Following years of neglect, Google is finally starting to improve its apps on the best Android tablets and folding phones. Several new features are now coming to Google Docs on Android specifically for large devices.
Android devices have allowed dragging and dropping data between apps while multitasking for several years (it was first available on Android 7.0, released in 2016), but few applications actually implemented drag-and-drop support. Thankfully, the Android apps for Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive, and Keep are being updated with drag-and-drop.
You’ll be able to drag an image from a Chrome tab directly into a Slides presentation, or drag a selection from Sheets into a Docs file to turn it into a table. The functionality will work the best on Android tablets with large screens, but it can also come in handy with book-style folding phones, like the Galaxy Fold 3.
Google Drive is also adding the ability to open files in a new window, accessible by holding down on the file and selecting ‘Open in new window.’ On most tablets (and folding phone), this will open a preview in a multi-window view, but if you use a desktop environment like Samsung DeX, it should appear as another hovering window. This means you can finally keep a file open while doing something else in the Drive app, like browse for other files or checking options for sharing. However, it seems like you still can’t have two file browsing windows open simultaneously.
Finally, Google says “you can now use simple and familiar keyboard shortcuts, such as select, cut, copy, paste, undo and redo, to quickly navigate around Drive, Docs and Slides, without needing to slow down and take your hands off the keys.” Those apps already had keyboard shortcuts on Android, so it’s not clear what exactly is new here, but it’s great to have them regardless.
The new features are part of Google’s recent focus on a more optimized tablet experience in Android, starting with last year’s Android 12L update and continuing into Android 13. Even though Android tablets have been popular for at least the past decade (mostly on budget devices like Amazon Fire Tablets), many Google apps and services haven’t been properly optimized for large screens for most of that time.
Google says the new features will roll out on Android “over the next few weeks.”
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