When Google announced the availability of stand alone apps to edit and manage your Google Docs and Sheets some cheered but many screamed! The ones that screamed mostly are users of the Google Drive App. For those of you who are new to this, Google Drive was a single app that allowed you to not only manage the files you stored via the cloud service, but also to edit your Google Docs (word processing) and Sheets (spreadsheets). In other words you had one app that did it all and now Google has divided these tasks into three separate apps. From a shear convenience standpoint I certainly can be tempted to pick up one of those pitchforks and get ready to storm the Google castle, however, since I really wasn’t that big of a Google Docs/Sheets user I’m willing to look at what they did and go from there.
What can you do with Google Docs and Sheets?
With Google Docs or Google Sheets you can create and edit cloud based word processing and spreadsheet documents right on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. These documents are sync’d to your Google (GMail) account. This means that they are accessible in any browser on any device. Having the Apps on your iDevices means that you not only have access to these documents while you’re online, but you can also choose to have them on the device for offline editing. One of the biggest attractions to Google Docs and Google Sheets is that you can also share these documents with others and give them access to be able to edit them. This is AWESOME for collaboration. Want to author a document and get feedback. Share with someone and either allow them to leave comments or edit the document. In a work environment this is very handy as it allows people to get input from their peers or clients quickly and easily without the peers or clients having to download any special software. They can just fire up their browser click on a link and see/edit the documents. Even if you don’t want them to edit or comment you can still share a document and make it View Only. My word processing and spreadsheet needs are so basic that I could easily get by with just these two apps/services. Well almost. Just as I was typing that last line I thought about what I need in a word processor besides basic formatting and the first thing that came to mind was spell check. So I mistyped a word on purpose and to my surprise, NOTHING. No red underline, no warning. Just the typo. Oddly enough bringing that document up in my browser on my Mac I got the red underline and the ability to correct it. I can say without a spell checker this app just became a lot less useful.
Next I created a quick sample in Sheets and I ran into more omissions. First off tabbing on my iPad Logitech keyboard didn’t take me to the next cell. That annoys me to no end. After moving past that I created 4 cells and wanted to get the sum of 2 of them. Umm, where is the formula bar? Sure I could MANUALLY create the formula (=Sum(b1:b2)) but I had to type it in manually. Wow! Once again heading to Google Sheets on my desktop Mac there’s a formula button right there on the bar. So unless I’m missing these features in these apps I’m floored that there is no way to do very basic things I would expect to be able to do in dedicated apps.
The Bottom Line
While these Apps have promise and a nice native feel including offline editing, they lack some of the things I would expect (yes even in a free app). If you’re going to spend most of your time editing existing documents, then these apps will probably be fine. However, you will probably be disappointed if you plan to do a lot of authoring or creating documents from scratch on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Hopefully Google will update these with the missing features that they should have.
You can get Google Docs here .
You can get Google Sheets here .
You can get Google Drive here .