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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Google Docs Redesign

Google Docs went through a redesign recently--and they did a fantastic job:

Source: Google Docs & Spreadsheets Tour

Here are some of the highlights that I thought were huge improvements over previous incarnation:

  1. Folders. These function similarly like Gmail's labels (i.e. tags in Yahoo lingo), and a single document can belong to multiple folders simultaneously. When a file is inside a folder, it gets the automatic designation next to the file list when you are viewing all files.

  2. Drag-and-Drop. You can add files to different folders easily by selecting the checkboxes next to your file name and then drag-and-drop to the folders--very handy for mass-labeling files.

  3. Version Control. Every time you save a document, Google Docs keep a previous copy on your files, where you can easily go back to previous iteration. One thing I would love to have would be the ability to perform diffs on the revisions, or some way to see revisions inline.

  4. Collaboration. Taking document-editing a bit further, and you have multi-user collaborative editing. I am still testing this out but it is a really fantastic idea when a large team needs to edit document together, for a proposal, for example.

  5. Search. Searching is Google's bread and butter and we see a huge improvement on document search. You get a drop down list of AJAX-driven drop-down a la Google Suggest before you finish typing your search string.

I am still playing around with it but these new added features have greatly improved my workflow.

The full-page editing is a God-send for editing of my frequently updated profiles on social networks, which generally provide a tinsy area for editing. Now that I use Google Docs to store and edit documents, I am happily enjoying the luxury of creating insanely long profiles on various sites (see my profiles on Facebook, Flickr or LinkedIn). C+P is just two short key-chords away.

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