Microsoft Word Vs. Google Docs: Do You Really Need MS Office Anymore?

googledocs-vs-wordWith the arrival of Google Docs, people are seriously asking themselves whether they really need to pay the thick wad of cash needed to get Microsoft Office anymore. It’s not rocket science. $0 is infinitely better than any sum of money you could think of. The ability to share documents via the cloud makes the whole prospect even more attractive. But is it worth it to move onto Google Docs and abandon Office forever? Or are you better off still working with software that’s been around for ages? Let’s find out!

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Only a few years ago, the thought of making a web-based word processor was unthinkable. Google Docs remedied the situation with its very existence. Everything about it had the sweet aroma of innovation. Now, more people are starting to look at the prospect of using this software for their own purposes, and for the ability to share their work across the Web to people halfway around the globe without sending an attachment. Today, a document can be transferred via email with a simple link thanks to Google Docs.

Here are the arguments for using Google Docs as opposed to Microsoft Word:

  • It’s portable, meaning you don’t have to install any software and everything saves instantly through a collaborative environment.
  • More than one person can work on the document at the same time, making teamwork immensely more productive.
  • You get most of the functionality of Microsoft Word within this compact application.
  • It’s unbelievably easy to comment on a piece of text and suggest edits.
  • Google Docs is fun to use!
  • Nowhere on the Internet can you actually chat live on the same window you’re writing a document in.
  • You get an ample amount of storage that dwarfs the Gutenberg Bible.
  • You can set permissions for people when sharing a document, allowing you to have full control over who can edit, comment, and view the document. You can also let anyone with the link view, edit, or comment. If you’re looking to make a public document that everyone can edit, you can also make it publicly editable. The access control is useful for corporate environments.
  • And, best of all, Google Docs saves your documents in real-time, as you write them.

Here are a couple of things I didn’t like while working with Google Docs:

  • The interface is slightly buggy. When I insert an image, I sometimes can’t edit the text below it until I refresh.
  • Inserting a JPG image is not possible, as far as I’ve seen. I’ve only been able to upload PNG images. Converting isn’t an issue. Even MS Paint can do it. It’s just annoying to have to take that extra step. It’s like having a microwave oven that doesn’t work unless you set the clock.
  • Nobody working with Google Docs is 100% safe from Google’s policies. Its new privacy policy doesn’t really give you much leeway. It allows Google, under its own discretion, to use your content, reproduce it, or create derivatives of it.

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Most of the stuff I’ve said about Google Docs would also fall here. Microsoft Word’s been around a while, and MS isn’t unaware of Google’s new toy. In fact, it’s offering a collaborative suite with Microsoft Office products that resembles Google Docs through Office 365, now available for the consumer market. This powerful suite is the thing that might make MS Word continue to be a relevant tool in today’s booming tech sector.

Here are a few arguments to make a case for MS Word vs. Google Docs:

  • It’s more stable. You don’t get the glitches where you have to refresh the page when you upload images or anything like that. It holds its own pretty well to any battering you give it.
  • With Office 365, most of the functionality described in Google Docs is implemented. However, you still have to pay for the software.
  • The interface is more complete, with more editing options and better maneuverability.
  • The software comes from several years of experience in document management, and this is reflected within its functionality and versatility.
  • Autocorrect. Who doesn’t love that?!

But there are also things that really break the deal with MS Word:

  • Autocorrect can be very annoying to someone who is very well-versed in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  • The interface is confusing to people who want to move quickly.
  • Cloud storage is possible with the desktop software, but you have to manually sync it with SkyDrive, which is a pain compared to creating a Google Doc. Office 365 doesn’t present this problem, so it’s a tie here.
  • You have to pay for it. While the software’s quite extensive, not many people use its full set of features and prefer the minimalist Google Docs platform.

For those who are not keen to pay the premium to Microsoft, but still love the functionalities of a desktop office suite, LibreOffice seems to be the best alternative. It supports Ms documents, as well as the open format and with an extension, you can get it to sync to Google Docs as well.

I admit I might have a little tiny bit of bias towards Google Docs since I recently migrated my entire workload there. However, I tried to be as neutral as possible. What are your thoughts? Should we abandon MS Word in favor of Google Docs? Does Office 365 have a chance? Or we should just switch to LibreOffice altogether? Comment below to answer these questions!