Google is putting a cloud collaboration clobbering on Microsoft Office, unlocking tag-teaming capabilities in desktop-based Office applications through a new Google Apps connector.
Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, which the cloud computing and search giant made available Thursday, adds long desired cloud collaboration capabilities to traditional Microsoft Office desktop apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Google said.
"We're bringing multi-person, simultaneous editing to the Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications that coworkers may still need from time to time," wrote Shan Sinha, Google Apps product manager, in a blog post around the launch of Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office.
Sinha wrote that Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office is available as a 3 MB plug-in to all Microsoft Office users worldwide and lets two or more people work together and collaborate on the same file at the same time in Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 or 2010 on Windows PCs.
"For example, you can edit a Word document's table of contents from Dublin while coworkers adjust formatting and make revisions from Denver. Instead of bombarding each other with attachments and hassling to reconcile people's edits, your whole team can focus on productive work together," Sinha wrote. "Google Cloud Connect vastly improves Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 and 2010, so companies can start using Web-enabled teamwork tools without upgrading Microsoft Office or implementing SharePoint 2010."
Microsoft did not respond to a request to comment by press time.
Google gave a sneak preview of Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office late last year and the plug-in became generally available Thursday. Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office is the fruit of Google's DocVerse acquisition last year. DocVerse made a plug-in that adds Web-based collaboration to Microsoft Office desktop applications.
"Users of Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 can sync their Office documents to the Google cloud, without ever leaving Office. Once synced, documents are backed-up, given a unique URL, and can be accessed from anywhere (including mobile devices) at any time through Google Docs," Sinha wrote in a November 2010 blog post introducing Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office. "And because the files are stored in the cloud, people always have access to the current version."
Sinha said that that Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office allows Office users to get cloud collaboration capabilities without the need to upgrade to Microsoft Office 365, which is based on Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010.
"Specifically, Office 365 will not offer collaboration for Office 2003 and 2007 users, requiring your install base to be upgraded to Office 2010 if these collaboration capabilities are necessary," Sinha said. "Office 365 also will not support collaboration in the desktop version of Excel. Nor will it support collaboration in the Web versions of Word and PowerPoint. Google Apps plus Cloud Connect offers a complete solution for customers."
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