Google Docs Update Debuts Offline Access To Android Phones, Tablets

February 6, 2012 0

Mountain View, California — Android users can now reap the benefits of offline access to files saved in Google Docs as the search engine giant Google over the weekend unfurled offline capabilities on Android devices, which also now features enhanced functionality for tablets running the open-source operating system.

So far, customers using smartphones or tablets based on Google’s Android mobile operating system (OS) could only access the documents in the cloud via a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. Luckily, search engine titan Google’s recently released update to the Google Docs for Android app, enables individual items to be viewed offline on a smartphone or tablet, so regardless of whether you have internet connectivity or not, but you are always connected to those files.

The moves were explained in a Google blog post last week, in which software engineer Freeman Liu mentioned that they would boost productivity. Now, users can select the documents they want to be able to view offline and access them, regardless of connectivity, via the Google Docs application. However, offline editing is not currently supported, Google said.

In fact, the company described the scenario as: “There may be times when you do not have an Internet connection on your Android device, but you still want access to a file you have saved in Google Docs,” wrote Liu in a blog post.

But at last, “Now you can select any file in Google Docs to ‘make it readily available offline’. Thus, regardless of whether you are connected to the internet, you are always connected to those files.”

However, prior to this update, Google Docs only operated on Android mobile devices when the Android device comes across a Wi-Fi connection, it then automatically updates the offline files, Liu said.

“In fact, with the new functionality activated, Google Docs automatically updates your offline files when your device regains Internet connectivity,” adds Liu. You can also manually update files anytime you have a data connection by opening the file or tapping ‘Update’ from the Offline section of the app.

Additionally, the types of files that can be made available offline includes: Google documents, presentations and spreadsheets, images and files in formats such as .pdf, .doc, .xls and .ppt. But, Google Sites, drawings, forms, Fusion Tables and collections cannot be made available offline.

While in offline mode, files will be classified as “up to date,” “out of date,” or “not yet available”. Also, they will be listed as not yet available if your device has not downloaded the item yet.

“Whether you are offline or online, these improvements will make it easier to be productive from anywhere,” added Liu.

Furthermore, the update also unfurls additional improvements to Google Docs for those with an Android tablet. Google Docs will now be displayed on Android tablets in high resolution while the device is online. Additionally, users will be able to swipe left and right to flip between pages or use the slider at the bottom to page ahead quickly.

Nevertheless, these improvements will benefit mobile and tablet users, the prospect of this functionality will be of great importance to users of the ChromeOS.

Finally, it remains to be seen how well Chromebooks are doing, although there is little indication that they are captivating much consumer interest. Android, meanwhile, is a raging success on smartphones and a moderate achiever on tablets, so it makes sense for Google to be paying increased attention to that version of Google Docs.