Google Docs for business

Updated: October 28, 2019

2019. Google Docs now lets natively edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint



Until now to edit Microsoft Office files in Google Docs you had to convert them to Google’s format. That’s about to change: Google just announced that it’s adding native support for Microsoft’s Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats — like .docx, .xls, and .ppt — which will let you do real-time collaboration in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The feature is already available in the commercial versions of those apps and is coming to regular users too, as soon as this month.


2019. Google’s AI grammar checker is now live in Google Docs



Google's new machine learning-powered grammar checker is now live in Google Docs for G Suite users. Google uses machine translation techniques to find obvious mistakes as well as more subtle issues and suggest corrections as work is getting done. It’s one thing, after all, to compare words in a dictionary to what you’re writing and mark up mistakes. It’s another to understand complex grammar rules, which can vary by region and style. The company claims that its machine translation technique is able to catch these kinds of issues because they are very hard to encode as a set of hard rules. They worked closely with linguists to decipher the rules for the machine translation model and used this as the foundation of automatic suggestions in your Docs, all powered by AI.


2019. Google Docs gets an API for task automation



Google opened a new API for Google Docs that will allow developers to automate many of the tasks that users typically do manually in the company’s online office suite. The REST API was designed to help developers build workflow automation services for their users, build content management services and create documents in bulk. Using the API, developers can also set up processes that manipulate documents after the fact to update them, and the API also features the ability to insert, delete, move, merge and format text, insert inline images and work with lists, among other things.


2019. Google Docs get Material Design



Google has started the rollout of its Material Design update for Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Sites. What you can expect to see, when you get the update, is different interface fonts, slightly revised controls and some new iconography. There are also some fresh new colors here and there. Google started the rollout of this new design for G Suite subscribers on the Rapid Release schedule today and everybody who is on that should get it within the next 15 days.


2018. Google Docs gets AI grammar checker



Google Docs gets a new AI-based grammar checker, which is now available through Google’s Early Adopter Program. It's powered by what is essentially a machine translation algorithm that can recognize errors and suggest corrections as you type. Google says it can catch anything from wrongly used articles (“an” instead of “a”) to more complicated issues like incorrectly used subordinate clauses. Google’s service will find issues with punctuation or odd word choices, something that tools like Grammarly can check for. It’s interesting that Google is opting for this translation-based approach, though, which once again shows the company’s bets on artificial intelligence and how it plans to bring these techniques to virtually all of its products over time.


2018. Google Sheets gets smart macros recording


Google has launched a major update to Google Sheets. With this update, Sheets users can now record macros. The new “record macros” feature, which sits in the Tools menu, does exactly what you think it should do. You simply start your recording, go through your usual steps and when you’re done, all it takes to repeat all those steps is to run the macro again. In the backend, Sheets actually converts your macro into Apps Script code, which also means that if you want to dive a bit deeper or make a small change, you can edit that script.


2017. Google updates Docs with new collaboration features



Google added a number of new features to its alternative document editing apps Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. The biggest new features come with the organization of a group Doc. You'll now be able to name separate versions of the same file, which should be a helpful way to clarify which versions are final and which are still in progress. With the new features, you'll also be able to preview "clean" versions of a Doc for easier reading and review, and accept or reject all edits with one command to save time approving every little thing. Most helpfully, you'll be able to access the suggestions tool from mobile devices using the "three dot" menu. Google's also introducing some new add-ons and templates for its productivity suite, making it easier for users to quickly draft documents like NDAs in the cloud. Partners include LegalZoom and Docusign, LucidChart, PandaDoc, EasyBib, and Supermetrics.


2016. Google Docs now let you create custom templates



Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms are getting support for creating custom, reusable templates that you can share with your co-workers. While you may not use templates much in your day-to-day G Suite life, this is a necessary feature for businesses. You don’t want to have to recreate your report or newsletter layout every time you start a new one, after all. For the most part then, the addition of template support in Google Docs is yet another example of Google trying to make its service more attractive to business users as it gets serious about the enterprise.


2016. G Suite adds some intelligence to Docs



G Suite (former Google Apps for Work) is getting a couple of new smart features. The most interesting of them is automatic action suggestion is Docs. When you type something like “Mathew to create a document with all the upcoming earnings,” Docs will now automatically suggest that you create an action item and assign this to (hopefully) the right person. Google now also makes it easier for you to see which action items have been assigned to you and which documents may need your attention. All the G Suite apps will now show a badge on files that have action items attached to them and when there are unresolved suggestions that others may have made to your files.


