Google Docs, which is often considered the de-facto standard among web based office applications, may soon be given a run for its money. The upcoming release of Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 will bring some exciting new features to users that Google Docs have never provided. The most promising one among these will probably be the ability to work in a zero-client environment from inside SharePoint 2010.
The web apps in Office 2010 will allow any user to work using office applications and updating the changes at a secure location on the web, much like Google Docs. However, the most significant advantage comes from the fact that any user will be able to access and edit these documents through a browser, whether they have the office applications in their laptops or netbooks. This may very well make the entire process of enterprise content management a lot more streamlined and error free than it presently is.
Another powerful feature of the apps will be their seamless compatibility with a wide variety of browsers. Microsoft, for instance, has made sure these work with both Firefox and Safari, apart from Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer, of course.
The best part, however, comes in the form of an announcement that the web apps will be available free of cost to all users of Windows Live, and they will be able to create, modify and save documents via the Windows Live Skydrive without a hitch.
Google Docs has enjoyed a monopoly in the web apps market, sure, but it certainly cannot provide the all too familiar experience that Microsoft users are accustomed to. Besides, no user can create a document in his (or her) computer, and update the changes there, only to have the changes reflected in an uploaded version of the document on Google Docs. This is precisely the advantage that Microsoft will provide to Windows Live users and that too, for free.
How successful will this move be? Will Microsoft play the role of the reliable workhorse and challenge the young stallion that came charging in to its territory? Only time will have a say on that, but for now, get more details about this exciting new development here.