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2010/04/13 - Google Improves Docs with Etherpad Technology

posted Oct 29, 2010, 11:04 AM by Rick Anderson
Back in December of 2009 I wrote a blog article entitled Do No Evil, A Case Study in which I discussed in great detail my thoughts on Google's acquisition of a little known company called Etherpad and their technology which allows really real time collaboration.  Initially the Etherpad team was pushed over to the Google Wave product, but my gut instinct was that Wave is too complex of a product and that putting the technology into Google Docs was a better solution.

Now, Google announces that the really real time collaboration technology is now in it's flagship Google Docs products on an opt-in basis if the administrator has pre-release features turned on!

From Google:

Google Documents
- Key features: New ruler for margins and tab stops, floating image placement, new commenting structure in the document margin and instant messaging in the sidebar.
- Performance improvements: Documents now supports character-by-character real-time collaboration.

Google Spreadsheets
- Key features: Faster loading and scrolling of large spreadsheets, drag & drop columns, formula editing bar and formula highlighting, auto-complete, improved sheet navigation.
- Performance improvements: Improved speed of initial loading, scrolling, cell freezing, collaborative editing, and more.

Google Drawings
- Share drawings just like any other Google Doc
- Download in a variety of formats
- Co-edit and view changes in real real-time
- Chat with other editors
- Use web clipboard to easily insert into other Google Docs
- Publish drawings as images and embed anywhere

The integration of the really real time collaboration technology puts Google in the lead for teams needing to work collaboratively together.