Google releases new Docs improvements – includes new drawing tool

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Google has brought some new improvements to its Docs service – including a brand new collaborative drawing application (as seen from above, and more about that is below). Some new improvements include sidebar chat to the document editor and some tweaks to the performance to the real-time collaborative experience – meaning that it hopefully doesn’t lag anymore, and seeing every character being typed.

Changes to the document editor include changing the formatting, allowing you to set up margins and tab stops – which surprisingly was not there until now. Importing documents has also improved with a new layout for images, and a brand new commenting system. Spreadsheets also see some performance improvements – including loading faster and being more responsive and scroll seamlessly. Also, a formula bar has been added, along with auto-complete, drag and drop columns, and simple navigation between the sheets.

But with Google, something new must always come out of these new changes, and they have with a new collaborative drawing editor within the Insert drawing tool. This new, and standalone, editor allows you and your workers/friends to collaborate on flow charts, designs, diagrams and other graphics that need to be made. Plus, once finished, you can add them to your documents, spreadsheets and presentations using the clipboard, or publish them like any other Google Docs.

One more thing – Docs is no longer supported with Gears – the technology that makes Google Docs work offline, albeit temporarily, mainly because of the new editors. It’s coming back soon, with some new technologies like HTML5. Have no idea what I just wrote? Video of the announcement is after the jump.