Google offers mobile editing on Google Docs -- with many restrictions
Make that some users, on some smartphones, editing some documents. The addition of mobile editing capabilities to Google Docs' word-processing component (its spreadsheet application gained that feature in February 2009) is subject to limitations that shut out much, if not most, of its potential audience.
First, you need to run the right device. Google supports most iPhones and iPod touches, as well as the iPad. But if your phone runs Google's own Android software you need the latest, 2.2 release. The Mountain View, Calif., firm's latest numbers show only 36.2 percent of active Android devices have this version.
Second, the document in question has to have been created with the new editor Google launched in April. Older files, even if you've worked on them since April, are ineligible for mobile editing.
On top of this uncoordinated mix of functionality and the lack thereof -- something I'm more accustomed to seeing in other companies' Web efforts -- you need to have this feature turned on in your account.
I'm apparently not among that group, and it seems I've got company.
Thing is, I'm not sure how much this matters. On-phone document editing, and in particular Microsoft Office document editing, was once a mandatory feature. I wrote quite a few reviews of early smartphones that graded them heavily on that one issue. But I don't see the same demand for that capability, to judge from how few complaints I've received after neglecting to discuss this feature in mobile-device coverage.
In my own case, I find that my need to work with traditional documents often ends with reading attached files in my e-mail. (That applies at home, too. The "Quick Look" feature Apple added to Mac OS X has become one of the things I miss most in Windows.) When I'm doing actual work on a smartphone, it's more likely to happen on a specialized site (such as our blogging interface) or an app designed for specific mobile tasks (for example, the recently updated Evernote).
How important is working on office-type documents in your own mobile experience? And if you're among the select few to have obtained access to Google Docs mobile editing, how do you like it?
| November 17, 2010; 4:46 PM ET
Categories: Mobile, Productivity
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