The Google Docs productivity suite has received a significant overhaul with the document editor getting real-time editing collaborating over the web, as well as sidebar chat.
Instead of the previous version of Google Docs, where collaborative contributions had a slight delay before they appeared in full on the other person’s screen, there is now the ability to see character-by-character changes in real-time, much like the Google Wave experience.
The sidebar chat now makes it possible to instant message while collaborating – something that was already present on the Google spreadsheets application.
There is also improved document formatting: import/export fidelity has been improved, there’s a revamped comment system, and now there are real margins and tab stops and improved image layout within documents.
"These improvements have been highly requested, but previously impossible to create with the older documents editor on older browsers," said Jonathan Rochelle, group product manager with Google Docs.
The spreadsheet editor has also been tweaked to run faster, load faster and scroll seamlessly, plus brand new features include a formula bar for cell editing, auto complete, drag and drop columns, and simpler navigation between sheets.
The drawing editor is now also collaborative so flow charts, designs, diagrams and other business graphics can be co-created in real-time.
By Marie Boran