Google announced a new feature of Google Docs this week, called Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office. The feature comes from Google's acquisition of DocVerse, a company that specialized in the real-time sharing and editing of documents. 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 in the Google Docs Blog, 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."
"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.
Google Apps for Business users were able sign up to be an early tester for Google Cloud Connect and Google does state that Cloud Connect will be available for everyone eventually. Due to the unexpected high demand from thousands of businesses in the first few hours of it’s release, Google is no longer accepting beta testers into this program. For those interested, fill out this form if you would like to be notified when Google Cloud Connect becomes available.