While it has been a fairly quiet summer for Google Apps, the search engine giant's enterprise team is intent on reaching a broader audience with the suite's Docs and Sites collaboration tools, a Google product manager told eWEEK.
Google on Aug. 27 added the ability to translate documents in the Google Docs program into 42 languages with a few clicks of the mouse button. To translate, go to tools in Google Docs, select "translate document" and pick a language you want to use to convert the document.
The translation capabilities, culled from the Google Translate machine translation software engine, take on a new dimension when users leverage it within the Docs template gallery.
Anyone in a Google Apps domain can make a template and put it in their organization's gallery. Colleagues from different companies will be able to grab a copy of the template and localize it into the language with which they're most comfortable. Read more about this feature here on TechMeme.
The feature is just the latest in what will be a flurry of announcements from the Google Apps team surrounding Google Docs in the coming months, according Rishi Chandra, senior product manager for collaboration at Google Apps.
Google, which has been revving new Docs features almost every two weeks, continues to position Docs more and more as a team collaboration application and an alternative to Microsoft Office, which is focused on individual productivity. So, what's changed about Google's competitive differentiation between Docs and Office? Perhaps nothing, but Chandra said more users are interested in co-authoring documents and creating multiple versions that update on the fly.
To meet this shift, Chandra told eWEEK in an interview Aug. 26 that Google is working hard at pushing its Google Docs and Sites wiki applications to let users create and co-edit content, and then share it securely with colleagues.
But along with that, Google is also trying to build better bridges between Microsoft Office and Apps. Chandra said Google wants to make sure that Apps users can not only pull into Docs and Sites any document created in Office, but that they can also push those documents from Apps back to Office, all without losing formatting fidelity.
While Google believes it has made tremendous strides in this area in the last six months, Chandra said, "You'll see more and more of that over the next six months."
Going forward, Chandra also said Google expects the emerging HTML 5 specification to have a major impact on what Google and others will be able to do with browser-based applications. Chandra declined to pinpoint specific ties between Google Apps and HTML 5, but pointed to Google Wave, which is based on HTML 5. Wave enables rich co-authoring and sharing of documents and other content, all in real time.