Google Drawings is pretty cool, now what is it for?

Google released a new product in its app suite, Google Drawings.  It's kinda like Adobe Illustrator, Visio and Microsoft Paint decided to have a baby and it got the so called genetic short end of the stick.

I'm not saying it isn't impressive, it's massively impressive given that it provides real-time collaborative drawing in JavaScript.  I'm just not sure what it's good for yet.  

A couple things which really impressed me:

  • Nice collection of shapes and arrow heads
  • The integrated google image search is nice
  • Intuitive interface for adding text (double click)
  • You can copy drawings into docs

A couple things I noted which didn't impress me:

  • There is no "snapping" of arrows.  It looks like you can build flow chart style diagrams, but the arrows don't stay attached to shapes.  This basically makes it like Visio, without the part worth paying $200 for.
  • Adding shapes is a chore.  Compare to balsamiq which has a keyboard based interface for this, or visio with the stencils

Here's my take:

If your whole team has styluses (styli) and likes to use them, this might be a neat tool for collaborative white board experience for remote teams.

Another option: If you just want to quickly add some pizzaz to a document, this could be the ticket.


  1. The diagraming is too basic for nice diagrams, I'd prefer Glyphy or really, Omni / Visio
  2. For wireframing, it's Balsamiq all the way.
  3. For actual illustration, I'm pretty sure no artist would use a web based tool at this point.