Google+ Enhancing the Power Of Collaborative Writing

One 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 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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