Google's Cloud Connect Beta Is Over. Now Where's Office365?
Last November, when Google first announced its plans to give users of several versions of Microsoft Office the ability to sync their documents with Google Apps, Google’s line of cloud-based office productivity apps, and sought volunteers to try it out, thousands stepped up, and Google had to turn many away.
It’s called Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, and it’s going live today for all Windows users running Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 and 2010. (Sorry Mac users.) It’s a plug-in (reader Ben provides a download link in the comments below) that gives Office users in multiple locations the ability to edit and collaborate on Office documents at the same time. The new service grew out of Google’s acquisition of DocVerse last year.
Alongside the new service Google says it is launching a 90-day trial period that will allow companies that haven’t yet embraced the notion of cloud-based productivity and collaboration to try Google Apps for 90 days. Google is calling it the 90-Day Appsperience, and it’s available for what Google calls “a nominal fee.” Companies who take advantage of the trial get unlimited use of Google Apps for 90 days, plus support.
This is taking place as the competitive scrum between Google and Microsoft concerning cloud-based office tools heats up. Microsoft of course has the huge Microsoft Office franchise, which is the Big Kahuna within the Microsoft Business division, which reported $18.6 billion in sale last year. Its own cloud-based enhancement for Office, known as Office365, was first announced in October, but remains in a limited Beta test period, and so isn’t generally available. Microsoft has promised to release it generally during the
second half of later this year. Google is clearly trying to take advantage by finishing its beta test of Cloud Connect well before Office365 is ready. Maybe this will spur Microsoft to speed it up a little.
Earlier this year, BoomTown’s Kara Swisher visited with Shan Sinha, former DocVerse CEO, who’s now product manager for Google Apps. In the interview below he talks about the learning process Google has been going through as it goes after the enterprise market.