15 years ago, if you wrote a document, you’re probably doing it in Microsoft Word. The company’s wildly successful office suite, Word was the de-facto option for drafting text, you writers, office workers, students, teachers… you get the point.
But October 11, 2006, Google Google has officially launched Docs and Spreadsheets Beta. Like everything else, Google, Docs and Sheets were cloud-based applications that let you collaborate with others in real time. It’s easy to forget now, but it was completely different from the way most people worked on documents at the time.
I was in a different career 15 years ago, which required me to work on lots of spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations accessing shared network drives. Submitting these to others for editing and notes was a complex process. Make sure you had Most current The version of the document usually consists of a six-digit number that was revised to the last date, checked the initials to make a note, and dirty notes were finally added until you clicked “April_Report_051504_NI_final_final_reallyfinal.doc.”
15 years later, I’m writing this story on a Google Doc shared with my editors; They can change as much as they want in the finished part of the draft because I keep typing here and nothing will be lost. Collaborative work is much better than before, and a big part of Google Docs – but coming here wasn’t always smooth sailing.
Google Docs started out as a “hacked together experiment”, says its creator Sam Shilas In an interview with Edge In 2013. Eight years ago, he created a tool called Wrightly, a web-based text editing platform. Google 200 bought the company in March 2006. According to Shilas, percent of the company was using Wrightly just a month later. “When we went to Google, Wrightley was very quickly accepted internally,” he said. Just seven months later, at the Office 2.0 conference in San Francisco, Google officially released Docs and Sheets. Like most Google products at the time, it was released for free in beta.
Surprisingly, this was not exactly the same as what Microsoft was offering with Office. The text editor was relatively easy to say. But more importantly, Google Docs only works when you have an active internet connection. While good broadband was fairly common in the workplace and universities, it was much less easy to find when you entered the world. If you want to get some work done while traveling, say on a plane, Google Docs was a non-starter.
It didn’t take Google long to figure out a way to sync documents to a computer to access them offline. In May 2007, the company launched its first “World Developer’s Day.” Google has launched Gears. Gears was an open source project and browser extension for Mac, Windows and Linux that would allow web applications to work without an Internet connection. Although the project was intended for use by any developer, it is perfectly understandable for Google Docs to use it.
Unfortunately, this was not the most stable tool. In late 2009, Google Development in gears stopped To use the capabilities of HTML5.
This time around, Google was experimenting with different ways to move collaboration and communication forward – Docs was just a success story. There were failures though, the most high-profile of which There was Google Wave – An ambitious combination of instant messaging, email, documents, multimedia and much more. It was promoted by Tech Press, so much so that Google Wave invitations are being sold on eBay. But interest has fallen sharply, in large part because it seemed to be a less finished product than most of Google’s “beta” launches.
Google did a great job explaining exactly what this new tool was designed to solve, and the company The plug was pulled in 2010, Just a year later. But many of what Google Wave has tested live elsewhere. In fact, just when Google Wave development is over, the company adds chat to Google Docs, allowing those who had the same file to discuss the content as well as what they’re doing.
Google Docs has clearly evolved from the past of its early struggles. Google has been paying some amazing attention to the product over the past decade, increasingly repeating it and improving it at a steady pace. That’s what Google really seems to believe. The company has done the same with Android, Chrome (both browser and OS), Drive, Photos and of course Search and Gmail.
As Internet access became more widespread, the fact that Docs (like most Google products) worked best online was no barrier. It took a while to get used to not having to worry about saving a document, but that’s something we now allow – if your browser crashes, what you’re doing is still waiting for you in the cloud.
Probably the biggest approval of Google’s Cloud-First strategy came in 2010, when Microsoft took the first step towards bringing the application online. For a long time, though, Google’s suite of apps was more suited to the cloud. For example, at the end of 2013 you could not have more than one person working on the same office document, which was created in Google Docs from day one. Apple followed Google’s lead, bringing its iWork apps online in 2011 and finally enabling collaboration at the same time.
Although Office is influential in the workplace, it is fair to say that Google has given Microsoft its first real competition in many years. Google has some huge customers, such as Salesforce, Whirlpool, Twitter and Spotify. And Google’s apps, combined with the cheap Chromebook and its learning platform, have made the company a force to be reckoned with in K-12 space as well as higher education.
For the next 15 years, it is all but reassuring that collaborative and remote work will continue to be crucial. This was clear before Covid-1, and the last 1 month has basically blown away the idea that everyone has to go to the office. To get a better idea of where collaborative work is going, consider Microsoft’s Open Source Fluid Framework. First announced in May 2019, Fluid means eliminating barriers between different file formats and making it easier to pull content from different sources. Microsoft has described it as a way to share data atoms across multiple files – so if you’re updating a spreadsheet in a document, you can attach that content to another file and it will automatically reflect those changes.
Dropbox did not bring its own “atomic material” to the document, but its paper application works similarly. They’re as collaborative as Google Docs, but they support a wide range of content plug-ins that allow you to embed YouTube videos, Google Calendar elements, figma documents, to-do lists, trelo lists, and even entire Google Docs.
Microsoft is deliberately creating Fluid, taking small steps since its initial release. Earlier this year, the company announced that some liquid components would work on its communications platform team. I think content is going to be another important step forward in all the other places where we work outside of rigid platforms like Google Docs or Microsoft Office.
This has already happened to some degree. Over the years, Dropbox has supported the creation, sharing, and editing of Microsoft Office documents directly within its own apps and websites, and has since added similar support for Google Docs. And apps like Slack have a lot of integration for things like Google Drive and Trelo, though it’s not clear how much they are used or essential in the Slack workflow. (I mostly drop links to Google Docs that I need to edit.)
Somewhat ironically, as barriers between content and file types are removed and more people work in virtual spaces like Team and Slack, Google’s approach to the Wave seems rather relevant. The idea of a place for a project or team that includes all its important elements, be it documents, spreadsheets, pictures, videos or any other content where we think we are moving forward. But despite the fact that Google (and the rest of the industry) is moving back to models that remind us of what Wave tried, there is still a missing part in Google’s strategy.
That part is messaging, Google has fought over something as long as Google exists. Fully detailed by Ars technique, Google has never been able to come up with an integrated messaging plan for consumers or businesses. At times, Google Chat (née Hangouts) can be a tough Slack competitor, as well as the web that integrates all content into human work, but Slack misses the boat as it has consolidated its dominance over the past five years. Although the Google workspace has a huge user base, it has not been able to access messaging – which integrates a modern workplace.
That said Google’s smart canvas (Announced at I / O this year) May have its own version of the fluid, a different way of combining different content and communication. From what we’ve seen so far, Smart Canvas has a variety of “building blocks” that you can draw on a single canvas – such as a meeting call with a Google Doc to take notes and a to-do list for assigning items to team members. It’s being launched on a limited basis to pay Google Workspace customers, but it’s definitely worth a look to see how it evolves.
No one can really predict what will happen in the next 15 years with the shift to other cultural workplaces, such as brought by Kovid-1. And those shifts will probably bring about the most significant change in the products meant for the job.
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