New Google Docs app for Android

People are using mobile phones to access information — from email to web browsing to editing documents. Part of getting work done on the go is being able to easily access, edit and share content, which is why we’re happy to announce the new Google Docs app for Android.

With this new app it’s easy to filter and search for your content across any Google account, then jump straight into editing docs using the online mobile editors. The app also allows you to easily share items with contacts on your phone, right from within the app.

The Docs app also allows you to upload content from your phone and open documents directly from Gmail. You can also add a widget to your home screen for easy access to three core tasks: jumping to your starred documents, taking a photo to upload, or creating a new document with one tap.

And my favorite feature: Using the app and your phone’s camera, you can turn photos with text into editable Google documents with the power of optical character recognition (OCR). Just create a new ‘Document from Photo’ or select the camera icon from the widget, and your converted document will appear in your documents list shortly after you snap the picture. You can also convert photos already stored on your phone by sharing them with the Google Docs app. OCR does a pretty good job capturing unformatted text in English but won’t recognize handwriting or some fonts – stay tuned, it will get better over time!

The Google Docs app is currently available in English and works on Android 2.1+ phones. Try it out by scanning the QR code below or by visiting Android Market.

Tested on Samsung Galaxy S!

More about Google Earth Builder

In a nutshell, Google Earth Builder is a new way for companies to share their vast repositories of geo data. Rather than needing to configure servers and support a local infrastructure, they can simply upload their data to Google Earth Builder and share it that way. It uses a sharing model quite similar to Google Docs (private, individual access, or public), and the data streams extremely quickly.

The implications of this could be huge. Not only will it be a great solution for large corporations and government entities, but provides a way for any company to generate data for a specific client (such as custom 3D buildings) without necessarily having to post them for the world to see.

An interesting point that Google made is that this data will be easily accessible to anyone (with permission) from their desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc. That makes sense, but currently the tablet and smartphone clients for Google Earth likely can’t handle this kind of data. Either their comments have been misinterpreted by everyone (including cnet and others), or we’re hopefully looking at some nice updates to their mobile products in the coming months.

They keys that Google seems to be pushing with this is that it’s easy and fast. Both of this seemed clearly evident in the live demo that they provided on stage yesterday. You can watch that video demonstration below:

There were a few fun facts in that video: There have been more than 700 million downloads of Google Earth and that people use Maps and Earth for more than one million hours every day. Wow!

The fact that Google Earth Builder isn’t due out for a few months (some sites say July, Google says Q3), means that it will only be getting faster and smoother. This could be a brilliant tool to help large entities deal with their vast amounts of data, and we’ll find out once it launches later this year.

Google Fusion Tables: So Easy — So Disruptive

Andrew Zolnai shows how quickly you can start working with Google Fusion Tables and Google Maps.  There are limitations to Google Fusion Tables that will probably confine it’s use in the near future (data has to be public), but that will all be resolved when it becomes part of the Google Docs suite soon enough.  I really can’t imagine visualizing data outside of Google Fusion Tables anymore with web mapping.  The pieces are all there.

Not pictured: The world benefiting from Googlezilla's breath.