Google Drive vs. Microsoft Office

Posted on September 27, 2013

Over the years Microsoft’s Office Suite has become synonymous with everyday word processing, data administration and pretty much document management in general.

Pricey and well-established, you wouldn’t think Google’s completely cloud-based Drive platform could pose any real competition.

Surprisingly it does, but not in the ways you would think.

As of April 2012, Google Docs was collapsed into Google Drive, a new service where Google users can create, store and share various documents, photos and videos.

For those of you familiar with Google Docs, the features in Google Drive for creating and uploading documents remain basically the same.

Sure, die-hard Microsoft Office fans could point Drive’s minimalistic features, which could never rival the thick Advanced Excel or Fundamentals of MS Word tomes you see lying around the bookstore’s technology section.

But the advantages of Drive as an effective document processing platform lie in its uniquely Google features.

The interactivity, simple sharing capabilities and ability to edit documents from anywhere at any time, makes Google Drive a new and extremely capable alternative.

Chat and real-time collaboration

Definitely one of the coolest Drive features is the ability for several people to make edits to a document simultaneously. Fantastic for those unweildy group projects, one person just has to create a document, share it with the team and BAM – instant real-time collaboration! To make navigating around one shared file even easier, there is an inbuilt chat function so you can boss your teammates around while they’re working.

Sharing

As with anything Google, sharing plays a big part in the functionality of the Drive platform. Armed with just an email address, you can send out files, edit viewing and contributor permissions and create groups to view and edit certain files. Plus you have the added bonus of distributing them without any clunky attachments.

Platform-wide compatibility

My pet hate with MS documents is the constant compatibility dance between its many working versions. Unfortunately your Word 97-2003 is just not going to open in Word 2010, no matter how many times you close and reopen it. When uploading any Word/Excel/Powerpoint file to Google Drive, it’s automatically coverted into a usable document ready to edit and share online. Naturally there can be some formatting issues between the original MS document and its Drive alternative, but at least the file and its contents are no longer inaccessible to anyone using a different version of Office.

Cloud-based

Never worry about deleting your 10,000 word paper the night before a deadline or losing all those important documents when your hard drive suffers a premature death. Google Drive’s cloud-based system not only ensures you can edit and share your files easily across the web, but it also means you can backup documents and access them no matter what happens to your computer. Drive saves changes by the minute and allows you to quickly view, edit or share a file with just an internet connection.

Versatility

Google Drive will take almost anything, slide presentations, word processing documents, drawings, PDFs, spreadsheets – you name it. They even have their own survey feature which allows you to make professional forms and distribute them to contact lists. The form feature then aggregates and displays the answers in a user-friendly format for data export.


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