Once upon a time, choices were easier. If you wanted software to support word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations for your organization, traditional installed office software like Microsoft Office was the almost ever-present choice. Over the past couple of weeks I have been testing and comparing Microsoft Office and Google Docs. I have been analyzing the functionality, user friendliness, start-up cost, maintenance cost, and few of the options that each provides. I have used both types in a personal as well as in a business setting.
The answer to the question of which of these tools is likely to work best for you and your company is not a clear black and white one? You may find that one is particularly suited to your organization, or it might make sense to use a combination. Regardless of what the companies say about one another, both are very good, very solid pieces of work.
Google Docs is superior if you're looking for live collaboration, want to save money, don't mind not having offline access to your documents and don't need many power features in an office suite. Installation is a snap (easy as login into your Google account); there is actually no installation.
Just login into your account or register for one, and you are ready to create, read, and save documents.
Advantages of Google docs:
•It’s free. Office can cost $89 for an upgrade or $150 and more for a full version, if not more.
•You can access your docs from any computer connected to the internet. You can access Docs severs from any of your devices that have an Internet connection. This can be very convenient.
•The internet is insecure. When you’re in the cloud, you subject to get hacked. It may seem very convenient to access your docs from anywhere—whether the library lobby or Starbucks. But actually, these are precisely the places where evil-doers can take advantage of you over WIFI and hack into your accounts. Data stored in the cloud is more insecure than data stored locally on your computer.
•Most organizations and companies do not accept Google Docs documents. Businesses generally only accept Office files (and, sometimes, Pages or Rich Text formats). This means that you will probably need Office anyway for them to be able to read the documents. Or, you will need to cut and paste your Google Docs file onto a Word file. But that’s not very convenient.
•Google Docs has interface issues. You get what you pay for. And, all things considered, Google Docs is not a bad program given its $0 pricetag. Nevertheless, its interface is rougher and less thought-out than Word or Pages. It also is more bug-prone.
•You have to be connected to the internet. The world is not yet one big WIFI hotspot. You need to be able to access your documents when you’re not connected to the internet. If your WIFI drops out while you’re putting the finishing touches on that big r paper, you will not be happy.
Google Docs tools give you the capability to pull files down to your computer and work on them offline, they’re designed with the expectation that you’ll do most of your work right in the web interface. If you have a slow or intermittent connection to the Internet, the online application may be exasperatingly slow to use.
Microsoft’s Office has developed a huge set of advanced features over the years. Organizations that use these applications’ advanced features will find them hard to replace. Many of the features that savvy users rely on heavily — especially those in print-heavy work environments — will be difficult or impossible to find online. Things like mail merge, detailed control over fonts, easy formatting of presentation handouts, or very sophisticated spreadsheet formulas may missing from online applications such Google docs.
Microsoft Office 2010 gives you every power feature you could want in an office suite,...