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Google Cloud Connect May Be Important Piece in Google’s Overall Strategy

Using Google Docs Means Using Google Account

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Google announced a new feature of Google Docs today, called Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office. The feature comes from Google’s acquisition of DocVese, a company that specialized in the real-time sharing and editing of documents, earlier this year. They paid $25 million for it, and it could turn out to be a huge piece of the puzzle in winning over Microsoft Office users. 

Google Cloud Connect lets Office users automatically sync and backup their documents with Google Docs, so they’re always accessible on the web and able to be shared with others.

"Users of Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 can sync their Office documents to the Google cloud, without ever leaving Office," says group product manager Shan Sinha, who went to Google with the DocVerse acquisition. "Once synced, documents are backed-up, given a unique URL, and can be accessed from anywhere (including mobile devices) at any time through Google Docs. And because the files are stored in the cloud, people always have access to the current version."
Google Cloud Connect
"Once in the Google cloud, documents can be easily shared and even simultaneously edited by multiple people, from right within Office," Adds Sinha. "A full revision history is kept as the files are edited, and users can revert to earlier versions in one click. These are all features that Google Docs users already enjoy today, and now we’re bringing them to Microsoft Office."

This is one of many steps Google is taking that could have a significant, if overlooked impact on the company’s overall strategy. The obvious impact is that it should get more people using Google Docs and more businesses using Google Apps. The idea is that for those who are just continuing to use Microsoft Office, Google is providing a way for them to get their feet wet with not only the cloud, but their version of it. 

But there’s more, and while Microsoft is obviously an important competitor to Google, Google needs more people using Google Apps for other reasons as well. Last week, Google announced the expansion of Google Apps to include almost the company’s entire catalog of products – products that you need a Google account to operate. Many of these same products are also key in Google’s overall strategy for keeping the attention of users online, something that Facebook is taking away from them more and more. 

Last week, Facebook launched its new messaging system and email addresses, which some think may spell trouble for Gmail. Now Facebook’s going for the users’ home pages, another key place where Google most likely resides for a lot of people. 

Facebook doesn’t have much to do with Google Docs competition directly, but Google needs people to use Google accounts one way or another, and Google Apps (which Google Docs is a big part of) is one obvious way to get them and keep them using their Google accounts. 

Google has indicated that it will add social layers to many of its products. This is the main way in which the company will compete with Facebook. These social layers (along with that singular Google account) are what connect Googles’ various offerings into one big, feature-rich social network. Google has to use every weapon in its arsenal (and it’s a very big arsenal) to stay relevant to people’s social habits, social graphs, and social data. That means it needs people to have and use their Google accounts, and the more they use these accounts for, the better. 

A lot of people use Microsoft Office. This can help to some extent. That’s all I’m saying. 

Google Apps for Business users can sign up to be an early tester for Google Cloud Connect, though the company assure us the feature will be available for everyone eventually.

Google Cloud Connect May Be Important Piece in Google’s Overall Strategy


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  • http://www.sitebyjames.com/ James

    I’m not sure I agree with the idea that FB is taking users away from Google. They are different applications all together.

    In any event, I think it is going to be really interesting what happens to the end user who now instead of having to learn slight differences between Apple and Windows, will have to be in a continual learning process. I almost get the feeling that any productivity applications will not be of interest to the majority of social network users. I don’t think they will learn a purpose for it. That is of course dismal extremism.

    • Chris Crum

      We’ve facebook-google-yahoo-2010-9″>seen Facebook surpass Google in time spent on site. You’ve got to step back and look at the broader picture. It’s just about one application vs. another, it’s about two companies looking to dominate consumer web use, and both of them are stepping more and more into the others’ repsective territories.

      • http://www.sitebyjames.com/ James

        I understand what you are saying, but Google Apps is geared towards Business and Collaboration. Facebook is a gaming and dating website.

        There are no spreadsheet applications, or docs. They are two entirely different things.

        Time on site, especially considering the application ties directly into the cloud through a desktop spreadsheet application is sort of irrelevant.

        • Chris Crum

          I don’t think you can reduce Facebook to a “gaming and dating” site for one thing. Facebook is a communication channel/email service (Gmail), a photo-sharing (Picasa) destintation, a news feed/social network (Google Reader/Buzz), Blog platform through Notes (Blogger), Video sharing platform (YouTube), Search engine, etc.

