Free alternatives to Microsoft Office


Microsoft Office is flexing in the market place to try to capture more small businesses and non-corporate workers. But, as usual, there’s a free alternative from Google that could meet your office productivity needs.

Bill Gates & Co. are now charging an annual $100 subscription for Microsoft Office. That’s actually decently priced, and you’re paying a subscription for something in the past you might have bought as a software package.

But the advantage is it’s now in the cloud. So you can sign into your Microsoft account from any computer in the world and access your documents. And they do give you massive amounts of storage.

But $100 a year? Why not look at Google Drive?

Google Drive is booming. It’s Google’s version of what amounts to a Microsoft Office suite, but it’s free. Google Drive allows you 5GB of storage in the cloud. Microsoft, on the other hand, allows five times that. But for most people, the 5GB of Google Drive will be plenty.

Meanwhile, there’s another and it’s the one I use: Open Office. It’s a free suite, but it’s terminal-based on your computer, not the cloud.

Photo expiration dates

In other tech news, a free app lets you send a picture or message with expiration date.

There’s a fast growing free app that can save reputations by offering you the ability to send a message or picture with an expiration date that you determine.

SnapChat.com, which is available for both Android and iOS, was developed by a couple of 20somethings and there’s no business model yet. It’s completely free to use. The market so far has been for teens and college students and it’s being used mostly for photo sharing.

The beauty of SnapChat is that you can control how long your friends can see your images.

That addresses a big problem in the smartphone world. The problem is that with the advent of smartphones, people are taking questionable pictures that hang out there and cost them admission to school and even job offers.

SnapChat is the antidote to that; you can send an image and not worry about it being part of permanent record. Of course, people will always figure out a way to preserve these images for posterity, but that’s somebody you shouldn’t be snap chatting with in the first place.



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