Can Google Docs work for live blogging?

Google says you can use Google Docs as a live blogging platform, but does it really work? We put it to the test--live!

Amit Agarwal from blog Digital Inspiration has a great guest post on the Official Google Docs blog today outlining how anyone can use the service as a live blogging tool. The writing format, which has become an increasingly popular way for bloggers to cover events as they're happening (mainly useful for things like Apple keynote speeches), but also manages to work for smaller conferences and events, too.

Agarwal's suggestions are to either set it up as a special page on compatible blogging platforms so that your writings will show up like a regular post, or to simply embed it on the page as I've done here. One of the platform's strong suits is that it lets several people work on a document at the same time, which your standard blogging platform likely won't allow.

Other small things to note are that your blogging tool might not pick up your byline or give the post a time stamp. Agarwal suggests you use Google Docs' inline comment system (hitting CTRL + M), which will add a timed notation. Also, your readers will need to manually refresh the page to see any updates since there's no way to set your individual post to do that automatically.

We've covered several live blogging tools on Webware before. Rafe's favorite is CoverItLive, which we've used with great success. There's also competitor ScribbleLive. Both offer live updating, and options to let your readers get notifications and reminders on when live coverage will begin.

Update: While Google Docs works just fine as a live blogging tool, there are some things to note about the embed option that some might consider shortcomings.

For one thing it will auto-publish any changes when it auto-saves (something you can turn off, but having it on takes some effort out of the equation). This might be troublesome for some users who are simply jotting down ideas and don't want them to go live yet. Also, whatever you write might not get picked up so well in your RSS feed, or for mobile readers. The post nearly locked up Safari when viewed on an iPhone.

I've embedded the original live blog after the break, which is simply the same post as what's seen above (sans update).

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About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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