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Mountain View trials revamped Google Docs

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Google is previewing updated incarnations of its web-based document and spreadsheet editors, as it launches a new standalone online application for collaborating with others on digital graphics and drawings.

With a Monday blog post, Google said that document and spreadsheet editors previews will roll out to Google Docs users over the next few days, and the drawings editor is already available to all users.

The new document editor offers the sort of "real-time" collaboration already available with the company's existing spreadsheet editor, and it's built on a new "technical foundation" meant to improve document formatting. Google promises better document fidelity with imports and exports, a better comment system, and, yes, more.

With the new spreadsheet editor, the company says that spreadsheets will load faster and that they'll be more responsive, and it also added several new tools, including drag-and-drop columns, auto-complete, and a formula bar for cell editing.

Meanwhile, the drawing editor lets you collaborate - again in "real-time" - on flow charts, diagrams, and other graphics, and these can be copied into documents, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint-like presentations using Google's web-based clipboard.

The new editors are not compatible with Google Gears, which the company is moving away from, and thus do not provide offline access. But the company intends to offer offline support via HTML5 in the future.

To try the previews, select “New version” at the top of any spreadsheet or find the Google Docs "Document Settings" page and select "New version of Google documents." ®

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