One thing we are keeping a close watch on here at CORE is the ongoing competition between the desktop Office Suites such as MS Office and Open Office, and the online alternatives from Google Apps and Microsoft.
Google Docs doesn’t quite do it all
We use Google Docs extensively for document collaboration, but find that when it comes to the final document production and formatting it still doesn’t quite cut the mustard, and resort to exporting to a desktop Office Suite for the final version.
The constant question then is, at what point is the document ready for the transfer? And once transferred do you end up with the age-old version problems, and then, do you still email copies around for comment…?
Enter Cloud Connect Office plug-in
So, we were excited to hear about Google’s new Cloud Connect Office plugin. Could this be the answer—providing a close link between Desktop Office Suites and the Cloud, so you don’t need to choose one or the other? We know there are a number of tools available that provide this, but so far we haven’t been able to find one that works with a combination of Mac clients and Google Apps Education Edition. Although the Google offering at this stage looks to be PC only – knowing Google, we are sure there will be Mac versions on the way.
Questions for schools
While we are looking at this mostly from a company perspective, these emerging technologies raise the following important questions for schools:
- Do schools need desktop office tools at all these days, or are the cloud offerings adequate enough for student and teacher document production/collaboration needs?
- If schools do need desktop office functionality, what do the likes of the Google’s Cloud Connect tool mean to schools in terms of the need to maintain local file servers for document and file storage?
Something to think about?
Keep watching this blog for more details on our views on the above questions.
Glen Davies is the IT Manager at CORE Education, and responsible for the IT infrastructure for CORE's geographically dispersed workforce. His passion is finding ways to incorporate technology into teaching, learning, and online collaboration.
Latest posts by Glen Davies (see all)
- Yet another Apple launch - October 25, 2013
- Google Glass – the technology to watch - April 18, 2013