2014. Google Docs for iPhone/iPad now can edit MS Office files



Google is bringing support for natively editing Microsoft Office documents to iOS. Google Docs, Sheets and Slides apps for Android and web browsers added this feature two months ago. With this, Google now offers the full-fledged MS Office alternative on all of its major platforms, including Android, iOS, Chrome OS and the web (it’s unlikely Google will ever launch a Metro app for Windows, though.) Microsoft launched Office for iOS earlier this year. To fully make use of those apps, however, users need a subscription to Office 365. Google’s apps are available for free, though business users are likely already paying for a Google Apps for Business account anyway.


2014. Google Docs allows to edit MS Office files without conversion



Google made it possible to edit Microsoft Office files directly in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, so you can open and edit those documents in their native format using Office Compatibility Mode. No need to buy additional software or think about how to open your file. The Docs, Sheets and Slides mobile apps come with Office editing built right in, and with the Chrome extension, you can edit and share files directly from Google Drive or Gmail. Another new feature -  Suggest Edits in Docs. It lets you do just that: your team can make suggestions that you can accept or reject with a single click.


2014. Google to discontinue QuickOffice for Android, iOS



Google announced it will be “unpublishing” QuickOffice for both Android and iOS in the coming weeks. "With the integration of Quickoffice into the Google Docs, Sheets and Slides apps, the Quickoffice app will be unpublished from Google Play and the App Store in the coming weeks," the company said on its official apps updates blog. "Existing users with the app can continue to use it, but no features will be added and new users will not be able to install the app."  Google purchased QuickOffice in 2012 to integrate the Office-compatible software in Google Docs. Chromebooks have already seen some of the QuickOffice integration and once the software is pulled from app stores, you’ll only see QuickOffice in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides unless you already have QuickOffice on your mobile device: Existing app users can keep using it but the software won’t get future updates.


2014. Google launched standalone Docs and Spreadsheets for iOS and Android



Until now, all Google's document editors for mobile devices were available in the single app called Google Drive. Ok, they remained there, but recently Google also launched standalone apps Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets (for iOS and Android). The presentation app is coming soon, and will be called not Google Presentations, but (for a change) Slides. Maybe, you could think that thus Google wants to unlink the editors from Google Drive and let users edit files not only from Google Drive, but any other documents stored on your smartphone/tablet. But no! In the new apps you still can't open a document without uploading it to the Google Drive cloud storage. So for while there is not so much sense in these standalone apps.


2014. Google Docs gets Add-ons store, ONLYOFFICE gets server version.


Online office suites continue to evolve. Google Docs adds embedded add-on directory, which is accessible from the top menu Add-ons and contains all sorts of useful things. For example, a plugin for collaborative docs approval, for printing stickers, for integration with Mailchimp (email marketing service), etc. Obviously, this directory will grow day by day. Meanwhile one of the main Google Docs rivals - Teamlab Office unveiled the local version for large companies, that can be installed on the own server. Besides the office document editors, Teamlab Office Enterprise contains the full set of collaboration tools . Teamlab already provided in-house open-source version - Community Edition. It's free but trimmed in functionality. The new Enterprise version costs $1200/year per 30 users. If you think that it's expensive, calculate how much MS Office and SharePoint will cost for the same number of users.


2014. Google, Microsoft and Apple refreshed their online office apps



These are not very important updates, but we thought why not remind you once again that online office apps exist, develop and you may well use them instead of paid Word, Excel and PowerPoint. So, Google updated its spreadsheets (watch video above). Now they work faster, even with a very-very large documents. There are new filters and functions, as well as the ability to work offline in the Chrome browser (just like it works for text documents and presentations). As for Microsoft, they mainly worked to redesign their Office Web Apps. The interface became more flat (like in Outlook.com) and more comfortable thanks to the updated toolbar. And the notebook app OneNote for Android has become like Evernote (watch video below): The biggest new addition in Apple's cloud iWork - is document password protection. The passwords are compatible with Microsoft Office, so a secured iWork document can be opened in Office without reformatting it, letting users share sensitive information between the platforms. Among the other additions: customizable alignment and spacing guides to Pages, allowing you to rotate, resize and mask objects with various-shaped frames. The app Numbers also added column and rows sorting, as well as the ability to switch to vertical view. And recall that recently this good company of online office suites was joint by free Teamlab Personal.


2013. Google makes QuickOffice free for everyone



The best mobile office suite QuickOffice was acquired by Google a year ago. Late last year Google released the free version of QuickOffice for paid Google Apps users. And now they decided to make QuickOffice free for everyone (who has Google-account). And on all platforms: Android, iPhone, iPad. That's a smart step. While Microsoft is trying to earn on mobile Office apps, Google may well defeat MS Office in the fight for mobile users. To make this announcement even more impressive, Google is giving extra free 10 Gb to those who install QuickOffice before September 26. To be fair, we note that Google became so generous only after having integrated QuickOffice exclusively to Google Drive. You can't use other cloud storage services with QuickOffice any more. Recall, QuickOffice allows to open and edit on your smartphone and tablet Word, Excel, PowerPoint documents and view PDF files.


