SkyDrive and Office Web Apps versus Google

SkyDrive and Office Web Apps versus Google

Summary: It's hard to think of Microsoft Office as anything other than the archetypal Windows desktop program. But while no one was looking, Microsoft's free online apps and storage turned surprisingly powerful. Are the free apps good enough to use in place of Office?

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TOPICS: Software, Cloud
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  • (Image: Screenshot by Ed Bott/ZDNet)

    Google's charting tools are bare bones

    You can make a few customizations in the Google Chart Editor, but the options are far from extensive. While this option is good enough for making quick charts, you'll want a much more powerful app to make presentation-worthy charts and graphics.

  • (Image: Screenshot by Ed Bott/ZDNet)

    Familiar Word features in the Word Web App

    This editing page with the Home tab open looks remarkably like the desktop version of Word. In the document itself, you can see familiar features like highlighters (yellow's the classic color, but 15 others are available), spell check (see the red squiggle?), and a quick formatting toolbar that appears when you right-click.

  • (Image: Screenshot by Ed Bott/ZDNet)

    To add comments in the Word Web App, stop editing

    This feature might not be immediately intuitive. You can toggle any Word document (ditto for Excel and PowerPoint) between Reading View and Edit View. In Reading View, you'll find a Comments command above the document, which in turn opens the sidebar shown here. But if you choose Edit Document, the comments aren't available.

Topics: Software, Cloud

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36 comments
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  • Google apps are a joke.

    For serious business, Google are apps are no match for Office 365 or Office 2013. Serious business is not about doodling....

    Can somebody tell me that a thing called 'SORT' available in Google apps or mail?
    Owlll1net
    • Owlll1net your always flapping your gums like you know everything

      So how come you dont know the answer to your own question......................and you have the nerve to call Google a JOKE........Owlll1net....old saying....if the shoe fits wear it .......sounds like your the Joke here
      Over and Out
      • It's not about me, its about Google's inferior products, which are a joke.

        .
        Owlll1net
      • So tell us

        How Google's apps actaully serve different needs in actual workplaces and working on the run better than do Microsoft Office and SkyDrive.

        By using a countless number of discrete apps? Pathetic.

        Why not subscribe Office and make your life easier? I would rather do something more creative for the time I would have to spend trying to form up a solution every time I need to something new. And even if I tried, I would fail to provide myself with plausible solution every time with Google's apps.

        Toys can be used the way YOU want, but it is simple reality that in workplaces devices must provide actual solutions right away.
        Jae K Oh
        • MS is an evil company whose products are over-complicated

          throughout all of MS's history, they have proven their company has been EVIL (global courts have a number of times established MS as abusers, coercive lawbreakers, liars on a mass scale...evil) and their products have been coercively overpriced, overcomplicated, buggy, dangerous (susceptible to viruses/malware).
          google apps are the innovators of free, safe, simple to use, available to the masses.
          captainhurt
          • Oh Please.....

            Take your head out from your %^$# and go buy a copy of Linux and play with Google Apps.

            Whatever you say Microsoft has been singular in making QUALITY products available to the masses above anyone else despite the 'spoliers' attempts to shackle them.

            Now they are giving you QUALITY products for home use for free.

            If you want free apps from a company with no corporate direction who just throw stuff out there because they have the money to do it go ahead and use Google.

            Personally, in the short time I have seen Google operate, they are not even in the same league as Microsoft and they are creating monsters which will come back to bite them and anyone who trusts their personal data to them......
            theviewfromabove
          • Over-complicated?

            I am sorry to hear that you have learning issues, @captainhurt. For most of us, Microsoft products are very easy to use. What do you mean by over-complicated? I suspect you mean it has tons more features than you know what to do with... but that is because it caters to professionals who need those features. In fact I downloaded and installed LibreOffice for a neighbour and he hated it. I tried it (on his laptop) and hated it too. It was unintuitive, fiddly and totally rubbish compared to MS Office.

            With all the Styles, Style Sets, Live Previews, one-click this and that... there is nothing simpler to create a professional-looking document. You can insert an elegant cover page, add picture effects, elegant diagrams, change the appearance of tables with a mouse-click or change the entire document's appearance with the click of a Style Set. Bring VBA macros into the equation and there is almost no limit to what you can do.

