Google Docs for Android Review

Google Docs for Android Review

Have you ever wanted to make a quick note or change to a document on the go? Many folks swear by Evernote, but sadly it is blocked by my work so I stick with Google Docs. So when a native Android app arrived, I hopped right on it. So far I have only messed around a bit, but have a clear impression.

The Hype:
Create, edit, upload and share your documents with the Google Docs app.

* Designed for Android to save you time finding your docs
* Edits to your documents appear to collaborators in seconds
* 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

The Reality:

The one advantage of using the Google Docs app over hitting the web browser? It is an app. EVERYTHING else is better using the browser. Well, perhaps not quite everything.

In terms of the good stuff, you get a nice one-stop shop to check out all of your documents on your smartphone. You can view everything, and edit text and spreadsheets. You can also create new text or spreadsheets and edit them and share when you are done. You can take a picture of a document, and then from your gallery send it to ‘Docs’ and it will process the image using OCR and provide you with the text. The app also makes it easy to share documents with just about anyone using all of the methods installed on your Android device.

Unfortunately there is a huge downside: the app is severely limited. You can view anything in your Docs account, but only edit certain files depending on type and content. For example, you can’t edit Presentations, but I also had mixed success with editing existing documents. Specifically, I am working on my next music review round-up, and thought it would be great to listen on my iPod Touch and take notes on my Droid Pro. Sadly the app wouldn’t let me edit my existing review document.

You also cannot delete documents or protect them in any way, and the spreadsheets are static and don’t update based on entering new formulas – but at least they save the new formulae for when you open it on a computer. The final annoyance is that there is no off-line mode, so if you are out of a internet connected area you cannot access your documents in any way.

In terms of the OCR I took a simple software installation sheet and snapped a picture with my Droid Pro. Here is the image:

Google Docs for Android Review

And here is the translation:

Datapaq Software Installation Instructions
Furnace Tracker For WindowsLver, 3.05 I Insert CD into Drive 0 From Windows Explorer, go to the following folder : l’|Darapaq S0jì’warelFurnace T rdcker F or Windows 3_04lDískI Launch the following : SETUP.EXE Follow directions on screen
Oven Tracker Plus For Windows. ver. 200.B
Insert CD into Drive 0 From Windows Explorer. go to the following folder : llDatapaq Sofì‘warel0ven Tracker Plus For Windows 200_BlDISKI 0 Launch the following : SE T UREXE v Follow directions on screen
Oven Tracker Elite, ver. 2.02 0 Insert CD into Drive v From Windows Explorer, go to the following folder : llbalapaq Soj?ware\Furnacc Tracker Elite ~ Launch the following file : FELITEEXE n This is a DOS application (not Windows) and will not install on PC. CD mus:
remain in the drive during use.
B. Harpalcr

Decent, but not perfect – but then it isn’t the best starting image!

Yet despite these limitations I recommend the game for a few reasons:

  • It is free and offers a decent set of functionality.
  • Google has been awesome about updating their Android apps
  • The OCR support provides a unique on-the-go capability … that again I’m sure will improve with time.

Overall not the most impressive start for Google Docs on Android, but it is ‘good enough’ and has plenty of promise. Just like some use Evernote for everything, I have loads of stuff on Google Docs. On my iPad I use Docs2Go extensively, and I hope that the Android app comes along to the point where it becomes a reasonable alternative.

Where to Buy: Android Market

Price: Free download

What I Like: Easy access to documents; OCR shows promise; easy to share files; great price!

What Needs Improvement: Some formats lack native editing; slow response; no offline mode; can’t delete

Source: Personal Download

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!