Features: Advantages and Disadvantages

Google Docs has many useful features. Some of these include: image drag and drop, improved revision and editing features in documents, new fonts, selection and gridless printing in spreadsheets, real-time collaborative highlighting, in-cell dropdown and cell validation, spell checker in spreadsheets, more page sizes, auto linking in documents, and document translation (6). We will now look as these in detail.

                        Image drag and drop: This feature allows users to directly drag and drop images into documents, if they are using Google Chrome, Fireox, or Safari.

                        Improved revision and editing feature: This feature allows the user to see the history of the document and switch between its revisions. It allows multiple users to edit a document at the same time and all the changes show on the document separated by different colours or each user.

                        New fonts: Six new fonts have been introduced in Google Docs. These include the Droid Serif, Droid Sans, Calibri, Cambria, Consolas, and Corsiva.

                        Selection and gridless printing in spreadsheets: This feature gives users more printing options such as to print with or without gridlines.

                        Real-time collaborative highlighting: When multiple users are working on a document, each user will b able to see other users highlighting the text in real time as they make changes to the document.

                        In-cell dropdown and cell validation: This feature allows users to create drop down lists in individual cells.

                        Spell checker in spreadsheets: This feature allows users to check spelling in their spreadsheets from the tools menu.

                        More page sizes: Google Docs has introduced two more page sizes. Executive (1.25”X10.5”), and Statement (5.5”X8.5”).

                        Auto linking in documents:  This feature automatically changes text into a link when it detects that a link has been entered.

                        Document translation: Google Docs comes with 53 embedded languages. This allows users to easily translate documents into any of these languages.

Advantages

Google Docs is available online and is free for all to use. Users will need a Google email account to use the service; this account also gives users access to many other Google features. Each Google account is created with a unique address based on the name the user registers with. By emailing a file to this address, the file gets converted into a Google document, without any additional formatting by the user. When a user creates a file or imports a file on Google docs, they automatically become the owner of the file and can alter and edit it as they like. They can also invite others to view the documents instead of sending the documents to them. All documents are automatically saved periodically to minimize loss due to malfunctions of the computer, etc. Google Docs saves all documents online, which takes up no room on a users’ computer (7).

Disadvantages

There are several disadvantages of Google Docs, one being the inability to work offline. In order to work on documents an internet connection is necessary.  The features are also basic and simple, which more tech savvy users may dislike.  Other programs have more advanced features that allow the user to fully customize their documents and spreadsheets.  Furthermore, it is only supported by Internet Explorer version 6 or newer, Firefox version 1.07 or newer (not including Firefox 3), and Safari 3.1 or newer. No other servers support Google Docs (7).

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