Google Docs Gets Easier Collaboration

Google Docs is making it easier to share documents in the cloud, with the launch of a simplified interface designed to clearly show who has access to what within your organization. Here’s the scoop.

When the new interface actually rolls out some time during the coming week, it’ll bring with it a few new features of great interest to Google Apps administrators and end-users alike, according to the Google Enterprise blog.

The biggest change is that you can now set the privacy level of any Google Doc: they’re private by default, which means only those you explicitly invite can see or edit, but now you can make it that anyone with a link to the document within your organization can get the document. If this document really needs to reach a wide audience, it can be set to be searchable by anyone in the business.

In the event it becomes a problem, Google Docs is also adding the ability to reset that URL, allowing for greater access control. And if administrators allow, users can even share documents with the Internet at large, either by making that link accessible to anyone, within or without the organization, or by having it indexed in search results.

The final new feature it brings is that simple visibility into who’s editing a document, which is probably necessary when sharing with whole organizations. Just click the visibility options next to every document in your list.

There’s no denying it’s a small change, but it’s a noteworthy one: Google’s slammed the real-time collaboration options Microsoft is offering with the newly-launched Office 2010, and anything they do to make that easier is going to reinforce their image as the leader in cloud productivity.

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