2013. Google Forms adds real-time collaboration


Google added multiuser real-time collaboration to its online forms editor Google Forms. This feature is already available in all other Google office apps: Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, Google Presentations and Google Drawings. Now, when creating a form, you can invite one or more co-workers, control who is currently helping you to build the form, what field he is editing (each user has different color), communicate in chat and comments. In general, after the recent update Google Forms turned into the world's best tool for conducting employee or customer surveys. It allows to add any any kind of fields (text, checkboxes, radio-buttons, lists, tables ...), select a template, embed form to your site, collect the entered data into a spreadsheet or view it on a graphical report.


2012. Google Drive for iOS now can edit documents


In July, when Google released a mobile client Google Drive for iOS, users were disappointed by the lack of ability to edit documents on iPhone/iPad. Today, Google has fixed this drawback, but with some limitations. Editing (including real-time collaboration editing) is available only for text documents. Though the video shows that spreadsheets can also be edited, in fact, it's just a special effect. Editing spreadsheets will appear later. Besides, Google added the ability to view presentations, create new folders and move files between folders. Google Drive for Android app has been also updated today. It now also features the ability to create folders, move files and add comments to files and documents.


2012. Google Docs - on its way to offline



Some day Google Docs will fully support offline access on all computers and mobile devices. But apparently, it will be no earlier than in two years. Because Google likes to delight users with more happy news about the motion of Google Docs to offline. At a recent Google I/O conference the company proudly announced that Google Docs now works Offline! What does it mean this time? The service really now works Offline - but only in the Chrome browser. And to make it work you need to ... install Google Drive app for Chrome. Those readers that are following our news may say that about a year ago we already reported that Google Docs work offline in Chrome. But then it was about viewing documents, and this time - you can edit docs and even post comments. The changes will be synchronized with the online account once the internet connection appears. And for now you can only edit text documents and spreadsheets. Editing presentations will be obviously the next big news.


2012. Google acquired the best mobile office - Quickoffice



It seams that start-ups become cheaper in spring. Every day IT giants are buying someone. During two days Google has bought two companies - Meebo and Quickoffice. The acquisition of social messenger Meebo aims to strengthen the social network Google+. And the acquisition of Quickoffice is much more interesting to us. Quickoffice is known as the best suite of mobile document editors. Quickoffice provides native applications (that can work offline) for iPhone, iPad, Android and even for Symbian and webOS that can perfectly open and edit Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel and PowerPoint). In addition, Quickoffice can synchronize documents between different platforms, but this feature is likely to be replaced by the Google Drive. Thus, Google Docs is becoming the dominant office suite not only in the cloud, but also on mobile devices. As for the main competitor (Microsoft), the MS Office Mobile so far works only on Windows Phone and Symbian. The version of MS Office for the iPad is under the development and is scheduled for November. Version for Android - may be will never be created. Given that the iPhone + iPad + Android dominate the mobile world, then it's evident that Microsoft is now far behind Google.


2012. QuickOffice now can sync your files. Even with desktop



The developers of the most popular mobile office suite QuickOffice have created a new product QuickOffice Connect, which allows not only edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on your smartphone and tablet, but also sync these files between user devices (or between co-workers). However, QuickOffice is not going to compete with Dropbox, Box, SkyDrive, SugarSync and Google Drive. On the contrary, it allows you to synchronize files and folders with any of these cloud services but doesn't provide its own online storage. QuickOffice Connect works not only on mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android) but also on the desktop (PC, Mac). But it also is not going to compete with Microsoft Office, editing documents on the desktop is supposed be done in Microsoft's programs. QuickOffice Connect also allows to set access rights to synced files. For example, if you sync a file with your partner, you can give him access to view, comment or edit it. The Professional version also includes version control. Unlike the older brother QuickOffice Pro, which works purely as an editor and doesn't synchronize files, QuickOffice Connect is distributed on a subscription basis. There is a free version that allows you to sync up to 5000 files (1 Gb) and 5 folders between two devices (per year). But it doesn't allow to edit files - only view them. This option can suit those who want to view on a smartphone the documents created on computer. The Premium version, which allows to edit documents on mobile devices and sync up to 125,000 files (25 GB) between 4 devices - costs $19.95 per year.


