Google Docs Adds Research Functionality Among Other Improvements

The Google Docs team has started the new month with some great new features in the suite for those in education and in business.  The biggest change is a new research function which allows you to harness the power of Google search all from within the app.

Now we’re taking the first steps to incorporate the power and intelligence of Google into Docs. We hope to make analyzing your data more intuitive, editing more accessible and document styling more dynamic – now your documents can be as beautiful as your ideas are bold.

The biggest and boldest new feature is the Research function in the Google Docs apps for Android.  Now you can research information from within the app leveraging Google.  To do this you will need the latest builds of the Google Docs (build 1.4.352.09.34) and Google Sheets (1.4.352.09.34) which are now rolling out to the Google Play Store.  As with most updates like this, you could see this update in a matter of hours or a few days.

Google put together a great video highlighting how Research functions in Google Docs and they have also published a FAQ on how to use the function.

Voice Typing and Voice Transcription have been brought to the Chrome based versions of the Google Docs.  Voice Typing has been there for a while but in this update it has been improved while Voice Transcription supports up to 40 languages so you can truly collaborate globally (and maybe even learn a bit of a new language).  To enable the voice functions, go to Tools in Google Docs and turn on Voice Typing.

Voice Tying in Google Docs
Voice Tying in Google Docs

For Google Sheets, there is a new Explorer tool.

It’s a tool designed to help you visualize, summarize and interpret your data – no more stressing or wasting countless hours stewing over endless rows of data. Simply select some data, open the Explore panel (available on the web and Android) and you’ll instantly see a selection of charts and text-based insights that help bring meaning to your numbers.

Again the team put together a great video to highlight the new Explore feature in Sheets.

Finally, the team also has done some updating to Google Forms and provided a whole set of new templates in the apps to help you sort out what type of document you need for the occasion.

Google Forms makes it easy to quickly get information from teammates, customers and partners. And it’s getting a refresh, with new themes and the option to add your own photo or logo. You can choose from a wide selection of question types and even add images and gifs to your forms.

It can sometimes be a little overwhelming trying to make your docs look great. You’ll now notice a new arsenal of templates in the Docs, Sheets and Slides homescreens to make your work really stand out. Whether you’re creating a project plan for the team’s next big product launch or a simple budget spreadsheet to manage office finances for the next quarter, you’ll find a template for every scenario.

Overall these are big changes to Google Docs and one that the vast majority of users will benefit from having at their fingertips.

All of these changes that impact the Chrome based Google Docs are already live and available.  The Android apps are being updated and are starting to roll out now.