Today Google released two new applications on Google Play and the iOS App Store. The new apps are called Google Sheets and Google Docs and they are essentially standalone versions of the editing tools built into the Google Drive application.
Immediately it can be seen that they greatly resemble the Google Drive app but each with their own color theme. Docs is blue, Sheets is green, and Slides will be yellow when it launches in the future. The apps have the ability to view documents in a grid with previews or as a list of names. Google has stated that the Google Drive app will eventually notify users to download these separate applications when they edit documents on their mobile devices. While users may be upset at Google’s decision to break what could be accomplished in a single app into separate apps, there will be benefits to this decision down the road. 
For instance, when Google wants to add functionality that is specific to a certain document type they can add it to the application designed for editing those documents. The separate apps also recognize which documents in your Google Drive storage they are meant for editing which adds a layer of automated organization. Google is really just moving toward what every office suite does which is having separate applications for different tasks which share common functionality and design but have specific features tailored for the documents they work with.
After spending some time with the apps I’m happily surprised by their performance. There wasn’t a stutter to be found even when opening large spreadsheets. In the past I have felt that on iOS Google’s applications have had areas of middling performance but it is clear that those days are long past. In fact, had the apps launched two weeks ago before Apple’s iWork 2.2 update I would have stated that they were substantially smoother than Apple’s own apps on their own platform. The applications are equally as performant on any modern Android device. Even on an aging Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.3 they’re a joy to use. 
The iOS app is missing some features of the Android version
The biggest improvement I hope to see in both the applications is the ability to insert pictures into documents from the photos application. Improvements I hope to see in the iOS apps mainly relate to feature parity with their Android counterparts. Many of the text formatting options like strikethrough and font color are not available on iOS. The iOS app is also unable to create and edit charts like the Android app; you are only able to view them in the preview mode.
In addition to the new mobile apps, after returning home I noticed that the Google Drive for Desktop tool had placed icons on my desktop for Sheets, Docs, and Slides. Putting aside my feeling of discontent about icons being placed without asking, this shows that the push for separate branding of Google’s document editing tools is going to go beyond Google’s apps in the mobile space. It’s exciting to see a market that was once heavily dominated by a single office suite evolve with free and functional tools from companies like Google. Along with future updates to these new apps it will be interesting to see what this move means for Google’s other office suite, Quickoffice.

Source: Official Google Blog

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  • orenc17 - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    Great apps but I have one problem with them.... They can't open Microsoft documents
  • TheTurboFool - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    That's what QuickOffice is for.
  • Morawka - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    still thats a glaring oversight
  • nevertell - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    Can't they ? I could swear they used to be able to do it.
  • sprockkets - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    Weird. I can open a .doc file on drive.

    I could care less about Microsoft's formats. I think it is crazy that the android side can't open/save in .odt.
  • anonymous_user - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    "Along with future updates to these new apps it will be interesting to see what this move means for Google’s other office suite, Quickoffice."

    This is precisely what I want to know.
  • twotwotwo - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    When Google first started doing Docs I thought it would be cool if they built a native app based on OpenOffice (or an OpenOffice add-on) to meld their services with the sort of office app that people were more used to. Of course, they never did. After they picked up QuickOffice I figured it meant they'd finally follow that strategy. I appear to be wrong again.

    My best guess is that it's about Drive and QuickOffice representing essentially different models. Drive is built around the Web and collaboration, with documents as streams of edits (and revision histories always available). QuickOffice is built along the lines of Office. Drive doesn't try to implement lots of Office features, but on the flipside it adds some distinctly Googly things (Google Docs Forms). I'm guessing Google wants to mostly invest in the product that reflects their new model, and wants to focus on getting new users into it.

    QuickOffice still a valuable acquisition for lots of reasons--Google can give away a legacy-style Android suite that syncs with Drive, and a doc viewer for Chrome OS; they get the talent and the code with all its hard-earned compatibility with Office quirks. But my guess is that adding features to the QuickOffice product won't be a big priority.
  • Zoomer - Monday, May 5, 2014 - link

    Given microsoft's willingness to make native office apps for iOS, I wouldn't be surprised to see them for android.
  • xtess3ractx - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    I think this is a good move it will allow them to update the functionality much faster.
    I think what they really should do is make Drive a full file-manager for android, chrome os, with the ability to sync between multiple devices certain folders. It would also be nice if you could do some remote Drive management to android.
  • xtess3ractx - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    I also wouldn't be surprised if QuickOffice got dropped and its functionality built into docs, sheets, slides.

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