2012. Google launched Google Drive



After (just) six years after the first rumors appeared Google has launched the legendary file storage service Google Drive. And the first question is: why they created Google Drive as a separate service, when Google Docs is de-facto Google's online storage that can store any files? There is a couple of reasons. First, such file storage and sharing services (Dropbox and clones) is a very hot topic either in consumer or enterprise space. And the attention that Google can attract with the new app in this space is not a bad thing for the search giant. Second, Google Drive will serve as a file system not only for Google Docs, but also for other Google's services that operate files (GMail, Google +, Google Sites, Picasa ...). Like Dropbox or SkyDrive, Google Drive creates a folder on your computer and syncs files between this folder, online account and other devices where the client app is installed. Currently Google Drive provides client apps for Windows, Mac, Android. In a couple of weeks apps for iPhone and iPad will appear. You can manually set the files and folders that should be synced. There are some drawbacks in the service. For example, documents from Google Docs are not copied to the computer and can not be edited and viewed locally. The local folder displays only links to these documents on Google Docs and you can open them only in browser. But the good news is that in browser you can open about 30 types of documents, including even Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop files. And most important, the service can operate as a private (or enterprise) Youtube - you can upload and view any video files. Google Drive allows you to share files and folders with your colleagues and partners. You can give them access to view, comment or edit docs and files. Other benefits of Google Drive are - the version control system, which stores all file version for 30 days, OCR, powerful search. In addition, developers can build apps on top of Google Drive. Currently, several applications are already available, such as AutoCad WS (for opening AutoCAD files), Aviary (for image editing), Balsamiq Mockups (for drawing interfaces), DocuSign (for digital signature), etc. Currently, several applications are available, such as AutoCad WS to work with AutoCAD files, Aviary image editing, Balsamiq Mockups - drawing interface, DocuSign for EDS, etc. Google Drive offers free 5 GB space to each user (compare with DropBox 2 GB, SkyDrive 7 GB). If necessary, you can buy more disk space: from $ 2.49/mes for 25 GB. Google Drive will be immediately available to Google Apps users.


2012. Google Docs adds the world best spell-checker



Remember the recent Microsoft's comic video about Google Apps? One of the claims against Google's online office was its bad spell-checker. But probably Microsoft won't joke about it any more. Because Google has pulled out its secret weapon - the world's largest search database that contains more words than any dictionary. You certainly noticed that when you make a spelling error in a search query, Google automatically corrects it? Now the same technology will work in Google Docs. Unlike the traditional dictionary (in Word), Google's base is constantly updated - adds new words and contains not only words but also names and titles in any language. However, meanwhile the new spell-checker is deployed only for English language, but Google promises to add it to other languages soon.


2012. Google Docs for Android adds real-time collaborative editing


Google continues to improve its office suite and it's not trying to race with MS Office for the rich functionality, but improves what it does best - collaboration tools and mobile access. Today the new version of Google Docs for Android has appeared and it allows to collaboratively edit documents on smartphones and tablets in real-time. As usual, each user is assigned a certain color, so you can see who's editing text at the moment and where he is now. In addition, the new version improves the user interface features - zoom, copy/paste and adds new formatting tools: bold text, lists, font color. The good news is that all of these new features will work in older Android versions - up to version 2.1


2012. Video: Google Docs vs SkyDrive


Microsoft continues to troll Google services with funny videos. At this time, they take on Google Docs. According to the scenario a group of young co-workers wants to creat a document and starts working on it in Google Docs. Naive guys don't know that Google Docs are only suitable for simple tasks and drawing a planetary system in Google Docs - is impossible. But it's possible in Microsoft SkyDrive. Even not in the Skidrive itself (it also can't do such complicated formatting) but in the desktop MS Office, that can edit the document simultaneously with the online SkyDrive editor. Note that Microsoft has removed the title Windows Live Office, which was used from the start to refer the online office, and now is using SkyDrive (that formerly was used to refer only the file storage).


2012. Insync (Dropbox for Google Docs) becomes Free


The popular online file storage service DropBox - is in danger. And this danger comes from Google Docs. The fact that before now DropBox had one great advantage over Google Docs - it could synchronize files between online account and several computers. Now this opportunity has become available for the users of Google Docs / Google Apps, and for free. Actually you need only to pay for disk space (over 1GB), but it's much cheaper in Google Docs than in DropBox. And all this - thanks to the startup InSync. It becomes free and not due to business problems, but right after almost $1 million funding. InSync runs almost invisible - you just create a folder on your PC or Mac and it syncs with Google Docs account (watch the video). Google Apps users can create shared folders for the entire company.


