Thursday 29 November 2012

Google Drive update brings support for spreadsheets, homescreen shortcuts

If you’re the type who regularly writes and edits documents online, you’ll be happy to know that Google Drive on mobile devices now lets you make and edit spreadsheets. Google has launched an update to Google Drive that includes a new native editor that lets you create a new spreadsheet or edit an existing one right from the Drive app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device. You can switch fonts, resize columns, sort data and do much more in a spreadsheet. And just like on the online service, you will be able to see other people’s edits and comments in real time. Click here  to get the update.

More interestingly, Google Drive now lets you create a shortcut to Drive files and folders on your homescreen. This will allow you to directly access frequently accessed files and folders from the shortcuts on the homescreen instead of having to navigate to the Drive app, opening it and then browsing to the desired file or folder. This feature can be quite useful if you have a truckload of files and folders stored on Drive.

The update also includes a slew of functionality improvements to the Google Docs editor. You can now edit the contents of tables in the Google Docs editor. The updated editor also preserves the formatting of content when copy/pasting content within Google Docs. You can also enter the ‘Edit’ mode in Google Docs by single tapping, instead of having to manually switch between the edit and view modes.

What’s more, the Send Link option for files and folders now has a new option that lets you copy links to the clipboard, in addition to giving you the usual roster of services and applications you can use to share links.

This is only the latest in the improvements that Google is rolling out for Google Drive in a bid to increase the integration between its various services and the cloud storage solution. Just yesterday, the company announced that Drive has now been integrated into Gmail, allowing you to directly attach files to emails from Google Drive. This feature allows you to attach a maximum 10 GB worth of files to your emails. Google explained that since the files being sent are stored in the cloud, this feature would let the recipients access the most recent version of the file.

Interestingly, Gmail will also work like a smart assistant and double-check that the intended recipients have access to the files being sent. This way, whenever a user sends a file from Drive that isn't shared with everyone; he will be given the option to change the file's sharing settings, without moving away from his mail. Moreover, this will work with Drive links pasted directly into emails. The new feature that will be rolled out over the next few days will only be available with Gmail's new compose experience, so you'll need to opt-in if you haven't already.

Google also announced early this month that Google Drive now lets you share your files on Google+. People you share your files with can now view presentations, open PDFs, and play videos and music, right from their Google+ stream. Unlike shares on Facebook or Twitter, where you can only share links of certain files, Google+ adds functionality that would let you view your documents and presentations in the Google+ stream itself. If on a mobile device, the document or file will instead open in the Google Drive app.

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