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5/24/2012
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How To Collaborate Using Google Cloud Connect On Microsoft Office

Need a better way to collaborate? We reviewed Google Cloud Connect to see how it worked in semi real-time.

There are three things you should be aware of regarding Google Cloud Connect. The first is obvious but worth mentioning. Since Microsoft Office documents are stored in their native file formats on Google Drive, these documents (Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) cannot be edited using Google's web-based document, spreadsheet, or presentation applications. The Microsoft Office files are, however, viewable on the web.

The second gotcha is a minor annoyance that does not adversely affect Google Cloud Connect's functionality. And, the issue only occurs if you have installed Google Drive for Windows on the same PC. The problem is there are Google Drive error messages notifying you about every Office document synchronized using Google Cloud Connect. Google Drive does not synchronize these files. This is not a major problem. But, it is disconcerting to see a message about "unsyncable files" in Google Drive.

The third quirk is that Google Cloud Connect's integration with Microsoft Office changes the fundamental assumptions about document storage. The primary storage target shifts from the local hard (or solid-state) drive to Google's Cloud. Once Google Cloud Connect is installed, the default is set to store documents in Google Drive. If you, as a user of Microsoft Office, do not need to collaborate in real-time on every Word, Excel, and PowerPoint document, you may be better served using Microsoft's own cloud storage service which includes a free web-based Microsoft Office suite that tightly integrates with the full desktop suite.

Google Cloud Connect provides a good way for people to collaborate on Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint document types. Although it does not provide the true real-time viewing seen in Google Docs web documents, it does provide a much needed short time-frame collaborate tool for those who need the richer formatting options provided by Microsoft's Office components.

Name: Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office
Price: Free
Google Connect for Microsoft Office solves the problem for those who need to collaborate on Word, Excel, or PowerPoint in (almost) real-time. There are, however, a few quirks to figure into the workflow. There was also some issues with Google Drive Sync.

Pro:

  • Free service.
  • Provides a collaboration function for Office not provided by Microsoft itself.
  • Easy to install and use.

Con:

  • Microsoft Office for Mac OS X is not supported.
  • Cloud Connect documents do not work with Google Drive's sync.
  • Synchronization is a batch type operation. It is not real-time like Google Docs documents.

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