(Cross-posted on the Google for Work Blog.)
Editor's note: We’re jumping into our Delorean to explore how some of our favorite historical figures might have worked with Google Apps. Today, on Independence Day, we imagine Benjamin Franklin’s research, discoveries and accomplishments if he had gone Google.
Ben Franklin is often called “The First American.” He was an inventor, entrepreneur, diplomat and scientist, as well as a revolutionary Renaissance man. As true history nerds, we decided to celebrate Independence Day by commemorating our most inventive Founding Father. We asked ourselves: what if Ben Franklin had done some of his prolific work, solving some of life’s greatest quandaries using Google Apps?
In drafting and editing the Declaration of Independence, we imagine he might have used the real-time editing features in Google Docs to collaborate with his fellow committee members, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman. Jefferson wrote most of the first draft and shared it with Franklin and Adams, who added their suggestions — an observer later described the draft as “scored and scratched like a school boy’s exercise.” Franklin could have kept the original intact by using suggested edits and adding comments about his concerns, particularly related to controversial passages that blamed the British people rather than King George III.
Some of the most recognizable lines in the Declaration of Independence were influenced by other documents, namely the Constitution of Virginia and Virginia’s Declaration of Rights. But if while reviewing the new content Franklin needed to verify historical information — for instance, the laws obstructed by the King of Great Britain— he could have used the Research tool to get quick search results without leaving Docs.