Google Docs online storage is a free web application that allows for the creation and easy collaboration of word processing, spreadsheet, presentations and form documents that is offered by Google. Google Docs was essentially designed to allow users to create and edit documents over the internet, either for private use or for the purpose of collaborating with other users in real time. Google Docs combines the features of two different services, Spreadsheets and “Writely”, which were merged on October 10, 2006. Presentations were added on September 17, 2007 based on the technology designed by Tonic Systems.


The Google Docs online storage web application is a multi lingual web application that is available in 48 different languages. It allows users to create documents, presentations, spreadsheets and forms within the application itself, in addition to importing documents, presentations and spreadsheets in through the web interface and sending these files via e-mail message as well. These files can also be saved to the user’s computer in a lengthy list of different formats. Google Docs online storage is an extremely versatile web app, capable of working with all of the most popular file formats including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, PPT and so on. Not only can users create their own files of these formats, but they can also import files in from other programs like Microsoft Word and Excel. Users who do not want to create these documents, presentations and spreadsheets from scratch can begin with a template from Google’s in depth collection of templates which is growing constantly.

The Google Docs Online Storage Interface
The Google Docs Online Storage Interface

By default, Google Docs online storage saves users’ files to the Google Servers. Open documents, for example, are saved automatically in order to prevent the loss of data. Google Docs also keeps a lengthy revision history allowing users to revert back to old versions of a file if need be. Documents can also be tagged, archived and sorted into folders for the purpose of organization. Perhaps the greatest feature when it comes to Google Docs is the fact that Documents can be collaborated on, in that they can be shared, opened and edited by a number of users all at the same time. Users are notified when other users are collaborating on the same file at the same time, and changes are made real time. With spreadsheets, when updates are made, users that are listed as collaborators will be notified of changes via e-mail.

Uploading or creating files in Google Docs does not automatically allow public access to them. Users are allowed to add and remove collaborators as they see fit. Students can create class projects and add team mates as collaborators. Colleagues can create project management trackers and receive real time updates regarding changes to the spreadsheet. Google Docs online storage has also recently expanded to allow for mobile phone access. Using a mobile phone browser, users can browse their Google Docs, viewing documents and spreadsheets. There are limitations to this, however, as presentations cannot be viewed and documents and spreadsheets cannot be edited. The iPhone has a Google Docs version that does include functionality for viewing presentations.

Here is a brief look at the most important details to know about Google Docs

  • Google Docs allows users to upload documents, spreadsheets and presentations or create them from scratch.
  • Allows users to share and collaborate files in real time. Spreadsheets offer real time updates via e-mail.
  • Is compatible with most popular file formats, including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV and PPT.
  • Google Docs spreadsheets and documents can be viewed using a mobile browser on most mobile phones. iPhones have added capabilities, allowing users to view Presentations as well.
  • Google Docs allows for tagging and archiving into folders for ease of organization.

Google Docs does have some limitations on the files that can be created or uploaded. Documents must be under 500k in size, plus 2 mb for each image embedded within. Spreadsheets can only be 10,000 rows or less, 256 columns or less, and 100,000 cells or less within 40 sheets or less. Users can have as many as 5,000 documents in their account, along with 5,000 presentations, 5,000 images and 1,000 spreadsheets. The maximum number of spreadsheets that can be open at a single time is 11. The largest presentation that can be imported is 10mb.

Currently Google Docs can be used through Mozilla SeaMonkey, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera 9.6, and Google Chrome.

Here are some interesting free file storage online services that are a great addition to Google Docs.

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