Google has announced the worldwide availability of Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office. The product was first announced in November, spawned from the company's acquisition of DocVerse, which specialized in real-time sharing and editing of documents.
Cloud Connect lets Office users automatically sync and backup their documents with Google Doc, so they're always accessible on the web, and able to be shared with others.
"Millions of businesses are experiencing radical productivity gains with web-powered tools, and today Google Apps collaboration is ready for every employee," says Google Apps product manager Shan Sinha. "We're bringing multi-person, simultaneous editing to the Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications that coworkers may still need from time to time. More people will be able to achieve a 100% web future entirely in Google Docs after learning the benefits of web-powered collaboration within traditional software."
"Google Cloud Connect vastly improves Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 and 2010, so companies can start using web-enabled teamwork tools without upgrading Microsoft Office or implementing SharePoint 2010," says Sinha.
As we discussed upon the original announcement, 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.
With Microsoft being an important competitor to Google (the biggest competitor, according to Google itself, actually), Google needs more people using Google Apps for other reasons as well. Google recently announced the expansion of Google Apps to include most of its products - most of which you need a Google account to use. Many of these same products are also key in Google's overall strategy for keeping user eyeballs online - a battle, which Facebook is winning, at least some of the time.
Google has also introduced what it calls the " 90-Day Appsperience" program, which lets organizations access Google Docs, Google Sites, and Google Cloud Connect for a flat fee for 90 days. More details about that here.