Google Nov. 17 filled a quirky hole in Google Apps, enabling editing of Google Docs from Apple iOS and Google Android devices.
To this point, users have been able to view documents, presentations and drawings from the mobile Web browsers on their smartphones. However, they haven’t been able to edit documents, even after Google significantly overhauled its Docs editors last April.
This means that people had to finish documents they were working on from the desktop, or pick up where they left off later.
Now users of Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and Google Android 2.2 handsets and tablet computers can pick up where they left off editing documents on the desktop on the go instead of just reading them.
Google software engineer Andrew Grieve said users can work on a memo while on the bus or train to work, or work on a group proposal document while sitting at a baseball game. That may not sound like fun, but it is useful and efficient.
See the new Docs mobile editing in action in this video.
Interestingly, users have been able to view and edit Google Docs spreadsheets on Android, iOS, and Nokia S60 handsets since February 2009. It isn’t clear why these capabilities took so long for documents.
What is clear is that this will take on a new level of importance for users of tablet computers, which provide a large palette for people to create and consume content.
During Google’s Atmosphere cloud computing event April 12, Google CEO Eric Schmidt highlighted the importance for enterprises to consider mobile devices first when building their IT architectures.
“What’s really important right now is to get the mobile architecture right because mobility will ultimately be the way in which you provision most of your services,” said Schmidt.
Mobile editing of Google Docs documents will be rolling out to English language users in the next few days, with support for other languages coming later.
To edit docs in the mobile browser, users of Android 2.2 or Apple iOS devices with version 3.0 or later can navigate to docs.google.com in a browser, select the document to edit. While viewing it, users may press the Edit button to switch to the mobile editor.