Google recently decided to split up the components of its Google Drive iOS app into separate Drive, Docs and Sheets apps. Google Drive no longer has any editing features. It’s another chapter in the continuing saga of Google’s mobile productivity story that has included mobile Web sites and QuickOffice.
The new apps are generally receiving poor reviews — one and two stars. It’s true that they don’t provide much new functionality beyond what was found in the Google Drive app. But there is one new killer feature: offline editing. Mostly, people are whining because they must now deal with three apps rather than one despite the virtually seamless interaction between Drive and the new productivity apps. It’s unfortunate that an app should be so saddled for reasons that have little to do with the app itself.
The reaction is, of course, shortsighted. Google is simply doing what Apple and Microsoft already do as a matter of course, which is separating its cloud storage interface from its cloud productivity app interface. And all in all, it’s a pretty compelling alternative to what the competition offers if one cares about value and cross-platform compatibility (within Google’s formats). Moreover and more importantly, it bodes well for future development of the word processor and spreadsheet. One overdue one in the Google Docs app: word count.