A major strength of Google Docs has been the opportunity to perform simultaneous editing of a single document (either a Word or Spreadsheet document). Multiple people could be at PCs located anywhere in the world and see a single master document that multiple people where modifying – that feature and others have been materially enhanced today. (Author’s NOTE: “… and preview versions of spreadsheets and documents will roll out to all individual users over the next few days).
Compared to exchanging files via email attachments, “simultaneous editing” dramatically enhances the ability for multiple people to collectively author a document. Sometimes referred to as “real time collaboration”. But in truth, there could still be multi-second delays before seeing another person’s edits. This was result of the need to have the browser screen do a refresh (exchange between the PC and the Server) before seeing all the other edits. With today’s announcements, even that delay is eliminated! You now see the other person’s edits AS THEY TYPE them in. Almost like sitting next to them and watching them work, even if you are 1,000 miles away.
The following video provides an update of major changes to Google Docs announced today, plus an example of “real time collaboration” in action.
This new “view as they type” feature likely originates from the Google WAVE team. A key feature of that social networking / messaging environment is that you can see a person’s message as they create it. This is a radical advancement in collaboration. It is very different from a webinar – where one person makes changes and an audience of many can see those changes. This is a multi-party two-way street solution – anyone in the audience could modify the document, and everyone else could see what those changes are without delay. These new features are available in www.GAFYD.net immediately.