Google’s ongoing effort to turn Google Docs into a formidable competitor with Microsoft Office continues with a new feature that allows users to hold discussions in real-time while working on shared documents. The new feature lets users of its productivity service discuss shared documents in real-time


In a bid to make Google Docs more appealing to workers and consumers, Google is rolling out a new feature that lets users of its productivity service discuss shared documents in real-time. The upgrade is aimed at helping users resolve issues faster.

The new discussion feature is also part of Google’s ongoing effort to dethrone Microsoft Office as the leader in productivity apps. By enabling more real-time discussions, Google is building off the strength of its cloud-based approach to apps and recognizes the way users increasingly are accustomed to communicating online.

Here’s how it works: Users can hold ongoing threaded conversations within a document using time stamps and profile pictures and @mentions, similar to Facebook. They can easily add people to the conversation and ultimately remove the conversation from view on the document by resolving the issue.

Google will also notify users of new messages via e-mail when they are mentioned in a discussion. A user can reply through e-mail or jump into the document. The promise of discussions is really to get people to collaborate quickly inside the document. Often, people are working on a document, but their discussion is transferred to e-mail. With the new discussion feature, there’s a better chance of getting a group to move quickly.

The upgraded discussion feature builds off the overhaul of Docs last April, which introduced real-time collaboration editing features and moved comments to the sidebar. And it continues the string of improvements for Google Docs, which got a new updated interface in January and earlier enabled mobile document editing.

The new discussion feature be available over the next few days to Google users and as well as Google Apps customers on the Rapid Release track. The update will only apply to new documents so the old commenting system will remain for existing docs.

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  1. Abdul Haseeb Awan Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    This is a pretty nice feature !!
    I wanted some thing like thi s!

  2. They finally found a use for Google Wave.

  3. Yeah it’s a shame google wave didn’t really have a use case in mind or paying clients.

    There’s a big trend we can see on the ground from enterprises looking for structured live discussion like we’re coming out with at http://www.outline.com

  4. Google wave was a real shame but the need is there, we see it all the time at http://www.outline.com and it’s we’re taking it to the next level beyond this feature.

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