Google Apps And Microsoft Office Get Cloud Connected
If you can’t beat them, join them. That’s the philosophy behind Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, a plugin that enables collaborative editing of Google Docs files in the familiar Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel programs. The inevitable marketing spin: Google Apps is good enough to replace Microsoft Office, but some users may still need the training wheels on before they commit to browser-based tools.
I wrote about the overall Google Cloud Connect experience back when I saw a preview in November 2010, and it doesn’t appear to have changed much in the meanwhile. When you save a document, it gets synced to Google’s cloud. And when it updates, the changes collaborators make are pushed down the wire, whether said collaborators are also using Google Cloud Connect or the browser-based Google Docs offering.
Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office is available at no extra charge to all Google Apps users starting today, including the enterprise editions for Google Apps Authorized Resellers, according to the official blog entry.
And as an additional promotional measure, Google has launched the 90-Day Appsperience program, letting resellers offer their customers a three-month trial to the Google Apps suite for only a “nominal fee.” The idea is to demonstrate the productivity gains a Google Apps deployment can bring without forcing them to commit.
Both offerings give obvious advantages to Google partners in helping make the sale. But the larger story is the same we’ve been seeing all through the first two months of 2011 – Google Apps is maturing as a channel-friendly offering. Stay tuned to TalkinCloud for updates.