Google is trying to make its Docs messaging and collaboration tools more suitable for today's office workers, many of whom grew up working with Microsoft Office or IBM Lotus applications, which reside on users' computers. However, Google is temporarily removing its Google Gears offline support for Docs beginning May 3. The idea is to improve Google's offline functionality with more modern, HTML5-based Web browser technologies.
engine and leaning heavily on HTML5 to improve and speed up the document,
drawing and spreadsheet editors in Docs.
The company, which unveiled the upgrades at the
company's Atmosphere cloud computing event at its Mountain View, Calif.,
headquarters April 12, is trying to make Docs more suitable for today's office
workers, many of whom grew up working with Microsoft Office or IBM Lotus applications, which reside on users' computers.
Google aims to provide team collaboration where knowledge
workers can effortlessly exchange word processing, spreadsheet and presentation
documents whether they were created in the cloud in Google Docs, or Office or Lotus Notes.
Today's knowledge workers create documents and print out
or e-mail them to co-workers to edit. These colleagues then e-mail them back to
the document creator, who adds more changes, Anil Sabharwal, the enterprise product
manager for Google Docs, told eWEEK.
This back-and-forth approach, popularized
by Microsoft Office, is cumbersome and inefficient in an era where the real-time Web quickly recognizes and renders revisions.
While Google Docs has leveraged HTML to play well with
Web browsers, not all of the features Google's customers wanted could be
satisfied by the current HTLM5 specification.
To enable such functionality as
floating images, which lets users move an image around in a document and have
the text wrap around it without corrupting the document's fidelity, Google
In addition to floating images, the new engine fuels real-time
editing by as many as 50 simultaneous users in each drawing, spreadsheet and
presentation document. Previously, changes users made to Docs sat in a queue
waiting to be added.