Google has done a lot to improve Docs after a barrage of updates to Workspace that represent the biggest set of improvements for the app in over a decade. For example, the addition of a pageless format was a massive symbolic change for the service, and Google went on to transform Docs into a dynamic smart canvas for your documents, with features like creating polls and assigning tasks to colleagues via @-mentions. However, editing a document hasn't been exactly straightforward, as Docs always defaults to view mode when you open the app on Android. This is finally changing with a new update.
The search giant announced in a blog post that Google Docs for Android will now launch in edit mode by default. Its desktop version has had this behavior for quite some time, allowing users to start editing a document immediately without having to switch modes by clicking a pencil FAB.
Meanwhile, Docs on mobile always required you to tap the edit button in the bottom-right corner in order to switch modes. With the latest change, Google wants to save you a tap when you want to edit a document right away.
To be fair, though, opening a document in edit mode immediately may not always be ideal for everyone. For instance, if you're just viewing a document, the view-only mode is your best bet for not destroying the page you're on. Otherwise, if you are not careful, you may unintentionally change a document that you did not intend to edit.
However, Google considers the advantages of using edit mode by default to outweigh the disadvantages. In addition, the I-beam cursor appears immediately once you open a document, assuming there's a physical keyboard attached (which may often be the case with tablets). When you tap the cursor, a virtual keyboard shows up instead. The formatting toolbar has also been made more visible.
This "first open experience" arrives just a few days after Google made changes to Sheets and Slides on Android in the same vein. When you first open the Sheets app on an Android device, the tap targets are now larger. A single tap also displays the formula bar, tab bar, and contextual formatting toolbar. In Slides, the filmstrip now appears on the left-hand side, and the contextual toolbar appears when you choose an object.