By Deane Barker | December 28, 2012 | 3 Comments
Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word: An Even Matchup?: I share this guy’s opinion:
Is Microsoft Word actually better than Google Docs and Zoho Docs? For my work, the answer is “yes.” The others simply can’t compete, not by a long shot.
[…] the software developers behind cloud-based platforms such as Google Docs don’t seem to recognize the publishing industry’s need for advanced features […]. As long as they remain largely unaware of those needs, those platforms will always lag behind more traditional offerings such as Word.
Yes, I know that Microsoft is the Evil Empire (actually, I don’t, but whatever). However, they’ve also been building Office for a really long time, and whether you’re willing to admit it or not, it’s a damn fine suite of software.
Google Docs is wonderful, yes, but only for certain use cases. Those use cases encompass probably 80% of the documents I write, but the remaining 20% is still a very big problem (just try printing well from Docs). And Office will handle most of the other 80% as well as Google Docs does, apart from the occasional need for collaboration.
There’s a long tail of document use cases where Google Docs just falls hopelessly short (I said as much last month). Until it doesn’t, I will remain a fan of Microsoft Office.
What This Links To
If I were Google I’d probably be ok with not being an exact copy of Microsoft Office.
I both agree and disagree with the author. We have multiple teams that use “collaboration” on a Google Doc on a regular basis. Usually while in a meeting using Google Hangout or Skype. For our situation it is super useful to have everyone in the meeting be able to edit at the same time. Clearly that isn’t for everyone, but it is a great feature for our use.
Then there are things like real revision tracking that I’d love to see in Google Docs. So far for me it hasn’t been a deal breaker though. But then again I’m not writing technical manuals that have be approved by an editor and publisher either.
While it certainly has some shortcomings, particularly the issues of formatting for printing that you’ve previously written about, I think the author overstates the negative and understates the positive (collaboration).
At work, we currently are licensed for both Google Apps and Microsoft Office. The fact that we use both is telling that both fall short for all needs. The collaboration features of Google Apps, Drive, and advantages of Gmail over MS Exchange (especially in price) are huge which is why we’ve shifted away from Microsoft’s Office Suite. Microsoft just isn’t competitive in these areas and won’t be until they truly value cloud services over client software.
However, there are about 20% of our employees that have specific needs in publishing and also in spreadsheets where Word and Excel is a requirement for their job. We’ve kept MS Office around for these people and because of Microsoft’s licensing practices it’s just not economical or manageable (yet) to license only a selection of applications from the MS Office Suite nor for select individuals.