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My Grandmother's Vista Office – GOOGLE

I wrote about Vista here and here. I'm still flabbergasted at how wrong a big company can get their product roll out after years and years. So let's come to the "Grandmother" - even your "Mother" test.

We forget that there remain people out there just learning computers that haven't had 20+ years on word processing, years and years on email etc. Finally a relative thinks we must get them hooked up.

I'd wager that helping that person today get onto email and get operating is way different from a few years ago. I also wonder how you would do it. This would be my solution.

Unlike a few years ago where I had to load Word or Office I would skip all that. I'd also skip the latest Explorer as I still think Firefox is better. I'd also skip Microsoft's Outlook Express which used to be the old standby in cases like these.

My solution today for Grandma is simply Google. You give them a gmail account, you show them how to log in. You set it as the default in the browser or you can set up a personalized home with the email link. You then put one shortcut on the desktop. Done. All word files etc that matter can be opened there. They can compose what they need and if they need more then they will start asking. That's it.

This stealth strategy in time will also give them "chat" and even lead to GTalk when it is more developed. The Google universe of programs is simply more interesting. Whether picture sharing or social networking it is not trapped in work. Grandma's PC shouldn't be trapped in hard work. That increasingly is where Microsoft will be trapped - "work" and "hard" may become the reason for abandoning it in favor of something new.

Some days I even wonder if this strategy would work on my mother?

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Comments (1)

Hey - I did just that for my mum who is 72 and uses her computer primarily for email and to play games. She struggled lots when she got attachments, not knowing how to save them and edit and send back. I moved her email account out of Outlook - got her a gmail id - and she is sooooo much happier now. She does all this online, straight out of gmail. I haven't really transitioned her to chat yet - I do ping her sometimes when i see her online - is fun!

For me, I have long killed Outlook - and transferred all my accounts into Gmail. I love it!

And now google gears has arrived - wonder whether we will see a much greater shift out of Outlook now.

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