Chrome: Google Drive has had offline access to files for a little while, but the process wasn't automatic. With a recent update that's rolling out to users today, all your Google Drive files that you create will automatically be stored for offline access.
iOS/ChromeOS: If you've been waiting for offline document editing in Google Docs, wait no longer. Google announced offline editing at Google I/O today, and Google Drive, Google's Dropbox-like competitor, picked up native apps for iOS and Chrome OS which allow you to view and edit documents in full screen on your iPhone, iPad, or Chromebook. More »
Chrome: Heavy Google Docs users know it can be a pain when you get an email with an attachment—even if it's in Gmail—and want to save it in Google Docs for later. You have to view the attachment first, and then click to save it in Google Docs, and even then only if it's one of a few file types. With the Gmail Attachments to Docs extension for Chrome, saving one or all of your attachments is as easy as clicking one link. More »
Google continues to leverage its good work in HTML5 to enable its productivity and collaboration applications to work offline.
The company is now letting users make any Google Docs available offline from their Android smartphone or tablet computer.
This covers documents, Google presentations, Google spreadsheets, uploaded images, and files in formats such as .pdf, .doc, .xls and .ppt. Users may do this with or without a Web connection.
This feature is important for users who don't have access to an Web connection and need to access a file they've saved. Google does not enable Doc editing at this time.
This is obviously not a big concern for users with 3G- and 4G-radio powered smartphones, but Google still has the use case:
I wager the feature is super useful for users of the WiFi-only Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and others of its ilk who need to grab their Docs.
Moreover, Docs will automatically update offline files when users do get on WiFi. Of course, users with Web connections may manually update files by opening the file or tapping Update from the Offline section of the app.
See the manual update screenshot from an Android tablet here:
Users should also follow these instructions for how to enable offline access from their Android gadgets here.
How is Google doing this? Again, it's HTML5, the same technology Google used for offline Gmail, Docs and Calendar through Google Chrome on desktops such as Chromebooks.
Chrome: If you use Google Docs to collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and other files, you know it can be nerve-wracking to wait for someone else to update your document before you work on it again. WatchDoc takes the surprise out of it and lets you know when the document's been updated and by whom, as soon as it's been updated. More »
Chrome: The "Open ZIP and RAR With GDocs" Chrome extension lets you view the contents of a compressed archive directly in your browser using Google Docs' convenient support for ZIP and RAR archives. More »
You can trick Chrome into thinking that any super-long URL is a much shorter one by adding it to the list of "other search engines" in the browser's Preferences pane. One great use for this is to get to frequently-used Google Docs files, like in the image above. More »
Google Gears was launched back in 2007 -- before Google Chrome, and back when web apps were still in their early stages -- as a way for web app developers to allow offline access to documents. Gears never really caught on, and was eventually replaced by standards-based solutions. Now, Google has announced that it's finally removing support for the Gears plugin from Chrome.
With Google now in charge of its own browser, there's no longer a reason to hack together a plugin for offline access to documents. The removal of Gears is a strong hint that Google's promised offline access for its own Google Docs -- scheduled for "early 2011" -- is almost here.
The cloud, the final frontier. Endless. Silent. Waiting. This is the story of the Google Chrome extension Cloud Save. Its mission: To provide Internet users with a way to save files that they have found on the web to the cloud, without saving them first on the local computer.
Cloud Save is a new extension for the Google Chrome browser that integrates several popular cloud based storage solutions into the browser.
How does it work? The Chrome extension adds a Cloud Save entry to the Google Chrome mouse context menu. The new option appears therefor on every right-click in the web browser ui.
Cloud Save offers to send the data to online storage providers. The available context menu entries change based on the source file type. Flickr and Picasa are for instance displayed among other options on image right-clicks, but not on document right-clicks.
Popular cloud based providers that are supported by the extension, other than the two image hosting providers, are Dropbox, Google Docs or Twitpic.
The extension redirects the request to the website of the selected provider. The next step depends largely on the selected service. Some, like Twitpic and Twitter, require that the user allows the extension, or more precisely its back-end, access rights. On other sites it is just required to log in, or stay logged in, to save the selected file online.
Cloud Save has a few problems, which may be attributed to the fact that the developer finished the first version in less than 40 minutes.
