Microsoft wants to upstage Google Docs; adds new features to Office Web Apps

Today, Microsoft announced plans to add enhancements and new features to their online Office Web Apps. The service is a direct competitor to Google’s Docs and Microsoft aims to overpower the service with tight SkyDrive integration and a larger feature set inherited from their full desktop Office suite.

New features include real-time co-authoring of documents and the ability for users to run Office Web apps on Android tablets via mobile Chrome web browser support. The new lineup of features aren’t scheduled to be released until a year from now.

Microsoft’s director of Office 365 product management, Michael Atalla, recently said in an interview that, “Our goal for Office Web Apps is that people can rely on it to create polished Office documents from start to finish.”

The boys up in Redmond have been the kings of desktop productivity software for a long time, casting a shadow over competitors like Apple’s iWork desktop suite. Microsoft’s attempt to spread their kingdom to the browser with web implementations of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote are their mighty step.

The company’s Marketing Coordinator, Natalie Williams, stated that “this is just the beginning of what Microsoft has to offer in the web apps market.” And to “Tune in for new features and enhancements in the near future.

One of the latest features added to the Office Web App collection was Excel Surveys; the ability to create a multitude of response type questions and import the data directly into the popular spreadsheet app. Google Docs has provided a similar ability for a while now, known as “forms”; a tool which also allows users to create a questionnaire based document and then export the data into a “Google Spreadsheet”.

I personally still use Microsoft’s desktop suite to type up articles, create slideshows, and layout invoices. What do you use when it’s time to get down to work – do you use a cloud suite or a desktop suite?

Sources: Microsoft Dynamics

Michael Archambault