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OffiSync Brings Google Docs Into Microsoft Word

Fledgling Office plug-in attempts to bring the best of Microsoft Office together with the best of Google Apps.
Unfortunately, collaboration is not yet real time, and it requires Word users to reopen a file to see the latest version. An update will include a "refresh" button; more real-time features are coming this summer. Other tweaks will make it simple to drag and drop Google Search results, Google Maps, and Google Image results to a Word document.

Since Google Docs and Microsoft Word don't have feature parity, any layout features Google Docs doesn't support will be lost in the shuffle, a big drawback for people who create complicated documents. "If something is not supported you will lose it when reopening," Antebi admits, adding that Google Docs is continuing to improve its support.

A feature called Open URL takes a Word user to the online version of the document to see what it looks like in Google Docs, helping users get around that limitation. He recommends that any final version of a document that's being prepared for presentation be saved in its final stages in Office rather than on Google.

Another big hurdle for OffiSync's success is Microsoft itself. Collaborative Web-based services called Office Web Apps are being baked into the next version of Office, but those services will work only with Windows-based Office 14, not with previous versions of the productivity suite or on the Mac. OffiSync also works with Office 2007 and Office 2003 and will soon be available on the Mac. Still, with built-in collaboration support in the next version of Office, OffiSync might need to get traction fast if it aims to thrive.


InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on Windows 7. Download the report here (registration required).