Google has announced a major overhaul to Google Docs.
Some Docs products have been tweaked, some have been completely redone, and a few new ones have been added.
Here’s what you need to know:
- The word processor is a completely new tool. Some basic functions like exporting to other formats and dealing with tabs and margins received a badly needed update. The new editor also includes a sidebar for commenting on a document and responding to the comments of collaborators. For now, it exists in parallel with the old product; you can’t open existing documents with the new tool, but you can opt to use it for creating new ones in settings.
- Spreadsheets also received a fairly major upgrade. Google claims speed and performance should be greatly improved, and some core Excel features, like a formula bar for cell editing, have been added.
- All Google Docs products now support live collaboration between multiple editors. In both the old and new word processors, for example, multiple users can edit a single document at the same time; the changes sync up every few seconds when the document autosaves.
- There is a new Docs tool for creating simple pictures, akin to Microsoft Paint.
- None of the new tools are compatible with Gears, Google’s offline version of Docs.
Across the board, there is a lot of emphasis on collaboration in these updates. A lot of this actually looks just like Google Wave. Obviously, the world has yet to get as excited about Wave as Google hoped. Now, everyone who shares Google Docs is using Google’s real time collaboration whether they like it or not.
Check out Google’s demo of the new features:
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