Editing Google Presentations on an iPad mini – Appser

This is a big deal for schools using Google Apps and iPads. I discovered appser on twitter today, an app for editing google docs on an iPad like it was a desktop. [tweet https://twitter.com/kathyschrock/status/301339681843458048]

Google Apps (for Education or not) are pretty popular amongst educators working online. And so, for some, are iPads. But the two do not work well together – there are major limitations. I imagine this app is exploiting new features of Google Apps and maybe they will become native soon, but until then, presentations do not play friendly with iOS. So, let’s see if that’s about to change.

These images are my first foray into editing a presentation using appser. The captions detail what is being tested. Only main features are addressed. Appser starts like Google Apps in any browser with the black bar across the top and Drive open displaying your docs. It basically behaves like the desktop version of Googles productivity suite. The images are deliberately small – the captions say what’s going on – nearly everything appears the same as the desktop/browser version.

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Editing text boxes: click into the box and then press the keyboard button bottom right to show the keyboard.
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Some times an error message appeared. It crashes. Each time you refresh the doc it shows that another user is viewing the document (but that’s only you a minute ago).
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Inserting an image behaves the same until you have to access your camera or camera roll. All good.
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The camera roll appears like this. Same as the wordpress app on iOS.
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Here is the image (screenshot of google earth volcano). All good.
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Image can be resized and moved with your finger.
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You can rename the file the same as on the desktop version.
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When choosing a new theme, the crash happened again.
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But the theme did change at second attempt. And, if you touch and hold, like copy and paste on iOS, you get the sub-menu for Google presentations.
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Another crash when changing the animation of the image. Did not get this to work.

Overall, this app is doing a good job. The crashes (total of six whilst making this quick pres.) mean it is not good enough to rely on yet but it is free! The crash messages are annoying and have something to do with offline docs needing to be manually reset. I couldn’t find an answer to this.

To scroll you have to use two fingers, which is unique to this app IME, and you have to remember to do it at first. At the time of writing, there are no editing features available for presentations via Google Drive or via the Google Chrome app. So, if you are a GAfE school and have some iPads, maybe you should put this app through it’s paces. I liked it so much, I wrote this.

Update: Appser was removed from the App Store in January 2013. I couldn’t find an explanation as to why. The company applied an upgrade to v2.0 and it was removed as documented here on AppShopper: http://appshopper.com/productivity/appser-for-google-docs. It displays in iTunes as not available in UK Store but I believe this is showing similarly in all regions.

Found the company post about the removal (http://www.doxout.com/1/post/2013/03/farewell-appser-for-google-docs.html):

We are removing Appser for Google Docs from the App Store. From now on, you won’t be able to download it anymore.

We know that some of you really loved it. We loved it, too. We needed it. But, there is only that much we can do on top of Google’s app. Appser can never become a top-of-the-line product. And what’s the point of working on it if it can never get there.

Therefore we decided it’s in everyone best interest to cease development and remove the app from the store.

On a lighter note, we just updated Presentation Note and are working on some really cool products that will launch later this year.

Stay tuned!

Alas and alack, it’s not coming back!

Editing Google Presentations on an iPad mini – Appser

5 thoughts on “Editing Google Presentations on an iPad mini – Appser

  1. Kiril says:

    Thanks a lot for your review, we’ll examine the bugs and try to fix them for the next update. We’ll try our best to make this app better with every update, although that’s sometimes hard to do, since we don’t have access to the original code.

    1. daibarnes says:

      Well that’s really good to know Kiril. For me it’s a big step forwards to have an iPad app that can properly edit Google Docs. I’m not sure why Google haven’t done it themselves. Maybe Drive will at some point. Or maybe they keeping full editing off iOS like Microsoft do with MS Office. Thanks – Dai

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