Google+ Enhancing the Power Of Collaborative Writing

Oné of the things that Google+ does is to start to tie together some of Google’s disparate web apps. But it does more than just add some social glue to them. It makes them capa­ble of doing entirely new things. This after­noon I both witnessed and partic­i­pated in an exam­ple of this.

By pure chance I happened to see a post about a Google Doc that was being edited to create a hand­book for Google+. I clicked on the link and watched in awe as over 100 people started collab­o­ra­tively edit­ing and adding to the docu­ment. I’ve never seen a manual writ­ten so quickly.

While some people were adding new infor­ma­tion, others were fixing the format­ting and adding links. No body was direct­ing the work, people were just pitch­ing in and work­ing together. I decided to join in and format­ted a few head­ings to make the sections more obvi­ous. Then I added a brand new head­ing.

Google+ Chrome Plugins

I switched tabs to check the URL of one of the exten­sion I used and by the time I switched back (no more than 2 minutes) the head­ing had already been corrected to:

Google+ Chrome Extensions

But that’s not the really impres­sive bit. The section had already been popu­lated by at least a dozen exten­sions complete with their names and URLs. As I watched the URLs were removed and the names were turned into click­able links. Then they started popu­lat­ing infor­ma­tion about the exten­sions and even a screen­shot.

Now people were writ­ing ques­tions for things they wanted added in the docu­ment so I added a new head­ing:

Unanswered Questions

Suddenly a discus­sion popped up as vari­ous people tried to estab­lish the best way to format the ques­tions. While this was going on, others were still adding extra infor­ma­tion to other segments of the docu­ment. The whole process was smooth, effi­cient and amica­ble.

I can’t over­state how impressed I was by the whole process and it raises a lot of ques­tions in my mind about what else could be achieved in Google Docs, or with Picassa, or possi­bly some of Google’s other services once they are more tightly inte­grated. I haven’t seen this level of collab­o­ra­tion on any other plat­form except Wave and that was limited by the low adop­tion rate.  Google+ has poten­tial to be far more than another Face­book.

About Eoghann Irving

Overly opinionated owner and author of eoghann.com. You can get updated on his posts directly on the blog here or through the usual social networking suspects. What? You expected me to say something interesting here? That's what the blog posts are for. Eoghann has often wondered if people read these little bio things we have to fill out everywhere on the internet and, assuming they do, why?

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