Google on Monday launched a cloud connector to Microsoft Office so documents can use Google Docs to collaborate.
The plug-in, dubbed Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, gives the user a direct link to sync and share documents---Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint---with Google Docs. The documents aren't reformatted in Google Docs, which is used as a go-between from your legacy Office suite to Google.
The move acknowledges a few key facts. First, users aren't ready to ditch Microsoft Office completely. And then there's the acknowledgment that Google Docs is used more to collaborate than necessarily create documents.
Jonathan Rochelle, the group product manager at Google Docs, gave me a demo of a PowerPoint where the presentation was synchronized between two computers. Overall, the synchronization isn't as fast as what you'd find in Google Docs, but the plug-in is handy. "With Cloud Connect you use Docs as a hub. There's only one copy, but you can edit in Office and collaborate," said Rochelle.
Cloud Connect, the product of the Google's Docverse acquisition, is notable because it's an attack on one of Microsoft's cloud plans---make sharing and collaborating with Office docs easier. If Google can get Office customers to dabble with Google Docs it may have a better chance to pick up legacy accounts. It's no surprise that Cloud Connect works with Office 2003, 2007 and 2010. "We're targeting the legacy environment that doesn't want to continue to upgrade Office," said Rochelle.
Will Google's gambit work? It might. For starters, this cloud connection from Office was one of the biggest feature requests. In that respect, Google is just giving customers what they want. It remains to be seen if the Office plug-in leads to new accounts. It's likely that Google's Office connector will introduce folks to its services and it's primary selling point: Collaboration on documents.
Here's how the plug-in works:
Install plug-in and you get this. Select log-in:
Set permissions and sign-into your Google account.