Google's New Cloud Connect Targets Microsoft Office

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Google is ready to show off what its plans are for DocVerse, the startup it bought back in March. DocVerse had built a cloud-based add-on for Microsoft Office designed to let users easily share and edit Office documents online.

Starting Monday, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) plans to offer the revamped DocVerse (renamed Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office) to testers. The company had no details about when Cloud Connect would be more widely available, but did confirm the service will be free.

DocVerse was started by two former Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) product managers. Basically, the service is designed to help users of Office Word, Powerpoint and Excel move to Google Docs by giving them the same Office interface with the added collaborative features that Docs offers.

Google said Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 users can use Cloud Connect to sync their Office documents to the Google cloud, without ever leaving Office.

"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," DocVerse co-founder and current Google group product manager, Shan Sinha, said in a blog post.

The documents in Google's cloud can be shared and edited simultaneously by multiple people from within Office. Sinha said the service also keeps a full revision history as the files are edited, and users can revert to earlier versions in one click -- a standard feature of Google Docs.

Those interested in signing up for to test Cloud Connect can find the sign-up page here.

For everyone else, "don't worry," said Sinha. At launch, Google Cloud Connect will be available free to everyone, including consumers."

The release of Cloud Connect comes at a time when Google has been moving aggressively to try and win a bigger slice of the enterprise productivity applications market long dominated by Microsoft.

Recently, Google relented on a long-standing request by many users to offer, as an option, a more traditional, chronological view of email messages in Gmail. Google's standard "conversation view" collapses email "threads" or exchanges into one message.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of


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