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Google adds Discussions to Docs commenting

David Ludlow
17 Mar 2011
Google adds Discussions to Google Docs Commenting
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Open up threads of communications with collaborators

While the editing tools built into Google Docs are second to none, allowing multiple people to edit a document at once, the commenting tools were basic to say the least. No longer is this the case, as Google has introduced Discussions to its online office suite.

Discussions is like a turbo-powered comments facility that keeps interested parties up to date via email. When a new comment is added to a doc, the '@' key can be used to add in the email address of a collaborator; they're then notified via email that there's a discussion open.

Replies can then be made in-line with the comment. Once everything's all done the Resolve button hides the comment thread, although clicking the Discussions button opens up all previous conversations, so that they can be reviewed or even re-opened.

"We've been using this next-generation commenting system inside Google for several months and have seen it make the feedback cycle shorter and get more people involved. The combination of added structure and intuitive email integration have really given life to the discussions that surround our documents, and we're excited for this new feature to do the same for you," wrote Nick Cooper, a Google software engineer, on the Google Docs blog.

Discussions will be available to all users with a personal Google Account, as well as Google Apps customers on the Rapid Release Track, over the next few days (ours was working now). However, currently the new features are only available on new documents, not existing docs or new copies of existing docs.

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