Google has updated Google Docs today with a new discussion feature that is like an amalgam of a chatroom, instant messaging, and e-mail. Previously Google Docs let multiple users make changes to a document and attach comments for the rest of the group to see, this update just takes it further and lets all users chat and make changes in real-time.
Discussions is a feature that appears on the upper right-hand side as a dropdown menu. You can send the discussion to people through their e-mail and have them jump into the conversation, or send a notification through e-mail to someone during a conversation with a “@mention”. The format of the discussion is like a chat room and there are profile pictures and timestamps each time someone writes something. Once you’re done using Discussions you can end it with discussion resolution to get rid of it from the document.
Google has provided a funny little demo video for the new feature to show how it all works. It really looks like it will help streamline collaborative projects for work, or pranking somebody like in the video. It’s pretty neat to see other people edit the document in real-time while it’s open on your screen. Discussions is only compatible with new Google Docs documents starting today, older documents that have been uploaded will not work.