April 27, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
It took Google an inexplicably long time to recognize the need for a native Android client for Google Reader, and even longer for them to release a bonafied Google Docs Android app. We can finally stop sending angry letters to Mountain View because there’s finally an official Google Docs Android app.
Or is there? After a quick test, this seems to just be a web app with some cache support. Docs does not provide offline access for creating or reading documents, which is what I wanted most out of an app. “Google Docs is a cloud product, Andrew!” Yes, but it would have been great to get an app that provided some support to me when the mobile connection fails or I want to work on documents on the plane. When I turn on Airplane mode, the app provides errors for creating documents and is unable to read files. (This app is designed “to save you time finding your docs” rather than a full Google Docs client.)
Thankfully, Docs does cache an open document so your work will be saved and immediately uploaded to the web when a connection is reestablished. People with more stable connections or no need for an offline presence may still be happy to know that the Google Docs for Android app provides more control of your documents. Android 2.1 or higher phones can sort through files, share with other Docs users, see Starred files, and use OCR to get photo to text conversion. Full features include:
- Home screen widget for quick access to files or OCR
- 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
Android users previously relied on the mobile version of Google Docs website, but that provided several headaches. GDocs emerged as a good third party solution, but it still didn’t fulfill the promise that one would hope an official Google app could deliver. Download from the Android Market now and see if it alleviates the stress or sends you running back to other options.