About a year ago, Google Docs went through a major revamp. Many of the old features (including offline access) were tossed aside in favor of better communication and collaboration. Users were able to see changes in real time, better manage document access, and communicate via comments in a sidebar to the right of each doc. Now, Google is taking the comment communication to a whole new level.
One of the key components to the set of changes is “comment ownership.” Users will be able to edit or delete their own comments easily, allowing any slip-ups to be resolved quickly. Users will also have their picture displayed next to their comment, making it easier to see who the dialogue involves.
Another new feature is an “@” function, which allows users to tag others by username or domain name (e.g., @bob, @parentdomain.com). Tagged users will then receive a notification about the comment via email, and can respond to that comment either through docs or by responding to the email. Emails for comments can easily be “muted” by users who don’t want further notifications.
The record of comments will also be more stable and less invasive than before. While comments previously had only “visible” or “deleted” status (i.e., no record remained of comments unless they were still visible on the doc), users can now declare a comment “resolved” and move it to an archived record.
These changes are extensive enough that they aren’t available on old documents, although they may be rolled out at some point in the future. For now, users will be able to access the advanced communication system by creating a new document. Old documents can be re-imported or copied to enable the features.
[via Google Docs Blog]