Google Docs for Android started off as a rather unimpressive app, with severely limited functionality and no support for offline file editing. But lately, Google has begun to pay more attention to the productivity app, adding the most commonly requested feature, offline editing, last month. And now Google Docs for Android gets another important update.
The “killer feature” of the new version is the collaborative editing capability, which was previously available only in the Web version. With the new and improved Google Docs app, you will be able to work on a document or spreadsheet together with a colleague (or more), and see the updates in real time, just like you can on a computer.
For me, the live collaborative editing is one of the best things about Google Docs, giving a serious productivity boost to online workers. But the new update comes with other tricks besides the new live editing feature. You get a new set of rich text formatting tools (bullets, italics, underline, etc.), new layout tools (bulleted lists, indentation), and even a smarter, persistent cursor.
The interface of the new Google Docs for Android has received a nice face-lift, as well. You can now zoom in to see a paragraph and you get a better view of the docs you’re working on, thanks to the improved resolution.
Here’s a video showing off the new app, courtesy of Google:
For road warriors and remote teams, the update is a welcome, even if late, improvement. The new app is miles ahead of the glorified online notepad that was the first Docs for Android. And, using a Galaxy Note or other device rich in screen real-estate, it will be easier than ever to work efficiently on the go.
We wrote a while ago about the slow pace at which Google improves its Docs product, including the Android version. This sluggishness may be due to the fact that Docs is more of an afterthought for Google, when compared to the Search or Mobile divisions.
However, it seems that Google is picking up the pace, with two major updates in less than a month. If this trend continues, Google Docs for Android may become a compelling challenger to any Office-like app, including the Microsoft Office app that is rumored to hit Android and the iPad sometime soon.