Google is enhancing the power of its Docs product to allow mobile users to edit online documents for the first time. Android and iOS users will now be able to not just read documents but collaborate with others and edit them, just as people have been able to do with Google spreadsheets. The move is a no-brainer — it’s been the top-requested feature for Docs — but it also shows how powerful mobile devices can be with the cloud behind them. Google said it will be rolling out the feature in the coming days to English-language users around the world on Android 2.2, as well as iOS devices, including the iPad running version 3.0+.
Collaborating in real time loses its value when you have to wait to get to a PC to contribute. By extending editing capabilities to mobile devices, it makes Docs a viable choice for mobile users who need mobile productivity tools. For tablets, it’s almost a must-have feature, as those devices supplant laptops for many people. Mobile editing is another selling point for living our lives in the cloud, as more of our computing shifts to mobile devices. It’s a good counter move to Windows Phone 7’s Office Hub, which includes the ability to edit and review Word, Powerpoint and Excel documents.
I think this will also be very helpful for users who want to write notes to themselves and view them later, like people do with Evernote. With Android, you’ll also be able to enter text with your voice. That’s the beauty of smartphones and tablets. They may give up some of the power of desktop PCs, but when paired with cloud services, they become very flexible and useful. Considering Google’s push to move our work to the cloud, the only question is: Why did mobile Docs editing take this long?
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