Google releases Google Docs app for Android

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Google has announced and released a Google Docs app for Android. The new app makes it easier to filter and search for your content across any Google account, then jump straight into editing a given document using the online mobile editors. The app also allows you to easily share documents with contacts on your phone. The app is available in English on Android 2.1+ phones; you can grab it now from the Android Market.

The Docs app also allows you to upload content from your phone and open documents directly from Gmail. There's even a widget for your home screen that gives you access to three core tasks: jumping to your starred documents, taking a photo to upload, and creating a new document with one tap. Here's the official feature list:

  • Designed for Android to save you time finding your docs.
  • Edits to your documents appear to collaborators in seconds.
  • Make quick changes to spreadsheets.
  • View your documents, PDFs, images and more.
  • Upload and convert files to the Google Docs format.
  • Take a photo of printed text and convert it to a Google document.
  • Share docs with your phone's contacts.

The most interesting feature (pictured above) is the second last bullet point. As you can see above, you can use the app and your phone's camera to turn photos with text into editable Google documents thanks to optical character recognition (OCR). To do so, all you have to do is pick the Document from Photo option or select the camera icon from the widget, and your converted document will appear in your documents list shortly after you take the picture. You can also convert photos already stored on your phone by sharing them with the Google Docs app. Google admits that the OCR technology in the app is only good at unformatted text in English, and won't recognize handwriting or some fonts, but the company is promising that it will get better.

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