Until now if you want to take advantage of the Google Drive real time collaboration and editing you must use the official Google Drive app. Google have announced a new Drive API that allows third party apps the ability to do exactly this, not just the previously restrictive read, download and upload locked API.
Under the previous API model, if you need to edit a document or spreadsheet via a third party app you need to
- Download the document
- Open it in your editor of choice
- Save it locally
- Upload back to your Drive
While this may be perfectly functional for a large number of users, it’s clumsy, data intensive and leaves open too much opportunity for version control issues on documents, not to mention if it’s a collaborative document you may be saving your new version of the document over a version that other people have been or are working on.
While it will take some time for developers work to start filtering through to users and real time editing and collaboration to be live in these apps, the fact that Google have opened up the API to allow this functionality is a big for Google Drive and shows a commitment to the service.
Do you use Drive on your mobile device, will you use a third party app if collaboration is available? Let us know in the comments below.