2011. Google Presentations adds real-time collaboration



Google continues to compete with Zoho and SlideRocket for being the online presentations champion. Today Google rolled out completely new Google Presentations editor. It adds more than 60 new features, but the main one - is the ability to collaborate on a presentation in real-time. Everything is very similar to collaborative tools in Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets that appeared last year: in the right pane you can see who is currently working on the presentation, chat with them. And in the presentation view, you can see what objects the collaborators are currently editing (these object are highlighted with the corresponding colors). And with the help of Google+ Hangouts you can even video chat with colleagues while co-creating the presentation. In addition to collaborative tools, the new version features lots of new effects for decorating presentations: slide transitions, animations, the ability to draw figures and charts in presentations, links between slides. The new impressive editor is fully built on HTML / Ajax, but the viewer is still working on flash. And at the same time (while Google was rolling out the new presentations editor), Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco) said: "When it comes to applications in the cloud, most of the time we’re winning, winning, winning, winning at the expense of Google"


2011. Google Hangouts turned into full-featured web-conferencing tool



Lebanese developer's hack, which allowed text collaboration in Google+ Hangouts didn't remain a hack so long. Today's Google+ update has added much more new features to Hangouts. First, it's an opportunity to share your screen (Screen-sharing). Second, is the ability to collaboratively draw on a whiteboard. Third, is the ability to collaboratively edit Google Docs documents. Fourth, is the ability to create broadcasts for the unlimited number of viewers (the number of active participants is limited to 10). Fifth, Google Hangouts videochat now works on Android-smartphones. And finally, sixth, Google has opened the official API for Hangouts, so you don't need to hack it, as the Lebanese programmer in order to create your own application for Hangouts. By the way, the social network Google + is now open to all. Is your company ready for this?


2011. Google restores offline access to GMail, Calendar and Docs in Google Chrome



As you know, earlier GMail, Google Calendar and Google Docs supported offline mode in all browsers using Google Gears plug-in. But then Google decided to bet on HTML5 and abandoned its own proprietary plug-in. The Gears was quickly removed from the Chrome browser (in Firefox and IE it still works). And today Google developers were happy to announce that the offline mode for these apps in Chrome is back and it is implemented on HTML5. However, for an average user it will look no better than it was before: for offline access you still need to install an app (from the Chrome Web Store). In addition, the interface of the offline app is different from the usual web-based GMail interface. It looks lie GMail for iPad. Offline GMail app is already available. After installation it downloads your latest messages (about one week). You can't set the different period for now. Then messages will be synced between your computer and GMail server in the background and when the connection is lost, you can click on the GMail Offline icon and continue working with your inbox (search, read and write new messages.) Offline apps for Google Calendar and Google Docs will be available in a week. Offline calendar will allow to view events and RSVP to appointments. In Offline Docs you will be able to view documents and spreadsheets, the offline editing is not ready yet. In general, this is remarkable news only for Chromebook users, that still had no opportunity to work with these applications offline.


2011. Google Docs allows to preview archived docs



Perhaps this news won't make most readers very happy, but for editors of informational portals - it's a real holiday. Because every day they receive a lot of Emails with news from different vendors. And there are some PR-specialists, that not only sending news as attached word documents, but also pack them in archives. Reading these news is a pain. Now it will be much easier because Google Docs has added the opportunity to view archived documents without unpacking them. GMail users can open these archives directly from the email. Both Rar and Zip formats are supported.


2011. GMail gets instant search



Quite a strange idea - to make a search plug-in for GMail and Google Apps - i.e. the services of the Search Giant. Nevertheless, the startup CloudMagic had enough courage to make it. And they've created really useful thing. Most people would say that the search in GMail - is great enough, and even if this CloudMagic gives search-as-you-type results - it's not the reason to pay attention to it. But the search speed - is not the greatest feature of CloudMagic. First, it shows search results in a popup widget - on top of the main GMail interface. So if you writing an email and need to find some information in the previous messages or docs - you don't need to save the email to drafts, open the search page, then view the search results one by one, copy something and go back to the email. Now you can (without closing the message) quickly find and copy what you need in the popup widget. Second, unlike the native GMail search, CloudMagic can search in several Google accounts at once. For example, in your individual GMail account and your work Google Apps account. And it's no need to switch between them. In the settings you just enter your accounts, which should be indexed. And third, CloudMagic stores its search index on your computer, so you can search your Google Apps even offline! This is quite an easy way to backup your data stored in Google Apps for the case when you don't have an internet connection. Currently CloudMagic can search in GMail, Google Docs and Google Contacts. But the plans of this startup are much more ambitious. They want to make a universal search engine for all popular online services, including Hotmail, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, etc. Nevertheless, CloudMagic - is still a plugin. And it needs to be installed. For now it supports only Firefox and Chrome.


