Writing with Google Docs

I seem to spend so many of my waking days in Microsoft Office. When I get the chance, I like to switch it up and use another application for writing. After spending the last year using Dropbox Paper to write blog posts, I switched over to Google Docs and I’m finding out I like it.

Here’s why:

Performance

I’ll admit to having a G Suite account for some time (back in the Google Apps for Business days). I was never a heavy user of the apps outside of Gmail and Google Calendar. I tried Google Docs off and on for a while, but the performance never felt right for me. The more I’ve been using Google Docs to write, the more I’m coming to like it because of how the app responds and performs.

When I first used Google Docs for a client project, I wouldn’t be able to write what I just wrote. Google Docs and the entirety of what was then called Google Apps was sluggish with an awkward UI. I submit my articles to opensource.com using Google Docs, and I much prefer sharing documents in Google Docs with the time-honored tradition of emailing document drafts around.

Docs mobile app

Sometimes I like to review what I write at night during the day at lunch. The Google Docs iOS app makes it easy to review what I wrote the night before. I even like to use the app on my iPhone XS.

Now that I’m still in COVID-19 lockdown I also use my iPad Pro more to review drafts and the Google Docs iOS app performs like a champ there too.

Add-ons

Google got add-ons right nearly from day 1. Microsoft Office is still trying to catch up when it comes to add-ons to even get to where Google when they launched the G Suite Marketplace.

ProWritingAid despite some rough edges is amongst my favorite G Suite add-ons. The tool gives me as a solo writer another set of eyes over my written work before I publish it. The only rough edge is that sometimes it doesn’t remove all the punctuation when it suggests me to remove a word.

One add-on I hope to add to my workflow is Publish to WordPress since I’m writing a lot on my personal blog during the quarantine. I’m also looking at WordPress.com for Google Docs.

Selecting Get add-ons from the Add-ons menu opens the G Suite Marketplace. As a personal user, I have full access to the marketplace. If I ever have influence over G Suite in the workplace, I would be a vocal advocate for making the most out of the Marketplace.

Final thoughts

Google Docs and G Suite as a whole done right can have a big future in the post-COVID-19 enterprise as collaboration becomes a growing requirement for experienced and new remote workers. 

Google Drive still needs much user experience (UX) love to be usable. I do use G Drive but just for my *.gdoc files and archiving Word files. Documents such as my TechTarget articles and resume still live on Microsoft OneDrive.
Google Sites also remains as a disappointment and if Google Cloud product management is following the market, I hope there are some upcoming releases or surprise acquisitions on the horizon to make Google Sites truly enterprise worthy. While Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides continue to ramp up features to compete with Microsoft 365, Google Sites remains a laggard. Oddly enough when I was finishing up this post I received a survey from the Google Cloud team about my usage of collaboration tools with G Suite.