Google augments its Google Docs suite, adding shared folders, batch file uploads and more than 50 other new features to make it more valuable for knowledge worker collaboration. The latest upgrades are the culmination of work Google has been doing for the last several months to position Docs less as a productivity suite targeted at taking down Microsoft Office's Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps, and more as the team collaboration application for Google Apps. Google expects that Google Wave will eventually let users pull all of their content from Google Apps into Wave, and possibly vice versa.
Oct. 12 revamped its Google Docs word processing, spreadsheet and presentation
trio, refreshing Docs' appearance and adding shared folders, batch file uploads
and more than 50 other new features to make it more valuable for knowledge
In Docs, colors have been changed and buttons have been moved. The new
"Folders" dialog lets users control which folders an item is in. When
users have a folder open, they can access the "Move to" dialog to
move files to other folders.
Sharing folders brings the notion of shared files to another level. While
users have always been able to share files in Docs, they may now share whole
folders of files, a valuable proposition for workers collaborating on a
The new Docs upload page also lets users select multiple files and upload
them at the same time. Docs users who pump dozens of files into the application
are likely clapping aloud over this feature, a departure from the former
one-file-at-a-time approach. Uploading single files is fine for the casual
user, but not for power users accustomed to shuttling a lot of content to and
from different repositories.
See instructions on how to use these features, as well as screenshots, on Google Watch here.
The Docs update also includes the ability to insert
drawings in any document,
spreadsheet or presentation, including snap-to
guides, polylines and multiple lines.
The latest upgrades to Google Docs are the culmination of work Google has
been doing for the last several months. Rishi Chandra, senior product manager
for collaboration at Google Apps, foreshadowed these capabilities in an interview
Chandra said Google's goal is to position Docs less as a productivity suite
targeted at taking down Microsoft Office's Word, Excel and PowerPoint
applications, and more as the team collaboration application for Google Apps.
More users are interested in co-authoring documents and creating multiple
versions that update on the fly, and then sharing those files with colleagues
in the cloud, Chandra said.
Google is also trying to build better bridges between Office and Apps.
Chandra said Google wants to make sure that Apps users are able not only to pull
any document created in Office into Docs and Sites, but also to push those
documents from Apps back to Office without losing formatting fidelity.
Of course, Docs is hardly the only collaboration play Google had going for
it. To address the real-time collaboration craze
currently gripping the
high-tech world, Google is gradually inviting users to test Google Wave,
which provides e-mail,
instant messaging, file-sharing and social computing features from one
Google expects that Wave will eventually let users pull all of their content
from Apps into Wave, and possibly vice versa. In the meantime, users have to
get the hang of Wave, which is causing some headaches,
even among the high-tech digerati. Wave
requires an adjustment period and can be distracting.