Google Docs Overview Updated November 8, 2021

Google Docs

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180 'Google Docs' stories

May 2011 - November 2021


Google Docs originated from web-based word processor Writely. The app would lay the groundwork for such common features as collaborative text editing. Eventually acquired by Google, it was made available to all Google Apps users in February of 2007.

The marquee feature of Docs is the ability to collaborate with a wide number of people online. Controls help determine who can see, comment, and edit documents. In its current form, Docs is an HTML5 app that runs on most modern browsers and even has support for rudimentary viewing on mobile. Its Android and iOS apps are quite powerful and gives users access to the same web functionality.

On Chrome, Docs works offline and allows users to work without an internet connection and have changes synced backed up to the cloud. An Add-ons feature allows third-party developers to add extra functionality like a thesaurus and a bibliography creator.

Google Docs Stories November 8

In 2019, Google started testing a review and approval system for Docs, Sheets, and Slides. After the two-year beta period, “formal document approvals” are now rolling out to Workspace users.

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Google Docs Stories October 20

Google Docs getting universal @ menu for inserting content, ‘Add page break before’

The latest update to Google Docs makes official the “universal @ menu” that’s part of Workspace’s “Smart canvas” initiative. Meanwhile, there will be a new “Add page break before” option.

Google Docs Stories October 5

Following the big Android app update that brought a Material You redesign and new widgets, Google Calendar is adding a nifty shortcut on the web to create meeting notes.

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Google Docs Stories September 27

Google Docs getting wider comment boxes, background watermark support

The Google Docs web client is adding support for background watermarks, while comment boxes in the sidebar are getting wider to let you read more feedback per line.

Google Docs Stories September 14

In the media landscape, newsletters are currently very popular among journalists and other writers that want a direct audience, as well as business. Most are using Substack, with Google’s Area 120 experimenting on a very interesting tool called Museletter that leverages Docs/Drive for distribution.

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Google Docs Stories September 9

Following the Gmail redesign last week, Google today showed off Material You for the key Workspace apps on Android 12. This includes Google Calendar, Drive, Docs, Gmail, Meet, Sheets, and Slides.

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Google Docs Stories August 24

Google bringing Smart Reply suggestions to comments in Docs

After launching in Gmail, Smart Reply has expanded to more and more Google products. Google Docs already has Smart Compose, and it’s now adding Smart Reply suggestions when commenting.

Google Docs Stories June 14

In addition to Gmail, Meet, and other Workspace announcements today, Google Docs and Drive will soon get Client-side encryption where “customer data is indecipherable to Google.”

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Google Docs Stories June 2

Google Docs and Slides pick up 60 new fonts, including JetBrains Mono, Comic Neue

Google Fonts is a catalog of over 1,000 free licensed font families and, most recently, icons. New additions to that library have now made their way into Google Docs and Slides.

Google Docs Stories May 26

At I/O 2021, Google announced several “Smart canvas” features that will better integrate the company’s various productivity apps. The ability to present from Docs, Sheets, and Slides directly to Google Meet is now rolling out.

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Google Docs Stories May 24

Google Docs now supports positioning images behind or in front of text

Last week, Google announced “Smart Canvas” as a set of features to boost the interconnectedness of Docs and other Workspace apps. Google Docs is now getting a low-hanging capability to “position an image in front of or behind text.”

Google Docs Stories May 18

In unveiling “Smart canvas” at I/O 2021, Google called it the “next big step” in the future of work. The goal is to create a more integrated and interactive Workspace experience, especially in Google Docs.

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Google Docs Stories May 11

Over the next few months, Google Docs will update how it renders documents to improve performance and consistency across different platforms. In Docs migrating to canvas-based rendering and switching away from the current HTML approach, Google is warning of an impact to Chrome extensions.

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Google Docs Stories May 7

Google Docs trends on Twitter for all the right reasons; here are some of our favorite responses

Google Docs hit the Twitter “Trending” tab overnight, and for a change, it was actually for all the right reasons, showcasing just why it’s arguably the best word processor out there.

Google Docs Stories May 4

Last year, Adobe released a Gmail Add-on for Creative Cloud for quick access and saving. An update to the Creative Cloud Add-on for Google Workspace today extends that functionality to Google Docs and Slides.

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Google Docs Stories April 12

If you’re having trouble with Google Drive services this morning, you’re not alone. Google Drive is experiencing a partial outage that’s bringing down Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for many users.

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Google Docs Stories April 5

Back in November, Google announced that Docs, Sheets, Slides, and other Workspace files will count toward storage caps. This is set to start for personal accounts on June 1, but Workspace users will be given an extension into 2022.

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Google Docs Stories March 31

Google Docs citations tool adding support for film, TV sources

Last year, Docs added a built-in citations tool, and Google is now updating the capability with more source types to join the existing five.

Google Docs Stories February 23

Google Docs getting the ability to filter comments meant ‘for you’

Commenting in Docs can get especially unwieldy when there are several participants working on a multi-part file. Google Docs is making a pair of changes to the comments experience, starting with a filter.

Google Docs Stories January 27

Multi-user document collaboration is about to get a little bit more organized with work calendars, as the latest update to Google Docs for G Suite/Workspace subscribers is a warning if a coworker is out of office when tagged by a comment.

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Google Docs Stories January 5

Google Docs adds Smart Compose, autocorrect to comments

Since Smart Compose launched in Gmail at I/O 2018, the machine learning feature has expanded to more users and other products. In Google Docs, the helpful tool, along with autocorrect, is now available when commenting.

Google Docs Stories December 10, 2020

Google is rolling out new features across Docs and other Workspace apps to increase interoperability with Word and the Microsoft Office suite. It comes as some teams might choose to use both sets of tools, while others still work with partners that don’t use cloud offerings.

