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JUNE 13, 2008   

Adobe vs. Google

I've come to love Google Docs, the online word-processing and spreadsheet applications that let you share documents with others and work collaboratively. For our class portfolio show we uploaded an Excel spreadsheet with the names and addresses of people we've invited in the past and set it up so all students could edit the spreadsheet. One day's assignment was for each of them to add 5-10 new names to the list, so after an hour or two our contact list had grown quite a bit. The workload was shared by all of the students. Since they all worked on the same document, no one had the thankless task of combining individual entries.

For word-processing the process is similar. You can allow others to simply view a document online, or make them collaborators who can edit it, again making collaboration a simple process. Google Docs will show you all the revisions made and by whom. So, while the spreadsheet seems more useful, the Google online word processor isn't bad. But Adobe has other ideas...

If you go to the new Acrobat.com website you'll see a variety of web-based services Adobe is offering, many of them free. They describe their product/service Buzzword as "The First Real Web-Based Word Processor," making it pretty clear how they view Google Docs.

I haven't had a chance to work with it yet, but maybe I'll try something right now. They say that you can embed a document in your website, so let's give it a try. No luck.

Screenshot of Adobe Buzzword documentHere's a screenshot of the document I'd hoped to embed:


Screenshot of Google DocsOne noticeable difference with Adobe applications compared to Google: they're prettier to look at, and much slower to load.

Adobe's apps are based on their Flash software, which allows for more visually pleasing experiences, but the price you pay is waiting for the files to load. The plain-Jane Google apps are very fast by comparison.

Well, this isn't going to be as quick and easy as I hoped. That's all I have time for tonight, and obviously I have a lot more to learn about the new Adobe apps. One called ConnectNow lets you set up online meetings with shared screens, video, chat, notes, etc. This seems pretty wonderful for a free service. Can't wait to try this one. But not tonight.

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