Google Docs, the convenient online-competitor to Microsoft Office, today rolled out some great new features that combine many of the search-giants services into one handy product. The key to the overhaul is real-time collaboration. Essentially, it combines features from Buzz and Google chat to create a document-style layout, with an in-the-margins sidebar that allows you to track changes, add comments, and talk with co-workers as you would in Gchat. More importantly, the editing is done entirely real-time, enabling users to see feedback instantaneously, or “character-by-character” as Google refers to it.
Google has also significantly improved its editor engine, upgrading its responsiveness, speeds, and capabilities. For example, the spreadsheet editor now has drag-and-drop, autofill, and editing from the formula bar, making it a worthy competitor to Excel. It’s very impressive to watch these sheets edited in real-time–Google has created a very streamlined online Office experience that should have Microsoft quaking.