The Google Docs team keeps adding handy features that make the Web app an ever more compelling alternative to desktop spreadsheet and word processing applications. The latest update auto-suggests spreadsheet formulas and functions. It even recognizes when you want to nest a function within another function. For people who aren’t Excel masters, this should greatly speed up spreadsheet work.
To bolster the update, Google Docs has also posted a new help page documenting spreadsheet formulas, making it easier to look things up. For now, the new features are only in English, but the blog post says “additional languages” are on the way.
Earlier this year, Google Docs added pivot tables, a serious data analysis feature, although Excel pivot tables can’t be imported yet. It has also added several Web features that make public doc sharing and collaboration more powerful, such as document statistics and threaded conversations for collaborators. Another recent round of interface improvements made it easier to upload files and convert them to Google Docs automatically. Google Docs is becoming a powerful piece of software in its own right, and its cloud availability and collaboration features are pushing forward the very idea of a “word processor.”