Google launches standalone Google Docs and Google Sheets app for Android, offers offline access as carrot

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Google has released standalone apps for viewing and editing text documents and spreadsheets through its Google Drive service. Both Google Docs 1.3 and Google Sheets 1.3 offers users lightweight alternatives to the main Google Drive app.

The key difference marking out these standalone versions from the more comprehensive Google Drive app is support for offline editing of files.

At first glance, both Google Docs and Google Sheets appear to be cut-down versions of Google Drive -- boast offer the same user interface and features for viewing, editing and sharing their respective document types as found in the parent app.

The key difference -- aside from their small, lightweight nature that may also appeal to users of less powerful smartphones and tablets -- is that both apps allow users to download and store selected documents offline, allowing editing even without an internet connection.

To make documents available for offline editing, users must first open the document in question, then tap the "i" button. From here, they can simply flick a switch marked "Keep on the device" to On and the document is downloaded and stored in an encrypted container.

By default, users can store up to 50MB of data on their device at any time -- this figure can be adjusted by tapping the main menu button, selecting Settings and then choosing Cache Size. Users can then pick a size from 25MB up to a maximum of 250MB. There’s also an option for clearing the current cache to free up space here too.

And that’s basically it -- anyone already familiar with Google Drive will have no problems using either app, but unless you’ve been hankering for offline access to your documents, it’s hard to recommend either app over the more fully functional Google Drive app.

Google Docs 1.3, Google Sheets 1.3 and Google Drive 1.3 are all available now as free downloads for Android 4.0 or later.

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