For one, users who select Google Docs may get an error message when they try to upload unsupported file types, unless they are enterprise customers who do not have file type limitations. Another problem related to Google Docs is that images are saved as documents, and not in their original image format.
Some commenters mentioned that they were unable to save files to specific folders which would be a serious problem if true. The Save As option of the context menu can be used to save files to specific folders and with different file names.
Uploading to Picasa lastly does not seem to work right now. It is likely that the developer will improve the Chrome extension as he is actively answering questions in the comments that indicate it.
Install Cloud Save, and you'll add the ability to right-click files on Web pages you visit and zap (or sideload) them to various online services like Google Docs, Dropbox, Picasa, Flickr, Posterous, CloudApp, and Box.Net. The extension appears to be based on drag2up, another handy little Chrome extension, as you'll see some of the auth dialogs refer to it instead of Cloud Save.
By default, Cloud Save shows you desktop notifications when a transfer completes -- though you can shut them off if you like. It's a handy extension for zapping found files to your cloud storage without having to download them to your desktop first.
Once you've installed the extension, just highlight text on a Web page and press the webclip icon in your browser actions area. You'll see an OAuth dialog the first time, but from then on clips will be added directly to a document called 'webclips'. The extension even uses Chrome's notification system to tell you when your text has been successfully saved. As you can see in the screenshot, details about the source are saved as well. The page title, URL, and date of your capture are all inserted before your copied text.
Webclip has a lot of potential. With the addition of support for more than just text -- say images or rich formatting -- and the ability to save to more than one webclip doc, it would be a killer extension for Google Docs users who browse with Chrome.
I'm sure most of you have used Google Docs in one form or another. You might've shared a document with a friend or collaboratively planned your trip expenses in a shared spreadsheet -- maybe you've even used the new 'public sharing' feature for more nefarious purposes!
Even if you're looking forward to Microsoft's Office Web Apps, the point remains: we're doing more and more processing in the cloud. The platform that matters is no longer Mac or Windows or Linux, but rather which Web browser. And let's be honest, Web browsers still have a long way to go before they're as usable as operating systems. Sure, one day you'll have a Windows 7 Superbar at the bottom of Firefox, but not yet -- and that's why we have EXTENSIONS!
I should probably get to the point of this post: the Google Docs blog has collated a bunch of handy extensions for making the most out of... Google Docs. At their most basic, they provide 'New Spreadsheet' and 'New Doc' buttons next to your address bar, but advanced extensions like Snippy allow you to copy and paste entire sections of websites to a new Google Doc.
That's Chrome out of the way, but now someone needs to collate a bunch of Firefox add-ons for Google Docs integration. I found 'Send to Google Docs', but I'm sure you guys know of some other great add-ons? If so, share them in the comments!
Chrome: Docs PDF and PowerPoint Viewer automatically opens linked PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, and Word documents in Google Docs Viewer without requiring you to download the file and open it with a local desktop application on your computer. More »
Do you hate the way that Google Chrome handles PDFs? Are you tired of downloading them? Well, now there's an official Chrome extension from Google that lets you view all PDFs and PowerPoint files in Google Docs by default. Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer seems to work well for the most part, but the ability to save a PDF to your Google Docs account would be a useful addition.
It worked fine for me on the latest stable version of Chrome Mac, but some commenters have reported problems with the extension on their Macs. Also, it seems to have trouble with PDFs from password-protected sites -- even when you're logged in -- but that's a minor quibble.
If you're not running Chrome, I previously covered a userscript that does basically the same thing, so you can plug that into Greasemonkey in Firefox or GreaseKit in Safari.
Chrome: Google Docs' open 1 GB storage space can be a handy, centralized space for stuff you find on the web. The Send to Google Docs Chrome extension makes web capturing very fast with instant page-to-PDF and file uploading.
Send to Google Docs doesn't work quite like the Firefox extension that shares its name. If you click its familiar-looking button while looking at a standard page, the page is converted to a PDF (through PDFMyURL) and uploaded to a Captures folder in your Docs space. If you've opened a PDF, image file, or SWF (Flash) file in a new tab, hit the Send to Google Docs button with that tab focused, and that file will arrive whole at Google Docs.