2011. Google Docs gets Comments 2.0



"Great documents come from great discussions" - this idea inspired Google developers and they have created the new cool commenting system. At the moment it's available in Google Docs, but we hope that soon it will appear also in other Google services (Sites, Groups, Reader, Buzz ...). We can't say that it is something revolutionary but the developers took the best from Facebook, Twitter, somewhere else and created quite nice and convenient commenting system. First of all, it can be used as a context chat - in the right column near the document. Comments appear in real time and can be used to communicate with colleagues while editing the document. But there is a problem with such a sidebar chat: the discussion can walk away from work or go the wrong way. In result, the entire right column is filled with usless information and the right discussion thread is lost. To solve this problem in the new Google-comments you can hide (resolve) the discussions that are no longer needed. Thus, in the sidebar users will see only useful and relevant messages. (The hidden branches can be displayed again in the full discussion view) The full discussion view is like Facebook. It's a tree view, but with only one sub-level. And if you want to reply to someone in a branch you can use @tags like in Twitter. When you mention @user in a message he will receive a notification email. And he can reply directly via email - the comment will appear automatically in the discussion.


2011. Google Cloud Connect is available for all


Google Cloud Connect - the plug-in that allows to collaborate on a document in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, synchronizing changes via Google Docs, is now available to all comers. Recall, it appeared in November last year, but until now was available only in paid Google Apps accounts. Google Cloud Connect, of course, is free, because its main goal - is enticing users away from MS Office to Google Docs. But it allows to move in the opposite direction - to edit your documents stored in Google Docs using the MS Office editors. The video above shows how the plug-in works. Our review of the Google Cloud Connect - is here.


2011. Google Docs gets new interface and new competitor - LotusLive Symphony



Unlike the Google Wave team, nobody disturbs Google Docs developers, so they continue to add useful and not useful features to the suite. This time they changed the Google Docs interface in order to help users more easily manage lists of documents. They added a right pane with preview of the selected document and relevant information about it: history, versions and users who have access to it. The new Google Docs homepage now shows the most frequently used documents (an extension of the GMail Priority Inbox idea). The list of documents can be filtered by file type or you can show only images / videos (they are be displayed as thumbnails). For images the new slideshow-viewer has been added: The most interesting new feature - Collections. Google has found a new way to decide the eternal dispute between fans of folders and tags - invented a new concept - "collections." Google Docs developers say that these collections combine the advantages of tags and folders. You can add a document to different collections and store collections hierarchically, just like folders ... So, instead of clear-for-all folders they have introduced absolutely unclear collections. After the reasonable initiative to bring Google Docs to familiar MS Office interface, this step looks very strange. Here is the old interface with folders: While Google experimenting with the Docs interface, IBM has also decided to enter the online office market. The company has introduced the online version of its office suite Lotus Symphony, that will join the SaaS collaboration portal LotusLive. LotusLive Symphony will include word processor, spreadsheets, presentations, and provide real-time document collaboration features. It is expected that the service will become available in the second half of 2011. So, very soon, enterprises will have a wide choice of online office suites: - Google Docs - Zoho Docs - Microsoft Office Web Apps - Oracle Cloud Office - LotusLive Symphony


2011. Google Docs gets video player



Online video is becoming the main format for training, promotional materials, as well as for the social content, important for team-building (e.g. corporate party videos). That is why providing shared access to video content in the intranet is an important task. Previously, only paid Google Apps users could use the service Google Video as an intranet video gallery. From now all Google Apps and Google Docs users will be able to share video in the intranet, because Google Docs gets youtube-like embedded video player. As you know, since the previous year it's possible to upload any file type (including video clips) to Google Docs. So now, these videos can be also viewed online instead of downloading and viewing on the desktop. The list of supported file formats can be found here. The max video file size is 1GB - the same as max storage limit in free Google Docs account. Probably, Google hopes that with this new tool users will much quicker reach the free storage limit and move to the paid accounts.


2010. Google gets inside MS Office



Google continues to use the fact that the main competitor of the new MS Office 2010 is not Google Docs but Office 2007/2003. "Why should I pay some hundreds of dollars for the new Office 2010?" - user thinking. "First, it has more beautiful buttons. Second, you can sync with online Office Web Apps" - says Microsoft. "Hey, you don't need to update! " - Google enters the conversation - "Now you can sync between Office 2003/2007 and Google Docs in real time." Today Google has introduced Cloud Connect - the plug-in that allows to open documents, spreadsheets and presentations from Google Docs in MS Office applications, edit them and save back. Moreover, multiple people can edit the same document simultaneously and Google will keep track of the versions and conflict resolution. Cloud Connect is a remake of DocVerse that was bought by Google in March this year. DocVerse was originally designed for collaborative editing in MS Office and used Google Docs account as a synchronization point. Google added to it the ability to edit documents in Google Docs. This means that several people can collaborate on a document either in desktop Office, or in browser, or on a mobile device (Android, iPhone, Windows Phone). At the moment, Cloud Connect is available only to paid Google Apps users, but soon will be available for all and for free. And it is not surprising, because it's the best weapon for Google in the fight against MS Office. Cloud Connect duplicates the functionality of another well-known plug-in OffiSync (which costs $ 30). Apparently, the OffiSync business has come to the end.


