The much awaited official app for Google’s web-based documents service has finally been released to the Android Market. Google Docs for Android allows you to create, edit, upload and share documents online via your Google/Gmail account. In our test-run, we found the interface sufficiently fluid, efficient and user-friendly and thought the app as a whole was adequate. Though, judging from the first few reviews on the app’s Android Market page, it seems a majority of users are disappointed with the overall quality and we don’t blame them. It is Google we’re talking about here. Anything less than ‘fantastic’ ends up disappointing. Most of the disappointed lot have called the app a mere front end for the the mobile website.
True, the app’s editing interface is an exact replica of its mobile web counterpart. However, most would agree that it is most definitely a faster, more efficient alternative to the mobile web interface. More after the break.
As of this writing, the app lets you:
- Make quick changes to spreadsheets
- View your documents, PDFs, images and more
- Upload and convert files to the Google Docs format
- Take a photo of printed text and convert it to a Google document
- Share docs with your phone’s contacts
Among these features, the built-in OCR (Optical Character Recognition) ability that allows you to take a photo of printed text and convert it to a Google document is one that really stands out, and can spare many of us a lot of typing and help us digitize and organize much of our on-print information effectively.
The user interface is very straight-forward and well-designed. While exploring any one of the items displayed on the app’s homescreen, you can simply swipe across the screen to switch to another.
We put the app’s file sharing feature to the test and as claimed in its description, changes made to a document appear in a little over a second to other viewers/editors. Unlike the web interface, the app does not update documents in real-time so you will, of course, have to hit Menu > Refresh to view said changes. Other features that the app does not support as of yet include changing the ownership of a document and deleting existing documents.
You can download the app for free from the Android Market via the provided link or QR code.
Update: With the release of Google Drive and its Android client, the Google Docs app has been merged with Google Drive for Android. The link below will now take you to the latter’s Google Play Store page.
Google Docs Google Drive for Android