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Google Docs viewer on Android, iPhone, iPad browser? Why, yes

Google announces an optimized version of its Google Docs viewer for iPhone and Android phones. The good news is that you won't need to download docs to view them. The bad news? It's view-only for now.

Google Docs on iPhone 4
Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

As much as we'd like to say that we can do the same thing on a mobile phone as we can on a desktop, the truth of the matter is that unless you're toting a tablet like the iPad (and even then...), some tasks are just harder to do without some form of mobile-optimized view.

To that end, Google now optimizes its Google Docs Web site for iPhone, Android, and yes, the iPad. I speak from experience when calling the previous path to Google Docs from Android and iPhone arduous.

The new mobile version of the Google Docs document viewer lets you look at DOC, DOCX, PPT (PowerPoint), and PDF files in the browser. You can also pinch and zoom to better view your docs.

Spreadsheets on Google Docs' mobile version still look squashed and require zooming-in for legibility, but such is the nature of the beast.

We tested the new functionality on the iPhone 4 and Android Incredible with good results. The Google Docs viewer works just as well on third-party Android Web browsers like Dolphin HD as it does on the phone's default browser.

For now, Google's optimized Docs' mobile viewer is in view-only mode.  The company hasn't said when it will open up the mobile version to editing. To use it, simply navigate to on your mobile device.