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Google Docs gets playful with video playback and sharing

Online creation and collaboration tool Google Docs has added a new string to its bow: video. Now you can easily show videos to friends and colleagues without making them public.

Google's epic online document and spreadsheet tool, Google Docs, has added a new string to its bow: video playback.

Docs allows you to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations and save them in the cloud, so you can work on them wherever you are. From humble beginnings as a basic text editor, Docs has become a genuine competitor to beefy software such as Word and Powerpoint, with the added bonuses of roomy online storage and sharing with other users.

You've been able to use the service to save and share videos for a while, but they weren't previously playable within Docs itself. Now, however, you can upload videos to Docs and watch them within the site. That means you can easily show videos to friends and colleagues without making them publicly available on sites such as Facebook or YouTube (although YouTube does allow private videos).

Once you've uploaded a video to Docs with a simple YouTube-like uploader, and it's been processed, it can be viewed by clicking it in your documents list. Previous versions of the video can be downloaded -- handy if you're collaborating on a project.

Videos can be up to 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution and up to 1GB in file size. Docs supports MPEG4, 3GPP and MOV files (H264 and MPEG4 video codecs and AAC audio codec), WebM files (Vp8 video codec and Vorbis Audio codec), .avi, MPEGPS (MPEG2 video codec and MP2 audio), WMV and Adobe .flv files. You'll need Flash installed.