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Google Docs Stories November 30, 2020

Google Docs improves importing PDFs with images, tables, and advanced formatting

Opening a PDF uploaded to Google Drive provides a basic preview. You’ve long been able to edit PDF files by selecting the “Open with Google Docs” option, and the import experience is now offering improved support.

Google Docs Stories November 24, 2020

Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for iOS add Microsoft Office editing

Following the web last year and Android in September, Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for iOS can now edit Office files. 

Google Docs Stories November 11, 2020

In addition to Photos ending unlimited free backup, Google is making a change to how Docs, Sheets, Slides, and other similar files are stored. The company also announced new auto-delete polices for inactive and full accounts.

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Google Docs Stories October 28, 2020

Have you received an email about a new comment in a Google Docs or other Google Workspace file you don’t recognize? Do not click the included link, as it’s likely part of a new source of spam emails that are abusing comments in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

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Google Docs Stories October 27, 2020

Google’s editing applications can open and edit Microsoft files, with that capability recently coming to Android. When opening Office files from the Drive web client, Google will now directly open them in editing mode. 

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Google Docs Stories October 22, 2020

Google Docs surpasses 1 billion installs milestone on the Play Store

One of the best products that Google has made period, Google Docs is now celebrating a major milestone on the Play Store after surpassing 1 billion installs on Android.

Google Docs Stories October 21, 2020

After coming to Gmail, Calendar, and Drive, the Google Workspace Add-ons side panel will soon be available in Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Google today also showed off a useful Translate integration.

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Google Docs Stories October 6, 2020

As part of Google Workspace, the company is rolling out new branding for its productivity apps. Gmail — as teased last month — will be getting a new icon, with Calendar, Drive, Docs, and Meet also following over the coming weeks.

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Google Docs Stories September 8, 2020

Google Docs for Android adds Microsoft Office editing, improves line spacing

As announced last month, Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for Android now support Microsoft Office editing. A related change sees Docs adjust line spacing based on the current font.

Google Docs Stories August 31, 2020

Google Docs rolling out improved braille navigation and verbalizations

Google is working to improve braille support in Docs with a handful of new features today that cover navigation and output. 

Google Docs Stories August 5, 2020

Google tries to differentiate its G Suite apps by leveraging AI to boost user productivity. It’s now bringing several key features, including Smart Compose, that first debuted on the desktop web to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for Android and iOS.

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Google Docs Stories July 16, 2020

Grammarly gets enhanced Google Docs integration w/ handy sidebar

Back in 2018, the handy writing tool Grammarly added support for Google Docs to help users everywhere ensure correct spelling and grammar regardless of their project. In the time since that integration has only matured and, now, it’s getting a big upgrade.

Google Docs Stories July 14, 2020

For the past several weeks, we’ve been tracking a big Gmail for Android redesign that incorporates Google Chat and Meet. The video calling integration has been officially announced and is rolling out now, while the rest leaked today. Google is making Gmail the “new home for work” by letting you do everything from the same screen/app.

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Google Docs Stories July 6, 2020

For over a year now, Google has been bringing dark mode to its Android apps to go with Android 10’s dark theme toggle. Today, they’re launching a long-awaited and much needed dark mode to the Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps for Android, to make your work easier on the eyes.

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Google Docs Stories June 23, 2020

The unifying goal of Google’s productivity apps is leveraging machine learning to boost end user productivity. Today, Google is adding Spanish support for grammar suggestions in Gmail and Docs, with autocorrect and Smart Compose coming later this year.

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Google Docs Stories June 17, 2020

While Drive for Android gained a dark theme last April, Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides have been notable holdouts. Night-friendly modes for these apps are coming and will likely also apply to the document view.

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Google Docs Stories June 11, 2020

Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, and other G Suite apps all feature a side panel that provides quick access to Tasks, Keep, and third-party add-ons. The Google Calendar widget available in the sidebar will soon let users directly edit existing events.

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Google Docs Stories June 9, 2020

After tweaking the search bar, Google is rolling out a more substantial update to Docs, Sheets, and Slides for Android. The UI for commenting has been redesigned to be more mobile-friendly.

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Google Docs Stories June 1, 2020

Back in February, Smart Compose and autocorrect for Google Docs entered general availability after several months of testing. These machine learning-powered features are now coming to G Suite for Education and Nonprofit customers.

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Google Docs Stories May 27, 2020

G Suite’s productivity apps are seeing a pair of updates on Android and the web today. On the latter platform, there’s a Google Docs “document status” indicator, while the mobile apps pick up a new search field.

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Google Docs Stories April 28, 2020

Google Drive and the G Suite family of productive apps often get small, iterative refreshes. The latest update today is more notable and sees a big redesign of the sharing UI that focuses on ease of use.

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Google Docs Stories March 12, 2020

Google Sheets is now gaining a new feature that allows you to filter and sort cells by text color and fill (background) color.

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Google Docs Stories March 9, 2020

Google Docs gets fixed image positioning with new formatting sidebar 

Google Docs on the web is getting the ability to fix an image to a certain position on the page. As part of this, the editor is adding a new image formatting sidebar to provide easier access to capabilities.

Google Docs Stories February 18, 2020

Last November, Google Docs started testing autocorrect and Smart Compose as part of leveraging machine learning to improve user productivity. Those two features are now widely rolling out, though availability is tiered.

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Google Docs Stories November 25, 2019

Where is the Google Docs download for Windows?

Google Docs and the rest of the Google cloud suite is super-useful, but what happens when the internet goes out? Where is the Google Docs download for Windows?

Google Docs Stories November 21, 2019

In addition to Docs gaining Smart Compose, Google is significantly improving the grammar correction it introduced earlier this year in the G Suite app. It’s also gaining spelling autocorrect from Gmail.

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