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Software Google Upgrades

Google Shifts Editing From Drive to Docs and Sheets In 'Confusing' Switch 89

Posted by timothy
from the conditionally-readable-headline dept.
GottaBeMobile offers a better explanation than many other reports of a recent Google upgrade (some users would say more of a lateral move) that makes offline document creation and editing a first-class option for users of Google's office apps, but removes editing capabilities from Google Drive per se. Instead of creating or editing documents directly through Drive, users will instead be able to do this (including offline) with a dedicated app called Docs and Sheets. The article explains a few ways in which the new configuration is confusing, including this one: "Splitting out the editing functionality from Google Drive into the new Apps certainly seems odd given that fundamentally there are no new or different editing features offered in the new Google Docs and Google Sheets standalone Apps. Some users won’t appreciate having to download the new stand alone Apps to replace previous functionality, especially limited functionality."
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Google Shifts Editing From Drive to Docs and Sheets In 'Confusing' Switch

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  • by scottbomb (1290580) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @10:43AM (#46912761) Journal

    Google has a history of constantly tweaking their applications to the point of breaking them and/or making them less useful. There is a reason why the old saying, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" exists. The only thing they seem to get right is search. Yeah, Maps and Earth work well, unless your using Linux or an Android smartphone. Maybe they should focus on fixing bugs instead of creating new ones.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      Google has always had a "too many direction change" problem as their meritocracy sometimes tries things, and then end up giving up one idea to try another. If they really are an always profitable company, why is ticker GOOG in existance?

    • Turn the screw until you hear a crack then back off a few turns...

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Since we're talking about Google apps, turn the screw until you hear a crack, then turn ten or twelve more times.

    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:30AM (#46912949)

      Yeah, Maps and Earth work well

      Maps used to work well. The recent new version is, unfortunately, a textbook example of the tweaking-to-the-point-of-breaking that you mentioned.

      • I'm trying to avoid rebooting my computer to prolong how long I get to keep using the old maps. Streetview is a little better but why do the map tiles take three times longer to load?

      • On android at least it's utter rubbish. It can't do anything without a data connection and the UI is just retarded. You can't (at least, the last time I bothered trying) save "where I am right now" as a location (no doubt they call them something retarded like an aspect locus) - it wants you to type in an address. If only there was another method - like, say, a pair of numbers of specifying a location...

        • Check out "Copilot". It's $8 (for the North American version; other regions are a bit more expensive if memory serves), and downloading maps is its claim to fame. You download the maps for the regions you need via wifi, and it navigates you without ever needing a data connection. It also has traffic redirection like Waze, which is free for the first year and some trivial amount thereafter. It reads turn-by-turn directions via the Android TTS engine, so any voices you have for it will work.

          The caveats are th

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            The caveats are that map updates tend to be released quarterly (a problem if you're looking for that super-new restaurant the next town over)

            The big map companies (Navteq and Tele-Atlas) only do quarterly map updates. The raw map data is provided to the companies that subscribe who then transform that data into the native format required for their apps.

            You can't update faster than the map provider gives you.

            You'd think Google would have the advantage here, but their map data can be years out of date...

      • Yeah, Maps works...Except that the Maps case is just like their online documents: someone made a better version

        So, just like we use Evernote instead of Docs, Waze does a heck of a better job making me skip traffic jams to get home.

        Yet ANOTHER thing Google doesn't do better than the competition...

    • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:47AM (#46913041)

      I find this is a common corporate problem, eventually a product just peaks out and does what it's meant to do, then you're left with a bunch of people who helped get it there left with nothing to do. So they keep trying to improve it beyond where it was already perfect, in the process breaking it, maybe because they don't realise they're finished or maybe because they need a justification to stay in employment. So we end up with buggy bloated pieces of crap. Office is one such product, there's very little a business needs that can't be done perfectly well using Office 97.

    • "if it isn't broke, don't fix it"

      FTFY.

      3... 2... 1... there it is.

      • by JWSmythe (446288)

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2014 @10:44AM (#46912765)

    Could someone not have mentioned that it was for iOS so I could have ignored it. Haven't used that since soon after I gave up on Windows. I'm sure there are several other Slashdotters still stuck on that, so it's fine to post such a story, but please make it clear for the majority of us who won't care.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2014 @10:53AM (#46912799)

    I don't really use these apps, bit why would something called Google drive be the thing I use to edit Google docs? Small programs that do one thing well and integrate with others makes a heck of a lot more sense then what appears to have been a poorly named monolith.

