Aug 28, 2008
Do you use Google Docs? Perhaps Google Spreadsheets? Sure these are great for sharing text and data with friends and colleagues online. Especially with today’s virtual office setup these free tools have made it easy to draft documents, work figures and even share notes with people from across the globe.
Web apps have taken the place of full-blown computer software for many people. This is because of the ubiquity of fast Internet connections and even mobile connectivity. Add to that the fact that portable tools are widely available these days, and not to mention cheap! Today $400 netbooks have replaced big, bulky notebook computers as the gadget of choice for the traveling person. There’s also the iPhone and other mobile phones that can let you get online even while on the road. With these broadband-enabled phones you can even connect your laptop or netbook while on the go.
These days, one app is turning out to be very popular among the online working crowd – Evernote. This app basically lets you clip, create, share and edit information from various devices and interfaces, including mobile, the web and a standalone app.
There’s also the Google suite of apps, which includes the documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and even other apps that let you access data from any web browser, like notebook and even Gmail.
- Access from anywhere. Of course the main come-on of web apps is that you can access data from different computers. You don’t need to be stuck with your PC at the office. As long as you have a web browser, you can access your documents.
- Compatibility with different platforms. Being web-based you can access your information from different computers, and you’re not limited to the OS or platform. You can use a Windows PC, an Apple computer, a PC running on Linux, and in many cases even non-standard devices like mobile phones!
- You can easily collaborate. Sharing is easy. With many apps, two or more people can even edit a document at the same time, and the changes will be reflected real-time. There is also change-logging, so you know what was changed and when.
- Security from crashes. When your hard disc crashes, your data goes with it (unless recovered, but this can be expensive and will take time). When your data is online, you don’t have to worry about system crashes, unless it’s the web app provider itself that crashes or loses your files.
- Offline access. Face it, even with mobile broadband, there are those cases when you just can’t get online. No signal perhaps? Or how about slow ISP? Having a standalone app and being able to open a file from your hard drive or USB drive can sometimes be quicker!
- Unavailability of the Web app. It happens! Sometimes even Gmail goes down! What do you do when that happens? What if you have a critical presentation and you can’t access your documents because Google docs is offline?
- Security concerns. When your laptop is lost or stolen, your information goes with it. Sure, but with documents online, it could potentially be easier for thieves to steal your files. No physical access is required. Passwords are not always secure. You never know when you can fall victim to social engineering or even password sniffing!
With any technology there are ups and downs. So as a business user, it pays to cover your bases. Always keep backups and always have contingencies!