Google Apps

The truth about seven persistent Google Docs myths

Susan Cline puts to rest seven persistent myths concerning Google Docs with an exploration of the truth.

Last week's post about the myths surrounding Google Sites roused some great comments, not to mention a few other myths that we were able to debunk.

This week we move on to Google's online file storage, word processing, spreadsheet, form, and most recently online video storage system - Google Docs.

The Google in the Enterprise weekly newsletter helps professionals get the most out of Google Docs, Google Apps, Chrome, Chrome OS, and all the other Google products used in business environments.

Myth 1: Microsoft Office 2010 files cannot be converted to editable Google Docs

Using the Google Docs Upload feature you can convert many different file types into editable Google documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and drawings. Here is a list of the different file types that can be converted:

  • For spreadsheets: .xls, .xlsx, .ods, .csv, .tsv, .txt, .tab
  • For documents: .doc, .docx, .html, plain text (.txt), .rtf
  • For presentations: .ppt, .pps, .pptx
  • For drawings: .wmf

There was a period of time after Microsoft Office 2010 was released when Google Docs could not convert those files to Google Docs. Support for Excel 2010 and Word 2010 came first, and just this summer Google released support for the conversion of PowerPoint 2010. As with all converted files, the formatting may not match the original exactly and non-supported features like macros and custom animations do not come over to Google Docs in the conversion process.

Myth 2: Google Docs Administrators cannot prevent users from creating public docs that can be found by search engines

If you are using Google Docs with a Gmail address you have three different options for sharing - Private, Anyone with the Link and Public. Documents that have the "public" visibility setting behave like standard webpages and the content may be picked up by search engine crawlers and available in public search engine results.

Those using Google Docs with Google Apps accounts have up to five different visibility settings, Private, People at Organization with the link, Anyone at the Organization, Anyone with the Link or Public on the web. However, in the domain dashboard, the Administrator can restrict the visibility options that are available. Users can be restricted from using the "Public" visibility option, and they can even be restricted from sharing docs with users who have email addresses on other domains.

Myth 3: Google Spreadsheets do not support complex data analysis

For what looks like a simple web-based spreadsheet application, Google Spreadsheets is actually very complex. The function list contains hundreds of functions for Math, Date, Financial, Statistical, and Engineering Analysis. The database functions even allow Google Spreadsheets to query and process data from other databases. Some of the functions even query other Google Applications like Google Finance, Google Translate and Google Search.

Myth 4: Files stored on Google Docs count against your 7GB or 25GB Gmail storage limit

The storage quota for Google Docs is separate from the storage quota for Gmail. Google Docs users have no limit for the number of Google Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Forms and Drawings that they can have. There is however a limit on the size of some of these files; for example, Google Presentations are capped at about 200 slides.

There is however a quota for the amount of storage space for files that are uploaded to Google Docs. This includes images, videos, music and Office files that are not converted to Google Docs. Each user has 1GB of storage in Google Docs. Users can purchase additional storage for about $.25 a GB.

You can find out how much storage you are currently using by clicking the upload icon in your Google Docs list.

Myth 5: You cannot create animations in Google Presentations

Google Presentations is inferior to Microsoft Powerpoint when it comes to the zoom, checkerboard, and dissolve animations and transitions. However, Google Presentations does support an "incremental reveal" function. Using the "incremental reveal" users can order items (text, image, shape) on a slide and the items will appear in order triggered by a mouse click.

That's about it when it comes to animations with Google Presentations. You can of course always embed an animated YouTube video into the presentation itself.

Myth 6: You must have a Gmail or Google Apps account to view Google Docs

You do not need to have a Gmail Account, a Google Account or a Google Apps account to view Google Docs. The key here is that users who do not have a Google Account can see a Google Doc as a viewer, but if they are given "editor" access they will be required to sign-in with a Google Account. The best practice for sharing a Google Doc with a non-Google Account holder is to send them the Doc as an attachment. The other option is to change the visibility setting of the Google Doc so that "anyone with the link" can see it. Then share the link with that particular user.