            Best of all, MS Office is extremely stable. I have never had a crash in the many years I have used it. On less reliable "systems" - if there is a crash, Word recovers your document anyway.
            MelbourneTweetr
          • The Stability or Lack Thereof of MS Word

            depends on many things, but in particular on the size of the document being created. I have used Word 97 through Word 2010 for engineering reports, and have consistently found that once a document reaches a page count of between 100 to 125 pages, Word slows noticeably and often starts crashing. Sometimes document recovery worked and sometimes it didn't. We finally learned to prepare reports in segments of 100 pages or less. In larger segments, pagination and styles seemed to change for no apparent reason, and the table of contents would change back to a previous version. Sometimes the instability seemed to be related to something as simple as printing to PDF. We made do because we had no choice, but it was often painful.
            oldnuke69
    • Nice

      Every time you post something like this, you convert more Office users into Google Apps users. No serious business person wants to be associated with posts like yours. You must be a Google shill.
      BIGELLOW
  • It is interesting but there always be this feeling that it is

    a dumped down version but the same can not be said about google docs!
    L3thargic
    • That's a strange comparison

      Google Docs is not a dumped [sic] down version of anything because they're the best Google makes. But they are pathetic compared to Office or even OpenOffice.org. They are not markedly better than MS' Office Web Apps, though.
      x I'm tc
    • Are you saying...

      ....That Office Web apps are as good or better than Google apps, but, since Office Web apps are "dumbed down" versions of desktop Office, you don't want to use them?

      That's pretty much how it reads to me. I'm curious.
      Flydog57
  • Not quite

    Not good enough to REPLACE Office, but fantastic as an adjunct to it.

    That said, when my SkyDrive save from Word failed recently, I lost an entire hour's worth of work because of the idiotically cryptic questions Word asked me when asking which file I wanted to keep. Still needs some work.
    Kovu401
    • It is evident that your definition of fantastic is

      quite different from mine. I would not accept a half-assed solution from any of Apple or Android.

      I agree, though, that SkyDrive needs some more work. Something similar happened to me once. However, I am still not considering a half-assed solution like Google.
      Jae K Oh
  • SkyDrive and Office Web Apps versus Google

    I'd say Microsoft's Office.com web apps are almost as good as the stand alone Microsoft Office. Google docs can't compare to what Microsoft is offering. There is no compelling reason to use Google docs anyway when your business runs on Microsoft Office you are better off sticking with the same company that made the docs so that you are ensured compatibility. Storing on Skydrive seals the deal.
    Loverock-Davidson
    • Where's your stalker LD?

      or can we assume that ZDNet might have actually removed his account finally, because his flags finally caused the counter to overflow?

      I'm happy there's a safety net for people with MS-phobia, but I prefer the UI, layout and typography of Office to the cobbled together and annoying UI of Google - it's almost as bad as Facebook. But if you aren't bothered by aesthetics or features or complex Office document compatibility and you love a plethora of ads, then Google may be for you.
      Tony_McS
      • A safety net?

        Too bad all those safety nets are not good enough. I still prefer the old Ami Pro over Word in many aspects (it was actually both a word processor and a DTP!), but there just is nothing powerful enough to replace MS Office right now or in the near future. Nothing productive enough has come nor will there be from Apple and Android.

        There is actually no other safety net. There only are other faulty nets you have to use at your disadvantage.
        Jae K Oh
  • Looks Good

    More choice cannot be bad. I use Google Docs for quick online editing and collaboration. I use MS Office for heavy-duty offline editing on Windows machines. I use LibreOffice on my Linux box. Office Web Apps means I now have another option should I need it.
    statuskwo5
    • Stop the insanity!

      This "choice" FUD you're trying to spread has gone on long enough. You know who gives you choice? SATAN. You know who doesn't? God. So clearly choice is bad. You start off dabbling in other office programs, using Linux and OpenOffice, Google and Office Web Apps, even MS Office and the next thing you know you're sacrificing a goat in a pentagram to your new lord and master.

      So pick one, defend it religiously for the sake of your own soul and stop this madness.
      LiquidLearner
      • Ok, back away very slowly!

        Perhaps you need to calm down! Count to 10 and switch off you PC for a while, maybe go for a walk. ;-)
        martin_js