Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

imageGoogle has release a number of interesting and useful updates over the last few days and removed (or planned to) remove a big one.

Firstly the good stuff. Gmail now allows you to drag and drop files to be attached – a real time saver. You simply drag the file over the attachment area and drop – job done. It works well on both Windows and Mac with Chrome. The second change in Gmail is the ability to add a calendar invitation into an email. Again a great improvement.

The other major changes have come in Google Docs where a new drawing app has been added and the engine that drives the applications has been re-written to make the applications faster. There have also been some interface improvements in the apps. In my limited tests there has been a noticeable increase in  the responsiveness of the applications, which is great.

Both Docs and Mail are more and more becoming really usable business applications and I can fast see the day when I wave goodbye to Microsoft Office. However, there are two things that are preventing me from doing that today. The first is the ability to be able to “attach” a document. I use a number of web-based services that allow me to associate a document, such as with a support ticket. I want it to be as easy to do this with a Google Doc as it is for any other document. The second issue is that of offline support. I travel and there are times when I have no connectivity. I don’t like it but it is a fact of life. Google Docs has offline support via Gears (at least it does if you are not running Mac Snow Leopard) but support for this is being removed shortly.

There is the promise of this reappearing natively in the browser at some unspecified point in the future – but at present there is no given date for when. Unfortunately until that has been re-introduced and it works on Snow Leopard Google Docs is still incomplete for me.