Okay. So as anyone who has attempted to use google docs on the iPad knows, up to now it has been an exercise in frustration. Limited editing capability. The real time collaboration capacity, what makes google docs so valuable to so many people, choppy at best, completely non-functional at worst.
This issue has come up again as we prepare for our first iPad roundtable of the year. I was reading, yes, the google doc we started so staff could tell us what they want to talk about and discovered that Ms. Art teacher has encountered many issues in her class with the iPad and google docs. (I have written about the dysfunctional marriage of google docs and iPads before)
So I do what I always do when confronted with a problem I don’t know the answer to…I go to the hive. Or better known as the iPad forum (this one happened to be in linkedin) where I found out that google was going to follow up their launch of google drive (the app otherwise known as google docs). Of course, I rushed to the app store and yes! There it was! Google Drive!!!
#1: Sign in. You should be able to do this.
#2: Choose your file! As you can see, the interface is nice and simple, though I would have like to sort my files from more recent to less recent. They are now sorted alphabetically.
Luckily, there is a recent option, which I clicked and found our roundtable document. I clicked on edit and voilà:
But the real question is, if I edit it on the iPad, will it be shared in realtime? I checked the document on my desktop and yes, my text was there!
You can change the colour of your font, handy when there are several people collaborating on a document.
There are some basic formatting options as seen above. However, as Ms. Art teacher has pointed out, there is no option to insert hyperlinks… As well, in the description of the app, they say you can insert media, which I am unable to find in the editing on the iPad:
Quickly share a photo with a friend 1000 miles away. Read the most up to date version of your document whether you’re at home, at the office, or on the go. Make items available offline so you view them while you’re on a plane. No matter what happens to your devices, even if your iPhone goes for a swim, your files are safely stored in Google Drive.
Oh- Just figured that out. You cannot insert a photo in a document but you can upload a photo to google doc:
Maybe you can add it to a doc after? let us try… Nope. IN fact, I uploaded it then couldn’t find it. had to use the search field…
You can see if anyone else is viewing the doc:
You can share the document:
Here are some other sharing options, as well as options to move your document into folders, etc. What I don’t see is an option to download your document into Pages or something similar, though you can opt to view your document offline:
In a nutshell: although it is not perfect – they still do not have an option to “open in” Google Drive from your email. You can’t upload photos or movies directly to your doc. You can’t hyperlink- the collaboration works very well as well as basic editing. This free app goes a long way to transferring the amazing functionality of Google docs we have been used to on our laptops and desktops to the iPad. Hopefully they will keep on improving!