An Ode to Google Docs

steve Uncategorized 0 Comments

I love Google docs. Hopefully that was pretty obvious from the title of this blog. Honestly, I think it’s one of the best tools in existence for today’s college student. Before you ask – no, I do not work for Google, I just happen to really enjoy using their product. This obsession goes all the way back to 2008, when I first posted this little gem along with an accompanying facebook note which has tragically been lost to the many facebook updates in the past 3 years.Since then, I’ve found myself managing 4 different google accounts (2 personal and 2 student org accounts) each with dozens of documents for various purposes.

Instead of trying to put together some sort of logical narrative about why I like Google docs so much, I’m just going to hit you with a list. BAM! LIST!

1. Collaborate in real time – While studying in Rome this summer, my group used it to write our 40 page magnum opus together. All four of us sat in the same room on different computers, typing and editing in our own color. I literally can’t imagine writing that paper without that capability. Emailing our sections to each other, making edits, and emailing back – that just leads to headaches. Engineering is a hugely team-based field, with a lot of collaboration on projects, so a tool like this is incredibly helpful.

2. Never have an out-of-date document – How many times have you been working on a paper of a powerpoint with people and each person makes changes in his or her own version of the document, and then you have to get together and reconcile all those differences? NEVER AGAIN! This is mostly a lifesaver in powerpoint, but it can help everywhere. I use docs in essentially all my clubs as well – for agendas and meeting minutes, it just can’t be beat!

3. Great for collecting survey results and important forms – I use these features mostly in Colleges Against Cancer and working as a freshman academy coach. Got a form you need everyone to fill out? Get your club’s t-shirt sizes, emails, phone numbers, and availability for working events all in one convenient place! On the front end, you can send out a sweet survey with a random theme, and on the back end, it sorts all that data into a super usable spreadsheet!

4. Creativity! This is something I rather recently discovered. I had always dismissed the google docs “drawing” feature as a toy until I had to use it for a game design class earlier this semester. My group ended up putting together a fully functional and interactive dynamic board game with moving parts!

It might not look like much - but each level of that wheel can rotate independently (and take all its diamonds with it). Additionally, the number and location of the diamonds is easy to manipulate. This helped us put our game design through countless iterations!

5. Organically syncing across multiple devices – This is another feature I’ve only come to appreciate recently. Remember when I said I use docs for all my clubs? It’s great to have those docs with me on my phone in a simple to use app when I need to access the colleges against cancer roster on the fly! This has saved me more than once!

6. USC Totally supports google docs  With your USC student account – you can use your @usc.edu email address with a fully featured google docs account, and it comes with even more features, like requiring USC sign in for document access (keep out random people!). Also it’s great that everyone, regardless of whether or not they use a personal gmail, can use it!

You would not be alone in thinking I maybe like google docs a little too much, but you would also not be alone if you then joined a club or worked on a group project and could never go back and then felt silly for thinking I like google docs too much.

Anyway – it’s something you should probably look into. It makes college easier!

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