Alkek Library News

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Freeware Tip: Google Docs

If you need a way to store your papers online to save the time of emailing an attachment back and forth to yourself, then you should try Google Docs. It is a free to use document application suite that gives you three applications including word processing, slide presentation, and spreadsheets. The applications are compatible with Microsoft applications so you can edit in either. The benefits that I have noticed are that it saves your work every few seconds while you are working and the documents live on the web so you don't have to stop and attach the documents to an email if you are going to another computer or if you are working on a public computer that times you out. Another advantage to Google Docs is that you can make your documents public with a link, so Google is essentially giving you free web space in addition to a free application suite. The public link or URL allows you to share your document with others and give them the option to work on the document too if they have Google Docs. To get Google Docs you just need to sign up for a free Google account.


  • It should be noted that, in the Terms (which most people never read!), you're agreeing to the following about whatever you post on Google Docs (see Terms, Sec. 11):

    "11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services .... 11.2 You agree that this licence includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships .... 11.3 You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; .... You agree that this licence shall permit Google to take these actions."

    You might want to keep this in mind, if you have plans to store any sensitive documents on their services, until such time as they modify their terms to guarantee protection for all your documents, instead of conveniently reserving the right for themselves to show them wherever they want (even while they guarantee, with straight faces, that "you retain copyright and any other rights you already hold" over your own material).

    Otherwise, email or similar doc transfer is more cumbersome, but still more secure by a long shot!

    By Blogger Roger the shrubber, At 5/14/2008 03:29:00 PM  

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