Google Docs gets outline tool

Google Docs gets outline tool

Mar 9, 2016

Google Docs is getting a new feature built for its Android and web iterations.

According to social network posts, users now get an outline tool.

Today we’re launching an ‘outline tool’ in Google Docs on the web and Android. Displayed in a pane to the left of the page, the outline features headers for each section of your document, making it simple to quickly jump from section to section. If you haven’t manually applied headers, no worries—we’ll do it for you, intelligently detecting the logical divisions within your work. You can then edit or remove these headers as necessary.

Further:

This launch will also allow you to move through documents on your Android phone or tablet at super speeds. When you begin scrolling on your mobile device, a small navigation handle will automatically appear. Touching that handle will display the entire document’s structure, allowing you quickly skip from section to section, instead of slowly swiping up and down.

Google Docs remains free on the Play Store.

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[via Google Docs G+ Post]

Google Docs used to Collaborate on New Song ‘Basement Queens’

Google Docs used to Collaborate on New Song ‘Basement Queens’

Jan 20, 2016

Here’s an interesting bit of news that underscores the importance of remote tools.

Two artists, Lizzo and Sad13, were able to co-author a new song — without meeting in person — using Google Docs as a collaboration tool. The song, which is available on Google Play Music, is called Basement Queens, and is a fusion of hip hop and indie rock.

Per the Google Docs Blog:

Some of the most popular songs ever recorded were the result of collaborations. Recently we asked ourselves: Could technology help bring together two musicians who might not otherwise meet? And if so: What would they create? With this in mind, we challenged two unique artists—burgeoning hip hop queen Lizzo and indie frontwoman Sad13 (Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz)—to write a song together in Google Docs.

Sad13 and Lizzo first connected in Hangouts—in Massachusetts and Minnesota, respectively—to hash things out. Within seconds they were inside a doc—riffing in real-time on ideas, then lyrics, then overall structure. And in just a couple of weeks they had a track they were really excited about.

The pair of women then flew to Brooklyn to meet for the first time IRL, and to record their new single, “Basement Queens”—a celebration of creating their own sound, on their own terms. And that’s how music was #madewithGoogleDocs.

For more information on this creative effort, check out the Google Docs Blog; the free track is available on Google Play now.

The video below shows the action.

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[via Google Docs Blog]

Google Slides Adds Hangouts Functionality

Google Slides Adds Hangouts Functionality

Aug 5, 2015

For forks heavily invested in Google’s ecosystem, Google Drive can serve to take care of a major part the productive puzzle.

Today, Google announced a new change which makes a major part of the suite, Google Slides, even more of a collaborative solution. Google Slides is akin to Microsoft PowerPoint on one’s device, allowing one to manipulate and create files on the go.

Now, Google Slides can be incorporated and presented during Hangout Group Videochats.

The functionality can be used right from one’s Android device or tablet; per the press release, all one needs to do “share” the document to a Hangout. The document can then be controlled right from the device (advancing slides, using the built-in timer, etc.).

The new functionality is available now via the build available on Google Play. Google Slides (as are the other pieces of Google Docs) remains free.

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[via Google Docs Blogpost]

Google Drive Finally Announced; Why Its Terms of Service Are Really Not That Bad

Google Drive Finally Announced; Why Its Terms of Service Are Really Not That Bad

Apr 25, 2012

The worst-kept secret in technology, that Google would launch a Dropbox-esque cloud storage service, is finally a reality. Google Drive is coming soon, bringing 5 GB of free storage to users.

On the Android side of things, the Google Docs app has been replaced with Google Drive. As of now, it still has identical features to Google Docs, until the user’s account is approved, so don’t just download the update expecting to get instant access that way. Google’s smarter than that. We’ll have more on Google Drive and how it stacks up to the competition.

Some hysteria over Google Drive has come from concern over the Google terms of service and how it impacts users. Here’s a sampling of it, with the bolded part being the one most frequently referenced in tweets and articles seen about this.

Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.

When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones.

The bolded part is harrowing out of context, but the context of the sentences before and after it are what is truly important. While I am not a lawyer, many of these issues were raised when Dropbox had their kerfuffle over what their TOS gave them the right to do. Essentially, Google – or any service where user data is uploaded to the cloud – needs the right to store and move the data across their servers without needing explicit user permission. By claiming broad rights but narrow permissions as to what they will do with it, this means that they can do actions for the users without need permission for each individual action, optimistically to only benefit the user or through improvements to the service.

