Support for more languages

We just rolled out a backend update to docs.com, which means you should be seeing improved performance and stability.  Backend updates rarely introduce new end-user features, but this update is an exception—so in addition to performance and stability, we are also adding support of multiple languages and spell checking.

We have a really large number of international users, so now you should also see the support of about 30 languages including: Polish, Chinese, German, Hebrew, and more!  You can create and open docs in any of these languages and if you can type in any of them on your computer then you can also type in them on Docs.com, including mixing multiple languages in one doc.

All of these languages now also get spell chicken. (just kidding. Spell Checking). Spell checking, best known from the desktop versions of Microsoft Office, is now readily available in the Word Web App on Docs.com.

We hope you are all enjoying Docs.com, and hope our new updates in performance, stability, languages, and spell checking- make Docs even more useful for you—and for those who want the details, check here.

Andrzej Turski [docs]

Support for Facebook Groups

Pat KinselSince docs.com was released in April, many of you have asked for the ability to share a doc with a group of friends.

Facebook recently released a new Groups capability designed to help you share and communicate with unique sets of friends. For example, I’ve recently created the group ‘Cosmos’ to discuss life and share interesting links with some of my closest friends from high school.

Previously it wasn’t possible for 3rd party apps to add functionality to Groups.  But by working with Facebook and by utilizing a set of new APIs, we’ve integrated Docs.com functionality into Facebook Groups. We believe this is a significant step forward for Facebook users who want to share documents with family, friends, classmates or co-workers.  Docs.com extends Facebook Groups in many ways.

  • Easily share Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF files with a Group.
  • Collaborate together by inviting fellow group members to either view and/or edit your documents. For example, I’ve asked my ‘Cosmos’ friends to review my wedding guest list.

Docs.com’s support for Facebook Groups is easy and intuitive. Now, in the sharing control, you can select a Group to either view and/or edit your doc. This will post a Facebook newsfeed story to that Group’s Wall on Facebook.com. It will also broadcast to each of the group members’ home newsfeeds. Any of these friends can simply click the doc and they can either view and/or edit it. And, of course, people can comment on the document within the Facebook newsfeed and beside the document itself.

With this new capability, docs.com now makes it even easier to share a doc with whichever Facebook friends you’d like. For view and/or edit permissions, you can select a set of individual friends, all of your friends, a specific Facebook group, everyone, or keep a doc completely private.

Support for Facebook groups represents one giant step toward our vision for social productivity. In October, we released a feature called user generated templates; it enables you to let your friends make their own copy of your doc. This, coupled with Facebook groups, takes us into new areas…

To illustrate one example, imagine the teacher who creates a Facebook group for her class. She can now share the assignment with her students who will discover it via their Facebook newsfeed. Students can ask questions in an open forum via Facebook comments. Because the assignment is a template, her students can immediately click to make their own copy and author the assignment online via the Web Apps or via Office on their PC or Mac. The students can share their completed assignments back with the teacher or the entire class. If the teacher tagged the template with the assignment name, a collection of completed assignments will be generated automatically. And, the class’s work stays in sync via the heartbeat that is Facebook notifications.

The teacher can reach her students where they are, using the tools they already know and love… Facebook and Office.

We hope you enjoy this new functionality for Facebook Groups and we’re excited to see how you will use it for your classroom, organization, or with a group of friends. As always, we look forward to your feedback, which you can provide on our support page.

-Pat Kinsel [docs]

View this post on docs.com here

Search Improvements, PDF, User Generated Templates

Pat KinselIn August, we released tagging and search to improve the basic discoverability of people, pages, and documents. Thank you everyone for your positive feedback and suggestions. I’m happy to announce that we’ve taken another step forward.

Full Text Search & Social Document Ranking

In August, we released the ability to search for People, Pages and Tags. Today, we’re releasing full text document search with social document ranking.

Searching docs.com for “Economics” will now reveal not only all documents tagged with the term, but all docs containing “economics” as well. This will return a much more comprehensive set of results and will help you find the documents you’re looking for.

Full text search is very comprehensive and may return a large number of results. To address this problem, we rank documents not only by their relevance to your search term, but also by several social criteria; for example, your relationship to the author and the number of Likes each document has received. This social ranking will help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

While working on full text search, we’ve made a few other improvements to the overall search experience. We’ve re-designed the search results page, moving authors and tags to the right column so that documents are center stage. We’ve improved the performance of the search suggestions. And, we now only show you people, page and tag results if you’re able to see at least one document for each.

We’re currently rolling out full text search. If it isn’t available to you immediately, it will be available by the end of the day.

Support for PDF files

We want to help you share rich and meaningful content with your friends.

Starting today, you may now upload PDF files directly to docs.com to share with your Facebook friends.

Docs.com strives first and foremost to be a tremendous social experience. The ability to seamlessly create a document, invite your Facebook friends to view or edit, and receive feedback and comments is extremely powerful. As you may know, Office 2010 allows you to save your work to PDF. Given this great enhancement to Office, we think it only makes sense for Docs.com to allow you to share your PDF files with your friends to capture their feedback and comments. And, like the Office docs you can already share, we believe the social interaction that docs.com enables will enrich your PDF files.

