I've thought often about using online backup services like Mozy or Carbonite and others. Some of them are free for a limited number of files or gigabytes used, and all cost money for a large number of gigabytes.
I've been keeping copies of my desktop computer files on an external hard drive, on my laptop computer, on a Western Digital My Passport, and some of them on a 16-gb flash drive. However, all of these devices are currently stored in my genealogy cave. If there was a house fire or other disaster, then I would lose all of them. Sure, I could rent a safety deposit box at the bank, but that costs money too. I could keep the storage devices in a place away from my house also, but that reduces my control of them, and doesn't protect them from a local or regional disaster like a major earthquake, nuclear explosion or electromagnetic event.
Along came Google Docs (http://docs.google.com) offering up to 1 gigabyte of free storage for any file type. I decided to see how easy it was to use. I've uploaded 90 files so far, of all file types, that take up 317 megabytes of space. They include most of my presentations in OpenOffice format, my presentation handouts in MSWord or PDF format, my Christmas letters and Family Journal documents in PDF format, and my Family Tree Maker database (a 44 megabyte .FTW file).
Google Docs will convert and permit editing of files that are in .doc, .docx, .odt, .sxw, .rtf, .txt, .htm, .html, .ppt, .pps, .xls, .xlsx, .ods, and .csv, but the file sizes are limited. I haven't chosen to do those tasks yet.
When I click on the link for Google documents, my screen looks like this:
There are actions in the left-hand column, and the list of my previously uploaded files in the center and right of the screen.
If I click on one of the files that Google docs will not convert, I get a screen that shows the file name and file size and the ability to open or save the file:
Some of my Microsoft Word files don't open well in Google Docs - here is one of my CVGS Newsletter files that uses Tables:
It looks all messed up. However, if I download it and save it, it opens fine in Microsoft Word. The PDF files look fine when opened and can be printed directly from Google Docs.
The second task I want Google Docs to perform is to permit sharing of files with selected persons, or with anybody via a web link. On the list of files, I can select a file and click on the "Share" button above the list, and have a choice of "Invite People," "Get the link to share," "See who has access," and "Email as attachment."
I chose "Get the link to share" and saw:
I can copy the link (highlighting then pressing Ctrl-C) and put it in an email or on a web page.
If I click on the "Invite People" link, then I can select persons to receive it via email (I can select from from my Google Gmail contact list or type them in), pick whether they can only view it or edit it, add a message to those persons, send a copy to myself, etc:
This Google Documents service is very easy to use and serves the needs I have to save my important genealogy files out of my house and (hopefully) safe from disasters, and to be able to share files with specific persons (via email) or anybody (through a web link).