Google launches Cloud Connect to sync Microsoft Office with Docs
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Google launched a new plug-in for Microsoft Office called Cloud Connect on Monday, enabling Office users to sync and access their documents through Google Docs, free of charge and without leaving the Office interface.
Want to share a file with co-workers? Just send them a link to the Google Docs file. Editing a document in Word, with multiple participants? The file will automatically sync to Google Docs each time someone hits ‘save.’ A full revision history is kept as documents are edited, so users can refer to earlier versions.
The plug-in supports Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel and is compatible with Office 2003, 2007 and 2010, according to Google.
‘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,’ project manager Shan Sinha wrote in Google’s enterprise blog. ‘Because the files are stored in the cloud, people always have access to the current version.’
This could up the ante in the battle between Google and Microsoft for a share of the $20-billion office software market. Microsoft has integrated online collaboration with its newest version of Office, but Google’s option doesn’t require Office 2003 and 2007 users to upgrade.
Last month, Google sued the U.S. Department of the Interior, alleging that it excluded Google’s bid to provide its e-mail system to the agency’s 88,000 employees. Earlier this year, Google offered its Google Apps e-mail product to serve the state of California’s 200,000 employees; Microsoft won that contract.
The Cloud Connect plug-in is available for Google Apps for Business customers as part of a preview program (sign up here); the launch date for everyone else has yet to be announced.
-- Shan Li