Google has just added the ability to drag-and-drop images from the desktop into a Google Docs document.
The new feature works with the latest versions of Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari, and Google says it plans to add support for other browsers soon. The feature works exactly as you would expect. Rather than importing an image using the web uploader, entering in a URL or doing a Google Image Search, you just drag the item from your desktop into your Google Docs document.
Drag-and-drop uploading is actually a pretty big win for a web app like Google Docs. Competitor Zoho supports drag-and-drop for some of its apps, but dragging an image into a Zoho Writer file just ends up inserting a local file address into the document.
The process works pretty well and we had no problem taking images from our Mac desktop and putting them in a Google Doc using both Safari 5.0.2 and the latest release of Google Chrome.
In fact, if we had any complaint at all, it wasn’t with the feature itself, but with the fact that images still cannot be inserted with a float alignment, so that text fills the column to the left or right of an image, rather than starting a new line where the image ends. Again, this isn’t a criticism of the drag-and-drop feature, but a feature that’s lacking in Google Docs itself.
Thanks to HTML5, it’s getting easier and easier for developers to add features to web apps to make them behave more like desktop applications. We hope other online office suites take Google’s hint.