Microsoft Word has been the standard in word processing software for many years, but Google Drive offers some distinct advantages that make it smart choice for both businesses and private users.
Google Drive (originally Google Docs) is a fundamentally cloud-based system that can be downloaded onto your desktop for work offline. By contrast, Microsoft Word is a single computer program that has only in the last few years made a real move toward cloud storage. The new Microsoft Word Web App through Microsoft Skydrive allows you to create, edit, and share documents, but the functionality is much clunkier than Google Drive in several key areas.
Saving Documents on Google Drive vs Microsoft Word Web App
In Google Drive, documents are saved as you type. A readout near the menu says either “Saving…” or “All changes saved in Drive.” If your laptop battery dies suddenly or you lose internet connection, you won’t lose your project.
In Microsoft Word, when you leave a screen, the program prompts you to save your work but auto-save is not in evidence.
In Google Drive, to share a document with a coworker or editor, you click the share button, type the person’s email into the box and click done. An email is instantly sent to your coworker inviting them to read and edit the document.
In SkyDrive You click the Share button, type in an email and a personal message, click share… and then perform a security check by typing in the characters on the screen. It doesn’t happen every time, but it is one more step in the process. Microsoft offers you the opportunity to “see this less often” by verifying your account.
Editing a Shared Document
The place where Google Drive really shines is in editing shared documents. When a coworker edits your document, you are able to see the changes in real-time, as though the two of you were sitting in front of the same computer screen. A small flag appears with the editor’s name to show you who is making which changes.
To see changes in Microsoft Word Web App, first your coworker must save. You then receive a notice that updates are available. Next you save the document on your end. Finally, the changes appear.
Google Drive allows you to make comments on the document from the editing screen. Comments appear as soon as they are posted.
In Microsoft Word Web App comments can only be made in the reading view and can’t even be seen from the editing page – rendering them more or less useless as editing tools. The same rules of saving and page reloading apply to comments as to edits.
So although both Google Drive and Microsoft Word offer storage and editing of your documents in the cloud, Google Drive surpasses Microsoft Word in both effectiveness and ease of use.