Let’s make Google Docs suck less


If you prefer to work in a “paperless” office the way we do at GigaOM, you’re probably a Google Docs (s GOOG) user. Same goes if you’re a remote worker and you need to collaborate with colleagues or customers via the web. And if you’ve used Google’s cloud-based take of Microsoft (s MSFT) Office, like many of us, you probably love and curse it at the same time.

You’ve probably had the service randomly go offline at a really inconvenient time, seen general sluggishness or noticed the clunky and not-very-pretty interface. A quick unscientific internal poll brought these issues to our attention:

  • Mishandles formatting when importing documents or data
  • Complex spreadsheets load very slowly
  • Google’s navigation bar, title and menu bar in Spreadsheets overwhelm the viewing pane, taking up a third of the page in some browsers
  • No offline editing
  • Doesn’t handle Powerpoint imports well
  • Underpowered features in Spreadsheets: formulas, functions woefully limited compared to Excel
  • Unreliable sharing feature

Google is a search and advertising company at heart. So it’s not a huge surprise that the company doesn’t intuitively know how to build productivity software and online collaboration tools. But the convenience and integration into other widely used Google products is unavoidable — so it’s not a service that’s going away any time soon.

This is why we want to see it improve. At GigaOM, we see issues like these as opportunities for innovation, so we invite you, readers, to weigh in: If you use the service, what problems have you encountered? And most importantly, how would you improve Google’s extremely-handy-but-could-be-so-much-better productivity tools?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

To learn more about the future of online collaboration tools, join us next month at our Network conference in San Francisco.



Google docs never prints correctly even with all of the documented fixes.

Brandon Phelps


good page numbers
paginated table of contents
list styles beyond basic bullet points and numbering
easy copy and paste between docs and spreadsheet
embedding of docs into other docs,
easy way to reference a part of a spreadsheet in a site (ie copy and paste a live reference)
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