Cloud computing imageThe “cloud” is becoming the place to keep things on the Internet.  It can save you a tremendous amount of time and make life easier.

Though Microsoft is working hard to bring the cloud to its Office suite, it might be too little too late.

Like most businesses, every computer we have has a copy of Microsoft Office.  It’s the industry standard because it’s predictable and is the lowest common denominator. It did not win because it’s the best, most feature-rich and easy-to-use office suite out there.  It won because everyone has it.

But now there’s a serious disruption that any business can take advantage of.  Google Drive was launched in January of 2010 (then called Google Docs) and has matured quickly.  Google Drive is both an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations) as well as a place to store any sort of file.

We started heavily using it a few months ago, and I can’t imagine ever going back.  In fact, I am constantly expecting other software to act and behave just like it.  It’s fast, simple, and the most collaborative piece of software to hit the office.  Even our copywriter, who loves Word, is switching to Drive.

Here are 4 reasons you should take a serious look:

1. It’s Free: You get 5GB of free space.  This will easily cover most people’s needs.  If not, you can always pay for more space.

2. It’s Collaborative:  This is by far the killer feature.  You can have multiple people in the same document at the same time.  Now you don’t need multiple copies of a file and wonder if everyone has the latest version.

We frequently take group notes in the same live document, updated in real time.  You can also highlight any section and create “comments.”  Comments appear at the side of a document like an ongoing chat so you can easily ask .  Everyone that is a part of the document gets an email that will direct them to the comment.  We use it to write website copy, scripts, and even long books and get new clients on board in minutes.  It saves hours and headaches.

3. It’s Everywhere: I have Drive on three devices on my desk as I am writing this: my laptop, iPhone and iPad.  I can access any of these files in moments without even thinking about it.  That is what living in the cloud is all about: not having to worry if you saved a file, where it’s located, and if you synced it.  We have enough things to worry about, right?

4. It’s Powerful, Yet Simple: At its core it has what 95% of what people need.  Sure, it’s missing that one feature for the 5%.  But not having it makes life a lot easier for the rest of us.  Despite its simple initial appearance, it’s quite powerful.

It records 30 days of line-by-line revisions, giving you total control to see what everyone changed in a document.  You also get conditional formatting in spreadsheets, and an innovative bookmark feature we use to easily navigate large documents.

When you first load it, you will feel right at home.  As you use it, you will find these nifty features along the way.

We love Google Drive, and it’s helped us save countless hours.  It could probably do the same for you.