capsule review

GDocs

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder GDocs

    PCWorld Rating

For folks whose lives are perfectly matched to Google's mold, Android is the ultimate enabler for the mobile lifestyle. Suddenly, attending a boring event such as a wedding for people you barely know has become free time to check on fellow "Team Jacob" fans through e-mail, calendar items, and Google Maps. However, though the Android OS has default connections to most of Google's main offerings, it doesn't cover Documents. One can see why: Plenty of app developers have tried with little success, and GDocs only adds to the quagmire.

It isn't an ambitious app, nor does it intend to be. The index presents files as a singular list, but you can sort them via folders as well as by date and title. Search scans only titles, rather than entire files. For documents, you're limited to Android's text input, writing as you would normal text messages--with no styles, no text sizes, and no frills.

The rest of the applications default to Android's Web browser, sometimes asking you to log in again though Google, and often leaving files open after you close out of GDocs. Presentations are viewable but not editable. Editing a cell in a spreadsheet is akin to filling out a Web form. Anything outside of a document, spreadsheet, or presentation loads as a blank document.

Obviously, no one plans to write the Great American Novel on their phone, tapping it out letter by letter--even with Swype technology. Editing is still an arduous task, as Android's text input is built to type things like "Where R U?" to friends, rather than rearranging a paragraph.

Fortunately, in version 0.8.13 the developer WildArt fixed the broken-upload issue that rendered version 0.8.12 nearly useless.

GDocs is most effective as a simple viewer and an even more basic editor. Perhaps it is somewhat useful for making a grocery list and ticking off progress, jotting down impulsive ideas you'll never reference again, or writing very concise stories. For anything extensive, you should haul a laptop along.

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder GDocs

    PCWorld Rating
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