Google Docs and Google Apps are sweeping the world, and despite the limited functionality of the word processor and the potential privacy issues with its data storage regime, the collaboration features are truly first class, and are a welcome addition to any Microsoft Office installation. Unfortunately, neither Microsoft nor Google have written a tool which lets Docs and Office work together without manually uploading/downloading the files from Google Docs. One interesting third party tool for Microsoft Office users which adds this capability to Office is an add-in called OffiSync (www.offisync.com). This tool adds a tab to the ribbon which interfaces with Google Docs and Google Sites. Functions enabled in Microsoft Office include:
· Retrieval and storage of Microsoft Office files in Google Docs and Google Sites,
· Managing Google Docs collaboration for an active file, and
· Using Google search to find information on the Web or in your Docs files or to locate images online for use in your Docs.
Files can be saved in either the native Microsoft Office format, in Open Office document formats, or can alternatively be saved as Google Docs files.
For example, a user could create a document in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, save the file to either Google Docs or Google Sites, and then share the file with others from within the familiar Microsoft Office applications.
OffiSync is $30 per user or can be purchased on a subscription basis for $12/user per year. More information on this product is available at www.offisync.com.
Note: In March 2010, Google announced its acquisition of DocVerse, a competing tool which allows Office users to work in the Google Docs environment. At the time this was written, DocVerse had suspended new subscriptions, and neither Google nor DocVerse had announced any product offerings, although it was widely speculated in the technology trade press that a Google tool similar to OffiSync will be released in 2010. Current information is at www.docverse.com or www.google.com.