Gaga for Google Docs’ new collaborative features!

Just when we were beginning to really enjoy and get the hang of Google Docs, the company went ahead and got all collaborative on us!  That’s right, the cloud-based wordprocesser is boldly going where no free document editing tool has gone before.  With the the new features available in Google Docs, the cloud is now more open for sharing than ever before.

More than just some new tweaks, bells and whistles, Google actually claims to have rebuilt Google Docs from the ground up (or is that the cloud up?). Addressing what they saw as a need for better communication and collaboration in the document creation and editing process, the company may very well have revolutionized the way we work.  Actually working together on a document just got a whole lot easier!

With the new Google Docs, up to 50 people can collaborate on a single document.  Not only can you see who is viewing it, but you can see their edits as they type them (a trick the company first unveiled in Google Wave).  Collaborators can even chat right on the screen as they work.  VERY cool!

Cooler still, and perhaps more intriguing, is the new drawing abilities that have been added to Google Docs.  Yes, those same 50 people who are editing a document together can actually collaborate on a drawing and embed it right into the document.  Now that’s power!

Finally, Google has also added some of the “wordprocessor-esque” functionality and feel that Docs has been lacking since its debut.  Things like rulers and tab stops now give it a more conventional and comforting appearance akin to what we see in most commercial programs.

To access these new features, users simply need to go into their Google Docs settings and click to enable the new version on the “Editing” tab.  With the new Google Docs, the company is getting much more serious about its cloud offerings.  Look out Microsoft Word, the silver lining of this cloud is really starting to shine!

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