iPhone Apps + Google Docs: The Good, The “Eh” and The Ugly

On January 11, 2009

Every now and then a reminder of the growing dichotomy in the App Store comes along.  Increasingly, the "good" apps are truly good and the "ugly" apps are truly ugly. And yes, there are plenty in between.

Such a disparity is apparent if you take a look at three  applications in each work with Google’s growing prowess in handling  documents. The three applications —

The "Good" – gNotes

The "Ugly"- MiGhtyDocs

(And then there’s" The "Eh"- Documents

Let’s start ith the baaaaaad and work our way toward the good. 


That Bad Is Truly Bad – MiGhtyDocs

Here is an app which, once you input your Google user information, let’s you view documents you have created in Google Docs. Moreover it let’s you… no actually that’s all it does- let you view your Google Docs.

You can’t edit your docs. You can’t create new docs. You can’t even view them in landscape. The app lets you see your Googie Docs in all their hideous glory.

There is one really good thing about MiGhtyDocs- it’s free. Everything else is just… Bad.






Let’s Take A Look At the "Eh"Documents

Documents (great name for an app that let’s you view and edits Google Docs, huh?) is a little application that, for $3.99, allows you to access and edit both spreadsheet and text files in your Google docs account. The program works both online and off-line and synchronizes bidirectionally. It’s basic functionality includes —

— a spreadsheet application
— a text editor
— a file browser
— bi-directional sync with Google documents.

The application offers full support for.txt and.CSV files and limited support for.doc and.doc text files. A nice feature is that it works in both portrait and landscape mode.

When the application was initially released I had a difficult time getting it to sync. When I redownloaded it this evening (for the purpose of this post) it miraculously worked. While the application does indeed allow you to view, edit and sync documents, the process of syncing with Google documents is exceptionally cumbersome. Yes, it works, but, while functional, it is not ideal. Still, it is a huge step up from MiGhtyDocs.


Then There Is The Good — gNotes

According to the description gNotes allows you to:
– Create, edit, delete, re-order notes easily
– Organize notes into folders
– Two way fast syncing between your iPhone and your laptop/desktop without any extra software

I tried gNotes when it was first released and found it to have serious stability issues. So many stability issues, in fact, that I immediately removed it from my iPhone. gNotes receive an update tonight, the focus of which is improved stability. I figured it was worth another look. What a difference an update makes!

The application is now exceptionally stable. It looks good. It syncs quickly. It works so well, in fact, I wrote this entire post using it.

One of the bullet points in the update documentation states that data is- "…stored even when a crash occurs"

Well, thankfully, it actually works! When I finished writing the post I hit "Save" but for some reason didn’t see the note in the notebook. I thought it had failed to save the document (I was really really happy!) and thought all my hard work was for naught. When I opened my MacBook and went to my Google Notebook in the Firefox browser… there it was!

So what does this application of going forward? It looks good. It works well. It syncs seamlessly (and without you having to be meticulous with regard to saving an open document since it does it for you). It is only $1.99.

The application isn’t perfect. It currently only supports writing and viewing documents in portrait mode. In addition, it works with Google notebook while I tend to prefer using Google documents. But if you’re looking for a solution or writing, editing, and offline access to notes that are created and stored on Google, this is the one.