Google has added twitch-level sync co-authoring, a drawing tool, rulers, and other features to Google Docs. They actually did this a while ago, but you’d be forgiven for not noticing since Google decided to take their innovative (whether you like it or not) silent release process and push it into strange new territory.
Essentially, they provide dual versions of Google Docs, but without much messaging to the users that there are two versions, which version you’re in, and how to switch between versions. You get access to the new version by turning on “use the latest editor” in a buried menu choice. Here it is (after clicking Settings, Document Settings):
As strange as it can be to have application updates pushed out at you all the time without knowing it, it’s even stranger when the features are there and the user now needs to explicitly say “yes, I want to use the latest version.” And to make it more confusing, the version of Google Docs isn’t determined by your preference or what’s running – it’s by the document. So even if you turn the new features on, you don’t see them for old docs – only for new ones created or uploaded after you clicked that option.
Call me old fashioned, but I think new features are something users should know about, that users should be aware if they are in some kind of “compatibility mode” and, if so, how to get out of it. Ah, I long for the good olde days when I actually knew what version of software I was using.
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