One of the many hats I wear is the IT administrator hat where I manage a Windows 2003 server environment for a church. The structure is pretty straight forward with only around 25 users, and everyone is using the server just as a place to save files. Truth be told, the majority of the people use their own personal Gmail account, or their Google Apps email account, to save files, documents, etc… and by pass the server all together. Another big platform that we’ve been using is Dropbox. However, the problem with Dropbox is that not all of the users find it intuitive and easy to use. So the whole point in having Dropbox is getting sort of wasted because not everyone is able to use it effectively.
That’s where Google Docs is starting to come into play. I’m experiment right now with replacing Dropbox completely with Google Docs. I basically created a top level folder in Google Docs where I set the permissions for all the users (exact same as you get on Dropbox). Then within that top level folder, I created user folders for each person who’s going to be a part of the top level folder. Pretty simple actually… Now, any of the users who’ve been given access to the top level folder can add any type of files – or entire folders if they’d like – and can even add it to the other user’s folders. Again, exact same structure as Dropbox except built within the Google Docs / Google Apps frame work.
What’s really cool about this setup is that the users can simply add the Google Docs app to their iPad or iPhone (or any Android device). This is actually accomplished by visiting Google Docs on your iPad > then clicking the “add to homepage” arrow found along the bottom of your iPad’s web browser winder. And Google even provides you with a custom icon that will load directly on your iPad.
We are currently testing out using Google Docs instead of Dropbox, and I’ll keep you posted as we progress. For now though, we are more than impressed with the sharing capabilities, easy, and efficiency experienced with Google Docs – even more cool is accessing all of these documents quickly on the iPad.