Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

Summary: Microsoft took over a suite off the show floor at last week's Macworld Expo and persuaded some Mac stalwarts about their cloud applications. But the elephant in the room was the iPad.

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Microsoft took over a suite off the show floor at last week's Macworld Expo and persuaded some Mac stalwarts about their cloud applications. But the elephant in the room was the iPad.

In his report on the show, MacWindows Editor/Publisher John Rizzo said that Microsoft made a case that Office Web Apps are better for Office users than Google Apps.

Microsoft launched Office Web Apps last June. Although it's a few years behind Google Docs and has some catching up to do, the Redmond folks made a good case. If you're like most people who use a computer, you use Microsoft Office. Office Web Apps look and feel like Office for Mac and Windows, though simpler (and not as powerful).

If you know Office, there's almost no learning curve with Microsoft, while Google Docs takes a little study. And Google Apps requires a certain amount of conversion between it and Office desktop files, and displaying Office documents often is compromised. This is pretty seamless with Office Apps, and display of your desktop files is near perfect.

I respect Rizzo's opinion. Still, no matter what Ray Ozzie and all the cloud-heads have decided and declaimed as the future of computing, neither Google's or Microsoft's user experience are very satisfying to this user.

Instead, I suggest that the future of mobile computing — which is what Google and Microsoft are talking about when they say that you can "do more things virtually anywhere" — could be seen last week in the many iPad-centric booths on the Expo floor. This Apple device and its competition can go anywhere, connect to cloud resources and become the real online companions we want to use.

Dudes, cloud apps are so Y2K!

Topics: Cloud, Apps, Collaboration, Google, iPad, Microsoft, Mobility, Software

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19 comments
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  • RE: Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

    "Still, no matter what Ray Ozzie and all the cloud-heads have decided and declaimed as the future of computing, neither Google?s or Microsoft?s user experience are very satisfying to this user."

    Agreed. What annoys me is how, after all these years with "cloud" apps:

    -They're still very weak compared to desktop apps. They still have very pathetic feature sets.
    -We're still struggling to get the technologies out there to make them as useful as desktop apps.
    -We still have some pretty big issues with ofline reliability, sharing data between web apps, and multiple logins.
    -IMO the technology that they run on (XML, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, etc) are frankly quite clumsy, and it's amazing it works at all. I'd love to see effort in making more elegent replacements for the tech we have right now.
    CobraA1
    • Yes, iPad = could already, no need for cloud applications/services mostly

      @CobraA1
      DDERSSS
    • In any case, Microsoft Office is looking more and more ridiculous every

      year, with all of the baroque features for printing on 8.5x11 paper, and no way to instantly and easily share documents. When Google Docs has all of the offline features working on HTML5, it will render MS Office obsolete.
      DonnieBoy
      • RE: Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

        @DonnieBoy "and no way to instantly and easily share documents" - of course there is. It's called Sharepoint, in its many flavors: Sharepoint Services (included in Windows Server, any edition), Groove (part of Office Pro and up), Sharepoint Server (most powerful version) and Office Live (not the same as Office Web apps). Office is not just a bunch of pretty (or ugly depending on your tastes) buttons. There's a lot going on behind the scenes and it's definitely more than just the client applications. Microsoft is total fail at selling stuff, so people don't know much of this. Office in fact, is a whole platform that when working together is extremely powerful, relatively cheap and there's absolutely nothing out there that comes close to what it can actually do. Problem is, like I said, hardly anyone knows this.
        fer.paredesb
      • RE: Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

        @fer.paredesb Agreed. I've said the same thing for years. MS couldn't market their way out of a wet paper bag. If they were even half as good at it as Apple, they'd be a much larger force to be reckoned with.
        BigTipper
      • RE: Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

        @DonnieBoy

        "Microsoft Office is looking more and more ridiculous every
        year, with all of the baroque features for printing on 8.5x11 paper"

        -You'd be surprised how many people still use paper.

        -Most of the new features have nothing to do with printed documents, and are applicable to any type of document, printed or not.

        -PowerPoint has placed a big focus on multimedia and web features, which have nothing to do with printed documents.

        "and no way to instantly and easily share documents"

        I disagree. You can use Sharepoint, save to SkyDrive, publish to a blog, send via email, or use any other number of ways to share documents on the web from Office.

        If you want to talk about difficulties sharing - try using Google Docs with a non-Google service. You have to download it and re-upload it to the new service. You seriously expect everybody on Earth to have a Google account just for the sake of sharing a few documents?

        "When Google Docs has all of the offline features working on HTML5, it will render MS Office obsolete."

        Doubtful. First of all, they still have a ways to go as far as a complete feature set.

        Second, they're still hanging on to the menu/toolbar setup that's gonna easily become overloaded if they attempt to seriously catch up to Office.

        Lastly, why are they lagging in offline support anyways? IMO they should've stuck with Gears until they had HTML 5 working.

