Opera and Google Documents

Opera, the browser, continues to impress. As does Google Docs. But there are one or two issues to think about before you chuck out Firefox and ceremonially burn your .doc documents.

First off, Google Docs does not support Opera. On the Google Docs systems requirements page they say “Google Docs is not supported, and probably won’t run on (Opera).” Well it sort of runs on Opera on my Mac but only in a ‘view’ mode. I guess this may change now that Google is (probably) paying money to Opera for prime position on the Opera mobile platform.

Before you get too committed to Google Docs you may want to think about just how good it is as a collaborative environment. Its really, really good at this; much more straightforward and intuitive than MS Office. Last week we were having a good discussion with some potential partners about the comparative merits of our platform. They had fielded an excellent set of questions for us and forwarded them as a link to a Google spreadsheets document, which we were sharing online in a Skype conference call. Before the Skype call, we tracked back through the revisions to the document and found some benchmarks that they had established with a competitor. The revisions had not locked out the previous column of tests and I am (fairly) sure that we were not meant to see the comparisons that were unearthed. Collaborative tools may be more collaborative than intended. I like a partner who is prepared to share their evaluation with us, especially when they appear to have looked at the opposition, but “open-ness” has its limits.

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