Right now, in the realm of conventional word processors and editors, Microsoft Word is the reigning queen.
Compared to MS Word, cloud-based word processors like Google Docs are toys. Not because they lack certain capabilities, but in terms of features, they may have just 5-10% capabilities of MS Word.
Not everyone needs these capabilities. I have been using MS Word for almost 15 years now and I hardly use 2% features of the word processor. This is the reason why people prefer cloud-based word processors and editors like Google Docs.
When you use Google Docs, you do not need to install software on your desktop. You can access it through your browser.
This Fast Company article reviews some alternative text editors and word processors that are better suited to the current, collaborative, work environment. Two of the editors that the article mentions are Notion and Coda.
When I visited the Notion website, I remembered registering a few months ago and then leaving within a few minutes.
Notion seems like the web version of those unnoticeable apps that often come with your mobile phone pre-installed. They act like a bundle to manage your to-do lists, notes, images and other tidbits of information. Most of the people never use these apps.
Of course, I am not saying people who do not have a need for a cloud-based service like Notion would not find it useful.
It may be like the storeroom for all formats of information that you would like to store. You can manage your tasks. You can create to-do lists. You can create content calendars. You can manage your brand assets such as graphics and logos. You can create quick notes. You can maintain your reading list. You can use it as your travel planner. You can even write blog posts.
The point is, if you have been using MS Word, or even Google Docs, for a few years for preparing your drafts for articles and blog posts, you may feel bewildered by this hodgepodge of features. Maybe if you want to make a new start from scratch, you will find it useful.
It is like Canva for someone like me who has been using Photoshop for years. Although the cloud-based graphic tool gets raving reviews on my LinkedIn and Twitter timelines, I find it quite restrictive, especially compared to Photoshop.
Coda comes closer to the conventional documents you are used to. The big difference is that it combines documents and spreadsheets and data from other tools into a single interface. As per the language on the website, “All-in-one doc. No more ping-ponging between documents, spreadsheets, and niche workflow apps to get things done. Coda brings all of your words and data into one flexible surface.”
This may be good for meetings. Or business presentations. Or maybe even research-based articles and blog posts. Books? I don’t know.
As you scroll down the page, you realize that it may also be another version of Notion that endeavors to provide everything you need in your day-to-day professional life, through a single dashboard.
I do not understand the need for Coda because I am not the target audience. In this blog post, one of the founders, Shishir Mehrotra reference to the app being a “Minecraft for docs” – you build your digital assets within the app, one by one, like the blocks in Minecraft, as you grow.
I do not want to build blocks. I just need a rectangular window where I can write. It might as well be Notepad.
Every app and every cloud-based service that has a decent set of features, is going to attract users who have a precise need for these features. Therefore, there are many online editors that are gaining traction fast among niche users.