Thursday, December 01, 2011

I have seen the future of Office collaboration!

Nothing is more satisfactory than seeing the technology you read about actually being used in a real-world situation.  While nothing compared to what it would be like in a full enterprise-level application of use it is a glimpse into the future nonetheless.

Usually I don't see my brothers except around Christmas time so it is difficult to keep track as to what they are in to, what they have and what they need.  So for a few years now we've all been exchanging Christmas lists usually soon after Thanksgiving.

Last night I took the lists the kids and my wife had written and placed it in a Google Doc. I added my wife's account to be able to edit the document figuring that she could edit it during the day or if the kids come up with something new or so she could update her own list.
Having the list in that location 
  1. Each of us can get to it anytime regardless of what computer we're using (home, work, laptop, etc.), 
  2. Don't have to worry about making sure our program can handle that file format (no need to make sure it's saved in Microsoft Office format), 
  3. We don't have to worry about which version we are working on and 
  4. We are able to be in the same program at the same time.
Last night, though, she must have been more adventerous because while I was in the document and starting to add items to MY list I noticed that there she is, in the same document and making changes!  We were in the same room, but she was at the Ubuntu Linux desktop with Firefox and I was on the couch with my Chromebook.

So whenever I saw this pink cursor, I knew where the cursor was in her screen and when she typed I saw it pop up across the screen!  Since I could hear her typing and when she stops, I could tell there wasn't a lot of lag either despite having a very slow DSL connection!

Also, we were able to talk back-and-forth using the chat window on the side for things we didn't want to type in the document to say.

While we were having fun, it dawned on me that this is the future.  Really, how easy it was for us to collaborate on this file, to access, view and edit it really shows how far behind Microsoft Live really is! I cannot say anything about Live365 because I don't have any experience with it.

I see this as a glimpse into the future, and one that I plan to explore even further.