On the Benefits of Google Docs

Featured article by V.M. Sawh

Some of you may be wondering what the point of writing on Google Docs vs. MS Word or Scrivener could be. Surely something as lightweight and ubiquitous (you gain access to Google Drive and Google Docs with a Gmail account) can’t be used for serious writing, can it?

Well it depends. So let’s run down some of the benefits associated with this writing program.

  1. You get access to Google Docs via Google Drive, which is free with your Gmail address. 
  2. It also comes with 15 Gigs of storage free on Google Drive.
  3. It’s a very lightweight, browser-based application that you can run as easily as you run Google.
  4. It autosaves as often as (once) (twice) (three times) in this sentence alone, so you will never lose your work.
  5. The interface is similar to MS Word, but much lighter in terms of its task/menu bars and functionality. 
  6. A simple right click on any word brings up useful features such as “Research” and “Define” in the menu. The former automatically searches Google for the word in a convenient side-pane, while the latter brings up multiple web-based dictionary and thesaurus-based definitions. These are incredibly helpful for doing research on the fly as it integrates the browser functions seamlessly while you write.
  7. It’s autosave function and accessibility means you have the freedom to Write Anywhere. All you need is an internet connection. Write in a cafe, write in a library, on your phone, on someone else’s phone, on your computer or a borrowed one. Not on a stolen one though, because that’s wrong.
  8. For those of you with a microphone, Google Docs also offered voice typing as well as auto-translate.
  9. It’s also very, very fast. There’s no load time and you can store, upload and update multiple versions of the same document.
  10. There’s a 1-Click share functionality, allowing you to instantly send your document to any collaborator with an email address and specify what level of access they have to it. There are 3 levels of access: Edit, Comment and View.
  11. For those you assign Edit privileges, they will be able to manually alter and contribute to your manuscript. This can be useful if you are sharing your Google Doc with your editor or collaborator. You don’t have to download multiple versions of the files and you can see your collaborators’ updates in real-time.
  12. For those granted Comment privileges, they will be able highlight and make comments in the text by using Google Docs directly. If you wish, you can even give multiple parties simultaneous comment privileges, which allows them to see each other’s comments. 
  13. Those given the View privilege only have access to see your document, which is locked to read-only.