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5/24/2012
02:15 PM
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How To Collaborate Using Google Cloud Connect On Microsoft Office

Need a better way to collaborate? We reviewed Google Cloud Connect to see how it worked in semi real-time.

Now you have to make some decisions when you want to share individual documents. The first decision is to choose from three types of document access permissions: Public, link required, and private. The first two access types do not require any kind of authentication by collaborators.

If you choose private access, the next step is to let Google Cloud Connect know which people can have access to the document. This is done by adding email addresses for each collaborator. Each collaborator can be given one of three access types: Edit, Comment (but not edit), and View-only.

You can now open a document from Google Docs (also known as Drive).

Be patient. The initial synchronization of even a new empty file takes a bit of time. You will see this message during this processing. Accessing a document in Google Drive does not take an appreciable amount of time after the initial setup. One annoying limitation is one that new documents are created at the top level of the Google Drive folder. You cannot direct a new document to be placed in a folder. It can, however, be moved after it is created. Google Cloud Connect does not get confused by this move.

Although there is an automatic sync setting, documents are not stored to Google Drive until the file is saved or the Sync button is pressed. You will see what collaborators are typing as they type. However, anytime the Sync button is pressed by one person, other collaborators will see the changes within 30 seconds or so. Note that this means conflicts can be arise because of this (quasi) real-time sync.

For example, if you have a sentence like "The sky is blue" and person A makes the word "blue" boldface at time T1 but does not press Sync while person italicizes the word "blue" at time T2 after person A but presses the Sync button before person A. In this case, the both persons A and B will see person B's changes (the word "blue" in italics).

Clicking on the tiny document icon to the left of the Sync button displays the menu shown below. The most potentially important item in the menu is the one for revision history.

Google Cloud Connect stores revisions by time and collaborator. Selecting a specific version opens a new application window to let you compare any number of versions.

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