Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

Summary: Google's release of Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office is more than a plug-in that syncs legacy Office apps with modern cloud-based apps; it's also another chess move for Google in its ongoing competition with Microsoft.

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The cloud is coming to Microsoft Office - and it's powered by Google.

Google's latest effort to lure business customers away from Microsoft Office to Google Apps comes in the form of a plug-in for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The plug-in (pictured below) essentially syncs Office files with an online counterpart that lives in Google Docs, which allows users to always see the most recent version of a file, whether they're viewing it in a browser, in an Office app or even on a mobile device.

That means no more emailing a Word document between multiple people, only to be confused about which is the most recent. It means being able to see, in real time, as your colleague updates the sales figures in your spreadsheet - while you're working on it. It means being able to literally drop an image into your colleague's PowerPoint presentation.

And, to sweeten the pot, the company is also launching a 90-day "Appsperience" program, which allows companies to test the waters, if you will, with Google Apps. For a fee - $7,000 for companies with less than 500 employees and $15,000 for those with more - the company is providing use of the Apps, as well as access to a support network, as well as a new analytics dashboard that compares usage in the cloud against usage on legacy apps and more.

It's almost like an overdue coming-of-age realization for Google, an acknowledgment that MIcrosoft's install base is so massive that companies needed a smarter way to transition to Apps. The company has been gaining ground with its Apps offerings - as well as enhancing its suite - for years. But it has struggled to sell some companies, including larger, more traditional companies, on the benefits of Web-based apps.

With this plug-in - which is free to all Google Apps customers, including free customers - Google is providing a bridge of sorts for companies that are still on the fence, those that have been thinking about taking the plunge but have been deterred by thoughts of retraining an entire workforce on a new spreadsheet application.

Google obviously wins when the business customer signs on the dotted line and starts paying that annual $50 per user fee. The old school employees win because they get to take advantage of the latest collaboration tools without having to let go of their comfortable legacy apps. And Google's new business customer wins not only because of Google's cost savings but also because collaborative employees tend to be more efficient and productive.

The only question left is: Where does that leave Microsoft? In all truthfulness, it leaves Microsoft with another injection of a slow-release venom, one that's quietly killing off a long-standing cash cow for the company. Certainly, Office won't just disappear tomorrow or anytime sooner. But how long can it stay dominant - or even relevant - now that Google is providing the tools to transition away?

Topics: Software, Apps, CXO, Cloud, Collaboration, Google, Microsoft

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58 comments
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  • No thanks Google -- Keep your crappy products away from my important doc

    Google is becoming a parasite. First they copy Apple and that failed because of Googles incompetence. Now they're trying to leach off Microsoft. This feable attempt will probably end with yet another Google failure because Google's products just doesnt work.
    iPad-awan
    • At some clients

      @iPad-awan

      We have pushed group policies that block any Google applicatoin other than Chrome. Some have even requested Docs blocked for the simple fact they don't want confidential information stored where the company doesn't have complete control over it.
      LiquidLearner
      • RE: Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

        @LiquidLearner
        yeah yeah, but I bet they still have people walking in and out with flash drives and dvds!
        strangefruit
      • good thinking

        @LiquidLearner

        that is the correct thing to do, let's see Google can now search your corporate docs, when will they become wiki leaks or lead to an overthrow of your company..... Keep your companies jewels in the vault do let them float in a cloud that is being data mined for any and all proprietary or confidential information. does the NSA get to view your company records too?
        surfnschultz@...
    • RE: Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

      @iPad-awan

      Google is primarily a search engine and advertising firm. The only reason they're into all these other markets is just to be disruptive. They could care less what works and what doesn't.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

      @iPad-awan Agreed.

      This is a toy, not a tool. It's not venom, it's inert, at most an annoyance. Microsoft is showing what cloud computing can be. Office 365 (or the older version) - these are powerful tools for big or small businesses.
      Schoolboy Bob
      • RE: Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

        @Schoolboy Bob Agreed. And Microsoft already "injects" the cloud nicely into Office 2010 and even Office 2007 with SkyDrive. So tell me why I would want to use Google?
        zdnetreader123
    • RE: Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

      @iPad-awan What is it with you? Do you live on some kind of tech free monastery. I have been using MS products since DOS 1 and history has proven that these products are the "most insecure of all time" Unix, Linux, and just about any other product has been more secure than these products. I would trust my data to Google more than I would to the company that I work for (one of the largest) and they cannot keep their "mission critical" mail servers up an running with a service level that matches Google's free, nor can I send as large an attachment as Google free, or store over 100M of e-mails.
      bigpicture
      • Bigpicture, don't FUD the issue...

