Writely, We Hardly Knew Ye…

Writely LogoWell, it seems like only yesterday that I heard about this neat little service called Writely, a website that would allow you to edit your word processing documents online and, more importantly, collaborate with others while doing it.

The rest is, of course, history as Google bought it up and, now, has gobbled (Googled?) it up, too, into Google Docs. The NYT calls this “Google Sprawl,” and I couldn’t agree more.

Now, I am not against most of my online life begin run by Google. However, I liked the look and feel of Writely and the new Google Docs interface is, well, too sterile. I am sure that there will be more functionality built into the program (I haven’t played with it much yet, but haven’t noticed any significant changes). There is also something to be said for going to one source for all your online docs (are slideshows too far away from coming to Google?). All the same, there is something about Writely that just appealed to me as a user that I don’t get by looking at the Google interface. Sigh.

At least You Tube gets to keep its brand identity for the time being.

Author: Troy Hicks

Dr. Troy Hicks is a professor of English and education at Central Michigan University. He directs both the Chippewa River Writing Project and the Master of Arts in Educational Technology degree program. A former middle school teacher, Dr. Hicks has authored numerous books, articles, chapters, blog posts, and other resources broadly related to the teaching of literacy in our digital age. Follow him on Twitter: @hickstro

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