A day of co-writing with Google Docs

Today has been one of those great days at work! I spent it together with two colleagues, with which I arranged a working seminar in a local hotel. Three researchers, each with his/her own laptop, and Google Docs. For quite some time now, we have used Google’s online office suite for all our collaborative writing projects. Since all the writing we do in connection with our project (focus of our project is on mathematical knowledge for teaching) is collaborative, it implies that we use it a lot. And most of the time we are quite happy about it! The latest update to Google Docs has some ups and downs though. On the positive side, real-time collaboration has become much more real-time. Not quite Gobby-real-time, but not bad! On the negative side, however, the new version is rather slow when using some browsers, and the new way of writing comments in the text is not an improvement in our view! Comments are too much disconnected with the text, and if you forget to reply in the proper way it soon becomes messy. We tend to use the old version for that reason. This is not perfect though, because the old version of Docs does not exactly provide real-time collaboration…

Perhaps it is time to start exploring Wave more seriously, or even set up Etherpad on our own server… Real-time collaboration is great, and easy access to your documents (with sharing) is great, but I still haven’t found the perfect solution it seems. Anyone wants to share their ideas about collaborative writing tools for academic writing?

2 thoughts on “A day of co-writing with Google Docs

  1. My “solution” when using Google Docs has been to forget about Google Docs’ way of managing comments, and instead just written comments in different colours (one for each person involved). Of course, that is a rather silly way of doing things, but it works, while Google Docs’ comments have not worked very well…

    I believe in Wave, though – although it may take a year or three before it takes off…

    • Using different colours is actually not a bad idea, although it is a simple one! At least it is a way of using the new version and avoiding the frustrations about the new comment features… I also think Wave might become something big, and it already appears to be quite useful! Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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