Documents online

Some time ago I wrote about a new photo sharing service which was being tested by Google but, at the time, Picasa Web Albums were on test and not freely available to everybody.

It is now on offer to everyone and you can get an account with 250Mb of free online storage space for your pictures by going to picasaweb.google.com and signing up. The unique thing about the service is that you can upload pictures to your online album using Google’s free Picasa photo organiser.

Picasa is not my favourite when it comes to programs for organising photos but I do keep it on my computer to make uploading pictures easier. Even if you don’t use Picasa, it is still pretty easy upload photos from your computer using whatever Internet browser you happen to have.

Once you have a Google acount, there are a number of other toys you can play with including a neat little one which allows you create documents and spreadsheets on any computer connected to the Internet and store them on online. The documents will then be available whenever you need them and, not only that, but you can give others permission to be able to edit a document or just view it.

The Docs and Spreadsheets can be found at docs.google.com and it allows you to create documents online or upload existing ones from your computer and edit them online. I created a letterhead on my computer with a graphic and some text and found that the layout did get a bit scrambled when I edited it Docs and Spreadsheets.

The system is not bad at all when it comes to text and I wrote this column using it. I have an instant mental block when it comes to spreadsheets so I didn’t play with them at all, but the wordprocessor is quite simple, but decent, and you can apply all the usual formatting including boldface, indents, and the like.

I was very pleased to see that there is a Word Count feature which I use to make sure that my columns don’t get too long. Once your file is created or edited, you can save it onto your computer in a number of different formats, print it out or e-mail it.

I reckon that Docs and Spreadsheets is a useful little service and could be just the thing to have if you’re out and about and often need access to your documents. It could also be useful for storing important documents as a backup just in case you have a computer crash; I’d be wary, if I were you, however, of using it to store the number of my Swiss bank account.

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