Making Google Docs More Useful

Notwithstanding the confidentiality concerns found with Google Docs, I know that there are plenty of people who use and love Google Docs. Don’t get me wrong. I think it is a very neat application and I have used it before for personal, nonconfidential stuff.

Anyway, for those who use Google Docs, Dumb Little Man has a post that provides 10 Google Docs hacks. From the list, my favorites are the bulk uploader, as well as the bulk download options.

Although I don’t know that I would keep my finances on Google Docs, the tip describing how you can easily keep track of your finances is pretty neat.

Also, I didn’t know this, but you can easily create polls using Google Docs. Now that is a cool application.

Check out the post for all 10 tips.

The Downsides of SaaS

I beleive that Software as a Service is a growth industry in the legal field and that, as programs get more complicated and more expensive, more people will be moving to a SaaS model for at least some of their software needs.

A recent problem with Google Docs, however, highlights one of the potential problems with SaaS solutions: your documents are the in hands of someone else. ZD Net reported that Google admitted that .05% of its Google documents that were supposed to be private were treated as public.

Now, I have not heard any horror stories about how confidential information was exposed during this incident. However, this incident does highlight the fact that when choosing a SaaS provider or when choosing to place any of your documents in a remote location (typically over the internet), investigate your provider to make sure that they are taking adequate measures to protect your information and keep it confidential and to ensure that if something does happen, that they will act promptly to correct the problem.

Creating a New Google Docs Document from GMail

Google recently added a new feature to Gmail that allows you to create a new document in Google Docs with one click. As the GMail Blog explains:

No more copying and pasting the text from your email — just open the message you wish to convert, click the “Create a document” link on the right side of the page, and voila, you have a brand new document which you can then modify and share!

This feature is not turned on automatically. To turn it on, simply open your Gmail account, click on Settings, then click on Labs. Near the bottom is Create a Document. Click enable and then save the settings. While there, feel free to poke around the other options available and try them out if any catch your attention.

Hat tip to Reid Trautz for first pointing this out.

Tips for Using Google Docs

Google Docs is becoming more popular as people realize the advantage of having documents accessible to them anywhere they have internet access. Recently Digital Inspiration posted a “practical guide to Google Docs.” The post includes tips such as the following:

Q: How do I upload all my Microsoft Office documents from the desktop on to Google Docs?

A: List Uploader is a Windows utility that enables you to bulk upload files to Google Docs via drag-n-drop or through the right click menu.

Mac OS X users can upload documents through GDocsUploader – simply drag-n-drop the document onto the uploader icon. Another option is GDocsBar – just drag your files in the Firefox sidebar and they’ll automatically get uploaded to Google Docs.

Q: How do I associate the common Office file extensions like doc/xls/ppt with Google Docs so that desktop documents open directly in the web browser?

A: Get the Google Toolbar for Firefox and select the ‘Google Docs’ checkbox from Toolbar options. This will let you open Office documents directly in the browser bypassing Microsoft Office.

Q: I am worried that someone may hack into my Google Account and delete the important files. To play safe, I want to download all documents from Google Docs locally and burn them on to a CD. Is it possible?

A: To download a copy of all your Google Docs documents on to the hard drive, get this Grease Monkey script. It will create a list of all your online documents that you can download in one step using the DownloadThemAll add-on.

Click here to see the remainder of the tips. If you use Google Docs, you definitely want to read this post.

Thanks to Dumb Little Man for pointing me in the direction of this post.