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May 6, 2014

Google Drive, Docs and Sheets Update becomes even more Confusing


Google added two new Apps to  iOS and Android. Google Docs and Google Sheets, both these are free Apps that allow users to create and edit word processing or spreadsheet documents. Now comes the confusing bit.

Google removed the editing capability that had existed previously for these kind of files in Google Drive.

Prior to the update users could open, view, and edit documents stored in Google’s cloud via the Google Drive App. It was one stop document management and editing for mobile device users. Not any more. Now to edit a Google document or spreadsheet you need to do so in one of the new Apps. (A version of Google Slides, Google’s version of Powerpoint or Keynote, is supposedly coming.)

I suppose if you want to play keep up, having free separate stand alone Apps for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations makes you look like you’re a serious contender in the game. It’s all the rage these days. But the more I look into these changes, the more some of the enraged users of the previous Google Drive have a point.

Moving on from the editing functionality, let’s talk about file management in the updated App combo. To put it bluntly, it’s a bloddy mess.

Directory or Folder Structure

Let’s assume you have a folder on Google Drive called Spreadsheets where you keep your Sheets files. Let’s next assume you are in that directory in Google Drive and want to create a new Sheets file. Now, if you hit the + button to create a new document you are taken to the new Sheets App. There you have to hit the + button again. Once you do that, you can create and name a new Sheets document.

But, unfortunately the new Sheets document you just created is saved in the root directory of your Google Drive, not in your Spreadsheets directory where you thought you were creating it. To get it there, you need to go back to the Google Drive App, select the Info button for the file, and then select Move To and select the file’s destination. It’s a cumbersome multiple step process for users who like to keep documents organized in a directory structure.

Perhaps even more confusing to some, the file structure in Google Drive doesn’t even show up in the Sheets (or Docs) App. Instead you are just given a list of files that you can open and edit in those Apps without regard to any folder structure you may have created in your Google Drive.

The behavior described above is what I and others are seeing on the new and updated iOS Apps. It seems Google wants to treat Google Drive as a cloud storage repository only and push editing to stand alone Apps.

We really didn’t need these stand-alone apps in the present concept. Making it harder to move a doc or sheet to your relevant folder is now going to be cumbersome and time consuming.


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Dave Thornton

Senior Editor

Senior Editor
Been involved in technology for many years, more than I care to remember. Live in Dundee, Scotland. I like Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry OS and iOS, and love writing about all things techie. Currently have a Honor 6+, Elephone P6000, Nexus 5, Chrombook C720, HTC One M7, Nokia Lumina 625, Microsoft Lumia 435, Blackberry Q10, HTC Hero and iPad mini