The stereotypical fear is that Google could take people’s photos or the things they write and store on Google Drive and then Google could sell them, as if there’s any evidence of them or any cloud storage service doing so on a widespread basis. The more grounded fear is that Google, being a company that makes its money off of data, is now trying to find a way to get its hands on more data from users, and they’re just going to hand it over. Analyzing and using that data to deliver more efficient advertisements may be the ultimate goal of Google here.

The thing about these concerns is that if they are rooted in a fear of Google indexing everything, it seems as if the time to start worrying about that would have been a long time ago, around when they actually started to, well, try and index everything. It’s hardly been a secret goal of theirs. Never mind that this is all really based off of the same terms of service that Google introduced earlier this year. It’s only now popping up because they announced a new service, and apparently the rights of cloud-based storage companies is a hot-button issue.

So I call on readers to respond in the comments: will the TOS keep you from using Google Drive? Do you agree that this is largely hysteria? Or is this a valid issue being raised? Or both?

Google Docs for Android Gets Updated with Native Text Editing

Google Docs for Android Gets Updated with Native Text Editing

Feb 23, 2012

One of the biggest complaints about the Google Docs app on Android as it stands is that it lacks any kind of native editing. The features in the app support native features, like ocular character recognition, and offline document synchronization, but the editors have been wrapped in web views. This is starting to change, as now Google Docs for Android supports native text editing.

This native editor supports basic text editing functions: bold, italics, underline, list items, all that would be necessary for a text editor on a phone or tablet. The document then is saved to Google Docs, and available anywhere Google Docs access is available. Web editing mode is still available for those that preferred that. As well, it’s now easy to add collaborators to a document: just tap the contact button in the top right, and they can either edit or view documents as well. Spreadsheet editing is still done in the web wrapper, though. However, given the lack of quality text editors on Android, this is an important start, especially with the cloud access that Google Docs provides. The update is compatible with both phones and tablets, and is available now.

Google Docs Gets Tablet Support, and Offline Document Sync

Google Docs Gets Tablet Support, and Offline Document Sync

Feb 2, 2012

Google has released an update for their Google Docs app that brings new features to the app. First up is an improved tablet interface; it is similar to the Gmail interface for tablets in that various categories are on the left side, with a list of documents on the right. The other big feature is now that documents can be synced for offline access. By tapping and hodling on a document, it can be selected for offline access. It then syncs to an offline folder, and updates will automatically sync once internet access is restored on the tablet. Offline documents appear to be uneditable, but this could come in handy for reviewing data in spreadsheets, or studying notes typed up on a computer; this would have come in handy when I was in school! The app is still largely just a wrapper for the mobile web version of Google Docs, not a native documents editor, but these features at least make it a compelling download for Android owners who use Google Docs. The update is available now.

Google Docs Gets Official App for Android

Google Docs Gets Official App for Android

Apr 29, 2011

Google have released a variety of official apps for their services for Android, but Google Docs has largely gone unnoticed. Google are addressing this in a way, with the release of a Google Docs app for Android. This free app allows for users to pull up a list of and open their Google Docs on their phone, with the ability to edit documents and spreadsheets, as well as the ability to upload photos.

The app doesn’t actually offer any kind of native editing for documents or spreadsheets, though – it only provides a front end for accessing the mobile version of Google Docs, as the app only loads up the mobile website’s editor, not any kind of custom in-app editor. The app lets you import documents from the camera for use with Google’s OCR (optical character recognition service), although you will need to make sure your picture is of good quality when you take it for the service to properly recognize it.

What this is useful for is the ability to access multiple accounts easily from one place – you can easily switch accounts from those you synchronize your phone with by tapping your phone’s menu button. So, for those who use personal account as well as accounts with Google Apps may find this particularly useful. However, it would be great if the app got a makeover similar to the Gmail app, to where you have a native app experience for editing documents. It would be great to have a free app similar to what an app like Quickoffice provides, but for Google’s services exclusively. Also, it would be nice to be able to download documents to your phone, or open them up in other apps. For example, PDFs can’t be viewed in a native PDF viewer, they can only be viewed in the app’s viewer. Clearly, this app needs a lot of work to make it something that could be truly useful, but for now, it serves as a decent access point for the service from your phone. Google Docs is available for free from the Android Market.