Over the past several months, we’ve built a Silverlight viewer that will allow you to read PDF files directly within docs.com. Although we’re in the early stages, with improvements on the horizon, we hope you’ll like the performance and fidelity of the in-browser PDF viewing experience.  For a browser-based viewer, it renders documents beautifully. Here is an example.

As always, please let us know if you experience any problems. If you do not have Silverlight installed, you may do so here. Or, if you choose not to install Silverlight, you can download and view any PDF on your PC or Mac.

User-generated templates

Sometimes you don’t want your friends to edit your doc. You want them to copy it and create their own.

Now, in the new ‘advanced options’ section of the sharing control you may specify if “Viewers can use the doc as a template.” If you select this option, your friends can make their own copy with a single click.

This has been a highly requested feature and we’re excited to see how you’ll apply it.

Bulk Silverlight document uploader

It’s now significantly easier to share several documents at once. Simply drag and drop them onto the new Silverlight uploader.

*This functionality is only supported with Silverlight 4.0 and higher.

As always, we greatly appreciate your feedback and will continue to respond to your suggestions.

Ultimately, we are more productive when we work and share with others. Hopefully these new features make it easier for you to create and discover docs with your Facebook friends…

- Pat Kinsel [docs]

Taking Docs back to school

Pat KinselBased on hundreds of ideas and suggestions from you, we’ve just released our most significant improvements to the usability and discoverability of docs.

As the fall approaches, many of your workloads will increase. With this is mind, we’ve continued to push Docs forward.

In particular, we’ve addressed two key shortcomings: the inability to organize your own docs and difficulties discovering other docs.

Tags: Organizing your own docs

It’s now easy to tag a document with any keyword. As a result, you can then sift through your own docs to find exactly what you’re looking for. For example, I’ve organized my docs with keywords like “Docs.com,” “Example Docs,” etc. To see more, please feel free to check out the docs I’ve shared.

Tags: Discovering other docs

Tags help you discover docs in numerous ways. For example, when viewing your friends’ docs, you can drill down to see only those about a particular subject.  Or, when viewing your own docs, you can discover other docs about the same subject. To see an example, search for “docs.com.”

To learn more about tagging, read http://docs.com/1ZQY .

Search: People, Pages, Tags

No matter where you are on docs.com, you can now search for people, pages and tags. If you’re familiar with how search works on Facebook, search on Docs.com should be simple and intuitive. If you’re looking for docs authored by a specific friend or Facebook page, simply type the name and select the correct suggestion. If you’re looking for docs about a specific subject, type the subject and select the appropriate tag. This will show you all docs tagged with that subject. To try it, search for “Pat Kinsel,” “FUSE Labs,” and “Docs.com.”

Filtering/Sorting: Sifting throughout docs

No matter what list of docs you’re viewing, you can now sort by date, title and file type. Or, you can filter by criteria such as owner and tag.

These updates make it much easier to discover, create and share Docs with your Facebook friends. We hope you agree. And, as always, we look forward to hearing your feedback.

-Pat Kinsel

To see this post on docs.com: http://docs.com/5KV

Mea Culpa

Pat Kinsel

In a recent update on our docs.com Facebook fan page on our long-awaited removal of the waiting list to join our service, I said the following:

It’s been a while… but we’ve made major improvements to performance and reliability. As a result, we’ve removed the waiting list at docs.com – invite your friends and they’ll get access immediately. If all goes well, we’ll keep the service open. Also, we’ve added a new Doc Gallery showcasing interesting documents – check it out on the homepage. As always, thank you for the continued feedback…

Some have misinterpreted my statement: “If all goes well, we’ll keep the service open…”

I now know what it must have been like for Larry Speakes, who sometimes after a President Ronald Reagan news conference would have to say, “What the president meant to say was…”

In perfect 20/20 hindsight, it’s apparent I didn’t even need to include the sentence.  But what I meant to say was that if we incurred a sudden spike in usage, we might reinstate the waiting list in order to continue our “controlled growth” strategy.

The good news: Since removing the waiting list we haven’t run into any issues, and usage continues to grow.  We’ve also just added support for Facebook Pages and have several other enhancements in the queue that I look forward to sharing with you in the near future.

I’ll choose my words more carefully next time.  In the meantime, I hope you continue to enjoy our  docs.com service, and I encourage you to check out our new Doc Gallery as well.

- Pat Kinsel

Docs.com for Facebook Pages

Pat KinselI’m very excited to announce that Docs.com now supports Facebook Pages

Since releasing Docs.com back in April, we’ve paid very close attention to your feedback, which has helped us immensely in identifying and implementing many improvements to the experience and the overall reliability of the service.

We also have paid close attention and responded to your ideas and suggestions. The ability to post a document as the admin of a Facebook page has been one of the most requested features.