        ...because the bulk of Microsoft's known security issues were always with the Windows OS, and never with the Office suite or its components (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). Billions of extremely sensitive corporate documents are stored as Excel spreadsheets, and no enterprise has any problem with that. So your statement is simply not relevant in this case.

        And by the way, vulnerabilities with Windows may be the highest in sheer numbers, but when a company has 90% plus of the market, that's kinda obvious... the key issue is, how quickly does MS patch/fix the issues as they come up... compare this to Apple or Oracle (competitors in the PC and enterprise space) and you'll get a better picture.
        jaykayess
  • RE: Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

    No way would I opt for this. My documents are my data, and Google has a history of trying to claim any data you send through its servers becomes their property.

    [i]it leaves Microsoft with another injection of a slow-release venom[/i]
    Bad analogy. People will continue to use the Microsoft platform because that is the creator of the software. Google Apps wouldn't display the documents nearly as well.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

      @Loverock Davidson

      google sucks period!
      nessrapp
    • RE: Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

      @Loverock Davidson
      "Google has a history of trying to claim any data you send through its servers becomes their property."

      Yahoo tried that a few years ago--"if it's posted to/through us, it becomes our IP". You can guess how well THAT flew.
      dennyw@...
  • RE: Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

    Sam, Help me understand, why somebody running MS Office would want to pay additional for Google Apps. Why wouldn't they just upload it on Skydrive for collaboration?
    mm71
    • RE: Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

      @mm71
      Good point and also if they want collaboration, they have SharePoint in the office suite and also Office365 helps them in many ways better than Google Apps.
      Ram U
      • Plus LyncOnline

        @Rama.NET

        Sam ruined his standpoint for me when he kept referring to Office as a "legacy app". Considering it's an actively developed application I wouldn't call it legacy. It's still the defacto standard for Office Applications and Docs doesn't even come close to what Office does.

        Is it okay for basic editing? Sure, but so is Office Web Apps. And overall Office Web Apps gives more functionality as well as SharePoint integration, which stomps all over Google Anything.
        LiquidLearner
      • RE: Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

        @LiquidLearner

        To some, anything Microsoft is legacy. Not sure why, I happen to agree with what you said, Office is still the defacto standard, and nothing else comes anywhere near it; Google Docs? No way. OOo/LB or whatever they're called this week, please that stuff is a joke.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

      @mm71

      I was about to ask the same question myself. This is something we're doing at my job where our docs are saved to Skydrive for others to access.
      mibjr
      • RE: Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

        @mibjr

        Same here. We actually were working with Google Docs and then switched over to Sky Drive. My company is a smaller company so this works. However, for security purposes, I don't see a larger company deploying something like this. Especially in Google Docs.
        retnep
  • RE: Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

    Actually I see Google Apps would push Open Office and other Office aspirants closer to death. It may put a small dent to Microsoft Office, but I don't think someone who already have MS Office would want this additional paid subscription to Google Office like @mm71 mentioned above. If it is personal computer user or a SOHO with MSOffice, they can use SkyDrive with more space and capabilities to push it onto Internet and Small to Large Enterprises and Schools/Colleges could use more better Office365, IMO. Of course I know you are one of the Google fanbois, so whatever we say about the practical issues with Google Apps will not go into your brains definitely.
    And finally I think as a user of Microsoft, Apple and Google, I feel Apple products Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are better and productive than Google Apps. Of course there are certain services that are wonderful in the Google world like Book Search, Reader, App Inventor, Sites etc. but other than, the other services provide "Me too" kind of experience with poor user experience. Their original service Google search really sucks if we are not searching for any IT related issues. They totally screwed it.
    Ram U
  • RE: Google Apps plug-in injects the cloud into Office, slow venom into Microsoft

    No thanks Google. Keep your garbage away from my Office.

    Not to mention, Office 2010 already has built in Cloud support. Even though I don't use it, I would trust Microsoft's cloud anyday over Google's Cloud, where most likely, my data, e-mails, etc are being crawled.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion