Google Docs Gets Better Sharing Features, Cleaner UI

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-06-18 Print this article Print

Google already conducted a major overhaul of Google Docs this year, rewriting the Docs code with a new JavaScript layout engine to improve and accelerate the document, drawing and spreadsheet editors in Docs.

Google June 17 Docs' sharing functionality, which in this day and age of social software has become table stakes for today's collaboration applications.

Docs users could always share documents with colleagues and groups, but now documents, spreadsheets and presentations can now be labeled as "Private," "Anyone with a link" or "Public on the Web."

Docs share 1.png

Private means private. No one but you can see it.

Google software engineer Vicki Chou noted that for those who set their document to "Anyone with the link" the document operates like an unlisted phone number.

"In the same way that anyone who knows an unlisted phone number can call it, anyone who knows the Web address or URL of that doc can view it."

Editors can reset the doc's URL at anytime, which helps them better control who has access to a doc.

Public on the Web, obviously, makes the document accessible to anyone who stumbles upon it, even through Google's search engine in some instances.

Docs still start out as private by default, but in the next week users will see the new visibility options in a link next to the title of every doc.

Users can then click this link or the "Share" button to go straight to the new interface to see who has access to what docs.

Check out this demo video to see the changes here:

Google Docs is already easy to use, but anything that makes it more efficient and utilities more visible is welcome.

Google Apps, and Docs in particular has taken a bit of a beating of late in the wake of Serena Software's publicized dumping of Google Apps for Microsoft.

A Forrester report noting that Google Docs penetration overall, let alone in the enterprise is quite low didn't help either.

On the other side of the coin, Google is signing up a lot of customers for Google Apps, which includes Docs. Konica Minolta, and others are on board. So there are some Docs fans. Just not as much as Google would like.

The new sharing features are designed to change that for consumers and enterprise users alike. |

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