Google Docs, Google’s cloud office suite recently integrated with Google Drive has added a research sidebar to its interface. The research sidebar allows you to select content from the document and find more information through the research pane or from the right click context menu. To use the research pane in Google Docs, either select “research” from “Tools” or hit the keyboard shortcut “Control + Alt + R”.
The research pane lives up to its name and lets you perform quick lookups through Google web search and image search. I use Google Docs a lot for writing and sending documents and often I find myself lost in a sea of open browser tabs. This is because whenever I am writing something, I read about the subject and have to check facts, definitions, blog posts and so forth. This newly added research pane should speed things up, as I can simply select a phrase from the document and find more information about it, directly from the Google Docs WYSIWYG editor.
Here is how the research pane looks like:
If you want to link to a webpage you found from the research sidebar, all you have to do is hover over the result and choose “Insert Link”. Google Docs’s writing assistant will automatically link the selected word to that webpage, so you can save three mouse clicks and focus on writing the document. The best part – search images from the research pane and add them through a simple drag and drop. No longer you have to open a new browser tab, head over to Google Images or Flickr, find an image, copy the URL, fall back to Google Docs, hit “Insert” and paste the URL. The research pane makes life easy so you can just focus on writing and researching.
The only downside I found is that the preview pane is not large enough to house an entire webpage, so that the content is readable. If the preview pane was just as big, it would have been awesome as I can read a webpage without having to switch browser tabs (which is a big, big distraction).
As of now, the research pane supports web search, image search, quotes and maps. YouTube Videos are out of luck
Watch the following screencast to see the research pane in action: