GoogleDocs works well...at what it is capable of. It has improved with updates over the years, but is still a browser based application and not a true program. That doesn't make it a bad thing--just limited. For many users, that's okay. That's all they need. Personally, I enjoy the power of the desktop version of Microsoft Word. I'll save a side by side comparison for a different day, but no one can argue that MS Word is a deeper, more feature-rich product. In general, that is true for the MS Office suite. I actually do like Google Forms, but comparing the newest edition of PowerPoint to the current offering of Slides is like comparing a Porsche 911 to a Nissan Versa. That's how I look at the two. I'm not bashing the Versa. It's a good little car, but it is basic. With office applications, if you just need simple, then that doesn't matter to you. And, that's why I'm glad Google's offerings came around. Personally, however, I just can't drive around in the Versa when I have a Porsche in the garage. I use several Microsoft products almost daily. I do so because programs like Word and PowerPoint and OneNote work very well for my needs.
I heard an IT guy proclaim that Microsoft Office is obsolete now and that schools can operate perfectly fine on Google services. I suspect my own district tech leaders are mixing up a batch of Google kool-aid for us to drink in the near future. I have no problem with teachers/students using GoogleDocs or colleagues sharing things via GoogleDrive. I'm a big fan of choice, though, and I hate to see some schools cornering teachers and students into eliminating options that may serve them better. Some Google fanboys smirk with satisfaction when a school pushes Microsoft off the shelf and goes all-out Google, but I have to wonder if that's the best move for all students at those schools.
I agree, 4th grade kids can get by without full versions of Word or PowerPoint. Watered down, browser based applications probably fit most of their needs, be it Google's Drive services or Microsoft's own lite browser based office applications. But with older students, are schools void of Microsoft Office limiting the necessary skill set of students. Somehow, for some extreme supporters of Google, this has turned into a to-the-death contest. They don't win unless Google replaces Microsoft Office completely in a school. The result of that, though, will be whole graduating classes of young people with no Microsoft Office skills. Not every one of them will need those skills, but what about all those who will? What have we just done to them?
Google is seen as hip. Trendy. I get that. They have worked hard to provide apps for students/teachers. However, in no way does this mean that Google has taken over the business world--you know, that realm of professionals we are supposed to be equipping students to be a successful part of. Microsoft is still king of the business world's office applications. Maybe one day Office will truly be resting with the dinosaurs. I highly doubt it, but if so that's certainly not in the immediate future. Despise Microsoft and sing Google praises all you want, but that doesn't change this truth.
Pick a few cities. Go to Monster.com or craigslist.org and search through job postings. Do a search with "Microsoft Office" and then a "GoogleDocs" search. Compare the number of job postings that list Microsoft Office skills as a requirement versus those that list GoogleDocs skills as a requirement. It's overwhelming. Here are some examples:
Job postings in the last three days on Monster.com:
Microsoft Office GoogleDocs/Drive
CITY: Skills Required: Skills Required:
Atlanta, GA 1,000+ 2
Chicago, IL 1,000+ 3
Austin, TX 426 5
Denver, CO 837 7
Louisville, KY 929 1
Washington, DC 1,000+ 3
Indianapolis, IN 434 1
Phoenix, AZ 846 1
New York, NY 1,000+ 25
Philadelphia, PA 1,000+ 3
Mountain View, CA 540 12
You can easily see how having a non-Microsoft Office skill set greatly limits many job seekers, yet the budding trend of some anti-Microsoft schools going all-Google will be generating disadvantaged graduates seeking employment. Also, that job posting list for GoogleDocs/Drive shrinks significantly when you consider all the postings that included MS Office as a must have along with GoogleDocs/Drive, which was the bulk of them.
Will GoogleDocs gain more presence in the business world in the coming decade. Of course. Should people hoping to have well rounded resumes be competent with Google Drive? Yes. Is Microsoft Office going away in the next decade? Not a chance. Are Google extremists in education leadership crippling the job-readiness of their students when taking schools into a Microsoft-free zone? You bet.
Note: Searches were done with Monster.com's advanced search feature, jobs posted in the past 3 days, in select cities. Each city search was done with Skills/Keywords set at "GoogleDocs", "Google Docs", and "Google Drive". Then the search was repeated with Skills/Keywords set to "Microsoft Office" and "Microsoft Word".