The Google blog a few days ago showed off a video that demonstrated co-editing a Google Docs document. Needless to say, collaboration is a pretty huge factor in Google Docs. Here’s the rationale and description for the video.
Visualizing character-by-character document co-editing
From day one, Google Docs allowed multiple people to work on the same document together at the same time from different computers. But until you experience this for yourself, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to understand how much time this can save. Imagine being able to work together without the hassles of shuttling attachments back and forth, and reconciling peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s edits each time. If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a Google Docs newbie, we think this video we created last week helps bring the possibilities to life.
The video made me think of my own school’s recent Senior Class elections for President, VP, Secretary and Treasurer. I proposed the following scenario and question to myself, “Imagine a student and his friends attempting to do what they did in this video at the school. Would it have worked out?”
Now, you should watch the video. Keep in your mind that we’re going to compare this video to a very specific environment to see if it would truly work in real life, in a school. Enjoy, Googl’e spectacular Campaign Video.
Ready for the rant? I hope so. Here we go. We are going to compare what happens in the video to my school. We’re going to assume this takes place at the school building, presumably with all of the participants working the same room on different computers. Why is that? It sounds dumb, but realize that we’re poor here and nobody has computers at home or internet at home and if they simply talked about their plans for the upcoming election, someone would steal them. Additionally, keep in mind that at my school, we have iMacs that have 512MB of DDR and 1.10 GHz processors, you know, those thin plastic iMacs. We also have Firefox 3 and Safari 4 on those iMacs and Internet Explorer 6 on the old Dell Pentiums we do have. Note: in the video, it’s obviously a Mac, running Safari.
- 0:02 – The school is using Google Forms for the election? No way! My school wouldn’t set up an online form. It’d be with paper because the staff that runs the election aren’t into new fangled technology like
- 0:09 – The guy knew how to open Google Docs on his own without his teacher showing him! No way! That doesn’t happen here. You have to first go to the school website, then go to the Google Apps login and then remember your password and then click Documents up in the topbar. So complicated. Yet this guy managed. Easy.
- 0:36 – Chat is enabled? No way! Oh yes, chat in my school is disabled. Completely. I dare you to try to suck the real time collaberation benefits out of something in a better way. Essentially, without real time chat, this video would be pretty weak. You’d have to have
AIMMeebo open in another window or tab because AIM and other clients are uninstallable.
- 1:06 – That should have taken at least two minutes to load. Seriously, our upload speed is fantastic. Normally 10mbps. The download speed is atrocious though. A super fast 1.3mbps to 2.5mbps connection. That’s on a good day, you know, when the internet isn’t completely down.
- 1:15 – Multiple editors in real time — too intensive. Remember how I said we had old iMacs? Well, they’re slow. I doubt you could edit your document in real time without nearly freezing or crashing your browser. Worse yet, we don’t have modern up to date browsers. We’re at least a version behind.
There you have it. I easily believe that this would be impossible in my school. I’m in the library every day for two hours helping with Google Docs and the proficency level can’t be compared to his kind of video. Simply wouldn’t happen.
I have to end this rant before something bad happens.