Google Docs

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Google Docs is a free, Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation application offered by Google. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users. Google Docs combines the features of two services, Writely and Spreadsheets, which were merged into a single product on October 10, 2006. A third product for presentations, incorporating technology designed by Tonic Systems, was released on September 17, 2007.

* 1 Features
* 2 Mobile access
* 3 Limitations
* 4 Security
* 5 History
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 8 External links

[edit] Features

Documents, spreadsheets, and presentations can be created within the application itself, imported through the web interface, or sent via email. They can also be saved to the user's computer in a variety of formats. By default, they are saved to the Google servers. Open documents are automatically saved to prevent data loss, and a full revision history is automatically kept. Documents can be tagged and archived for organizational purposes.

Collaboration between users is also a feature of Google Docs. Documents can be shared, opened, and edited by multiple users at the same time. In the case of spreadsheets, users can be notified of changes to any specified regions via e-mail.

The application supports popular Office file types such as .doc or .xls. It also includes support for the OpenDocument format.[2]

It is also possible to upload and share PDF files.

[edit] Mobile access

Google Docs allows mobile phone users to browse their Google Docs documents in a mobile browser. Users can view (but not edit) documents and spreadsheets, but not presentations.

A version of Google Docs for the iPhone includes functionality for viewing presentations, along with an interface designed specifically for the device.

[edit] Limitations

There is a limit on how much a user can store on his/her account. Each document must be under 500k plus 2MB for each embedded image. Each spreadsheet must be under 10,000 rows, 256 columns, 100,000 cells and under 40 sheets. A user can have a total of 5,000 documents and presentations, 5,000 images and 1,000 spreadsheets. The maximum number of spreadsheets that one can open at one time is 11. Only presentations under 10MB can be imported.[3] User access to Google Docs is currently supported through Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Safari. (Although Google Docs can also be used with Opera by turning on "mask as Firefox", it is not officially supported.)

[edit] Security

Google Docs does not default to an encrypted HTTPS connection beyond the login screen, though text documents and spreadsheets can be optionally accessed through HTTPS.

The privacy of sensitive documents may also be compromised by the fact that many people are increasingly logged into their Google account in a quasi-permanent fashion (Google accounts are a unified login process for a variety of Google services such as email, calendar, videos, etc.). While this unified login certainly provides some value, it also represents a potential threat to security (see cross-site scripting) as the access to Google Docs then requires no password check.

[edit] History
Writely's beta logo
Writely's beta logo

Google Docs originated from two separate products, Writely and Google Spreadsheets. Writely was an individual web-based word processor created by the software company Upstartle and launched in August 2005.[4] Its original features included a collaborative text editing suite and access controls. Menus, keyboard shortcuts, and dialogue boxes show up in a way similar to what users may expect in a GUI-driven word processor, such as Microsoft Word or Writer.

On March 9, 2006, Google announced that it had acquired Upstartle.[5] At the time of acquisition, Upstartle had four employees.[6] Writely closed registration to its service until the move to Google servers was complete.[7] In August 2006, Writely sent account invitations to everyone who had requested to be placed on a waitlist, and then became publicly available on August 23. Writely continued to maintain its own user system until September 19, 2006, when it was integrated with Google Accounts.[8]

Writely originally ran on Microsoft ASP.NET technology which uses Microsoft Windows. Since July 2006, Writely servers appear to be running a Linux-based operating system.[9]

Meanwhile, Google developed Google Spreadsheets. This product introduced most of the abilities found today in Google Docs. Google announced Spreadsheets on June 6, 2006, and initially made it available to only a limited number of users, on a first-come, first-served basis. The limited test was later replaced with a beta version available to all Google Account holders.

In February 2007, Google Docs was made available to Google Apps users.

In June 2007, Google changed the front page to include folders instead of labels, organized in a side bar.

On September 17, 2007, Google released their presentation program product for Google Docs.[10]

[edit] See also

* List of online spreadsheets
* List of word processors (This list includes online word processors)
* List of presentation software
* Comparison of office suites

[edit] References

1. ^ Official Google Docs Blog: Now available in 48 languages
2. ^ Google Docs Tour
3. ^ Basic Information: Size requirements for Docs
4. ^ Emily Chang - eHub Interviews Writely
5. ^ Official Google Blog: Writely so
6. ^ - Google Acquires Online Word Processing Company
7. ^ Official Google Blog: Writely so
8. ^ The Writely Blog: Google Account Sign-in LIVE
9. ^ Site report for
10. ^ Attila Bodis (2007-09-17). "Our feature presentation". Official Google Blog. Retrieved on 2007-09-17.

[edit] External links

* Google Docs
* Official Google Docs Blog on Blogger
* Tonic Systems web page (with a few details on Google acquisition)
* Some examples of how Google Docs is used
* Video: Collaboration in Google Docs

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