Google Docs set to introduce offline access for Android phones

Jennifer Scott News
2 Feb, 2012

The cloud company tries to improve the mobile experience with more Google Docs functionality

Google will enable Android users to access their Google Docs offline, the company revealed this week.

Up until now, customers using smartphones or tablets based on Google's Android mobile operating system (OS) could only get to the documents in the cloud via a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.

Now, users can select the documents they want to be able to view offline and access them, regardless of connectivity, via the Google Docs application.

"There may be times when you don’t have an internet connection on your Android device, but you still want access to a file you’ve saved in Google Docs," wrote  Freeman Liu, a software engineer at Google, on the company's blog.

"Now you can select any file in Google Docs to make it available offline. So regardless of whether you’re connected to the internet, you’re always connected to those files."

In addition, whenever the phone or tablet is connected to Wi-Fi, it will automatically update any changes made to the documents to the cloud version. Users can also manually update documents when they have any data connection.

Although these improvements will benefit mobile and tablet users, the prospect of this functionality will be of great importance to users of the ChromeOS. One of the flaws for business users is the inability to access documents without a connection, which would become null and void if this was implemented on Chrome netbooks.

Google has also continued to boost its tablet experience by revamping the Google Docs app for the devices.

Users will now get high definition versions of their documents when they view them on a tablet, as well as be able to use more touchscreen capabilities, such as swiping left to right to move through the documents stored.

"Whether you’re offline or online, these improvements will make it easier to be productive from anywhere," added Liu. 

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