I'll have to admit: while I have blogged my fair share on Google's products (such as Chrome) I've still been somewhat hesitant to pry myself away from using a certain competing productivity suite everyone is familiar with.
Why? Maybe a combination of familiarity, a certain expectation from others I have worked with peppered with no real motivation to change from the status quo.
But when you start to work with a group of people who use the Google Apps products on a daily basis, you start to see the real benefit of using it versus a native-installed piece of software and a scattering of these little bits of information, those things that we call "files".
When you're working within Apps itself, the biggest "wow" factor that you'll experience is the collaboration. You can be talking to someone hundreds of miles away and in a snap you can see in real time them making a change to a chart in a spreadsheet. For those of us used to seeing that little cursor blink and nothing more when you're not doing anything it really makes your screen come to life.
Does Google Apps have a huge pile of advanced features? That's a loaded question, since many of those things you quickly will realize that with Apps you don't really need anyways. The emphasis for this product is the ability to move quickly in and out of work and to be able to get things done better. Isn't everything else already complicated enough?
So as a result, there isn't as much of a learning curve as you would think; it's not like Google is trying to reinvent the way that we work by turning things upside down. The tools have already been invented; it's their opinion that they just need to be improved for better usage. And Google thinks that they should also be made available for much cheaper than ever before.
Look, many technology-related things like software are thought of as incredibly complicated. The reality is that they shouldn't always be viewed that way. These things are supposed to be built so that anyone can use them, not so that anyone can be confused by them.
With Apps, you don't have to install anything and there is minimal configuration that needs to be done. All you really have to do is upload your files. Then your files are turned into Docs. If you upload your folders, they turn into collections. That's really all you need to know.
Once you've done this, you're able to access your information from anywhere. Hardware and software are not required anymore. All you need is any old computer that has a browser installed. You never have to worry about data theft or security as long as you keep that account password something a bit more secretive than "password".
I think I'll be spending a lot more time using Apps, not only because I write on this blog but because of the belief that it's a better product than some of the other rivals out there pushing expensive applications to their customers.
I just wish I could somehow get a refund for that expensive word processing software that I bought last year that I thought I needed...
Labels: Chrome and Google Apps, first time using Google Apps, getting started using Google Apps