Google Docs is becoming the best entertainment of the coronavirus pandemic

By Alma Fabiani

Updated Sep 17, 2021 at 10:39 AM

Reading time: 3 minutes

It feels like only last week Houseparty was ruling as the number one entertainment for everyone self-isolating. That was until rumours about the video call app started spreading. According to some users, the app was not safe and having it installed on your phone meant you could easily get your bank account hacked. As the story unfolded, many deleted Houseparty, me included.

After doing so, one main concern hit me: how was I going to entertain myself now? From buying a Nintendo Switch to downloading a digital version of the card game UNO, the possibilities seemed endless but never would I have thought of Google Docs as the miracle remedy to boredom.

Apparently, keeping people under lockdown makes them go back to simpler digital pleasures. A few days ago, the MIT Technology Review questioned its readers: Why does it suddenly feel like 1999 on the internet? It seems like extreme loneliness and boredom have a way of forcing us to get out of our digital comfort zone. Just like those students who used Google Docs as a way to pass notes in class in 2019, adults all around the globe have started using the document authoring tool in very inventive ways, to say the least. We all know that even before COVID-19, businesses in the essay writing industry and paper writing service like CustomEssayOrder widely used Google Docs to store and share their internal instructions.

Here’s how Google Docs is slowly becoming our new entertainment during self-isolation.

Comedy nights

The current circumstances are terrible, that’s undeniable, but in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, some comedians have decided to make people laugh as much as they can—because why not? And they’re getting creative with the format they’re experimenting with.

At the beginning of March, after many of her shows got cancelled for obvious reasons, comedian Marissa Goldman decided to bring her comedy night online. She created her own ‘Google Doc Party’ where she invited other comedians to join her on the doc. The way her Google Doc Party works is that each comedian has an allotted time to add some jokes in the document and once the show is over, Goldman creates some Google Docs game for everyone to participate in.

So far, Goldman has hosted 3 comedy nights on Google Docs with comedians from The Onion and Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show and it has proved to be a success, she told Teen Vogue: “This has opened up a new world to me, I just wish it didn’t happen in this way. I hope to do similar things after but of course, it’s different when there isn’t a need for it.”

What has become a weekly show has been put on hold for a week but will be back this Saturday. All you have to do is go on the Google document at 8 pm Eastern Time and have a laugh.

Escape rooms

Escape rooms, also known as escape rooms, are a game in which a team of players discover clues, solve puzzles and enigmas and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to progress and accomplish a specific goal in a limited amount of time. The goal is often to escape the specific room the team has been in.

While doing an escape game in the comfort of your house probably won’t mean you are allowed to leave and finally go outside, it could kill a couple of hours of your day. That’s what Anthony Smith realised while under lockdown in New York City.

https://twitter.com/AnthonyBLSmith/status/1240833488909225984

Smith created an entire escape game on Google Docs based on someone’s desire to go outside. Once on the document, users can navigate the room by clicking on different links that bring them on dozens of interconnected documents in a choose-your-own-adventure-style puzzle. Like any escape game, this one is inherently collaborative. The best way to solve the game and ‘get out’ is to collaborate with strangers who are also on the document.

Speaking to Quartz, Smith admitted accidentally leaving the document’s editing permissions open to anyone, which led to players quickly flooding it with messages, creating a 60-page document of thank yous and clues from other participants stuck at different points in the puzzle. “I am really touched that people weren’t mean, despite the fact that everyone had anonymity,” Smith said. “That genuinely warmed my heart.”

You can start part one of the escape game here while Smith works on part 2.

Collaborative crosswords

On 14 March, Ohio’s Akron Art Museum shut its doors, leaving senior experience officer Seema Rao unsure what to do in order to help. That’s when she created a Google Docs and started sharing it with other employees who worked at now closed museums, asking them to build puzzles based on their collections. Each institution had to submit one clue based on something in its digital archives, forming a crossword on users’ museum knowledge.

The crosswords come out every Sunday and have featured clues from the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, the International Printing Museum in Carson, California, the Pueblo Grande Museum in Phoenix, and many others.

The many museums involved also collaborate on Sudoku puzzles and will soon begin experimenting with other forms of puzzles, as well as share them on social media under the hashtag #MuseumGames.

Other creative ways to use Google Docs

Now that we’ve seen what other creative people have achieved using Google Docs, why not try to create our own entertainment too? From playing the hangman game with your family to organising a friends’ comedy night, there doesn’t seem to be anything you can’t do on Google Docs.

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