Google Docs review
We review Google Docs to see if it spells the end for the online edition of the cloud-based document creator
Google has gifted us with many excellent apps over the past few years. Gmail continues to improve, while the YouTube Android application makes browsing for videos a breeze. This trend of taking web-based elements and morphing them into more efficient apps is obviously here to say, as the release of Google Docs proves.
As the name suggests, Google Docs is all about controlling the various documents, spreadsheets, PDFs and other items that you use on a daily basis. The online version of this service allows you to import existing files, edit them online and share them with multiple recipients. It's a gloriously streamlined experience and one that many people simply couldn't live without.
Until the release of this stand-alone app, mobile users had to do with a slow and awkward web-based interface for their Google Docs needs. The Google Docs app solves the interface problem and brings some neat ideas to the table, but ultimately it's no substitute for actually sitting down at a keyboard.
Let's start with the positives - Google Docs boasts a speedy and well formatted menu system that allows you to sort your documents according to type. It also features quick-link commands to share files with people in your address book, making the task of distributing items entirely painless.
Another cool idea is the ability to 'scan' text documents with your phone's camera and have them converted for editing in Google Docs. Granted, the process is somewhat hit-and-miss - unless you have good lighting and an entirely clear sheet of paper, expect hilarious spelling errors on the converted file - but if you've got a document in paper form that you want in a digital format, this could prove invaluable.
Google Docs really comes unstuck when you try to edit a document. Without a mouse and keyboard it feels incredibly awkward, and it's a laborious process filling in a spreadsheet and having to confirm your changes for each and every field.
To be fair, there's not really anything that Google Docs can do to make this procedure any easier. A touch screen just isn't going to offer the same amount of control as a traditional mouse and keyboard. However, it's worth bearing in mind that if you intend to do some heavy-duty editing with this app, you're going to struggle.
If you're simply looking for a way of accessing your documents whilst on the move then Google Docs is well worth a look. It beats the mobile web version of the service with its nippy speed and friendly menu system, and the ability to quickly convert printed documents into digital text is welcome – when it works, at least.