There are plenty of reasons to love Google Docs: the tool is quick and reliable. It has a set of features that allows you to play with it for multiple purposes: I for one found it great for collaboration. Its comparatively new and improved features (including real-time collaboration and chat) are awesome! Google Docs as a note taking tool works well as well. I found the tool really useful for easy organizing and accessing the information you come across online.
What’s more, Google Docs can improve your browsing experience a lot by allowing you to preview and open documents without having to download anything locally. Here are my favorite tools that make it easier to open doc, docx, pdf, ppt, pps and xls files in Google docs in Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera 11.00.
Firefox has quite a few addons that integrate with Google Docs, my personal preferences being the following:
Open IT Online
The Open IT Online tool adds a new option to your download dialog that lets you open the file using Google Docs instead of downloading it locally. Besides Google Docs, the addon supports a few popular document and image hosting services including Zoho, View Docs Online and Vuzit to edit or view documents and Snipshot, Pixlr and Sumo Paint to edit or view images.
The addon also shows you the file size of the document you are about to open:
Google Docs Viewer & Google Docs Preview
Two similar but less useful addons to preview documents in Google Docs are Google Docs Viewer and Google Docs Preview. They both add an extra option to your right-click context menu and they both support only PDF, DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX and TIFF files. It proved to be less usable to me as my right-click menu is pretty much cluttered already.
Import To Google Docs
While the above two tools support only PDF, DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX and TIFF files, this one makes it possible to open .XLS files you see in Google Search right in Google Docs. With it, for any XLS file you see in Google search results you will find an alternative link opening it in Google Docs:
Google Chrome also has quite a few extensions that allow you to open web documents in Google Docs. My favorite one is Ultimate Google Docs Viewer. It works via the right-click menu but it can also open specified file types in Google Docs automatically (you can enable and disable which files you want to open automatically in the Google Docs Viewer options).
It supports doc, docx, pdf, ppt and pps files.
The options page allows to customize pretty much everything in the extension behavior including which file types to support and where to open them:
Opera 11.00 does have one handy (and pretty reliable) that allows you to preview any web documents in Google Docs. It prompts for document preview when you click links pointing to downloadable documents.
Sadly, it works only with .DOC .PPT or .PDF files. (What? No .XLS file support? It’s all I download online!). Well, that’s probably because XLS files are not supported by Google’s Doc Viewer.
Do you think opening documents in Google Docs is a handy option? Please share your opinions!