Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Google Docs Gets A Major Update

Google Docs has been around for about 4 years and has come a long way in terms of features. In order to keep up with today's web (Yay for HTML5), a major update has become available to most users during the past 24 hrs. This update is called "a new Google Docs" and offers some great features, (make sure to checkout the slideshow at the bottom of this post).
  • Drawings: Users have been able to add drawings to documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, now there is a standalone application. Drawings can be edited with others, can be exported as .pdf, .svg, .jpg, and .png, can be pasted into other Google Docs and vice versa. I gave it a quick try and it was very responsive and intuitive.

  • New Document Editor: This is  faster and offers a better real-time editing experience. Other updates include sidebar chatting,  real margins and tab stops, a better insert image window, improved commenting and footnote tools, better image handling, a more user friendly equation editor and improved importing of documents (this works really great). The current "new" version available to users has some problems such as lack of drawings, symbols, dictionary, thesaurus and a slew of other options. I guess that's why preview has been placed on this update.

  • Faster Spreadsheets: The old spreadsheets editor loaded very slow, especially for large files. This new version is must faster and offers auto-complete, better navigation between sheets, and a formula bar. 
To access these features, all you have to do is click on "New Version" in the top right hand corner of any spreadsheet or visit the "Document Settings" page and click "New Version of Google Docs." Google Gears is not compatible with these versions, and will be replaced with the HTML5 Offline feature. Also, all modern browsers will run these new versions, and if your using IE (not modern?), you need to use Google Frame. Finally, no updates were made to Google Presentations. 

In summary, this update really shows the power of web apps and how great working/living in the cloud is. I expect more businesses/schools will sign on to use Google Apps, as they should since their in-house email hosting and use of MS office is costing them a lot of $money$. Competition is great.