially because if central storage, portability, revisions and the seamless collaboration. However it isn't perfect for every scenario or persons needs,. What a lot of people forget to grasp is that it doesn't have to be a one or another, you can use BOTH!

I use OpenOffice for offline processing (with MS Office as a backup) and Google for the majority of non sensitive data. Use applications for what they are best at.

jk [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Why not using both?

ms office if you want to do stuff your own and print it afterwards (with a lot of formating) and docs if you want to collaborate?

It's not like saying: meh, docs suck.... it doesn't have enough functionality, I stick with Ms or open office
it's more like:

I use the offline thing + sometimes I want to have a quick look on my attachements without downloading, or I want to collaborate or I need to access it on different pcs so I use docs...

they really are not direct competitors for most people. the google docs and spreadsheets is more there free if you need it.... if you don't need it currently don't bother

Sohil [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

I write A LOT OF papers (Research, Thesis etc) and there are set guidelines for these (Indent, Margins etc)

Google Docs lacks a lot of these.

However if it's just something random I'm working on that I need to access from multiple computers, then its Docs.

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

>> Use applications for what they are best at.
>> Why not using both?

Good points – and I do still use Google Docs very occasionally – but there are only two reasons for me to use Google Docs; the ability to work anywhere and / or collaboration, neither of which is something I need on a day-to-day basis. And even then, I'd much prefer to email myself the document I'm working on from work so that I can open it in Word at home rather than try working on it using Google Docs.

On the other hand, Google Calendar is something I've come to depend on. It's much more useful to me than Outlook. I just wish it had a mobile-friendly version that shows me all my shared calendars rather than just my own.

Inferno [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

I prefer using Google services over any other... I like them growing under my eyes. ;)

Jim Thompson [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

I like Google Docs a *lot*, because it's a fast simple editor that I can get to from anywhere. And so what if it's only a glorified HTML editor? Most of the time that's exactly what I need. Perhaps its best feature is the collaboration tool. My sister (800 miles away) and I are able to collaborate on documents for our family history project in a way that's simple and easy. Oh, and don't forget the revisions tool, which we use from time to time. Couldn't get by in a collaborative environment without that!

I like the spreadsheets too, although I don't use them as much. But even on that app, the core functionality – the stuff I need 98% of the time – is all there, and the rest can be worked around.

That said, I *do* wish Google Docs had more, both big things and little things. Big things would include stuff like the ability to do true page layout within documents. Little things would include the ability to just turn off the gridlines on individual spreadsheets.

Jim Eikner [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

I have done some consulting with small businesses and non-profits. To achieve a level of integration and collaboration locally requires a significant IT outlay. Server(s), software licensing, upgrades, administration, configuration, resolving compatibility problems. And still you need an internet connection and web services. If done properly all this can be a large and on-going drain on finances.

I have been experimenting with Google Apps which includes all the components being discussed here. The integration and ease of administration are impressive. I set up a functioning site that could have served a small operation in less than an hour with only on-line documentation as a guide. Storage, backups, security and upgrades are all handled transparently. Any box with a connection and running a compatible browser is instantly 100% integrated, from any location.

The growing symbiosis between not only the docs & spreadsheets but the other Google products seems to me to be greater than the sum of its parts, almost in the small tool spirit of UNIX. The cost of reproducing that locally could be prohibitive in the small market. I would have no problem recommending an Apps solution in that instance. Now if we could only have a Google Bookkeeping. =)

Henning [PersonRank 3]

17 years ago #

I think the comparison misses an important point: GMail and Google Calendar.

If You want the Microsoft offline equivalent (Outlook) for these functions, you need not the "Home & Student" but the "Standard" version of MS Office, which doesn't come at £100 but at £300. That's a big price tag for just reading email offline...

Ronald Chaplin [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Hello all. As a long time user of gMail, and the tools that were later to follow, I have to say that Google's approach to web apps is not very handy nor intuitive to using these tools. Sure the collaboration factor is nice, but their are other options available for the business minded technophile.

I tried using Google Spreadsheets with my clients to help my overall business flow, and I have to say, in alot of cases, it simply hindered the process. So a change was in order.

I read an article about the pro's and con's of Win Xp vs. Ubuntu. I had discovered it via and decided to give it a go. Now armed with a decent OS, I decided to use Open Office as my office suite. Now I needed a way to share this information. Welcome eGroupware. It has it's nuances for sure, but now clients can get to the documenttttts I have created, collaborate and even communicate with me, all in a web app, and I have ALL of their info at my disposal. This may not be the best for everyone, but it works for me!

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

<< I think the comparison misses an important point: GMail and Google Calendar.

If You want the Microsoft offline equivalent (Outlook) for these functions, you need not the "Home & Student" but the "Standard" version of MS Office, which doesn't come at £100 but at £300. That's a big price tag for just reading email offline... >>

I considered including this as an argument *for* Google products – but Microsoft offers both Outlook Express and Hotmail. Whilst not perhaps as feature-rich as Outlook or Gmail, I decided that the comparison was fair. After all, how many home/student users actually *need* Outlook over Outlook Express or Hotmail?

Salman Siddiqui [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

This article made me remember what my computer networking teacher told me once.

MS windows isn't actually the reason why MS tops the charts but somewhere MS office is a big reason. Windows has its competitors but MS office yet has no real competitors.

I agree that until Google gives more juice to its apps. Its MS, my 1st choice!

thought that you would like to take a look at my blog too...

Henning [PersonRank 3]

17 years ago #

<<After all, how many home/student users actually *need* Outlook over Outlook Express or Hotmail?>>

All who own a Windows-Mobile-powered phone or PDA (I got an Outlook license with my PDA, but it's version 2002 and doesn't work well with Vista)...