          Google “Apps” may be geared toward business, but Google “Apps” now includes almost every Google service there is (with a few exceptions)…that means potentially more use of all of these services, not only by businesses, but by anyone. Businesses consist of people, people that Google wants to have Google accounts, which provide them access to any of these services. Plus, if employees are introduced to Google services (like Docs for example) at work, they may find that they’d like to use them over competing offerings at home too.

          Furthermore, there are third-party Facebook apps for things like spreadsheets and documents.

          • http://www.sitebyjames.com/ James

            I don’t really use facebook, but I did a search and looks like people are just making pages for spreadsheets.

            http://www.google.ca/search?q=Facebook+Spreadsheets

            I’m just not really buying the hype that surrounds FB, maybe that is just me. It is really is a dating and gaming website to me anyways. It’s only real power is the way people can spread marketing materials and messages through word of mouth much faster than it takes to get a website up and share info in Google. And personally I think twitter is much more suitable for that anyways. It is just another myspace, only with less design capabilities, and is oriented around poking each other.

          • Chris Crum

            I use Facebook fairly regularly, and I don’t date or game. I’m married.

          • http://www.sitebyjames.com/ james

            I tried to use it years ago, but people kept poking me and sending me strange games. I honestly for the life of me, do not understand the point of it. It can generate traffic to business websites though.

          • http://www.sitebyjames.com/ james

            Then they started to upload photos of me and started tagging me. Yeah, that is not going to happen. If it is not a gaming and dating website, it’s a photo sharing website.

          • http://www.marketingweb.com.au Matthew

            I’m not much of a facebook fan either, but James it sounds like you come from the “If I don’t like it, clearly no one else will either” crowd. You may hate facebook. lots of people do, but it’s still a MASSIVE active user base of people who love it.

            I also don’t agree that it’s a dating site – far less then Myspace was in it’s day. Facebook is about connecting with people you KNOW already for the most part, not finding people you have never seen before. Or perhaps i’m doing it wrong!

          • http://www.sitebyjames.com/ james

            I mean look at these crazy people…

            http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spreadsheets/115688988445160

            888 people LIKE spreadsheets and people spam the wall all day long.

            What’s a spreadsheet? What’s an accountant? What’s a lawyer… it’s a dating and gaming website. Look at all the profile pics.

          • Chris Crum

            I was alluding more to things like this (which I haven’t actually used, so I can’t vouch for how good it is), but it wasn’t really my intention from the start to suggest that a significant amount of people are going to Facebook for their spreadsheet needs. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing more of this kind of app there or even if Facebook offered something in this space eventually.

          • Chris Crum

            Good point facebook/”>by Brian Solis on the subject too: “While the world was abuzz with Facebook

      • http://www.sitebyjames.com/ James

        But that chart is definitely interesting, if it is true. I mean I would have thought that the time on site for Facebook had already surpassed Google months ago. Google for the most part, you do a search and then find the website your looking for. The actual time on site for Google, is not that much for the average user, a gmail user, might be a little different.

        I understand that the cloud is the future for collaborative business apps, but I don’t think too many people are giving up excel yet, I still use open office, and you could be very right about this being a way to ween people to a different product.

        • Chris Crum

          Yeah, I mean, it’s hard to say if this offering will be successful in weaning people off of Office and onto Google Docs, but if it is successful, I believe it could help Google’s larger cause.

  • Clint

    I’m using Facebook more and more. It is an excellent marketing tool. Google is mainly used for search. I’ve used Google Docs before, but most people already have Office or some other similar program installed locally. I have found myself searching in Facebook more and more. It’s convenient having everything in one place.

  • PGS

    Once synched, Google have full access to all your files. Your files will be scanned by their search engine. The details will be added to their system. They will deny it, just as they did with the WiFi data when doing the runs for Google Maps. I won’t use gMail for similar reasons. Read the T&C for gMail, see what they can do with your mail.

    Being such a trusting soul, I won’t be using these systems. I don’t care who is controlling it. Someone, somewhere will be selling your details off at some point for nefarious reasons.

    Trust them not & be safer.

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