Now Microsoft has Started Online Based Microsoft web Applications for Better Support for Their Needy Customers,Just in time for the Office 2010 launch, Microsoft wants their products in the forefront of your everyday document development and collaboration tasks with their Microsoft Web Apps product.
Microsoft has tapped the cloud to offer a free online version of its Office suite that rivals products like Google Docs and Open Office in attempt to urge users to collaborate and share Microsoft documents via the web. Software you are familiar with like Word, Excel and PowerPoint now have a place in Windows Live account that will enable you to upload documents to share with team members, clients, as well as family and friends.
Office Web Apps offers real-time collaboration, so you can see when other users are logged in and viewing/updating documents. To allow others to view Office Web documents, they don’t need a Microsoft Live ID, but in order to modify a document, they need modify permissions from the creator and a Live ID.
There are some cool features of Office Web Apps like the ability to co-author an Excel document. Instead of being locked out of a document or have the check in/out a document for control like SharePoint, two authors can be in the same document making changes at the same time. There some drawbacks, though. The co-author feature doesn’t include a way to actually see what the other author is editing. So there is the possibility that two authors could be in the same document, at the same time, editing the same content! So you have to be careful when collaborating in real-time, cause it could turn out to be real-confusing.
As far as how Office Web Apps compare to Google Docs – I’ll be nice and just say that this is Microsoft’s first try at online document sharing. So they are a little behind the game. For instance in Google Docs, if two people are in the same document making changes; the area is highlighted in another color to show where another person is editing. Additionally, messing around with the desktop version of Microsoft Office as long as most of us have, will find it just a little bit of an adjustment to how long it takes to open an office web app. Google Docs (since it started online) has a quicker load time. It isn’t like “pull my hair out” long, but you do notice the difference.
Like I said, this is Microsoft’s first foray into offering document editing, sharing and collaboration via the web. Microsoft has enough muscle (and dough) to make Office Web Apps a serious cloud-computing advocate, so it’s only uphill from here?