2010. Edit your Google Docs on the go



Google continues to prove all that mobile web-applications can work as good as mobile native apps. After the great mobile web-version of GMail, the company has updated the mobile web-version of Google Docs and added the ability to edit documents on the go. Previously it was possible only view docs on mobile devices and only a few mobile browsers allowed basic editing of Google Spreadsheets. From now you can create and edit spreadsheets and text documents on iPhone/iPad (version 3.0+) and Android (2.2+). And Android users can even enter text by voice (English only). The text input in the mobile version also supports English only. Other languages will be added later. Interesting that the mobile editing comes to Google Docs shortly after the release of Windows Phone 7, which supports editing of doc, xls, ppt  documents. And, unlike Google Docs, on Windows Phone you can work with documents offline. However, the advantage of Google Docs - as usual - is collaboration. The changes added from the mobile device almost in real time become visible to other users working with the same document.


2010. New interactive charts in Google Docs

Google has demonstrated one more time that web applications can have as rich interface as desktop apps. The new chart editor in Google Docs (more precisely, in Google Spreadsheets) surpassed not only the similar tool in Zoho Sheet and Excel Web App, but also in the desktop editor Excel 2010. First, there is a new scalable timeline (like in Google Finance) which allows to zoom a certain time period on the chart. Second, now it's possible to create dynamic charts in the player (with the Play button and the slider), which allows to monitor chart changes over time. These interactive charts can be inserted on public sites and visitors can play with them rather than look at a static images. Of course, the data in the published chart is automatically updated when you change the values in the original spreadsheet.


2010. Online Office Search: Google vs Zoho



At last Google (aka Search giant) has decided to make the search in Google Apps more convenient. We can't say that until now it was bad, but if you wanted to find an email - you had to open GMail, if you wanted to find a document - you opened Google Docs, etc. Thus, to get a full view about any client or task you had to collect data from various sources. Now GMail has added a new feature called Google Apps Search that allows to the search for documents from Google Docs and pages from Google Sites right inside your inbox (you can activate this feature in the GMail Labs). Unfortunately, this search does not include results from Google Calendar and Google Notebook. Unlike Google, Zoho was more fundamental in online office search. Early this summer it released Zoho Search, which is a separate service (like google.com) that can search in all major Zoho apps. As you can see, Zoho prefers to create new services, and Google is positioning GMail, as the primary user interface for all Google Apps applications.


2010. Google develops a new office document format?



Nothing can be hidden from inquisitive blogger eyes. In the Google Docs tutorial video, that Google employee published on YouTube, the new item in the "Create document" menu has been noticed. The new format is called Punch. One meaning of this word is a drink produced by mixing strong liquor or wine, fruit juice and spices. Thus, we can assume that the new format allows to create mixed documents which combine text, spreadsheets, forms and media content. Obviously, these documents are designed primarily for real-time collaboration, rather than for publishing or sending by email.


2010. Google Docs gets OCR and Google Chrome - PDF reader



Google adds new office tools for working with documents. First is text recognition (OCR) in Google Docs - it can recognize text on images and PDF-files. Besides English, it supports French, Italian, German, Spanish. Second is the plug-in for viewing PDF files in the Google Chrome browser (you can add it on the page chrome: / / plugins). Thus, Google consistently continues its friendship with Adobe (after adding the default Flash support in Chrome).


2010. GDrive is now a reality



We all remember the saga of GDrive - a mythical online file storage, which Google (as was supposed) developed within 2 years, and then it just added the opportunity to upload any files to Google Docs. Along with this opportunity, Memeo Connect (the service for syncing Google Docs with a local folder) appeared. It seemed that the dream about GDrive had come true. But sometimes details decide everything. Until now, to download a file to Google-account with Memeo Connect or to open file from there it was necessary to launch Memeo Connect software. Because of this little issue many Google users switched to DropBox. But today Memeo Connect has released version 2.0 and its main feature is GDrive - the local drive, which exists on your computer and works like any other local drive. You can copy / drag files (or folders) to it, save files to it from any application and open files from this drive. And all changes are automatically synced with your Google Docs account. This feature is available for Windows and Mac. In addition, the Memeo Connect desktop client now can perform the full-text search in the online account (regardless of whether the documents are created in Google Docs or MS Office).


