Google Doc

What is a Google Doc?

A Google Doc is a function of Google that creates a document that can be viewed and edited via Gmail users. The most commonly used documents are word documents, but Google docs also offer other options such as spreadsheets, presentations (powerpoints), forms, drawings, and collections.

Google docs are a great way to communicate with fellow students and co-workers about assignments and group-work. They are especially useful for real time collaboration, as multiple users can edit a document at the same time. Google docs allow individuals to discuss and edit materials without having to email attachments back and forth or meeting in person to get jobs done. However, these documents are limited to the viewing of only those who have Gmail accounts.

When sharing a Google doc with another person, the user can specify whether to make that person an editor, or merely give them read-only access. Additionally, the user can make the document open to anyone on the web, anyone who has the link, or only those who have been invited.

Concerns for Parents

Although Google docs are a wonderful resource, people can abuse them. Since people who use Google docs can type whatever they want, there could be the problem of using bad language or of plagiarizing.

The terms of service for Google docs says that when you use the service, "you give Google a worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post, or display on or through the Service for the sole purpose of enabling Google to provide you with the Service in accordance with its Privacy Policy." As such, Google owns all content that the user submits and can take any action they want with it.

How Can I Keep My Child Safe?

Make sure your child only shares Google docs with people he or she knows/trusts.

Make sure your child does not supply Google with private information.

Where Can I Learn More?

To view a tutorial on creating a Gmail account, go here.

You can read a tutorial on creating and sharing a Google doc here.