Myth 7: You cannot attach Google Docs to emails

Many people think that they cannot attach a Google Doc to an email because they do not see their list of Google Docs appear when they click the "attach a file" link in Gmail. Instead of opening an email, and then attaching a file, in Google Docs, you should open the file, and then select an email address to send it to as an attachment. If you click on the Share button (old UI of Google Docs) or the Collaborate (new UI of Google Docs) link there is an option to "Email as attachment". Not only can you send the doc as an attachment, you can also select the file format in which to send the doc. For example, if you are sending a Google Document, you can attach the file as a Word doc, PDF, Plain Text, HTML or RTF file.

A downside to sending the attachment this way is that there is no record of the sent message in your Sent Messages. The easiest way to share Docs is by adding users as "editors" or "viewers" because you can track who has access to the Doc and what type of access they have.

Also read:

About

Susan Cline is the Director of Training and Change Management at Google Apps Parter Ltech. She is also the author of several Google Apps courses on Lynda.com. Visit Susan at her website http://susancline.com/ or follow her on Twitter @GoogleAppsSusa...

34 comments
nickaa827
nickaa827

THE 8TH MYTH: You can't double underline. No, actually this myth is true. In both Spreadsheets, (for a total cell), and Docs themselves, it is not possible to make a doube underline. However, MS Word/Excel 2010 does have this feature. Shouldn't this be there? Am I asking too much?!?! This is such a small problem but really does need to be added. PLEASE REPLY FOR SUGGESTIONS!!

gdoraul
gdoraul

I really believe that cloud files are the future of computing. with so many devices, it's hard to have the same files for all. having also the option of editing that file directly in the browser makes google docs an excellent choice. if I may, I have developed a cool little tool for google docs: it's called gdocsopen, and make things easier when moving from desktop office to the cloud. It hooks up to windows explorer and allows you to open a document directly in google docs with a double click.

Jim Mcnelis
Jim Mcnelis

thanks for this great article on google docs myths!

Interactive Communication
Interactive Communication

Unable to to access the sharing setting on the Google doc andriod app or web browser. To me its a myth this will never get corrected? I don't know what do you think?

sjdorst
sjdorst

The problem with starting at the document and creating a new email with the document attached is that there are times when you want to attach a document as part of a reply to an email you received! As far as I know, the only way to do this at present is to download the file, then attach it in Gmail. And yes, you certainly can make the file visible to anyone with the link, then put the link in the email. - But there still needs to be SOMETHING that let's you refer to a Google Docs Document while composing an email - from within GMail.

Interactive Communication
Interactive Communication

Your probably right about the expextation of buying a technically advance product and believe it will work right. Tho when a consumer pay hard cash or credit for technology I believe thwre should be a class action law suit against the it industry. Basically Ifsome one were to buy a car with failing engines, electrical in tergration failure, and brakes that will stop and go according to who's attention they can grab other than the user try ting to convey there thoughts, the car manufactor would have major recalls. I believe there should be acountibilty to protect the rights of the consumer financial investment. Well to some it up, if people have been tooken advantage of for many years, then you are right, we must all just consider it as being normal and be are own mechanics of or failing integration devices.

Interactive Communication
Interactive Communication

I have found the down side to Google doc is the incompatibilty with the tablet os or interface. The difficulties of using the pop up scripture makes it almost impossible to complete work in today day n age. The bottom line Google lagging priority to make there service avialble in a reliable manner on the there own platform is holding them back from becoming a better company. Google is making the same error as there predecessor by delivering a unfinish application design to have there user resolve a solution. In the fiscally unresposible time we are all in, I believe it would be great to have Google deliver a reliable, compitable, conglarment of service. The bottom line is the vision, Google has a great running start of a developing business market with Google docs, all they need to do now is package their hard work the right way, and tie bow around it to become the I T giants they deserve to be. Also if there is a mobile option and a desk top option, were is the tablet option "specifically for motorola xoom"?

tbmay
tbmay

....and I'll be singing the Google docs praises.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Are you using the full potential of Google Docs? Have you come across any other myths you want to dispel?

nickaa827
nickaa827

@gdoraul Nice! I'll have to try it. Do you by chance to a link for download?

