Google Docs was offline for over an hour on Wednesday afternoon, leading many users to express their frustration with Google’s cloud office suite. Google has now offered an explanation of the issue that led to the outage, and it can all be traced back to a memory bug on the server side. A change in the collaboration feature led to higher than expected resource usage and uncovered the bug, which had been lurking in the back end for some time.
Google is pushing its cloud apps hard to government and business, and the Chrome OS platform relies entirely on these cloud services. So it was more than a little embarrassing when Google Docs went down for about half an hour today for all users. Those looking to get some work done were greeted with an unfriendly-looking 404 and nothing else.
Google placed its bets on a cloud computing-filled future with the Chromebook, a nifty little line that advance’s Google’s goal to have everybody’s data available anywhere, anytime. While it’s a wonderful concept, accessing the Web anywhere, anytime requires Internet access that’s available anywhere, anytime. Frankly, we’re not quite there yet. Google admitted this fact (and helped make Chrome OS and Google Apps a little more useful) with today’s announcement of the return of an offline mode for Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendar.
The initial response to the first Chromebooks has been rather lukewarm. But that is unlikely to deter Google, which is in it for the long haul. Now all eyes are going to be on the first few installments of changes and new features. Lack of offline functionality is being seen as the Achilles heel’ of Chrome OS. It will become a touch more usable offline when Google Docs offline support returns later this summer after a long hiatus. There are signs of the much awaited return of Docs offline support being just around the corner.
Google Apps are awesome. Google Docs is excellent for business and school work, Google Voice lets you check if strangers' refrigerators are running worldwide, and everyone and his one-eyed sister has a Gmail account. As it turns out, Google Apps is so full of unadulterated awesome that a lot of the older Web browsers on the market just can't keep up with all the HTML5 goodness. Rather than bend over backwards to support obsolete software, Google's kicking them to the curb.
Google sure took its time, but an official Google Docs app is now available for Google's own Android platform. Users can now get quicker access to their cloud-based documents with the aid of this (mostly) native application. While the editing could be better, the Docs app has some interesting features around sharing and optical character recognition (OCR).
You like Google Docs! I like Google Docs! We all like Google Docs!
If you fall into one of those three categories, then you know that Google Docs is a great, Web-based tool for creating, editing, and sharing documents—especially among larger groups of contributors than merely yourself. However, you’ll also know that Google Docs is fairly worthless if you aren’t browsing it from its official home page. Minus a few tricks here and there, there’s really little you can do outside of Google Docs: It’s the website or it’s nuttin’
Well, a new freeware tool has just popped up on our radar that gives you some new “offline” functionality for Google Docs. Read on to find out more!
It was last April that Google rolled out eh new, and much prettier, version of Google Docs. But El Goog is giving us a new feature to play with. The next time you create a new Google document, be prepared to see the improved Discussions system. Discussions are basically an amalgamation of email and chat that can make proofreading a document easier.
Google acquired a small company named DocVerse back in March. Its flagship product was a MS Office plugin that let users sync their offline documents to the cloud. The service has since been moved to Google’s infrastructure and renamed Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office. Yesterday, Google took a big step towards the return of the service by opening it to early testers. The prospect of syncing Office documents to the Google cloud created such a buzz that the internet giant was inundated with thousands of applications for the early testing program within a few hours, eventually forcing it to put a lid on the program.
“Users of Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 can sync their Office documents to the Google cloud, without ever leaving Office. Once synced, documents are backed-up, given a unique URL, and can be accessed from anywhere (including mobile devices) at any time through Google Docs. And because the files are stored in the cloud, people always have access to the current version,” wrote Shan Sinha, a group product manager at Google, in a blog post.
“Once in the Google cloud, documents can be easily shared and even simultaneously edited by multiple people, from right within Office. A full revision history is kept as the files are edited, and users can revert to earlier versions in one click. These are all features that Google Docs users already enjoy today, and now we’re bringing them to Microsoft Office.”
Google has thus far neglected to create a mobile application for managing Google Docs. But Google today announced that the mobile Google Docs site will soon allow editing of documents from the mobile browser. When viewing a document online, there will be a link to load editing mode, where users will be able to change the document from within the browser. While an app might provide a better experience, this web-based editing would be more in line with Google's ways.
The new feature will be available on iOS devices running version 3 or later, and on Android phones running 2.2 Froyo. Google also made sure to note that Android users can use voice dictation to edit documents. The 2.2 requirement is a real bummer for users of phones that are still running Android 2.1 or earlier. The Docs editing mode will be rolling out over the next few weeks, so some phones might get an update in the meantime.