Google Unveils Standalone Mobile Office Apps

Google has taken a step forward in its mobile competition with Microsoft. On Wednesday, Google released standalone mobile apps for documents, spreadsheets and presentations for iOS and Android devices -- just a few weeks after Microsoft released its Office suite for Apple's iPad.

The apps are designed for IOS 7 and Android 4.0. The free apps -- Docs, Sheets and, soon, Slides -- are available for Android and iOS devices. They also feature offline support so users can view, edit and create files even when a Net connection is not available.

"Now," Product Manager Brian Levee posted on the company's UK blog, "if you have a brilliant idea for a best-selling novel while traipsing through the Amazonian rainforest (or you know, something more probable, like during flight takeoff)...no problem."

Basic Capabilities

Previously, iOS users who wanted to use a Google app for editing docs needed to do so through an app on Google Drive. Some reviewers have reported that the new Docs apps in particular offer only very basic capabilities, with no page breaks, spell checking, headers or footers, revisions tracking or other features beyond such rudimentary features as search, replace, bold, italics, and similar capabilities.

The Google apps show the most recently edited files first, and users can collaborate on documents. The files are stored on Google Drive.

The release of the apps makes users a bit more independent of Google Drive, in that document, spreadsheet and eventually presentation creation and editing can be conducted with Google tools separately from the Drive app.

The blog points out that "you'll still be able to use the Drive app to view and organize all of your documents, spreadsheets, photos and more."

'Neutrality and Popularity'

In fact, according to a Google representative who spoke to one technology media site, a coming update to the Google Drive...

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