Mountain View, California — In an attempt to gain further stronghold in the clouds computing, global search engine Goliath Google on Thursday unabashedly announced the worldwide availability of Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, a tool that allows Microsoft Office users to sync Word and other documents with Google Docs.
The plug-in software, dubbed as Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, which launched in beta in November, is now available to all users worldwide, and lets people collaborate on Word, Excel and PowerPoint components in real time without having to reformat the documents or leave the Office interface to make changes, the company said as the software moved out of beta on Thursday.
Google has launched Google Cloud Connect, which allows Microsoft Office users to sync Word and other documents with Google Docs. Photo credit: ZDNet.com
With Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, multiple people can work and share together the same file at the same time using using Office 2003, 2007 or 2010 on Windows PCs, and back it up via Google Docs. The cloud connect creates a Web version of Office docs that can be shared and edited with others.
“More people will be able to achieve a 100 percent Web future entirely in Google Docs after learning the benefits of web-powered collaboration within traditional software,” said Shan Sinha, a Google Apps Product Manager, in a Google blog post. The new technology came out of Google’s acquisition of DocVerse.
“For example, you can edit a Word document’s table of contents from Dublin while you colleague 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,” wrote Sinha in a blog post.
“Now people can work-together in Office too, when Google Docs is not the right tool,” says spokesperson Kat Eller. However, in the next breath, she notes that “learning how collaboration works in familiar software will help people make the transition to a 100 percent Web experience in Google Docs.”
“Millions of businesses are experiencing radical productivity gains with web-powered tools, and today Google Apps collaboration is ready for every employee,” states Sinha.
The Office files automatically show up in a Cloud Connect user’s Google Docs list once the tool has been downloaded. “Google Cloud Connect vastly improves Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 and 2010, so companies can instantly start using web-enabled teamwork tools without upgrading Microsoft Office or implementing SharePoint 2010,” says Sinha.
That will not materialize any time soon, though, according to Guy Creese, a Gartner analyst. “Google Cloud Connect with Office is an admission by Google that many users continue to live in Microsoft Office, and will not switch to the Google Apps interface,” he said in a statement.
“Google’s add-on makes it easy to share Office documents, but that can also be done with current Microsoft products, such as Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Live SkyDrive,” Creese added.
The service is free to everyone, not just those with a Google Enterprise Apps subscription. Its release means that companies do not have to upgrade their existing Office deployment or add Microsoft SharePoint 2010 to allow multi-user collaboration, Google said.
To access, you will need the free plug-in and a Google account.
“With Cloud Connect, you gain all the benefits of the cloud without learning anything new or upgrading existing software,” Google said.
Mac users will have to wait a bit. “Unfortunately due to the lack of support for open APIs on Microsoft Office for Mac, we are unable to make Google Cloud Connect available on Macs at this time,” Sinha wrote.
We look forward to when that time comes so we can provide this feature to our Mac customers as well,” Sinha said.
Also today, Google announced the 90-Day Appsperience program, which lets organizations access Google Docs, Google Sites, and Google Cloud Connect for a flat fee for 90 days. More details about that here.
Furthermore, Sinha will be hosting a webinar about both services on March 3 at 10am Pacific time. Those interested can register online.
The software is free and here is where you can download the Google Cloud Connect plug-in.
Photos: Google Cloud Connect in depth: How users can sync and share Microsoft Office documents via Google Docs… (here).