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Google Doc on Android!

The Google Docs app for Android provides quick access to your documents and collections stored online with Google. Within the app you can view, create, edit, upload, and share files or take pictures with your Android device camera and directly import them.

Images uploaded from the gallery or camera can be scanned with optical character recognition to extract text and save it to a document. Users of Android Honeycomb can enjoy an optimized version of the app for larger screens.

The Interface

The interface of the Google Docs app is clean and straight forward and not too different from the web interface. A visual overview can be found under > Settings > Quick hints.

android google docs

When you click the little arrow button on the far right of a document, you can preview the respective document and view its details.

google docs for android

Clicking the button will open a little sidebar with document properties, including date last viewed, date last modified, owner, and a list of people who can edit the document. In this view you can also  add collaborators (people or groups), send or share the document, or rename the document. Via the settings button in the top right, you can open or delete the document.

If you want to send, rename, delete, or open a file with an alternative app, press it for a couple of seconds to trigger the menu shown in the screenshot below.

google docs for android

Creating Documents

The Google Doc apps supports creating new documents, spreadsheets, or documents from a photo or the gallery.

google docs on android

When you create a > Document from gallery or photo, the image you choose from the gallery or take with your device camera, can be uploaded as individual file, converted to a Google Docs document and embedded into a new document, or sent to web clipboard, so that you can paste it into a desired location.

google docs on android

When you choose the > Convert file go Google Docs document, the respective photo will be converted to text using optical character recognition (OCR). In theory, OCR is a fantastic feature, but in reality it doesn’t work very well, even with clearly printed text. However, if you experiment with the camera conditions (light, position, size of text), you might be able to get it to work for you. It also is rather unfortunate that the app can not display the source image, which is inserted on top of the recognized text, although it is very well able to display images.

google docs on android

Editing Documents

Editing documents within the app is possible, but it is fairly difficult. Edits can only be done line by line. Finding the right spot can be a bit of a challenge, typically resulting in short flickers of the document and a jumpy keyboard. Moreover, Google Docs does not allow you to zoom in, but forces you to work with the available text size. It must be said though that once the right line or paragraph has been highlighted, moving the cursor to a desired position works very well, unlike in some other apps.

Homescreen Widget

Google Docs comes with a simple homescreen widget. It unites four functions: opening Google Docs, viewing starred files, taking a photo and uploading it, and creating a new document.

In Honeycomb, you can add the widget by pressing an available spot on your homescreen for a few seconds or tapping the + icon in the top right, which opens the widgets gallery. The app is listed as Docs. You can drag and drop it to your desired homescreen.

android google docs

Verdict

The Google Docs app is great for accessing and reading your Google documents. However, I would not recommend to create and edit documents with it. Overall, I find the app very useful and hope that Google will continue to develop and improve it.

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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Product Reviews

 

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Google Overhauls Docs Presentations and in a better way…

Google has added more than 50 new features to Google Docs Presentations, closing the gap between the web app and existing software offerings from Microsoft (PowerPoint) and Apple (Keynote).

Among the new features added major ones are highlighted here…

Transitions: Create fading and “spicier 3D” transition effects between slides.
Animations: Add animation for emphasis (or playfulness).
Drawings: For building designs, layouts and flowcharts in a presentation.
Rich tables: Now with merged cells and further options for formatting data.
New themes: An array of color schemes and formats have been added to the theme library.

  1. Click the gear icon in your Documents List and select Documents settings.
  2. On the editing tab your settings page, check the box next to “Create new presentations using the latest version of the presentation editor.”
  3. Click Save.

One of the drawbacks of the new offering is that it incorporates technology found only in the newer versions of popular Web browsers–Google Chrome, Safari 5, Internet Explorer 9 or Firefox 4 or newer. You can gain full access to the app’s new features in IE8 if you install Google Chrome Frame on your system.

You also need to be a good speller with presentations, as spell checking hasn’t been incorporated into the app yet. Offline editing is still missing, too.

On the other hand, Google claims collaboration within the app is faster than it had been in previous versions.

Needless to say, many of the new features in presentations have been available in full featured packages like Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple’s Keynote for years, although collaborating in those programs isn’t as slick as it is in Google Docs presentation builder, where you can see exactly what others are working on with colorful presence markers and edit simultaneously from different locations. You can also view a revision history of a project and roll it back to a previous version, as well as chat with others who working on a presentation with you.

If you want to learn more about using Presentations at Google’s help center.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Product Reviews

 

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