    • Thank you!.. I (and I'm sure Google) were thinking the same thing. Why everyone insists this is confusing is dumb. It was confusing as hell before. Changing to a paradigm that is well established by decades of MS Office is not confusing.
    • It actually started the other way around: what was originally Google Docs became (part of) Google Drive a while back.

      • by pla (258480)
        It actually started the other way around: what was originally Google Docs became (part of) Google Drive a while back.

        The nomenclature part of this doesn't bother me. I couldn't care less whether they call it "Google Docs" or "Google Drive" or "Google Kittens".

        I very much do care, however, about needing to actually download and install an app to do something that previously worked perfectly well via website. I've always found Sheets a bit more cludgy than using Excel locally, but its online massively-
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Baron Von J (2929197)
          previously worked perfectly well via website

          They aren't taking away web editing. They're taking editing out of the mobile app.

          • Oh! Mod this guy up. Summary is seriously confusing. They're just turning one iOS app into several. Nothing to do with anyone else...

        • Google never made it easy to suck up data from the web and throw it on their spreadsheets.

          Yahoo Pipes was much better, and other smaller software firms that went out of business.

          http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/ [yahoo.com]

          Google only does search & ads.

          Even programming languages: they hired Rob Pike. The man couldn't get the first one right (C), and that's supposed to be cutting-edge?!

          Menawhile, Facebook is using D internally, and Microsoft rolled out F#...Google is mentally broken. Too many Java programmers at the GOO

          • Look I broadly agree with you that Google today is no longer as good as they used to be, both in terms of their product and their "don't be evil" mentality/mantra/outlook.

            But really, dissing their employees is a new low. Most of them have no say in the decision making process and are just working to make a living, like the rest of us.

            And I had a look at your posting history. Do you realise that 9 out of your last 10 posts are nothing more than variations of "F*** Google"? And all in this same thread?

            Tone it

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's the way it used to be!

      Google Docs existed before Google Drive. Shortly after Drive was introduced, they merged Docs into it. The existing domain docs.google.com redirected to drive.google.com after that point. I thought it was silly, as it seemed like Drive should have been the file manager (Windows Explorer) and Docs the office suite (OpenOffice).

      I guess now they've concluded that too.

    • This. Having a separate app for editing makes sense.
    • by thsths (31372)

      Agreed. Even as a drive user, I always found it a bit weird that drive contained an editor for office files. A viewer - fine, that could be useful, but an editor? The division into a separate app makes a lot more sense. And I if there are hand over issues, I am sure they can be sorted out quickly.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The main reason they have done this is a massive problem I deal with every single day. BIG documents. I have numerous spreadsheets that hold tends of thousands (or more) of rows. However a browser based spreadsheet where the data is stored on the server is NEVER going to be as capable as a local application. Imagine how frustrated I am when sorting or creating pivots... I pull my hair out daily. They just don't want to admit that WRT this issue - they just "moved laterally" to a model of editing that is vir

  • There is no offline mode. You can open a document, but if you try to edit it, the app will try to open the document in online mode. This is one of the most requested features, offline editing, so naturally Google ignores it.

  • by QilessQi (2044624) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:07AM (#46912867)

    It sounds like the code base has grown to the point that they realized it would make sense to separate the code for managing a collection of online files from the code for editing a particular file. So: Drive is the file manager, Docs is for word processing documents, and Sheets is for spreadsheets.

    That sounds pretty reasonable, especially from a project-management perspective. De-coupling the code will probably allow the different teams to release updates as needed without having to be in perfect synch with each other's schedules. That is, they can submit a patch to Docs even if Sheets is in the middle of a major refactoring.

    • De-coupling code is great. However, code refactoring should have no detrimental effects on end user experience. If it does, you are doing it wrong.

      Your explanation implies a tail wagging the dog.

      • by QilessQi (2044624)

        This is often the case when a project is begun with insufficient foresight into what its technical needs might be down the road. This happens with evolving systems all the time. When the current architecture acts as a drag on development efforts, the architects must weigh the cost of a little temporary user inconvenience against the cost of maintaining a monolithic application.

