Google Docs Cloud Productivity Apps Suite Gets A Facelift


Google has given Google Docs, its suite of cloud productivity apps, a makeover that Google said will make it easier to organize files and ease navigation.

The Google Docs update comes about a year after Google launched the ability to upload any type of file to Google Docs, which made it more difficult for users to navigate and track down files.

"With more files and of a variety of file types in one place, it becomes more difficult to organize and find what you need quickly," wrote Vijay Bangaru, a Google Docs product manager, in a blog post showcasing the updates to the cloud productivity apps suite.

Over the next couple of days, Google said it will be rolling out a refresh to the Google Docs document list that is aimed to make it more useful and easier to find, explore and share files on in the cloud.

First, Google added new filters that make it easier to search for documents by type, visibility state and other criteria, Bangaru wrote. Taking some queues from the Gmail Priority Inbox that Google added to its Gmail e-mail service last August, Google Docs now supports priority sorting that puts the most relevant files on the top of the list. New filters include "Owned by me," "Shared with me," "Public on Web" and more. Users can still also sort orders by the last modified date or by name, or other orders previously used.

For exploring and browsing files, Bangaru said Google added a preview panel on the right side of the document list that lets users see a preview thumbnail that shares settings and more at a glance. If that file is a video, users can play the video directly from the preview panel or from the Google Docs video player. Google also launched a similar feature for photos in Google Docs, which now lets users click on the magnifying glass on a photo to open a full-screen slideshow viewer.

Google added a new view called "Home," which gives users a home-screen that highlights the content that is accessed most often. Users can remove also remove files from the Home view.

Google Docs Folders have been replaced by Collections in the left navigation bar. Bangaru said that Collections are designed to combine features of labels and folders. Similar to Gmail labels, a file can live in multiple collections. Collections can also be stored hierarchically like folders on the desktop. They can also be shared.

For browsing, Google streamlined the Google Docs interface to let users use Shift or Control keys to select multiple files instead of using checkboxes.

Google is doing this while overhauling its bank-end to boost the documents speed list.

Bangaru said the Google Docs update is being rolled out now and should be available to all users of the cloud productivity suite over the next few days. Google Apps for Business users that don't have the "Enable pre-release features" box checked, the refresh will hit in a few weeks.