If you can't decide between Google Docs and Microsoft Office, good news! With today's release of Google Cloud Connect, you can stay wishy washy and commitment-free. The service connects the two products directly, allowing users to operate the Office interface with Google Docs features.
The handy plugin is a result of Google’s acquisition of DocVerse back in March, and, right off the bat, supports Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Once installed, a new ribbon will appear toward the top of the Office UI, linking the document you’re currently working on to its twin in Google Docs.
If you're editing a document in any of the three mentioned Microsoft programs, it will automatically sync with your Google Docs account as soon as you click the 'Save' button (note: you must click 'Save' to sync, this is not an as-you-type syncing feature):
Once synced, documents receive a unique URL and can be treated with all of the features that come with the Google Docs service, including collaboration.
Because multiple people can edit the same document and sync their changes with each save, not working in real-time presents some challenges. Google deals with these potential conflicts by presenting users with an alert that prompts them to choose which version they’d like to save. Should they want to switch the saved version, a version history is available.
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As you may know, Microsoft's newest version of Office integrates online collaboration (with the exception of Excel support), but Google's release is particularly useful because it connects with Office 2003, 2007, and 2010.
For now, the new plugin is available to Apps for Business customers free of charge (sign up here). The rest of you all will have to hold tight.