Lately, there has been a tremondous push for educators to move to the cloud. The “cloud” refers basically to using the wide variety of internet sources out there to store, transfer and create documents and other files online instead of in your local folder on your computer. What are the advantages to doing this? There are several but the main ones consist of the ability to have access to your files from anywhere depending on your ability to find an internet connection. No longer do you have to carry your files on a stick or have to lug your laptop around. Second of all, it makes it easier to share documents with other. It is already on the web. Simply give the site address to someone and they can fairly quickly and easily start collaborating. Finally, you don’t have to worry about your local computer crashing and losing all your documents.
Google Apps has been the big name for educators wanting to make this move to cloud. It’s free, easy to use and safe. However, it is still in its infancy and anyone wanting to work seriously in the Google App environment quickly discovers its limitations. I still enjoy using Microsoft Office for it’s flexibility, wide gamut of tools and access to clip art. You don’t get that with Google.
Google has offered a new tool to help users stuck trying to be one with both worlds.
Google Cloud connect is a plug-in that you download and install on your computer. When you start your Office programs again, you will discover a new toolbar. Once it has been installed you just login using your google gmail/docs account and then it is connected. Word, Powerpoint, Excel files will either fully automatically andor manually be synchronized to your Google Docs account. Once they are in your google account, you can access them from anywhere. You can also do some editing if you want though you will have to convert it to a Google document stripping some of your formatting. However, it is a nice way to start easily organizing and saving your Office files. Here is the official statement from Google:
Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office brings collaborative multi-person editing to the familiar Microsoft® Office experience. You can share, backup and simultaneously edit Microsoft Word, PowerPoint®, and Excel® documents with coworkers.
Do you see this as a useful tool? How are you storing and sharing your Office files? Let us know in the comments.