I’ve been tracking my usage of Word versus Google Documents over the past month, and for the first time I’ve done more work "online" than "ondisk".  In many, many ways, working with text and spreadsheet documents online is a much better fit for the realities of my life.  For example:

  • I’m really wary of losing my data.  I think Google takes better care of my data than I ever could.
  • I’m wary of mechanical breakdowns.  My last PowerBook got bent like a banana (wasn’t my fault).  It could happen again.  But I never want to lack access to my data again.
  • I use multiple computers.  I’m so over lugging my five-pound laptop to and from my work office and home and to classrooms at Stanford.  Much better to be able to access things from any computer.
  • I like to share.  When it comes to thinking and creating, I’m an extrovert.  I like to share, or to have the  option to share, documents with other people.  You can do that with Word, but the tracking and rev control features provided by Google are far superior, in my opinon.

Yes, I need an Internet connection to access this stuff.  But, at least where I live, WiFi is almost as ubiquitous as clean, running water.  And yes, Google has my data and it’s public (so I don’t put private stuff up there for now), but our government reads my emails and probably listens to my phone calls, so…

None of my reasons for liking software as a service are new.  In fact, they’re exactly the talking points I used when I was responsible for marketing an accounting "software as service" offering — QuickBooks Online Edition — about six years ago, before this stuff was cool (by the way, QuickBooks Online has over 100,000 customers now… sweet!).  But Google’s apps, as simple as they are, really hit a sweet spot for me.  As does the Typepad service I use to put up this blog, the Gmail I use to talk to people who email me from this blog… and many other apps.  It’ll only get better when I start (I hope) using an iPhone in a year or two.

I’ll be at the iMeme conference tomorrow, so I hope to hear more about where "software" is heading.  But I’m convinced this stuff is for real.  It has crossed the chasm, and Google is ready to seriously disrupt Microsoft’s Office.  This is good for us users.

1 thought on “Wordless

  1. A few weeks ago, my Camino browser decided, unilaterally, to erase my bookmarks. At the very same moment, i decided to switch back to Firefox and start using Del-icio-us, google spreadshets, etc.
    As you say, i trust more in google or yahoo than in myself and burglars in my city, but most of all, web is turning more and more into a tool, and less in a display cabinet. Why then buy and store a program in your hard disk? The less weight i carry, the faster i move.
    The real web challenge, and a truly stimulant one, can be reduced then to two words:
    Privacy, it is obvious why.
    Standards, if you manage to work as you mentioned, without carryng your laptop (the more i carry mine one, the more i think “laptop” is a euphemism), what happens when you go to china or japan or even germany? Keyboards, browsers, etc. etc.
    The real deep challenge to make this work, is to guarantee a reliable access to the web, to anyone anywhere. Specially to poor countries.

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