Google Docs experienced a service disruption yesterday. I use Docs as my primary word processing program; it just makes collaborating easier than having to send emails back and forth. Still, the first thing I did when I realized Docs wasn’t working was to open a MS Word document.
Unfortunately, some people hadn’t had the same foresight. A few dozen tweets from students revealed that they were making the age-old mistake of saving their work in one place, with no backup. Indeed, students took to Twitter during the outage whinging about having a final to complete.
Meanwhile, Google was spreading the news about the great new features:
Apparently, something got broken in the update and the Google Drive social media team didn’t get the memo.
While the moral of this story could certainly be to backup and not be so dependent on Google Docs for important papers, the outage brought up another issue. I had been considering a Chromebook, but now, I’m not so sure. The main idea behind the Chromebook is a lean Internet machine where everything happens online.
Then again, Verge contributor Valentina Palladino makes a good point:
At this point, the only time I don’t need a connection is when I’m editing photos or writing in a plain-text editor. If the Internet is down or even running slowly, I often close my laptop and just do something else entirely. For me and for many others, the fact that Chrome OS all but requires an Internet connection really isn’t an issue outside of the psychological security we feel when we save something to a hard drive.
If Google Docs is down but the Internet isn’t, I suppose there are other cloud-based options for backing up and storing documents. Still, the disruption lasted a little more than an hour and was a relatively rare occurrence. But I’m not sure I’m ready to make the psychological leap to an Internet machine with little hard drive storage and no offline option for word processing.