Google Docs

Google provides another solution for document collaboration, Google Docs. Google Docs is a free service that allows you to create and collaborate on word processing documents, spreadsheets, surveys, drawings, and presentations. Google Docs also lets you import and export Office-compatible files. However, you may lose formatting and options in some cases.

If you use Google Docs, you can still view your files from Android. You can edit spreadsheets, as shown in Figure 8-7, but you can only view other files at this time. It still comes in handy for reviewing slides right before giving a presentation. You can also use the third-party app GDocs for downloading and syncing Google Docs files with your Android device. Google has a vested interest in Android support, and there are a number of Android tablets due out before Christmas 2010, so expect improved Android compatibility in the future.

Figure 8-7. Google Docs Spreadsheet

Rather than rely on the check-in, check-out system used in SharePoint 2007 and earlier, Google Docs allows multiple users to view and edit files simultaneously. Users who are viewing the same file see a chat window to let them discuss the document while they edit. Spreadsheets also allow you to embed gadgets for enhanced tasks, such as pie charts, maps, and more. Chat windows and gadget support is asking a bit much for a lowly phone screen, and it's not supported at this time. As Android gains popularity in larger screens, this is also an area that will likely become more equivalent to desktop browsers.

To get started with Google Docs, use your Google account and log into http://docs.google.com.

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