google docs broken.jpgAs the web continues to evolve it seems as though more and more of our information is being kept online. This begs the question of whether your data will be available in your time of need.

Yesterday morning Google Docs suffered a 45-minute outage that left users separated from their documents. According to Webware the problem was with the servers that control the document workspace and home document listing, and it had no affect on the documents themselves. Free Google Docs users weren’t the only ones affected either… paid Google Apps users also felt the displeasure of the downtime.

For a majority of users the downtime probably went unnoticed, but I’m sure there were plenty of people who were pulling their hair out waiting for the service to come back up. Maybe you had a document you needed to hand out for a meeting, or a report that had to be turned in at school?

You know what this all reminds of? Remember the days before auto-saving when you’d lose a document you were working on because the computer crashed? It was a tough lesson, but you learned to frequently save your documents. Now the same kind of lesson is being learned from online services: you need to backup your data on to your computer, or else it might not be there when you need it.

What I think Google needs to develop here is some sort of tool that can sync a folder on your computer with Google Docs. When changes are made in one location they are replicated to the other, which means you’ll always have a version of your document available both online and offline.

[partial image credit]