Google (s goog) has updated the interface on Google Docs to help users navigate and sort through the increasing number of files they’re storing and editing in the cloud. The update includes new filters for document types, preview tools, priority sorting and new features for grabbing and sharing documents.
Users will be able to start with a new home section, where they can access frequently used documents. There’s also a new collections features which replaces labels and folders and allows users to organize documents for easy sharing and editing. Google has included a new preview panel for viewing videos and seeing thumbnails of documents. Pictures can be opened in a full screen viewer. Priority sorting builds off Gmail’s priority in-box and pulls the most important documents to the top.
There are additional filters to view document types. Now users can filter for videos and images and can apply filters for public and private documents. Google has also sped up the back end for faster performance, streamlined the interface overall and included new keyboard short cuts. The changes show that Google is able to iterate well and make things cleaner and more usable, if not the first time, eventually over successive updates. Improvements to Docs are important if Google wants to become a viable alternative to Microsoft’s (s msft) productivity tools.
Google has recently enabled document editing on mobile devices. The company also released Google Cloud Connect, allowing users to begin a document in Microsoft Word, Excel or Powerpoint and then with a click of the button, share the document on the web via Google Docs. The latest update, which will roll out over the next couple of days, is not ground-breaking but it continues to help position Google Docs to better compete against Microsoft Office.
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