Google Docs has long allowed smartphone users to open and view their documents. That's as far as it went, however. Editing those documents from within the Android or iPhone browsers (among others) wasn't possible. The same limitation also applied to Apple's iPad and even the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Today, Google followed up on an earlier promise to bring Docs editing functions to Android and iOS devices. The new editing tool that is to be added to Docs will allow users to open, view, and make changes to their online Google documents from anywhere they have access to an internet connection.
According to Google, Android devices running 2.2 Froyo and iOS devices running 3.0+ will be able access these new feature from their device's browser. Users will need to navigate to docs.google.com and sign into their account. Once a document is open, users will have to toggle an "Edit" button in the nav bar to have access to editing features (as long as they have permission to edit that particular document).
Editing features include inline changes to text, the ability to edit tables, and, for Android users, the ability to input text via spoken dictation. Users will also be able to edit spreadsheets. What Google doesn't make clear is if some of Docs' more advanced features, such as inserting comments, tables, images and links, are possible, or if users will be able to adjust formatting and/or use special characters.
For this Google Docs users, simple inline text editing is a solid enough start. I've relied on Google Docs since 2006, and have been pining for editing support since mid-2007. For business users on the go, this can be a boon to productivity, negating the need to sit down with a PC to access and edit docs.
Google says that the functionality will be rolled out to English language users around the world over the course of the next few days. Google said support for more languages will be rolled out over time. Google doesn't indicate if editing features will appear on other WebKit-based browsers, such as the new BlackBerry 6 browser.
I checked to see if it was available yet, and sadly it isn't. Hopefully the functionality will be distributed to all Docs uses by the end of the week.
Here's a quick promotion video to show off how it works.