Google Docs for Android Gets Native Editing

Google has boosted Docs for Android with native editing and real-time collaboration functionality. The company also improved presentations in Google Apps.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Docs for Android received some much-longed-for features Feb. 22, including native editing and real-time collaboration capabilities.

Prior to this upgrade, available now in the Android Market for Android 2.1 devices and up, the native Docs for Android app was a read-only program.

Users who wanted to edit their documents had to do so in their Android handset or tablet browsers. Naturally, the lack of editing capability in the native app, which is faster than the Web app, was a glaring hole.

As for real-time collaboration, Google leveraged the edit-as-you-type functionality that existed in the now-defunct Google Wave platform.

That is, users of Android handsets, tablets or computers can see their collaborators' cursors typing in a document, whereas previously this feature was only available in desktop editing. Users can simply tap a button to join in the editing.

Google also added formatting for rich text, which will lets users create bullet lists on the fly and bring boldface type or color to documents.

Mobile document editing may not seem like a big component of Google Docs today. But it will become more important as the world moves increasingly to mobile applications, particularly those based in the cloud. Google also made Docs for Android available offline earlier this month.

In addition, Google fine-tuned its editor for new presentations in Google Docs, adding the discussion feature Google made available for documents.

The discussions feature will let users comment on slides, and send email notifications when someone is added to a comment thread. Presentation proprietors may also give other users the ability to comment on€”but not edit€”a presentation.

Google also noted that users who want to convert existing presentations to the new version of the editor can create a new presentation and import their slides by selecting "import slides" from the "file" menu.

The changes to the presentations editor come months after Google added real-time collaboration to presentations, and added simple fades, 3D effects, animations, drawings and new themes to spruce up the application's visual appeal.