It’s been a busy week for Google Apps administrators, here’s a quick catch up of all the changes.
Google has made several small but significant changes to Android and iOS Google Drive apps in recent days. Hinting at Google’s long-term plan for its Google Apps productivity suite, the company has split Docs and Sheets editing out of the main Google Drive app.
The ability to edit Google documents is now available in separate apps simply called “Docs” and “Sheets” available on both Google Play and the App Store. A “Slides” app, for presentations is on the way.
Splitting off Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides
Rather than having to navigate complex folder structures in Google Drive, the separate apps provide access to your work in a single press. Folders are out, instead presented with a simple list of documents.
In typical Google style you’re limited to search or scrolling to find the file you want. This is fine for most, but if you have a lot of documents a little in-app organisation would have been appreciated. I can see many of my users ending up with an unorganised stack of documents in the top level of their Google Drive.
I like the change. It makes sense to unbundle these app for a number of reasons. First, Google can update individual apps faster. Secondly, it encourages third-parties to develop apps on top of the Google Drive platform. Finally, it gives users a direct way to create documents rather than having to navigate the Google Drive core app.
What I don’t like, however, is the way Google has gone about this. A simple email to Google Apps administrators, or a notification in the Google Apps control panel would have been appreciated. The way Google has implemented the changes in the apps is pretty straight forward, and most will understand the changes straight away, but for administrators with a hundreds or thousands of users a little warning would have been nice.
Users who have updated Drive before installing the separate Docs and Sheets apps will be prompted to download them from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store when attempting to create or edit a document within Drive.
Google Drive Passcode Lock
A new feature in the Drive, Docs, and Sheets apps is the passcode lock. From the Google Drive app settings menu, you can now enter a passcode to prevent wandering fingers accessing your cloud storage. That’s great if you don’t have an iOS passcode set — but why wouldn’t you?! — or have children who use your tablet or phone.