Hacking workflow with Google Docs

Google has a suite of web-based applications for office tasks such a finance and writing.

The so-called Google Drive apps are stripped down to the most common functions that you need from a spreadsheet or word processor.

The presentation app is a bit basic but I’d wholeheartedly recommend all the others, in particular a forms app for creating online questionnaires. Check it out. You’ll never use SurveyMonkey again.

You access Google apps by creating a Google or Gmail account. You get your own virtual 15GB hard drive in the Cloud when you sign up.

Google Drive and the suite of apps are accessed via a web browser or Android or Apple app.

The benefit of working in the Cloud is that you can invite other people to share, edit and contribute to you document.

You can try it for yourself now by clicking on this link for a document I’ve created to crowdsourced ideas for future blog posts. Please free to add suggestions. I’ve set the document so that anyone can access and edit it.

As the creator of a document you set permissions for how they are edited and viewed.

The CIPR Social Media Panel used Google Docs to produce Share This and Share This Too. Planning and editing all took place in the Cloud before we handed the manuscript off to Wiley.

Working in this way shifts from the typical process of sequential editing where files are moved around by email to a wiki-style collaborative process.

It’s incredible when you experience multiple people editing a document at the same time. Any piece of work will always benefit from the scrutiny and contribution of others.

Working in this ways demands a mind shift change and level of professional maturity to avoid edit wars, although every change is recorded and can be rolled back with a mouse click.

Once you’re done you can lock down and export documents in common file formats including PDF and Microsoft Word.

Some organisations restrict the use of Cloud based applications because of governance and security concerns.

It’s a very real issue. You should switch two-factor authentication on your Google account and wherever it is available as a service.

Two-factor authentication adds an additional password to an account log-on and is typically generated by SMS or a mobile app.

Increased security and storage are available from business and enterprise accounts.

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Professional advisor for agencies and communication teams, Wadds Inc. Author: #brandvandals, Exploring PR and Management Communication. #PRstack, Share This, and others. Visiting Professor, Newcastle University.

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