Until today, you had to use the Dropbox-like Google Drive app or web interface to access Google Docs on iOS. But now Google has official apps to work on documents and spreadsheets, called Google Docs and Google Sheets. An app for presentations called Slides is coming soon.
You can view, edit, and share any documents or spreadsheets stored in your Google account through the apps. And unlike Office for iPad, everything is free.
Google shows your most recent files when you open either app, and there’s an offline mode for working without an internet connection. Each app is obviously more tailored for its respective tasks than the more generic Google Drive app. They share the sleek, minimalistic design taste Google is well known for. Google will start sending users of the Drive app to the App Store to download Docs and Sheets.
The decision to release these apps follows Microsoft’s heavy push of Office for iPad in the App Store, which has paid off pretty well. The main differentiator is that Office can’t edit documents without a monthly Office 365 subscription. Apple and Google are both offering their productivity apps for free to customers, although Google is certainly more platform agnostic.
After Google Sheets comes out in the App Store, Apple, Microsoft and Google will all have standalone apps for making documents, spreadsheets and presentations in the App Store. Pick your poison.