        When the tail is caught in the spokes of a wheel, the dog has no choice but to follow the wag'n. :-)

    • Can I get Apple to un-couple all the extra crap they jammed into iTunes so I can sync my iPod without my desktop griniding to a halt?
    • by s7uar7 (746699) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @01:12PM (#46913571) Homepage
      My uninformed guess is that they realized that most people didn't know that the 'Google Drive' app was for document editing, and with the release of Office for iPad they wanted to make they had a visible competitor.
    • by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Sunday May 04, 2014 @01:57PM (#46913867)

      So: Drive is the file manager, Docs is for word processing documents, and Sheets is for spreadsheets.

      It makes even more sense to decouple them when you consider another (now Google) product, Quickoffice.

    • But this was just for iOS7? Or is it for Android devices too?

      • The two new apps are also for android. For now it they have kept the drive app functionality intact, but I think they will remove it on the next update
  • Did Google take down the Beta tag on these logos yet? Remember, not all Beta projects make it to stable. A lot of people were using GMail before the Beta sign went down!

  • Hmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by technomom (444378) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:33AM (#46912953)
    I think it makes sense if you consider that Microsoft and Google are starting to make peace with each other. Microsoft recently officially gave their blessing to using office.com on Chrome and ChromeOS. So, imagine now that maybe you'll be able to save and edit actual word docs in Drive using Office and that perhaps Microsoft will also be opening its own Skydrive (or whatever they're calling it now) up to other document types? I admit it's a stretch, but given the new focus on the cloud from Microsoft, it could happen. This also makes more sense from the "merging Android and Chrome" point of view as well as mobile tends to favor smaller, single purpose apps.
    • ChromeOS...What a joke.

      • In between MacOS and Windows 8, I don't think the average user of 2014 wants a broken, lame OS. If they did, they'd all be cool using some Linux distro (as for the "linux is just the kernel blah-blah-blah" - shove it...)

  • It used to be Google Docs, right? Then they decided it was a cloud storage product and renamed the whole thing (including the editors) Drive. This confused a lot of people who didn't understand why you had to download Google Drive to edit a spreadsheet. So now they have seperate products and people are complaining about that too?

    I give up. I mean I'm broadly sympathetic to change aversion, but this isn't even that. It's just breaking out functionality into more rational chunks, and people complaining about it.

  • They remove the feature which kept me from using google docs and sheets...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Because the people of Slashdot are fucking stupid. Say I don't do editting or I just use drive as storage I don't need the added functionality, so why have it in the app. Say I'd like to open a document and spreadsheet I now can since before you couldn't with a single app.

    • The point we're debating, and that you seem to miss, is: why make Docs if it's a lame ass piece of shit that does half of what OpenOffice does even though you stole their code?
      Remember how they were gonna kill Microsoft Office.
      Well, lo and behold, there's Office 365 for you.
      What. The. Fuck. Google.

  • This is going to totally confuse users. They're moving document creation from the storage service "Drive" to the document service "Docs".

  • Great name! (Score:4, Funny)

    by glwtta (532858) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @06:58PM (#46915537) Homepage
    Docs and Sheets definitely doesn't sound like a store you would find between Staples and Linens & Things.
  • by synthespian (563437) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @07:55PM (#46915735)

    Dear Google --

    You are your worst enemy.
    Please, just stop.
    First, a purported Microsoft Office-killer. Then, you lost space to Evernote. Oh. My. God. How can it be that small software houses beat you to the online document race?
    You periodically either shoot yourself on the foot, or you pull features and leave your user/programmers feeling you're not reliable. Because you're not.
    You have a serious lack of direction. Reconsider your ways.
    Nothing you do outside search works. Or barely works.
    And nobody uses Google+. Face it.
    Please, just stop.

    • by mattr (78516)

      Definitely. While search is extremely useful, I would say integral to the way I use the net now, I absolutely do not trust Google 1) to not abuse my data, history or anything important to business and 2) to maintain a usable service without wrecking it in a year. Due to their bizarre philosophy Google is constitutionally incapable of launching a trusted service. Everything on the menu is subject to destruction / morphing at whim. I have seen my decision not to use Google justified 2 or 3 times already. I wa

  • Maybe this is just a way to pump up the apps in the App Store after recent release of Office 365 on iOS?

  • DropBox (Score:2, Insightful)

    This is why I love the DropBox concept : it is just a local folder on my machine and I can use any application I want to edit the files stored in there.

    And if one day DropBox becomes too evil or too expensive, I can transparently switch to an other solution to sync my documents without changing the way I edit them.

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