I first had a look at Google Docs a couple of years ago when I was looking at ways of storing my stuff off-site, so that when my place blows up I don’t have to worry about my intellectual property going up in smoke.
As I have very good access to my word processing software of choice (Microsoft Word) wherever I go, my need for an online word processor didn’t really exist, but the beauty is, if I am stuck, I can work on my Word documents using the Google Docs software. All I have to do is uploaded them and leave them sitting there.
Google claims that if you stick with the default file sharing settings (i.e. no sharing), robots and spiders can’t get to your documents, spreadsheets or presentations, which means they won’t appear in any search index. As well as this they say they don’t read your stuff, though if it is travelling over the internet and contains certain keywords that have been identified as interesting by the spooks in a CIA bunker, you can be sure someone will be reading your material. In the first instance it would be software such as CallMiner which can contextualize the words you have used and can assess if they are dangerous.
But for the innocuous user, when the chips are down, Google Docs, including the spreadsheet program which is also Microsoft compatible, can be a godsend.