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Summary:

Calling it “built from the ground up”, the newest version of Google Sheets adds speed, new features and one very important function: The ability to work offline, just like all other Chrome Apps.

Offline

Although Google Docs has supported offline use for some time, Google’s spreadsheet product called Sheets has been an online-only affair. That changed on Wednesday as Google added offline support to Sheets, making it more like other Chrome Apps which work offline by default.

Since the application is web-based, there’s no new software to download or install. However, to enable the offline function, as well as a few other new features such as support for larger spreadsheets and filter views, you’ll have to mark off a checkbox in the settings to use the “new” Google Sheets. Once you do, you’ll gain the offline functionality and speed increases the new app brings.

Google shows off the new features in this short video; it’s worth the watch if you’re not sure if you want to try the newest version.

Google is touting the new version as “built from the ground up,” likely in a nod to the many new features the company has added to Chrome Apps. These apps are built using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, along with bits that Google has added into its Chrome browser framework. By doing so, Google hopes developers will create more such Chrome Apps as they run on multiple platforms and mobile devices alike.

Even with the new features, Sheets may be lacking as compared to Microsoft Excel. But for basic spreadsheet use by mainstream computer users, it should easily suffice. And the offline function is really the key addition here because to a point, it negates Microsoft’s current media blitz on how Chromebooks are useless without an internet connection.

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  1. Thanks for this heads up, Kevin. I have a question (quandry?) which is not entirely related. As a new Chromebook user I am having a hard time figuring out the difference between Google Docs and the word processing component of QuickOffice. When I receive a .doc via email and download it, it will almost always open in QO (btw, I am always online via WiFi). However, sometimes it opens in Google Docs. I guess I don’t fully understand the use case for either, and why both are included in the Chromebook ecosystem. I thought the rationale for QO was to allow off line editing and that Google acquired it because the company couldn’t get Docs to work properly offline. Now comes an upgraded Sheets and that looks like the same confusion might happen, in terms of use case, between it and a QO spreadsheet component. Thoughts? Perhaps you’ve already covered this elsewhere, if so a link would be appreciated!

  2. Well, can a person use his or her own server as the go-between of multiple users when collaborating, or will this remain wide open for the NSA to have a peek-a-boo courtesy of Google’s leaky servers and NSA clever reverse engineering?

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