If this was just about ONLY writing docs, Buzzword is the best online rich internet app for composing documents I have used to date.
Let’s just start there. The level of graphical presentation, fluid transitions, great communication design, wondering discovery of advanced features, paper centric features, amazing spell check (yup, they upped the ante on spell check even), and wonderful iconography make for a much more enjoyable compositional experience.
Then there are the collaboration features. Unlike Google Docs which really only allows you to edit (in real time synchronously which is nice) , there are reviewer features that are ultimately much more useful and usable than anything that Google Docs has.
I really recommend it for anyone who is doing serious composition of documents like articles you want others to review and comment on before exporting to paper. It does have its bugs, but it really shows that you can do a full screen application in Flash/Flex that is more poweful and obviously more dramatic than you can with AJAX. It also really underscores to me the difference between a well engineered application and a well designed one. Google docs just doesn’t touch you at the emotional level the way that Buzzword does.
Here’s the catch. “If this was just about ONLY writing docs,” was how I started this post. But it isn’t ONLY about writing docs. I have a host of spreadsheets and presentations and email that are all interconnected through Google. And that interconnection or eco-system is designed well-enough that it has some tremendous tie-in value.
Google though is starting to annoy me mainly because of inconsistencies in the designs between the 3 applications and them with email & actually with Reader as well. Not enough to send me running to Zofo or anything like that, but enough to just make me keep an eye out for something better like Buzzword and for me to use it for specialized needs like larger compositions and where I think I might be printing at some point.