Google Docs for Android gets native editing, collaboration tools


Google has released a major update to Google Docs for Android, bringing the ability to create and edit documents using a new native Android editor, support for rich text formatting, and real-time collaboration, allowing you to see edits other users have made to a document almost immediately.

Google Docs editing

That’s the good news. The less good news is that:

  1. The native editor only works with documents, not spreadsheets or presentations.
  2. The native editor supports basic formatting such as bullet points and indentation, but not more complex features such as charts.
  3. You still need an internet connection to create or edit documents. Even if you’ve saved a document to your device for offline viewing you can’t edit it until you connect to the internet.

In fact, I started to create one document, lost my internet connection, and was unable to even save that document without internet access. If I wanted to return to the previous menu, I had to agree to abandon all changes.

On the one hand, today’s update is probably the most impressive improvement Google has made to the Android version of Google Docs.

On the other hand, there are half a dozen apps in the Android Market which offer more features for creating and editing office documents… although Google Docs is free while apps such as DocumentsToGo, Quickoffice Pro, and Office Suite Pro tend to cost between $10 and $15.

Google Docs is available from the Android Market.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since 2006. Brad has also worked with NPR, WHYY, PRI, and AOL.

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