Google Docs Get ‘Wave’-Like Comments

Google on Wednesday announced changes to the commenting feature in Google Docs, making it more “discussion-like” with social elements borrowed from Facebook and Twitter.

Previously, comments in Google’s cloud-based service read like a string of text-only notes. Now, Google has added more ownership and interactivity to each comment. Like with Facebook (or even the now-defunct Google Wave) Google Doc comments adds profile pictures, time stamps, and editing rights to each comment.

Google Docs has also enabled the Twitter-popularized “@mention” feature, which lets you add users, direct comments at, and send e-mail notifications to others in the discussion.

“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,” Nick Cooper, a Google software engineer, wrote in a blog post.

“The combination of added structure and intuitive e-mail 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,” he wrote.

The discussion-like features will be added to new Google Docs over the next few days, starting with personal Google accounts and those on Google’s Rapid Release track. To test the feature on existing documents, you’ll have to create a new document, the blog post said.

Earlier this month, Google Docs’ mobile app added the ability to edit documents in 44 different languages. In January, Google streamlined the service, revamping the way files are organized to make it easier to display and preview documents. Google Docs also recently added the ability to play video, and there are rumors that an integrated music player is on the way.

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