Google has introduced an Android app that will let users access and edit documents stored in Google Docs.The app — which is not available on any other platform — could help Google leverage Android’s popularity to sell its online services to businesses. Earlier this month, Google added several other services that connect the platforms, including an Android contacts lookup app that works with Gmail.
It also shows how Google is hedging its bets when it comes to the “native vs. Web” debate for mobile apps. Previously, the only way to edit Google Docs (and spreadsheets) was through a mobile browser-based interface. But native apps tend to offer a better experience for users, and a lot of new companies building mobile services are focusing on native apps first.
The new app lets you search for documents across multiple Google accounts or open them directly from Gmail, then edit them right on the screen and share them with other Google contacts.
However, editing only works with Google Docs-formatted files. Users can view Office documents and PDF files by uploading them to Google Docs first — but won’t be able to edit them unless they convert them.
The app also lets you take pictures of text and automatically convert them into a Google document using optical-character recognition.
More info about the app, including a QR code that lets you download it directly to your Android phone, is available on Google’s enterprise blog.
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