Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Web-Based Document Sharing: Google Docs Explained In Simple Words - Video Tutorial

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If you are looking for an easy way to share and collaborate on documents with other people in your team, Google Docs is one of the most interesting web-based alternatives to a Microsoft Office suite with the integrated, built-in ability to make document collaboration a breeze.


Google Docs, which is completely free for you to sign-up and use, allows you to work on text documents, spreadsheets and presentations that you can share and make available for editing to other team-mates or consultants.

Not only.

  • You can assign full editor rights to specific individuals while keeping others only as reviewers with no editing power.
  • You can co-edit such documents with other people with no risk of deleting each other revisions.
  • You can publish online dynamic and static versions of any such documents including spreadsheets and presentations by embedding a simple piece of code inside your selected web page.

Lee Lefever, the new visual storyteller of social media, takes again a great stab at explaining in plain simple words what Google Docs is and why it makes a big difference for those virtual teams wanting to extract more from these new exciting services available online.

This is what I wrote about him and his visual narrative five months ago when he one of his earliest visual stories in plain simple words:

"This mini-video tutorial is also a must-watch for all those of you interested in understanding how great video can be produced with next to no money but with plenty of creative juice.

In my very humble opinion, this video work best exemplifies the creative spirit and the grassroots low-cost approach that all small independent publishers should take when approaching the challenge of producing new high-value, viral content.

Lee and Sachi have understood this to perfection, and while they may not be the first ones to have used this cinematic approach, they do a fantastic in further popularizing it and making it accessible for everyone on a difficult to explain topic.

Journalism and media schools should have this video on their syllabus!"

Media schools may have not listened in on this one but Google certainly did as it hired Lee and Sachi to create this great 2-minute video tutorial on Google Docs.

Check it out!

Google Docs in Plain English

by Lee Lefever

Duration: 2':49"

English text transcript - Google Docs in Plain English

Home is where we keep the things we need. Whether it is a lawn mower or a coffee pot, it has a home in our lives.

Of course our documents are no different, for years they lived on our computers, each person has their own computer based home for documents.

When we need to share a document we used to attach it to email and send it to a friend or a co-worker's computer home.

Here's the problem.

When you attach a document to an email, copies are created.

Consider this: if you send an email attachment to three people, the same document exists in four different places.

That's a problem.

There is a better way. And it means saying goodbye to messy email attachments.

This new kind of home is not on your computer it's on the Internet and it makes sharing and collaborating on documents much easier and it gives you full control of who can see and access your documents.

Here's the basic idea: instead of attaching a document to an email, let's switch it around and look at how we can attach an email address to a document.

Meet Sam.

Photo credit: Diego Cervo

Sam is the editor of a neighborhood newsletter called The Oak Tree View. She works with local writers who would like to publish articles in their newsletter. Sam loves her job but often feels frustrated when time is wasted managing all the articles.

It's a familiar problem.

Each month writers send her draft articles as email attachments. She reviews them and sends them back with comments. One article may create six different versions of the same file not to mention countless emails. Sam is overwhelmed by emails attachments. She felts hard to track all the versions and send back them to the writers.

As the deadline looms, frustrations rises, something has to give.

Sam decides to try something new.



Here is what happens.

First, she visits the GoogleDocs page and creates a free Google account. She logs in and because some articles were already written, she uploads the current drafts right from her computer.

With a snap, GoogleDocs turns the offline articles into on line versions. Now all that she needs to do is to invite the writers to collaborate on the documents.

Here's how.

She clicks "Share" and searches email addresses and clicks "Invite collaborators". GoogleDocs sends writers an email with a secure link directly to her document.

One click and they can edit and save the document, online.

This means that when July edits the document, Sam sees the changes immediately. Since there is only one document, there's never confusion about updates or versions. It is all saved along with the past versions on the web site.

For the first time, the articles all have a home, a single place for organizing and editing that is accessible from any computer with Internet access.

Problem solved.

What's really cool is this problem isn't just solved for documents, but also for spreadsheets and presentations. All three can now have a secure home on the web that works exactly like Sam's documents.

Sam is relieved. Without having to deal with attachments and multiple versions and all that clutter she can be an editor instead of a document master.

And for the next newsletter not a single email attachment is sent and Sam beats the deadline by a week.

Sharing documents made simple. And all for free.

GoogleDocs, rocks!

Original video by Lee and Sachi Lefever - CommonCraft - (c) Google

Lee Lefever -
Reference: CommonCraft [ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
2007-09-19 18:33:13


Hi Robin,
Thanks so much for the links and sharing the video! Ciao!

posted by Robin Good on Wednesday, September 19 2007, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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