Google Cloud Connect Vs. Office Web Apps: Microsoft Downplays Cloud Connect Citing 'Formatting Loss' Etc. Issues

Right after Google's release of Google released "Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office", the Office Web Apps team has put together a video on what breaks down when you try to co-author using Cloud Connect."Google has a noble outward goal to help improve productivity with Microsoft Office by enabling people to co-edit directly from Office […]

Right after Google's release of Google released "Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office", the Office Web Apps team has put together a video on what breaks down when you try to co-author using Cloud Connect.

"Google has a noble outward goal to help improve productivity with Microsoft Office by enabling people to co-edit directly from Office Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. No small task, we should know -- we released similar capabilities with Office 2003 called Document Workspaces and Shared Workbooks, and Word 2002 Compare and Merge," said the team.

The OWA team explains their approach to connecting Office to the cloud using SkyDrive, "whether you use Office 2003, Office 2007, Office 2010 or Office for Mac. Once you upload your Office documents to SkyDrive, you can access them anywhere and share with anyone – without making unexpected changes to the formatting of your document." They cites following issues with Google Cloud Connect:

Loss of Data & Productivity
Working on documents becomes more complex because:

  1. The basic process of setting a document up for sharing with Cloud Connect is a multi-step process and is not intuitive for most users.
  2. Not all features or file types work with Cloud Connect. As a result, it often leads to unexpected errors.
  3. According to Google, Cloud Connect can impact the performance of your applications.

    Simultaneous editing can easily lead to syncing errors and data loss.

  4. Reduced Office Functionality
    • Users will have to sacrifice core Office functionality, such as Track Changes and conditional formatting, sort settings, table styles, slide transitions, sounds, print settings, just to name a few. While these features may be considered overkill or to complex for Google, they are examples of the wide range of tasks Office users do everyday.
    • Google recommends turning off other Office add-ins (that could be from Microsoft or 3rd party apps) that according to Google can conflict, and this conflict could lead to "erratic behavior" of the add-in.
  5. Security and Privacy Concerns
    The best attempt to reduce syncing errors with Cloud Connect is to set up the add-in for automatic syncing. When automatic syncing is turned on, all Office files that're opened and saved are automatically synced with your Google Docs list stored on Google's servers. Unless you change the default setting, anyone in your domain can find and access your document. Imagine your HR professional opens an Excel document with salaries and social security numbers, makes a change and then saves. Oops, unintended and unknown sharing to the rest of the organization. This kind of approach to privacy and security are simply unacceptable to the majority of business users.

[tags]google cloud connect,plugins,plug-ins,office add-ins[/tags]

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