Google has now posted a description of the work its software engineers have done and an account of the differences between the two editors. Traditionally, Google says, web-based text editors, from blog-post publishing tools to the old Google Docs, offset much of the text layout and processing to the browser. This makes sense, since all browsers have a powerful text-layout engine, given that it’s one of the web browser’s main tasks.
This meant that the editor would be fast, as the computing was done locally, and it left the tool free to handle everything else and not worry about how the text was displayed and processed. However, this approach came with one big limitation, it couldn’t do anything more than the browser engine allowed it to. And since not all browsers are the same, Google had to stick to features that were guaranteed to work for everyone, the lowest common denominator.