BlazingEagle
BlazingEagle

What happens when a cloud service provider goes kaput? The cloud does have VALID, LEGITIMATE uses but its disadvantages makes the cloud unsuitable for certain purposes. Many praise the clouds advantages while minimizing or outright ignoring its obvious disadvantages in certain situations.

susancline
susancline

Steven, I totally agree with you. The current method for putting a GDoc into an email involves too many steps. There should be a way to directly select a Google Doc (link to public version or attachment) into Gmail.

patti.pender
patti.pender

"...a class action lawsuit against the it industry..."??? How can you sue an industry? How do you determine what companies are part of that industry and which are part of a similar and/or related industry? This is a vacuous argument that makes no sense, and furthermore you don't seem to have a good grasp of spelling, vocabulary, or grammar. "...tooken advantage of..."? The present perfect of the verb "to take" is "has [or have] been TAKEN." Tooken isn't a word. A "consumer financial investment" is a thing (the noun here is INVESTMENT, not consumer--consumer in this case is acting as an adjective) and, as such, has no rights. A consumer might have rights, depending on the situation, but since no "hard cash or credit [???]" changes hands for the technology in Google Docs, those rights would be fairly limited in that situation. To SUM it up, it's hard to take you seriously when you state nonsense and don't even bother to spell correctly or use proper grammar.

Akilestar
Akilestar

How can you compare a car to software? Furthermore this happens all the time, its called a recall. My 2010 Ford Fusion came with Microsoft Sync, it didn't however have the ability to diagnose car problems and put that information on a thumbstick. The 2011 models did. Should I go to Ford and say that my car is faulty because this feature doesn't work on my car? That's just absurd. Integration in products is nice, but when something does not integrate correctly that does not mean its broken and we should sue somebody. Trying to get a quick buck? I guess Google should just recall google docs until it works on your iPad.

Akilestar
Akilestar

You can't really use the lack of incompatibility with tablets as an argument that google docs is an "unfinished" product. Of course its "unfinished" it will never be finished because it will have to evolve with the changes. Google docs was introduced in September of the 2007 and the the first Android device ever was introduced in November that same year. Yes it would be nice to have better integration but Google docs is 4 years old and honeycomb was just released in May. Give them some time to make integration and get out of this mindset that "everything must work perfect immediately." It would be ridiculous for Google to delay tablets because it doesn't work flawless with a product they have been developing for 6 years.

susancline
susancline

CloudConnect IS a great way to integrate the features of the MS Office with the cloud storage and collaboration. I should have mentioned that in my article.

BlazingEagle
BlazingEagle

Your comment also applies to all cloud services. Security & privacy concerns instead of addressed are often downplayed or worse, Are contributed to ???paranoia???.

susancline
susancline

Please elaborate so that I can try to dispel an myths.

alec.wood
alec.wood

Well said that man. I think for now Google is a USA only solution.

Interactive Communication
Interactive Communication

First there should be electronic recalls for faulty software. Secondly Google apps do work on I pads, if u want assistance let me know. Actually were is my easy button, any on at home depot? Write all your notes on the apple note pad, copy and paste it to a new Google doc field. Share by email with all the bells and whistle, and watch the kodac moment on the person face when they read your work. The bottom line is if you look at this from a user point of view, people are tired of spending their money on products unreliablity.

aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

I agree with Akilestar. It's an absurd position to imply that the product is "unfinished" in a negative manner. For that matter, what product is finished? Was Office "finished" when it was released? No, next they released office 2003, and then 2007 and now 2010? If anyone finished a product, we would not see further releases. So by that measure, I think we can safely say OS 2 Warp is a finished product. If that's what you look for in a product, then you need to look backward, not forward. I have a Galaxy 10 tablet, I use google docs on it and it works just as well if not better than other "office" solutions out there.