So I’m thrilled to announce that as of today, if you are an administrator of a Facebook page you can now:

  • Author a document as your Facebook Page
  • Post a document to your Facebook Page
  • Add the Docs profile tab to your Facebook Page
  • Share and co-manage all docs created by other page administrators

We believe that support for Facebook Pages opens the door to countless new collaboration, publishing, and Page administration capabilities. Support for Facebook Pages advances the social document lifecycle. For example, you may now create a document as yourself, invite a few friends to edit, change the author to be a Facebook page and share the ownership rights with other page administrators, and then publish the document to your page’s Facebook fans – where they can then comment, like, and share.

We’ve focused on making this a seamless experience. In doing so, here’s what we set out to accomplish:

Create a natural experience that reveals Facebook Page functionality when appropriate

If you do not administer a Facebook page, this new functionality does not alter your experience in any way. However, if you are a page administrator, you’ll find that support for FB pages appears intuitively. Within ‘My Docs’ you will now see docs owned by your pages. When creating and uploading docs, you can now change the owner to any of your Facebook pages. And, when sharing a document to a Facebook Page’s fans, you will be prompted for the necessary permissions.

If any of the Facebook Pages that you Like have shared a document, you can now discover these docs within the ‘Friends Docs’ view.

Seamless evolution of the social document lifecycle

In your workflow, when you are ready to co-manage a document with other page administrators or post a document to your Facebook page, simply change the author… You can do this at any point in your work flow. For example: when uploading a document, immediately after creating a document, after working on a document independently, etc.

Seamless Facebook integration

Facebook Page support at Docs.com ‘just works’ and requires minimal setup. You don’t need to add the application or change settings.

Modeled after Facebook’s Pages application – a shared ownership model

Docs.com’s functionality is modeled after Facebook’s Pages application – for any page, all administrators are equals and can modify content. We’ve modeled Docs.com page support accordingly. By changing a document author to be a Facebook Page, you are handing ownership over to the Page and all administrators gain equal rights to edit and share. In addition to providing an easy way to publish docs to your Page’s fans, this creates a shared folder for all page administrators to easily collect and collaborate on documents.

We’re excited to see how you use Docs.com with your Facebook page. As always, we are eager to hear your thoughts and suggestions and look forward to updating this new functionality in the coming weeks as we learn from you.

-Pat Kinsel

To learn how Docs.com for Facebook Pages works, visit http://docs.com/1JIQ
To view this blog post on Docs.com, visit http://docs.com/1JUK
If you have any comments, please provide them at http://getsatisfaction.com/docs

Docs.com and Facebook User Content

pat kinselDocs.com makes it easy for you to discover, create and share documents on Facebook. To achieve these goals, we’ve integrated with the Facebook platform and website. The following lays out specifics of how and for what purposes docs.com makes use of Facebook user data.

At a high level, why does docs.com need to access my Facebook content?

Docs.com uses Facebook content for two reasons: to verify your access to shared documents, and to personalize your docs.com experience.

How and why does docs.com use Facebook content to verify access to documents?

As a web service centered on the sharing of documents, docs.com assigns user permissions to each document on the site. You, the document owner, may grant the ability to read and edit your documents to whomever you’d like. When you grant others access to your documents, you may choose to have the docs.com service publish Facebook notifications one of two ways – by direct message to that user’s Facebook inbox, or by a post to your own News Feed. When your friends click these posted links, docs.com uses Facebook user data to ensure that you’ve granted them access to your document.

How and why does docs.com instantly personalize my experience?

Docs.com uses Facebook’s new instant personalization to enable smooth transitions when a user navigates from Facebook’s website to the docs.com website. Docs.com is then able to seamlessly verify access permissions, and to list other documents the user has access to. This increases the likelihood that the friends you’ve invited to edit your document will in fact do so.

What Facebook content does docs.com access?

Docs.com accesses your Facebook username, list of friends and profile pictures.

What Facebook content does docs.com store and why?

Docs.com stores the unique user number (ID) that identifies a given user on Facebook. This helps docs.com identify that user when they visit the site and enables docs.com to confirm a user’s ability to view, edit and create documents.

What content does docs.com cache (temporarily store) and why?

Docs.com temporarily stores a given user’s list of Facebook friends, including their names and profile pictures, for two reasons: to provide you a list of friends to invite to your documents, and to show you documents that your friends have shared with you.

How does docs.com gain access to this user data?

Docs.com only accesses this information if you or one of your friends visits the site.

What if I don’t want to participate?

You can click the “no thanks” button in the blue bar to opt-out of the instant personalization experience, after which docs.com will no longer be able to access your Facebook content without you explicitly signing into docs.com via Facebook Connect and granting the service permission. You can also block the application and the instant personalization experience within your Facebook privacy settings by going here.

How does docs.com gain the ability to perform actions on my behalf?

Once you’ve attempted to use some of the more advanced features of the website, docs.com will prompt you for extended permissions. For example, in order to comment on a document, docs.com must have been explicitly granted the ability to post comments on your behalf.

Docs.com has been designed to provide a seamless and secure document sharing experience while also enabling the user to remain in control of what information they disclose to others, including us.

As docs.com continues to evolve, we will notify you on this blog of any changes that might impact such key issues as information confidentiality, disclosure and privacy.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at docspriv@microsoft.com.

-Pat Kinsel

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