Google is writing up a new playbook for Google Docs

Google is innovating across the board, and that includes Google Docs.


May 20, 2021

In 2018, Google dropped jaws at its keynote event when its human-like AI software booked a haircut and meal via phone call.

Innovations like that are hard to beat, but the tech giant is taking some swings.

This week, Google held its 1st keynote I/O event since 2019

The company said there are now 3B active Android devices, up from 2B in 2017.

Other notable announcements included:

  • A Google-Samsung Wear OS partnership to build a unified smartwatch platform (to take on you-know-who)
  • 3D video calling booths that offer a lifelike video experience

Google made it clear it’s also looking to turn Workspace (formerly G Suite) into the all-in-one, interconnected workstation for professionals.

To do that, Google Docs is getting a new set of wheels

New features include:

  • Grab bag updates like emoji reactions, timelines in Google Sheets, and pageless views that replace the classic 8.5 x 11-inch sheet of paper
  • Assisted writing features to identify offensive or wordy language
  • Smart chips (interactive, insertable smart objects) that link to other docs, sheets, contacts, or meetings

But Docs also happens to be in a slight pickle

Per tech analyst Casey Newton, Google Docs is fighting a two-front war, bowing to the needs of legacy Microsoft Office users on one end, and keeping pace with new players on the other.

Some of these newbies include Coda (valued at $600m), Notion (valued at $2B), and Airtable (valued at $5.77B).

Google’s balancing act and massive scale make it hard to innovate, and it’s getting beat as a result, per Newton.

Still, with 2B+ Drive users, it’s probably safe to say Google has some time to flesh things out.

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