tbmay
tbmay

And the only answer I've seen regarding my concerns, which are clearly stated 1,2,3...are: 1. Google's been audited by an unnamed auditor. You can get the report by calling their sales team. 2. uhm er .... there is no 2. So, for me to see this report, or even know who audited them, means I have to talk to someone who'll put a sales spin on it???? Look, I WANT to embrace the idea. But it's hard to not think about these issues, when you're deflected, redirected, and avoided, when you ask about them. It's like asking politicians questions they don't want to answer.

tbmay
tbmay

This seems to be a bit of coyness. If my company uses Google docs it will put private and sensitive information on clusters of servers "somewhere." I know not who works there or what measures are being taken. I don't have to worry as much about someone I've never met walking in to my server room and accessing private data. Is Google mining data? Is Google insuring my data is safe and private? Is Google going to indemnify any breaches? The unfortunate thing the internet has created is the mob mentality of obscurity = security. That is complete nonsense; however, it is so prevalent you're called paranoid if you don't adhere to it. I tell people to do what they want. As for me, I'm not putting anything too sensitive in Google Docs.

aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

I should never compare 2 companies the are competing for the office suite of the future. I'll keep my comparisons to Software vs the automotive industry. I think that makes sense.

Interactive Communication
Interactive Communication

Personally you can ot compare the two diffrenr companies. One company clearly states they want their own user to developed thesoftware, verse the other companies spy on you and cell your ateention as they are your pimp As far docs, it sad to realize with our discusion how far behind the software is. Understanbly it is this way because it is fiscally unresposib. if Google offer the opurtunity ti develop their Google docs from a user point of you rather then and infustructureit writer, I would defintly pay ten dollars a month week my viper engine to bloe the I pads, Samsung tablet base doc. I want you to understand I amGman, I follow the giants to Arizona when they won the super bowl. when is Google design develop software for the young it novas. Undersanbly, image mutuple Google doc consent for at a Google doc market app. Customize your engine, n the have the software engineer sell your own design of artificial intelgence design to be compatible. When Google take there founding value to the next platue, were there is more front end cash register sale instead of back end commercial, Google will gaurentee to be able to split down to 500 again. It all start with repackaging Google engineering using great new marketing plan.

Interactive Communication
Interactive Communication

Been the new lid on the street of the busiest street of the neighborhood. No knows who you are. U running, walking all over and try to get around and have information tranfered from one coner to another corner. Well that is is called over population. The crazy intention of multiple people are called peerpresure. Now imagine being in NYC city with a block of people yelling and scream around you. Try scream over them around the, or through them. See what happens. Well guess what? The internet are over perxise wiring weather over the bird wave a or the ground floor of the web infastructure, try arguing the television when you disagree with it, see who wins the argument. The bottom line s the internet mob mentality is your test of might, will, strength, and ability to have timing with the information geeks who translate information faster than itakes you to move your eyes right to left while reading. What I am saying point blank. You need to find your ability to use thw information effecitivly.

tbmay
tbmay

They are charging $50 per user per year. For the features, it's a bargain. There's not anything more tempting than to offload not only your mail and collaboration, but office suit to boot, with all sorts of other things, like CRM. BUT THESE THINGS CONTAIN PRIVATE INFORMATION FOR BUSINESSES. If they made this audit public, and it was legit, up-and-up, and right-as-rain, they would eliminate the concern of the most skeptical of us, with the exception of true tin-foil hats. Win for them. Win for auditor. No. There's NO good reason not to make it public, so you DON'T have to ask them for it after a call to a salesman. Unless they are afraid it won't pass public scrutiny???? I'm not saying that's the case. I'm just saying that's a little suspicious.

tbmay
tbmay

Can we see their report? Can we get it from them? This not to say, "I don't trust ya." But, "I don't trust ya." ;) I'm not dissing Google. But sensitive information is serious business. Heck, I use Google...Google Docs even. But when it comes to business privacy....not so much.

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