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gDocs Bar

February 8th, 2008 at 5:00am — Rating: Firefox pointFirefox pointFirefox pointFirefox pointFirefox no pointLink

With everyone becoming more mobile, Word and Excel is becoming more of a necessity for transferring knowledge from one machine to another.

With that said, Google has taken Word, Excel, and Powerpoint to a new level: online.

Instead of constantly heading over to the Google Docs web site, this week's extension exposes Google Docs through your sidebar.

Overview

The Google Docs Bar (gDocs Bar) allows users to upload and view documents stored at Google Docs in one central tabbed sidebar. The extension provides an at-a-glance view of your documents pertaining to each application.

Installation

When installing the gDocs Bar, it's not for faint of heart. The extension is the biggest I've seen in an extension. The gDocs Bar is over 4 megs. But considering what you're get online as opposed to actually buying the Microsoft Office, you're getting a bargain.

After installation, use your Google user name and password to log in. After successfully logging in, your list of documents will appear...provided you already have a list of documents.

Features

The features are pretty straight forward. The extension allows you to upload your documents right into Google Docs through the extension. Click and drag a related document to the bottom of gDocs Bar and the extension will immediately upload. Google will also take care of putting it into the right folder.

The one downside is the inability to create documents through the extension. If a "Create document" dropdown or button was available, it might make the extension more valuable.

There is a way to filter all of the documents with the filter tab at the top along with a "search by" tab. The "search by" tab looks for documents by name, author, or by content inside the document.

Underneath each document tab, there is a star off to the left which looks disabled. Click the star to filter out your starred documents. I have three starred Excel documents and they didn't appear at all. This functionality doesn't seem to work.

The sort function is below each document tab and sorts by title, date, or author. The ascending/descending buttons are off to the right of the sorting buttons as well.

Configuration

The configuration for the gDocs Bar extension is VERY minimal. It's so minimal that it's just a little dialog box with a checkbox asking if you want the gDocs Bar to appear every time they run Firefox.

However, most Firefox extensions that attach to a web site service don't necessarily need configurations. If any customizations are required through the extension, then logging into the web site offering those services is the proper method.

Conclusion

The gDocs Bar extension provides an exceptional interface to an existing online product. This extension is already installed in my portable Firefox on my USB drive.

The gDocs Bar takes Firefox in new directions. Imagine Firefox turning into your online work center or virtual office. At any time, you can access your repository of online documents and update them whenever you want.

The gDocs Bar receives a 4 out of 5.

See ya next week.

If you want your Firefox add-on reviewed, please contact me with the URL and we'll let you know when it's reviewed.