Google overhauls cloud-based Docs

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

Forget Microsoft Office and its bloated, creeping feature syndrome!

Yes, Google has (finally) given its cloud-based Docs platform more of a true "desktop" feel, with new features that include a margin ruler, improved numbering and bullets.

The Mountain View-based company also upgraded its spreadsheet interface with a formula editing bar, cell auto-complete and drag-and-drop columns.

"We've responded to many of your requests for features you're used to in desktop software. [So], we've made big improvements to our document upload feature so moving files from your computer to the cloud is easier now," President of Google Enterprise Dave Girouard wrote in an official blog post.

"Imported documents retain their original structure more accurately, so you can hit the ground running editing in the browser without having to fix formatting like bullets and text alignment."


According to Girouard, "new browser technologies" -  such as faster JavaScript processing - have made it possible for developers to significantly "speed up" Google Docs.

"Even very large spreadsheets are fast to work with in your browser now. Applications that run this fast feel like desktop applications but have the unique advantages of being in the cloud.

"[In addition,] we've extended Google Docs' collaboration capabilities, with support for up to 50 people working together at once, and in documents, you can now see other people's edits as they happen character-by-character. And now you can also collaborate on flow charts, diagrams and other schematics in real time with a new editor for drawings on Docs."