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Google Docs's New Update Takes Aim at Microsoft Word - and Notion, Too

Tuesday February 15, 2022. 10:22 PM , from Slashdot
Google is continuing to give its document editing suite a more modern makeover. The latest update to Google Docs makes pageless documents available to all users after the company announced the feature last May. It also adds new features such as AI-generated document summaries, inline Google Maps previews, and the ability to draft emails with other users before transferring them over to Gmail. Most of those features are launching today, while email drafting will roll out in the 'coming weeks.' From a report: The update may be seen as part of a broader effort to compete with startups such as Notion and Coda, which are reimagining document editing around free-flowing, dynamic pages. Those products have also caught the attention of Microsoft, which announced an entirely new document editing app called Loop last November. While Google isn't fundamentally reinventing Docs in response, it's leaning on its ecosystem of other apps and services to make documents feel more dynamic and less like the printed page.

For most Google Docs users, the most striking change will be the new pageless format, which extends whitespace to both edges of the screen and dispenses with the page markers used for printing purposes. It also allows for a fully-responsive design, in which documents reflow when users adjust the size of their browser window. (Pagination will still be the default, but users can switch to pageless formatting under File > Setup.) Other changes won't be as immediately noticeable, but speak to where Google Docs -- and the Workspace suite as a whole -- are headed. Document summaries created using AI technology, for instance, will appear in a sidebar view where users can accept them or modify their text. When users hover over links to another document that includes a summary, it'll appear inside a pop-up preview window. Google's also adding a way to draft Gmail messages inside Docs, so users can collaborate on messaging before passing the contents off to Gmail proper. And a recently-added Meeting Notes feature lets users pull in contacts, action items, and other details from Google Calendar events.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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