Windows Live vs. Google Apps

For about 8 months I’ve been trying out both Google Docs and Windows Live for storing files, working with documents and using the various product offerings. Here’s a little of what I’ve found out:

Google Positives:  Google has a robust product offering that works well together. I like the fact that I can create sites, upload to these sites easily and receive notices when others upload or make changes. The collaboration part is good. I really like using Google Reader as I’m a news and gossip junky.

Google Negatives:   I just don’t care for Picasa. That’s just the way it is. I don’t like the feel of it and it’s not as robust of a product as say what Flickr has to offer. The other thing I don’t care for with Google is the general UI of Google Docs. It reminds me of Office 2000 or even previous versions. Yes, it works but I guess I’d expect a little more from Google.  My biggest overall complaint with Google is their lack of storage.  1GB is not a lot of space – period and yes, I know about converted formats, etc.  I have to believe I’m not alone in thinking this way.

Microsoft Positives: I’ll admit that I’m biased towards the ribbon UI of Office 2007 or later so of course, I will give kudos to Microsoft for their online Office product.  It’s still lacking a lot of features from the full version but at least it doesn’t look and feel 10+ years out of date. The biggest thing I like about Skydrive is the available storage.  25GB is more like it.   Microsoft Mesh or Synced Storage is a really nice product.  Likewise, Live Photo Gallery is an easy to use photo editor and Live Write is a nice and simply blogging tool BUT these are not entirely “cloud” based tools but they offer nice integration with Skydrive and other web apps.  Microsoft really needs to advertize these products a little more by having a products page or toolbar in Windows Live that promotes these products.  Microsoft’s own PR or lack thereof is often their own worst enemy which leads me to…..

Microsoft Negatives:   There is no “save-as” function in Word.  Why not, Microsoft?  I’m not sure why that annoys me so much but it does.  It should just be there.  At least Google Docs gives the option to make a copy.  If it is some other function, I would love to know what it is but then I’d still say that it’s too difficult to find.  The other downside of Skydrive is their lack of product offerings.  Microsoft is seriously behind the curve when it comes to product offerings.  Click on this link and see what Google offers compared to Microsoft’s basic offerings of storage and Office.  http://www.google.com/intl/en/about/products/index.html  Sorry but MSN just doesn’t cut is as an “app” in my book and why hasn’t Microsoft integrated WordPress with Skydrive so I can write something up in Word and have it published to my WordPress blog or some other connected blog.  Last but not least is the fact that the Skydrive calendar (found in Hotmail) apparently does not have an option to send text message reminders.  If it’s there, then it’s not obvious or user friendly at all.  Even Yahoo mail has this feature.

Negatives of both: The basic ability to upload folders would be nice but neither product offers this yet. Also, file management is a bit clunky for both products.  I would like to have the ability to view or sort files by storage size from the largest to the smallest.  This would be especially useful in Google Docs because of the low quota.

Last but not least, I was looking for a way to view file size “en masse” and thought that I would try using WinDirStat http://windirstat.sourceforge.net/ and point the folder to my Gladinet Z drive.  What I found out was interesting.  In Google Docs, I basically get a pile of 100 Bytes sized files.  With Skydrive, I get the actual file size like I would expect.  The weird thing with Skydrive and Gladinet is that some of the files just didn’t show up under the name column even though their file sizes are recorded.  I guess the thing that surprise me the most was the fact that all of my Google Docs files show up as 100 Bytes.  See the screenshots below.  First one is Google and the second is Skydrive.

I really don’t like to be scattered all over the web.  I would like a one stop shop for everything but at this point, there really isn’t a one stop shop.  It’s going to happen but I don’t know when.  For now, I’ll continue to use both products – Skydrive for storage and Google for it’s products offerings.

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