2010. QuickOffice and Documents To Go allow to edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the iPad



When the iPad appeared earlier this early, one of the major problems the business users faced was that the tablet didn't allowed to work normally with office documents - Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The Apple's own mobile office suite iWork only allows to view MS Office documents on the iPad and doesn't allow to edit them. But now this drawback is fixed. The most popular mobile office suites QuickOffice and Documents To Go almost simultaneously launched the versions for the iPad. Both solutions are paid: Documents To Go costs $10 for the standard version and $15 - for the premium (it includes additional cloud file storage) and Quickoffice - $10. Both packages allow basic editing of Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on the tablet. QuickOffice doesn't provide the cloud-sync option, but it works more stable.


2010. QuickOffice for Android launches



Finally, the most popular mobile office suite QuickOffice launches for the Android platform. So far it worked on iPhone, Symbian, Palm and Blackberry. The trial-version of the Quickoffice for Android enables to view documents in the formats of MS Office 97-2008 (DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX) and the paid version (which costs $14) allows to edit them with basic tools. There's even a decent PDF viewer in it. QuickOffice for Android can connect to online file storage services: Dropbox, Google Docs, Box.net and MobileMe, so you can save files to the cloud. The owners of Android 2.0 and 2.1 devices can also use the multi-touch document zoom.


2010. OffiSync adds almost-real-time collaborative editing between MS Office and Google Docs



OffiSync - is a plug-in for MS Office editors, which allows you to save Office documents in your Google Docs account, and open them from it. I.e. the idea of the service - to combine the advanced functionality to MS Office with collaboration features in Google Docs. Since our last review, OffiSync added integration with Google Sites (i.e. documents from MS Office can be saved as attachments to a selected pages in Google Sites and opened from there). And yesterday the most interesting feature was unveiled - the ability to simultaneously edit document, while working in any version of MS Office (2003, 2007, 2010) or online Google Docs editor. Of course, it's not so cool, like in the new version of Google Docs, but it unites the users of both solutions. It works this way: say, two users open the same document from Google Docs (or Google Sites) in their MS Office editors. When one user changes something and presses the Save button, the second one receives notification about the changes in the document. He can preview the new version of the document, and if everything is ok - update his local version. This collaborative feature is only available in the paid OffiSync version, which costs $30.


2010. Harmony - a lot of pleasure for Outlook and Google Docs users



Harmony, the new plug-in for MS Outlook by Mainsoft gave us a lot of positive emotions, which we want to share. First, is its video presentation, which is really cool. Secondly, Harmony - is really useful tool that allows to access and collaborate with documents stored in Google Docs or MS Sharepoint, without leaving MS Outlook. In particular, you can open and edit office documents directly in Outlook, search in docs content and share documents with co-workers instead of sending them back and forth. And it's not necessary that your co-workers have this plug-in installed and have Google Docs account - they just click the link in the email and the document will be shared to them automatically (for viewing or editing). Besides, the plug-in is absolutely free and the Mainsoft CEO, Yaacov Cohen, sais that it will remain free forever. The future versions that will include functionality that IT departments want (granular control, permissioning, central admin etc) will potentially be paid. But it seems the company has a good chance to sell the startup to Microsoft or Google.


2009. Google acquires DocVerse for MS Office integration



Just after EtherPad acquisition, Google buys another startup that works with office documents - DocVerse. This is a plug-in for MS Office applications, that allows to collaboratively edit documents in real time. DocVerse was created by former Microsoft employees. Whether users are working on a document online or offline, DocVerse will track, manages and sync all changes to merge them into one updated version of the document. You can communicate with other users via an IM feature within the plug-in as well. Why Google may need DocVerse? First reason - is to enable full compatibility with MS Office formats for Google Docs, and maybe even to add an option to collaboratively edit documents in Google Docs and MS Office. Second reason - is to use DocVerse technologies to build a desktop client for Google Wave. The purchase price is supposed to be around $25 million.


2006. Google Spreadsheets Goes Live



Google just posted a tour of Google Spreadsheets, their new Excel rival. They’re also inviting users to test the service on a first-come-first-served basis. It looks blissfully simple, and includes live chat, multi-user editing and import/export functionality. In short: an impressive product. This is probably a mixed blessing for the online spreadsheet startups - while no-one wants to compete with Google, this move will likely lead to some acquisitions. Among the contenders: Numbler, JotSpot Tracker, NumSum, DabbleDB, TracksLife, ZohoSheet, EditGrid, WikiCalc and iRows. JotSpot is the hot-ticket here - between (unfounded?) acquisition rumors and a partnership with Salesforce, they’re getting a lot of ink.