Earlier this month Microsoft introduced its cloud computing version of Microsoft Office- Microsoft Office Live. Following the June 15th release of MS Office 2010, Microsoft hopes to integrate its online apps with its desktop powerhouse to present a digital one-two punch combination. Those punches are aimed squarely at Google Docs, Google’s cloud computing offering.
I’ve been using Google Docs for some time now, but I admit that most of my document creation, editing, and management have been executed with Zoho. Zoho offers a suite of applications that cover all the computing needs of regular working stiffs, like myself- a teacher with no discretionary funds to spend on productivity suites. That’s right, Zoho’s numerous, feature-rich apps are essentially free- like Google’s. But, they offer apps that Google doesn’t. Today, for example, Zoho announced a significant upgrade in their wiki app- Zoho Wiki v2.0. This and other apps are great for the small business with equally small budgets. They don’t ask for fees unless you wish to expand storage capacity, feature set, etc. For many, you will not need the added features. Zoho is fantastic and I appreciate the breadth and scope of their product offerings. Over the past 15 months, Zoho and Google Docs have merged login credentials and other features to create a mega cloud productivity suite.
I’m seriously making an effort to put the new MS Office Live offering to the test. The killer app, which may drive me away from Zoho, is Skydrive. That app, when combined with an app called SDExplorer, gives you desktop convenience with the omnipresence of the cloud. I’ll jump through a hoop to exploit the features of Skydrive.
In an earlier post, I stated that MS Office documents stored within Skydrive will open in its respective MS Office Live web application (for now: Word, Excel, Powerpoint & OneNote only). No desktop application, no fees, no flash drives, and on, and on, … Google Docs is hard pressed to beat that kind of synergy. However, Google Docs has strengths of its own, not the least of which is the experience gap that exists between Google and Microsoft regarding cloud computing. The recent addition of a drawing feature and document privacy controls just adds to the intensity of this techno brawl.
I love this and so should you. The big boys duke it out while you and I benefit from it.