Google Docs, Why 90% of Users Should Migrate Yesterday

That video alone pretty much says it all.  It isn’t about the word processor, or the device, it’s just about writing what you want when you want and how you want.  The old legacy mindset of an installed word processor is a bit feeble these days.  Especially considering the integrity of Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word.  Don’t even get me started on how flimsy Excel is.  The old installed application sweet of several hundred Megabytes just doesn’t hold up for an fast paced, quickly adaptive, thought leader style business.  Microsoft said it best in the old wars between WordPerfect and Word, even though WordPerfect (which I think version 9 or 11 or something is STILL more feature rich than Word) had tons of more features, Microsoft stated frequently that 80-90% of users never used those features.

Now we’re in a situation were 80-90% of people don’t use the features in Word, and it costs a lot of cash versus the free offering from Google Docs.  Funny how the tides turn to throw Microsoft’s won words back at the company.

Some may be screaming at this point, “nobody is going to dump Word & the Office Suite”.  Again, the same thing was said about WordPerfect in the late 90′s.  Does anyone still use it?  Maybe 1-2% of the market?

Other people may also argue, “but all of the programmable extensible… [fill in some form of extending Office here] …stuff for Office makes it immensely valuable!”  Maybe, but it is a small subset of users that actually use addons to their Microsoft Office Suite.  In addition, most developers don’t want to touch Office addons at all, they’d rather the suite languish than to develop to the jumbled chaos that is the Microsoft Office Suite Addons and such.

But I digress, one might say, “you’re just biased and don’t like the Microsoft Office Suite”…  and I’d say you got me there!  I’m guilty.  Over the years Microsoft has made billions of dollars on this suite.  By proxy they’ve then dumped billions of dollars into software development and other things.  However, people really shouldn’t be spending vast sums of money on something that should – and will – become a commodity software product over the next 1-5 years.  As Enterprises realize they can easily provide word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation software for small percentages of what Microsoft does the transitions should continue to occur.

Microsoft even seems convinced of this and started making the move with Office 365 + SaaS based Office provision on Windows Live.  I don’t wish the company ill will of any sort, so hopefully they’ll pull out of their software nose dive with the SaaS offering.

7 thoughts on “Google Docs, Why 90% of Users Should Migrate Yesterday

  1. Google docs is tempting, but there are lots of reasons why I’m not buying –

    1) I don’t want to give more information to Google. Don’t they already harvest enough information about me?

    2) What happens if Google decides they no longer want to offer docs anymore? Or they update their software in a way that I don’t like? (hint: you’re screwed)

    3) Security (from hacking).

    4) No control over who really looks at your data. Google employees, the government, etc — all could look at your data without your knowledge.

    These are the same reasons why I don’t use commercial email or photo hosting. Facebook is inevitable, unfortunately.

    • On each of the above items…
      1) …and Microsoft doesn’t?
      2) You got me on this one. I suppose, buy the software and don’t upgrade. …or better yet, use Linux & Open Office. Then you aren’t locked into Word either.
      3) Security?! I can tell ya, Google docs is vastly more secure than the files on your computer – statistically speaking. :)
      4) Well, if one is going to be paranoid, then it is true – things in the cloud and on the Internet really aren’t something they should use.

      MOST Enterprises should move is what I’m talking about. The Consumer really doesn’t matter, as many of them don’t use Word anyway. They just use whatever comes on the machine. In many situations they don’t even need that. They’ve paid hundreds of extra dollars to have something they don’t need or won’t use.

      But I digress. :)

  2. 1) I mean the mining of the data you put inside your documents (ex: the gmail adverts that reference things in your email). At bare minimum if you accidentally click on one of those ads, then essentially some information about what was in your “private” email has now been leaked to the third party. If you have Word on your laptop, nobody is harvesting the data in the documents that you’re creating.

    3) I disagree. Seems like you’re more likely to have a session stolen via firesheep/network sniffing at a public hotspot or forgetting to logout at the library or losing your phone, than someone breaking into your house to steal your computer (or you losing your laptop). Also if you wanted to protect against the physical security liability you could always have an encrypted partition on your laptop and mount it as-necessary; whereas with “the cloud” your always limited by what (if anything) the provider offers.

    Generally speaking people are logged into their google accounts all the time; so all it would take to steal your session in that case is for you to open a new window on your web browser, have it display your “igoogle” home page – and then boom I’ve got your session.

    4) Not paranoid. At my work our software is sold for millions of dollars. The value of our IP is incalculable. Should we really be putting that data on servers that we have no control over? Does Google provide some sort of insurance that will pay out if there is theft by a third party or improper usage by Google employees/contractors? If not, why not?

    These days people are getting all google-eyed for google (and facebook) and are forgetting about the privacy issues. No doubt the tools are slick, but there’s a cost you pay for that.

    I think lots of companies will trend towards this model, until large security breaches start hitting the headlines. At that point they’ll either need to dramatically improve the security model or things will swing back the other way to where individual companies are again in charge of keeping their assets secure.

    • A few answers.

      Should we really be putting that data on servers that we have no control over? Yes. The likelihood is that it will cost you less, probably increase your security, and drastically increase your system/app performance. How often can one say “we have a super computer available if we need it”.

      Does Google provide some sort of insurance that will pay out if there is theft by a third party or improper usage by Google employees/contractors? I don’t know about Google’s Cloud offering, but the others offer insurance (regular business insurance should cover it, you want it, you can buy it). Rackspace, Windows Azure, AWS, etc all will also negotiate depending on the size of your needs.

      As for security breaches, I’ve blogged about it before. The odds your data gets stolen or such, is vastly higher in your own facilities than in the cloud. In addition most of the security of your data and cloud systems still lie in your hands when building for the cloud. This is a MAJOR thing to realize when building for the cloud. The cloud has vastly better physical security (just from the mere fact of the architecture) than some military complexes! The software & data side of it still is mostly in your hands. The node separations and other aspects of cloud architecture only help you maintain security on that data your storing in the cloud.

      …there will be breaches, but the fact is it will probably be because of bad practice in software design and NOT the cloud services themselves.

  3. FYI -
    Richard Stallman is apparently not a fan:

    “I think that marketers like “cloud computing” because it is devoid of substantive meaning. The term’s meaning is not substance, it’s an attitude: ‘Let any Tom, Dick and Harry hold your data, let any Tom, Dick and Harry do your computing for you (and control it).’ Perhaps the term ‘careless computing’ would suit it better.”

    “I suppose many people will continue moving towards careless computing, because there’s a sucker born every minute. The US government may try to encourage people to place their data where the US government can seize it without showing them a search warrant, rather than in their own property. However, as long as enough of us continue keeping our data under our own control, we can still do so. And we had better do so, or the option may disappear.”

    Saw this on /. and thought it relevant to add to the thread.

  4. Google Docs, Why 90% of Users Should Migrate Yesterday

  5. I like using Word and Excell and for the work I do these applications perfom as I expect them to. I’m also a major Salesforce.com user so I am equally about “The Cloud” and have benefitted from it’s mass adoption so I consider myself a hybrid user. Some applications I like locally stored on my PC like Office, others like my CRM lives in the Cloud and I am really fine with that. I looked at Google Apps several times I don’t think they are as good as Office/Word?Exell, sorry but I think MS has done a good job designing the UI’s for these products.

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