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Google Docs arrives on Android

ZDNet UK takes a tour of the official Google Docs app, which has finally arrived on Google's own smartphone platform

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Topic: Mobility
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1 of 8 David Meyer

Google Docs for Android widget

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.


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2 of 8 David Meyer

Google Docs for Android homescreen

This shot shows the homescreen of the Google Docs Android app.


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3 of 8 David Meyer

Google Docs for Android list view

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.


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4 of 8 David Meyer

Google Docs for Android sharing

As Google Docs is a collaboration-centric suite, the app makes it easy to share documents among colleagues.


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5 of 8 David Meyer

Google Docs for Android starred list

The app makes it easy to skip to a list view of those documents that have been starred for importance.


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6 of 8 David Meyer

Google Docs for Android creation list

For now, the app is particularly concentrated on text documents and spreadsheets, perhaps the most common types of Google Docs documents.


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7 of 8 David Meyer

Google Docs for Android text document

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.


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8 of 8 David Meyer

Google Docs for Android spreadsheet

This shot shows the beginnings of a Google Docs spreadsheet, as it appears in the Android app.


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