Google Docs Gets Better Search, File Export Utilities

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-12-10 Print this article Print

It must be all of the tough competition from Zoho, Microsoft's increasing cloud offerings and other collaboration startups.

Google continues to refine and crank out new features for Google Docs, which it admitted earlier in 2009 had been getting dusty.

Docs no longer has time to get dusty without something new happening. This week, the Docs team made several improvements around search relevance, exporting data and sharing content.

But first, some housekeeping in the form of taking out the trash. Google removed the "e-mail-in" feature because it's buggy and only supports a small subset of document types compared with the Docs list.

Google will fix it and bring it back bigger and better, Google Docs Product Manager Vijay Bangaru said. Until then, use the multifile upload in the Docs list or the GData API to upload docs.

Now for the improvements. Google has added relevance ranking in Docs list search results. Until this week, searching for a document yielded results sorted by "last modified date."

But now search results will display the items most relevant to a user's search at the top of the list. This is a nice efficiency touch that should save Docs users some time.

Docs search also now includes automatic stemming and synonyms, helping users disambiguate between search terms like "Apple" the company or "apple" the fruit.

Google also added a new menu on the right of the tool bar, to let users decide whether they want to sort Docs list by "Relevance," "Starred" or "Last Modified":

Docs 1.png

Google has also fortified batch file export. In October, the company started allowing users to export multiple Google Docs at the same time.

But now users can export all their docs with one click. This "Export all" option is good for 2GB, or the equivalent of almost 100,000 Google Docs, Bangaru said.

Docs 2.png

Users can also now export and e-mail one file in a single step. Select an item, click "Share" and select "Email as attachment." Pick the format, write the e-mail and hit send.

Sharing Google Docs with contacts will now yield more colorful e-mails. Old:

Docs 6.png

The new e-mails showcase your custom message:

Docs 4.png

Users can click the header instead of hunting for links, or pick from a list if multiple docs are shared. Document types are also now coded by color and icon.

It's good to see Docs getting refreshed and made more current. It had looked so Web 1.5 for too long. |

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