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Google has released a version of its Docs productivity suite for Android, allowing people to view and edit text documents, spreadsheets and other content types on their smartphone without resorting to a third-party app.
The Android app solves one of the biggest problems with Gmail, which is the difficulty in opening up attachments that would be easily accessible on a desktop, using the full version of Google Docs. It works on Android phones at or above version 2.1 of the mobile OS — these shots show a Nexus S, which runs 'Gingerbread' Android 2.3 — and synchronises fully with the desktop version of the suite.
The app comes with an optional widget that lets the user go straight to a list of all documents or all starred documents. The icon on the right opens up a new document.
The icon second from the right fires up the handset's camera, so the user can photograph a document — if it is in a certain font and in English, the app will then apply optical character recognition (OCR) to convert the photographed piece into plain text. In ZDNet UK's experience, this function works to a limited extent.
This shot shows the homescreen of the Google Docs Android app.
This is the standard list view of documents in the Google Docs app. Most document types — text, presentation and spreadsheets — opened up successfully, but the illustration in this list would not.
As Google Docs is a collaboration-centric suite, the app makes it easy to share documents among colleagues.
The app makes it easy to skip to a list view of those documents that have been starred for importance.
For now, the app is particularly concentrated on text documents and spreadsheets, perhaps the most common types of Google Docs documents.
As this shot of a text document shows, it is straightforward to edit through the app. For the limited screen space, though, it is likely that most will use the Google Docs app as a viewer.
This shot shows the beginnings of a Google Docs spreadsheet, as it appears in the Android app.