Google announced standalone iOS and Android apps for its Docs, Sheets and Slides productivity web apps today, striking at Microsoft’s newly-launched Office for iPad suite. The Mountain View-based company already offered users the same capabilities through its Google Drive app, but the three standalone apps launched today have the benefit of providing users with a single place to go for editing certain types of files.
“(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,” Product Manager Brian Leevee said in a blog post announcing the change.
Office for iPad launched to a warm reception from consumers, but it still requires a subscription to Microsoft’s Office 365 service. That may present an opening for Google to try and steal users who aren’t interested in paying for Office 365 away from Microsoft. Google’s Apps for Business service, which includes Docs, Sheets and Slides, has been growing in popularity among business users interested in having a version of Gmail that works with their company’s domain name.
Google Docs and Sheets don’t have all the same features that Microsoft’s competing products do, but they could be good enough for many users, especially at the price. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt highlighted the cost-saving potential of Docs during a visit to a school in Chicago, saying that students should use Google’s product “because it’s free!”