Google today made good on its July pledge to upgrade, overhaul and improve Google Docs. The result? A finer collaboration suite.
Users have always been able to share files created in Google Docs. After putting some of us on edge by taking away the "Shared with" feature this past summer, the Docs team redeemed itself today by adding an option to let you share folders.
The Docs team is highlighting this feature, easily the biggest improvement of the upgrade, which also includes a fresh look and the ability to upload multiple files.
If you go the Google Docs today, you'll see this prompt:
When you want to share files in a folder with someone else, select the "share this folder" link. Colleagues, friends and family added to a shared folder will be able to read the folder's content. Docs users will also be able to specify who may edit and read what folders.
The ability to share folders will help teams share batches of related, or at least relevant, documents with each other. This could be a great help for project management and other collaboration efforts.
Thanks to a volume of complaints upon its removal from Docs, the "Items not in folders" feature is back, listed under "More searches."
Basically, when you create an new item or an item is shared with you, it's stored in "Items not in folders." When you remove an item from all its folders, it will go back to "Items not in folders." Think of it as Docs' take on a draft folder.
However, Google has made a critical change to this feature, as Google Docs Product Manager Vijay Bangaru explained:
"If you share an item with me and I put it in a shared folder, it is still in your "Items not in folders" view. The reason is that I shouldn't be able to change your workflow. As a result, you'll occasionally see an item with a folder tag in your "Items not in folders" view. This is an item that someone else put in a shared folder, but you've never put in a folder."
There are many, many more changes to Docs, and I encourage you to view the complete list of improvements to Docs here because there are too many to call out.
However, one last major one bears mention. Instead of picking one file at a time, the new Docs upload page lets users select multiple files and upload them at the same time.
To use this tool, click the upload file on the Docs list home page, click Select files to upload files. When the browse dialog is open, press Shift and click the files you want to upload, or click the "select more files" link that appears after you upload the first file. Click "Start upload" and see the files upload like this:
I'm still playing with the new features -- there seem to be about 60 -- and may have more to say later. So far, so good.