Google Docs has always been great at collaboration and group projects, but the majority of such assignments involved a presentation of some sorts, and this has traditionally been the suite’s weakest product.

You could always work together on a single presentation, but the real-time text updating that allows you to see your partners’ cursor location has never been fully ported over from text documents and spreadsheets until now. With the updates, you’ll also get the nice sidebar IM window to chat with your partners from anywhere (though I swear that was there before. Anybody remember for sure?). If you’ve ever tried to get a group of four or more people in the library at the same time, you’ll quickly realize how big a boon this is.

The other big knock on Google Presentations was that it was just plain ugly. Luckily, the app now supports animations and slide transitions, and while these things should be used carefully and in moderation, it’s nice to have the option available. There aren’t as many options available as in desktop apps, but most of us can live without 3D checkerboard explosion wipes.

There are plenty of other little additions available too, so definitely head over and check it out yourself. The new features aren’t yet enabled by default, so just visit this page and check the second box to get started. Be sure to try it out for your next group presentation and let us know in the comments how you like it.

[Via the official Google Docs Blog]