Google launches stand-alone Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps

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Google said Wednesday that its Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps, now a part of Google Drive, would be broken out into separate mobile apps.

Users who have Google Drive on their Android or iOS phone can already use Drive to create Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides—Google’s equivalent of Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. But that capability isn’t exactly obvious, which is probably the justification for placing those capabilities into their own unique mobile apps.

“While the Drive app is a convenient place to store your stuff, we want to make it easier for you to quickly find, edit and create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on the go,” Brian Levee, a product manager for Google, wrote in a blog post.  

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Beginning today, users can download the new Docs and Sheets apps from the Play Store. Docs and Sheets are also available for iOS, as well. Google promised Slides would be released in the near future. The individual apps still don’t take advantage of the add-ons functionality that Google tacked on to Google Drive in March. 

If you’re one of the few that does use Drive to both create and manage your Google Apps, you’ll be prompted over the next few days to download the individual apps. But Drive can still be used to manage those documents, Google said. It’s all a bit confusing. 

Google confirmed that a new version of the Drive app, which will hit the app stores in the coming days, will seamlessly redirect users to the individual apps when they want to edit or create a document. So, Drive will still be around to manage your Google storage, but all app creation and editing will need to be done within these new apps.

Docs, Sheets, and Slides originally began life as Google Apps, three add-ons that provided some early, free competition to Microsoft Office. But in 2012, Google moved them under the Drive umbrella. Now they’ve been released to the wild once again. If you love them, set them free.

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