Google is launching standalone mobile apps for the three key tools in its productivity suite: Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The apps will be available on both iOS and Android, with the former two already out today and Slides coming at a later date. The standalone apps aren't strictly necessary though: the ability to create, view, and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations has been built into the Google Drive app for some time now. These new apps even look just like Google Drive, but with different color schemes. But by breaking them out on their own, Google gives users of its productivity suite a clear place to go when they want to get working.

The launch of Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps will also better position Google to compete against Apple and Microsoft on productivity. After their launch, Microsoft's Office apps for iPad quickly shot to the top of the App Store and lingered there for some time. Apple also offers productivity tools for free with new iPhones and iPads. With three apps of its own, Google can now try to directly compete with each of them. Big tech companies appear to be seeing the value in individual apps of late for other reasons too, using them as a way to create a better experience for each product.