Google’s made yet another purchase. Rumor has it this time they’ve spent somewhere around US$ 25 million on DocVerse (news, site), a San Francisco-based technology startup that allows people to collaborate on Microsoft Office files online.

Stepping On Toes

Created by two ex Microsoft employees (Shan Sinha and Alex DeNeui), Docverse lets users collaborate directly on Microsoft Office documents. Like Microsoft's Live Workspace, users can sync DocVerse so that when they make alterations to their Office documents, an online version, equipped with a link for sharing, is automatically updated as well.

Back in February of ’09, we wondered how such a solution would be able to compete with the likes of Google Docs and MS Office 2010. At that time, Sinha wasn’t too concerned, betting the tool’s backwards compatibility would be DocVerse’s key to success.

Big Fish Eat Little Fish

But, like many things these days, in the end DocVerse became a part of its biggest competitor, Google.

Learning Opportunities

“The future of productivity applications is in the cloud,” wrote Google Enterprise marketing specialist, Ellen Petry Leanse, on the company’s official blog. “…we recognize that many people are still accustomed to desktop software. So as we continue to improve Google Docs and Google Sites as rich collaboration tools, we’re also making it easier for people to transition to the cloud, and interoperate with desktop applications like Microsoft Office.

Transition to the cloud, ey? After considering Google’s notorious lock-in attitude, we also smell the hope that people will transition entirely from Microsoft Word to Google Docs.

The deal is just one of many Google's made this year, including the purchase of reMail, Aardvark, and another direct show of love for the cloud, Picnik, a service that lets you make basic edits to photos without downloading any software.