Google Docs goes offline while Drive comes to iOS

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The hits keep coming from day two of Google I/O: The company announced Google Docs finally works offline, allowing users to edit docs without a connection to the web. Apple iPhones, iPods and iPod touch devices not only got the Chrome browser earlier in the day, but also gain a native Google Drive application, which was improved for all platforms with integrated search features.

To use offline document editing in Google Docs, users will have to enable in it the applications settings while online. Docs will then download local copies of all documents for editing without a connection. Once that step is complete, edits can take place offline and when Docs senses that a connection is available, it will automatically sync the changed documents with the files in Google’s cloud.

Of course, Google Docs is going away in favor of Google Drive: Google recently announced the change in an effort put file storage and editing capabilities under one name. But there’s more to Google Drive than just the name and iOS device owners can start to take advantage of Google’s storage service with a native iOS app for Drive. There is one caveat: It’s just a file viewer for now.

All Google Drive users gain a nifty new feature: A vastly improved search function. On stage at Google I/O, the company demonstrated this and it was impressive. About two dozen PDF files of scanned images were shown in a Google Drive account and none were labeled. Yet one out of the bunch was a shipping receipt.

A quick search for “certified mail” pulled up the proper image thanks to optical scanning recognition of the file contents, making Google Drive much more useful and easier to use: Why label what you don’t have to?

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