Collaboration, Cloud, and Beautiful Irony

In a move that shows collaborative software is really hitting the mainstream, the city of Los Angeles is dropping MS Office in favour of Google Docs (with many native collaboration features).  The beautiful irony is that the 7.2 million dollars they are spending on the project comes from an anti-trust lawsuit settled against Microsoft in 2006.


1 Ian Doktor { 11.03.09 at 7:13 am }

I’m actually suprised its taken this long for googledocs to become more mainstream, seeing as they are free. I think there are still some lingering doubts about the quality of free services.

2 davidp { 11.03.09 at 8:03 am }

Excellent example of the large-scale nature of the structural change required to move minds from one environment to another.

Good one, Jeff.


3 Byron Kask { 11.03.09 at 8:59 am }

While I like working on Google Docs, and I see the value of a separate cloud to work on, what I think would really make Google docs more accessible is an offline client that automatically syncs when possible. I know that on the one hand it defeats the purpose of an online app, but on the other, it augments it’s portability. It would probably help users transition as well. I suppose that it would present an issue with multiple user collaboration though.

4 Omar Ramroop { 11.03.09 at 10:11 am }

Byron has a great idea with the offline client.

When a connection to the Internet is not feasible or weak, this would allow users to prepare their documents offline and sync the content immediately as soon as a connection is viable. For large scale transfer from MS Office, I think many users would still like to have a fully functioning client that they have access to at all times (via smartphones, laptops, netbooks, etc.).

– Omar

5 Jeff Laird { 11.03.09 at 11:09 am }

Hey Byron and Omar,

Google docs offline is already here with Google gears:

6 Byron Kask { 11.03.09 at 11:58 am }


apparently I already have it installed, but if I unplug the network, no joy. It’s not quite a client, but I’ll look into this more. Thanks for the head’s up.

7 Omar Ramroop { 11.03.09 at 12:31 pm }

Thanks for the information, Jeff.

I am going to check it out and see how effective it is. As Byron mentioned, based on the video and a quick search, it does not seem to be a full Office-like client. The offline syncing feature is nice, though.

Thanks again,

– Omar

8 Greg Lewis { 11.03.09 at 9:01 pm }


The irony was quite excellent – talk about a double whammy against Microshaft, errr Microsoft. Very cool.


9 Sean McMinn { 11.03.09 at 10:24 pm }

Thanks for sharing. Great piece.

10 Iris Chan { 11.05.09 at 7:54 am }

Very insightful.

Google Docs is such an effective way of communicating when people are all over time zones and distances. It is a good way to come together and I am also surprised it took such a long time for it to be noticed in such a mainstream manner. The notion of how people are seeing the importance of word processing and the value of coming together in one document is very thoughtful. The irony of the changes in technology and the dynamics it has created is certainly interesting to note. Thanks!

11 Barrie Carter { 11.08.09 at 2:52 pm }

Hello Everyone:

I have just downloaded Google gears. I am going to explore how effective it is to use.

Thank-you for the information.


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