The cloud has made it possible for a massive amount of users to collaborate on projects by simply logging onto the internet and access shared files. As cloud computing becomes more prevalent numerous products have begun to enter the market. If you plan to access the web and share documents via the cloud there are three programs you should definitely check out; Google Docs, Office 365 and Zoho Docs.

Google Docs and other online productivity tools

Google Docs

Before it was cool to give away office capabilities for free there was Google Docs. Much like Microsoft’s Office productivity suite the Google program allows users to create word based documents, add/edit/share excel documents and even create slideshows directly from a web based platform. One of the best parts of Google Docs is that there is zero software to download. Users literally create and save their documents online. Once created documents can be emails to others, downloading to a users computer or even printed.

My personal favorite  part of Google Docs is the real-time collaboration capabilities of the office productivity suite. For example after sharing a document and providing editor capabilities I can see what changes have been made by other users as they are being made. With simple color coding it’s a breeze to examine a co-worker or friends changes and then move forward.

Google Docs is fully cloud centric and now combined with Google Drive which means users are automatically allocated 5GB of storage. At just $4.99 for 25GB of storage on Google Drive upgrading is simple.

Thanks to a clear and concise design that closely mimics Microsoft’s Office productivity suite using Google Docs shouldn’t be a problem for most users right out of the box.

Office 365

Microsoft has stripped down its office products to create the Office 365 platform while maintaining the look and feel of its popular office applications. If formatting and creativity are major sticking points for your projects Office 365 offers a more diverse set of fonts and formatting styles than either Google Apps or Zoho.

One of the platforms biggest advantages is the ability to quickly switch between your desktop Office product and the online based Office 365. Because the cloud based application allows for less options the integration option between programs means users can work on documents on the go and then add more to them while at their desktop or notebook.

Office 365 is more than just a collection of Microsoft Office programs moved over to the web, the suite also includes collaboration tools for real-time messaging and Microsoft exchange email support for $4/user/month.

If you need to maintain a calendar, send emails, chat online with people in your organization and create/view/edit documents you should check out Office 365.

Zoho Docs

Zoho like the other programs allows users to created, view and edit docs in real-time. One of my favorite parts of this platform however is the ability to assign tasks to team members. Zoho is essentially the project management tool of the online cloud based office products.

One of my favorite parts of Zoho is the ability to add, import, invite and create users & groups. I also like that user rights can be controlled to ensure documents stay how you want them to stay.

Because Zoho is a paid application it can also be white labeled, allowing businesses to show their own logo, giving employees a feel of workplace dynamics.

With online storage available, plenty of features for document management and full collaboration Zoho Docs is definitely worth a closer look.