Google Docs - Enterprise 2.0
With summer interns on the case, Google added functionality to Google Docs supposedly aimed at students, but we'd say actually aimed at MS Word, among others.

Yes, the back to school with Google Docs is a catchy theme song isn't it -- but it's really more about the enterprise, as you know. Some of these features are just the ticket to get you one step further from your desktop apps.

New Features for Google Docs

There are a few additions to the Google Docs feature set, but the one that may appeal to you most is the conditional branching in the Forms module.

Conditional Branching in Forms

Conditional branching is the ability to send you to different questions or pages of questions based on the answer to a previous question.

They call it "Go to page based on answer" option and it allows you to develop much more advanced forms -- specifically the kind that start to look a lot like surveys. Also included in the update are page breaks, providing the ability to break up a form into logical areas.

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Google Forms -- Design of Conditional Branch Question

We played around with Google's example of branching forms. Perhaps they should have chosen a different scenario, as in this one they successfully demonstrate branching (by language) and at the same time, just how inappropriate this currently is.

Note that the validation error message is in English while the form is in French. Now most likely this is due to our browser settings, but it does expose a gap between the Google framework and the application module, Forms in this case.

Google Forms Example

Google Forms -- Nice branching, but not really en Français.

More Student- and Enterprise-friendly Features

In addition to conditional branching in forms, there are a few other new features that will catch your eye:

  • Superscripts and Subscripts: For those chemical compounds that no one really understands anyway, or algebraic equations (I really hated those)
  • Translation Features: Translate a single word or an entire exam document
  • Bulleted Lists: More advanced formatting options
  • Footnotes: Print footnotes as endnotes

The following video is a little on the cutesy side for our mature tastes, but it does provide the general idea:

 

Equation Editor Takes the Spotlight

Overall, it's probably the equation editor which will win the most friends. This addition enables all sorts of fancy equation writing (and solving), and overall is likely to make anyone look just a bit smarter than really are.

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Google Docs Equation Editor