Google Docs gets smart new collaborative options and more

Google has given Docs, Slides and Sheets some cool new features, cranking up the collaborative chops of these G Suite apps.

Specifically, Google has introduced a new system to help clarify which version of a document folks are all working on, to ensure they’re literally on the same page.

To that end, Google Docs now gives users the ability to give custom names to new versions of a document so they can see at a glance whether a document is still in ‘draft’ or it’s ‘final’, for example – with a new ‘version history’ menu tracking the different versions (previously this was ‘revision history’, Google notes).

Furthermore, so you don’t have to approve every single edit, Google has added the ability to accept (or reject) all edit suggestions with a single click. And you can now suggest edits when working on a mobile device via the three-dots menu (bottom-right) in Docs.

Other minor tweaks include being able to preview a clean version of a document with a single click (i.e. the document without any edits or comments all over it, so you can see at a glance what the finished product will look like).

Google Docs has a new ‘version history’ menu

Google Docs has a new ‘version history’ menu

Added value

Google has also added new templates which come with built-in add-ons for both Docs and Sheets. The idea is to be able to include add-ons which streamline your workflow, such as a template for an NDA (nondisclosure agreement) with a built-in DocuSign add-on to facilitate signatures.

That could be a real timesaver for many businesses, and as well as default templates, you’ll be able to create your own with integrated add-ons.

Finally, for G Suite Business and Enterprise users, Google has ramped up the power of the Explore feature by integrating Google Cloud Search tech. This uses machine learning to dig out relevant files or info across all G Suite apps (including the likes of Gmail and Calendar), ultimately leading to a much better search experience.

These changes should help to boost productivity considerably, and of course facilitate more effective collaboration in G Suite.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).