        . . . and oh, yeah, Office comes with OneNote now :). Not really any equivalent in Google Docs.
        CobraA1
  • RE: Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

    As a iphone and ipad apps developer i suggest ipad apps is the best. Sure the cloud apps are really weak than desktop apps. Hmmm CobraA1 your information is also really great. http://www.contussupport.com
    andy.jason
  • RE: Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

    Well the cloud apps are just a big type. I end up using Google Apps mostly as a USB drive, as most of the computers anyway have a net connection. Rarely do I use it as a "editor" or an app to manage documents.

    These apps are still in the preliminary stage, a more advanced stage would be where you could access them directly form your desktop something like picasa or iphoto, as it would enable the users to keep confidential documents on their desktop an only use the editing features of the tools to edit the documents. Then we would not need to reply of application such as Office for most of out editing needs.
    gsehgal
  • RE: Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

    I think you need to make a distinction between individuals that are content consumers and content creators. content consumers can be content with the ipad experience for browsing. However, the ipad is not the ideal advise for content creators.

    As far as John Rizzo's cursory evaluation of Office Web Apps, I do not know what he was looking at. To suggest that Microsoft has some catching up to do to the feature-poor Google Apps requires a suspension of disbelief. Google apps is great for basic content creation. However, Office Web Apps is the one to beat to create rich content and collaborate with a broad audience on any collection of PC or mobile devices.
    Stevenaaa4
    • Google Apps sucks

      @Steven@... I honestly find the statement about MS needing to do some catching up to Google Apps totally unbelievable.

      Although I haven't use any Office Web App, I have tried Google Apps and cheap people may think it is acceptable, but the fact is that its: Slow and clunky, extremely limited and not that reliable. In fact, it is like using an early open source alpha ... an incomplete barely usable product that is only good as a preview.

      For Office Web App to be "behind Google Apps", it would mean that MS just released a web page with a picture of the office app, and called that a working product. Because that is the only way I can believe the "need some catching up" part. Google Apps are by no means ready for prime-time.
      wackoae
      • RE: Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

        @wackoae I agree. I've seen the Office Web apps and they're basically web based versions of the same Office client apps. It's quite good, actually. Google apps, on the other hand are quite bland and like you said incredibly limited and clunky. They're good for a quick and dirty thing or for easily sharing stuff but for real productive work they're very very lacking.
        fer.paredesb
  • What about Zoho?

    I'm not a Zoho fanboi (and we use Google Apps here), but it does seem to be more feature-complete.
    m0o0o0o0o
  • RE: Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

    Neither Google Apps and Office Web Apps is adequate. While they are both great for collaboration, what if you just want to make a resume or a letter? iPad Apps like the iPad version of iWork on the other hand give you about 90% of what you need and you can still do some collaboration though it isn't as great as Google or Office Web Apps.
    Gerald Shields
  • RE: Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

    Has anyone here read "The Innovator's Dilemma"?
    Seems this is word for word a description of cloud apps; too limited, too niche, too weak, etc...but they are disruptive. When (if) they catch, it will be wildfire. And anyone not making the move to cloud app will disappear.
    elinav
    • RE: Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

      @elinav "And anyone not making the move to cloud app will disappear."

      Disagree. Old techs often don't disappear after a new tech arrives. Often phasing out an old tech may take a while.

      That, plus I think we're headed towards hybrid with HTML 5, not pure cloud.
      CobraA1
  • RE: Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

    I don't care about cloud.
    When I want to work on a file, and usually they are huge (lots of data and formulas, macros, minimum of 2mb), I need to be able to work on them fast and accurately. Once they are ready, I save them. And I need access them when I am ready, not when the server or the web feels like allowing me to work.
    If I need have someone do some work on it, I'll get it to the other person, and that person usually like to be able to promptly work on the sheet.

    I also want to be able to fully use the power of the sheet, not just some.

    The cloud to me makes me think of the popularity of facebook, twitter and other social networks. It's fun for sharing small stuff, but not the place for serious (big) work.
    mlev2
    • You consider 2MB file big???

      @mlev2 Seriously, I work with files that are in the GB size.

      2MB is just a Word doc with a small image.
      wackoae
      • RE: Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

        @wackoae
        well I may have done a typo error mb->gb, but I still stand by my feeling about cloud computing.
        when you have time to get a coffee while a bunch of formulas are updated, or charts being refreshed, it's a killer already. Doing it on a remote file makes it even worst.

        if you want to talk about files that don't get changed regularly, maybe. But for files that need regular massive updates, review and correction, i find the use of remote (cloud or other) very counterproductive.

        Not saying though that there would not be good use for it.
        Just that thinking the cloud will be everything in the future is just a bit unrealistic.
        mlev2
  • RE: Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps vs. iPad Apps

    isn't this what HP and Web os seem to be planning?
    dalspartan