Google Makes Docs Two-Player Capable With Enhanced Collaboration

Every other week or so, we get the feeling that Google is making strides in fully taking over the world. Be it search advancements, Android advancements or their drive into being an ISP, Google is getting their hands dirty with almost everything. Google Docs has been around for years, and while many tech enthusiasts have shifted to them over desktop versions of Microsoft Office, the vast majority still haven't.

Google is hoping to change that, and they're constantly working to improve the services to make them more viable alternatives to desktop office suite applications. The latest round of improvements are some of the most significant in the life of the web apps. There are new preview versions of the new Google document and spreadsheet editors and a new standalone drawings editor, all built with an even greater focus on speed and collaboration. The changes make it easier for two people to edit a document at the same time from remote locations, which could easily change businesses in a big way.

The highlights are below, along with a video. But as always, the best way to see how things are changed is to open up a document and dig in yourself.

A better document editor
We’ve brought the responsive, real-time editing experience you’ve come to expect from our spreadsheets over to documents, which means you can now see character-by-character changes as other collaborators make edits. We also added another popular feature from spreadsheets: sidebar chat, so you can discuss documents as you work on them with colleagues.

The new technical foundation also helped us improve document formatting, which means better import/export fidelity, a revamped comment system, 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.

A faster spreadsheet editor
With the new spreadsheets editor, you’ll see significant speed and performance improvements -- spreadsheets load faster, are more responsive and scroll more seamlessly. We’ve also added a host of often requested features, like a formula bar for cell editing, auto-complete, drag and drop columns, and simpler navigation between sheets. And as always, real-time collaboration in spreadsheets is easy with sidebar chat and the ability to see which cell each person is editing.

A new collaborative drawing editor
In the year since we launched the Insert drawing tool, we’ve received many requests for the ability to collaborate on drawings and make them accessible directly from the docs list. The new standalone drawings editor lets you collaborate in real time on flow charts, designs, diagrams and other fun or business graphics. Copy these drawings into documents, spreadsheets and presentations using the web clipboard, or share and publish drawings just like other Google Docs.