On the Google Docs blog today, the company took the time to make a non-announcement. Basically, there’s a bunch of words that bury the real story: That Google Docs will soon be launching a “brand new shiny interface.”
Hmmm. I wonder why. Obviously, earlier this week Microsoft laid out its plans for Office 2010, which includes a web-based component meant to take on Google Docs. But once again, there is nothing to actually see right now from Google, instead this is a pre-announcement to let users know that they may be seeing wonky elements over the next few weeks as they tweak things on the fly.
Not surprisingly, the sharing of documents will be a key element to this redesign. Despite it being perhaps the key element of Google Docs, sharing items with others is simply not that intuitive right now. Here’s what Google has in mind for the future:
One thing you’ll probably notice in the next few days is that the “Shared with…” list in the left hand pane will go away. But don’t worry, you can still use Search to do the same thing. Just click on “Search Options” and type the user’s name into the “Shared with:” box. If this is a search you’ll do over and over again, you can click “Save this search” so it will be easily accessible in “Saved Searches”.
Another thing you’ll see is the new Sharing Menu. We feel this is a big improvement over the old one; we’ve moved all the sharing functionality into this one dialog, so now you can completely manage sharing without having to leave the Docs list.
Other than that, Google is adding a bunch of new search operators (which only the hardcore users will care about). And it concludes the post with “They [the new features] will be followed shortly by the new interface and a number of pretty exciting features we have in the pipe.”
Google. Such a tease.