You're right on Outlook Express (now called "Windows Mail" btw), I forgot that. However, your point that the MS offline equivalents to the Google Apps aren't that expensive still doesn't hold, if you take in account the Google Calendar functionality. And yes, even home and student users need a birthday reminder ;-)

sleepinghead [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

I use google docs alot cuz I need to collaborate with collegues when I'm wokring and it's very efficient. And some clients would prefer sending them works via google docs this year. So I don't have to shift to MS office that much as before :)

And btw for the time being, £100 is still something for me :(

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

<< However, your point that the MS offline equivalents to the Google Apps aren't that expensive still doesn't hold... >>

That's what I've always said until I realised MS Office Home and Student edition existed – and that's why my comparison was purely based on that...

<< And yes, even home and student users need a birthday reminder ;-) >>

Obviously Microsoft doesn't think so... ;-) although I completely agree, and I think that's part of the reason why Microsoft doesn't include Outlook in the Home and Student package. However, they also offer Microsoft Office Basic 2007 which includes Outlook but not PowerPoint (which is more likely to suit home users in my opinion) but is quite a bit more expensive.

James Xuan [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

What? MS gives out 2007 enterprise edition free on the Pirate Bay didn't you kbnow?

Alex S [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

What bugs me most (and therefore prevents me from using) Google Docs is the lack of "page layout" view and zoom functions. It looks too blocky and to me just looks like I'm composing an e-mail.

I agree with collaboration/revisions – that's a nice idea, but there is no way I could put up with Docs to write an entire project/essay; it's just way too ugly. I'd love to use it 100%, but that's a far cry away for me.

mb [PersonRank 2]

17 years ago #

I use Google Spreadsheets and Notebook *extensively*, both for work and home.

For work, the multiuser capabilities of Spreadsheets outweighs the missing features in almost every case. I rarely use macros or conditional formatting in Excel (which Google Spreadsheets lacks), but I do need all team members to collaborate on issue lists and timelines without having to email spreadsheets back and forth.

At home, my wife and kids use 4 different computers. We use shared Notebooks to allow everyone to contribute to vacation ideas and itineraries, and the kids use Notebooks to organize school projects. We use Spreadsheets as shared to-do lists and for sports schedules.

Between work and home, we use Windows, Mac and Linux machines. For simple projects (which includes almost everything!), we can work on the same docs regardless of operating system, and without having to email static files back and forth.

I'm really looking forward to Presently – to be able to share and collaborate on a slide presentation in real time will be a killer app for me.

jim's tips [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

What I'd love to see is for Google provide offline versions of all of its "office" apps. This would eliminate the complaint that you have to be online. And like Picasa 2, they could auto-update once you get back online.

And even better, make them completely portable so that we can run them off of Thumb Drives.

To me, the ultimate would be to provide access (most of) your data anywhere and everywhere. Google has the online part, Microsoft has the offline part. Just get Google to do the offline part, and we'd all be set!

Hashim [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

"I think you missed and important point: collaboration."


chine google lover [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

can you all write in chinese?

Jenjen [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

One thing that makes Google Docs so great for students is that they can get in and do a little work anywhere there's Internet access. On a university campus, that's pretty much everywhere. Labs, the library, cafes, your friend's laptop who's away for a week, your mom's house. But while you can rely on good internet access, you can't rely on every computer you encounter having the correct version of your word processing program. Plus, there's remembering to bring the storage medium all the time, hoping it's the right disc with the current version, hoping the computer can read it, etc etc. With Google Docs, there's none of that.

J.P. [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

How big of a pain in the @$$ is updating contact information when some one sends you a change of address email? I absolutely hate this. So when is either gmail, or hotmail, or yahoo or SOME ONE with substantial email accounts going to figure out that we want an automatic address update feature for our contact book?

ie) Biff has a new house, therefore a new address and phone number. Intead of sending that time-consuming email to hundreds of people, he sends a gmail-contacts note with the new information. You recieve it via your gmail inbox. When you open it, it says, "Biff's new address is XXX, do you wish to [replace] or [add] this new address to your contact inforation for him?". This assumes both Biff and I have gmail of course, but shouldn't that be the point? So I click on [add] because I want to keep his old address too (as a historical reference), or if I want to replace old information, Google prompts me to select a set of data for me to delete. Then, when you search Biff's emails, Gmail knows to also include all email conversations from the old address as well, even if you deleted it. THEN Google can work on integrating Orkut into contacts, and creating a decent MySpace competitor, for people who're too old or bashful to join MySpace (hardly any older people are on MySpace, yet social networking is pretty interesting for anyone). This whole concept isn't much different than what gmail contacts is already doing with pictures-- "my pick" vs. "Their pick". For address updates, it would work the same "what Biff has for himself" "what you have for Biff" or "use both mine and Biff's (updated) contact info". THEN when AOL and gmail actually talk to each other someday, it will be quite nice, as that many more humans will easily be able to trade new contact info without wasting tons of man-hours.


Ian Davies [PersonRank 2]

17 years ago #

I use Google Docs when I'm writing in Italian, as the UK version of Microsoft Word XP only comes with English, French and Spanish French & Grammar checkers available to install. Google Docs has many more, and Firefox has them installed too.

As a student at uni, it's also handy having all my files in Google Docs so that I can get to them on any computer, without them having to be on the uni network or having to carry a pen drive around with me, or having to email new versions to myself all the time. I wouldn't write an essay in Google Docs (it's really just an HTML editor, with no pages or real layout options), but for odds and ends I find it quite useful, and its revision history and collaborative features are fantastic if you need that sort of thing. Google Spreadsheets does everything that I need from a spreadsheet program, and I use it to do my finances. Again, it's handy being able to access the spreadsheet from home, uni, or anywhere else.

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