A new version of the Google Drive app hit the Play Store and App Store on Friday. In a move Google had telegraphed a couple of days earlier with the release of standalone Docs and Sheets apps for both platforms, the latest Drive app no longer lets you edit documents.
you now need the new standalone productivity apps in order to edit or create documents and spreadsheets
. The new productivity apps, though, don’t really have a lot of new tricks up their sleeves, save for the fact that they now allow you to edit your documents and spreadsheets offline. As for the new, emasculated Drive app, the ability to lock the app and its contents using a four-digit passcode is the only noteworthy item on the changelog.
Launched in 2012, Google Drive effectively usurped the online productivity suite named Google Docs, becoming the front-end for the various productivity apps contained therein. This latest move has therefore come as a surprise to many. One likely explanation for the split is that Google did not want the Drive app to become bloated over time with the addition of new functionality.
For instance, Google is also readying a third standalone productivity app called Slides for those interested in creating presentations on the go. It is not difficult to see how having this functionality in the Drive app instead — one also packed with the ability to create and edit other documents — could have made the app appear bloated to those who don’t have much use for such features.
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