Google has announced that it will help augment the productivity potential of smartphones with the Google Docs for Android app. This free application provides some of the base document creation and editing functions of normal Google Docs, and includes some unique, entirely new features.
This software lets users filter and search through any of their Google accounts’ documents, open and view these files, and edit them with nearly instant updates to collaborators. A homescreen widget gives users quick access to many of these features as well.
Document creation, editing and live updating are all functions one can find in the classic Google Docs. Google has, however, included two distinctive features in the stand-alone Android version of the app.
The first update to mobile Google Docs is the ability to use a phone’s contact list to send and share documents. This can be done in app, adding convenience and expedience to document sharing for smartphone users.
The second update makes use of Google’s optical character recognition software and the ubiquity of relatively high quality cameras on smartphones. Combining these software and hardware elements, Google Docs for Android allows users to take a photo of printed text and immediately convert it into a Google Doc. As of right now this feature cannot process handwriting or certain fonts, but Google says that it is improving the technology.
Availability and Reception
Google Docs is available in the Android Market at no charge. There has been an uneven initial reception with some users having no difficulty at all while others find the app buggy or lacking in features. The biggest complaint has been that there’s no way to delete files from the app. This will most likely be added as Google releases updates and improvements.