Google untangles Docs and Sheets from Drive

Google untangles Docs and Sheets from Drive

Summary: Google has released Docs and Sheets for iOS and Android as separate apps from Drive.


Google has released standalone apps for Docs and Sheets, untangling its productivity tools from its online storage platform Drive.

Two years after launching Drive and integrating Docs and Sheets to give its answer to Dropbox a more collaborative bent, Google has revived the concept of standalone for the two apps.

Sheets and Docs are available on the App Store and Google Play and, according to Google, a standalone Slides presentation app is coming soon too.

Since the apps are now separated from Drive, users will be able to edit, view and create files without an internet connection. But while they are separate apps, people can still use the Drive app to view and organise documents from any of them.

Beyond the convenience of offline access Google hasn't said why it decided to spin the apps out from Drive, although one possible reason is that it's a response to Microsoft's Office for iPad launch.

Office iPad are available as separate apps but aren't fully functional without an Office 365 subscription.

As standalone apps, Sheets, Docs and Slides obviously means they'll only be able to open native files, while Drive previously supported 30 different file types.

Google appears to be shifting editing capabilities away from Drive and over the coming weeks plans to prompt users to install the productivity apps the next time they attempt to edit or create a document or spreadsheet in the Drive app.

The move is quite the opposite to the direction Google has taken QuickOffice, its app for opening and editing Office documents on mobile, to date.

The company made the previously paid-for app free but tied it to Drive, while recently removing support for the paid-for versions QuickOffice Pro and HD that were independent of Drive. 

Read more on Google Drive

Topics: Enterprise Software, Google, Google Apps

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Yes!

    At last - offline access for Google Docs on Android.

    Works really well. Nice one Google 8-)
  • "the apps are now separated from Drive"

    It brings it more in line with their corresponding Chrome counterparts.
    Obviously just trying to unify the experience a bit.
    • And you can use Quick Office locally

      Although you're tied to the downloads folder for some utterly random reason.
  • "Although you're tied to the downloads folder"

    Maybe that will be one of the changes coming down the road in a few weeks...