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.
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.