The latest talk from Microsoft is about the new Microsoft Office 2010. This version of office is said to be able to work on the phone, browser and desktop. This release of Office will be Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access, InfoPath, Office Communicator 2007 R2, SharePoint Workspace, Visio, Office Web Apps, and Office Mobile. With the addition of the Web Apps, Microsoft will be creating a direct challenge to the current Google docs. Below is a brief comparison of Google Docs to the Office Web Apps.
For personal use the Microsoft Web Apps will be free. With a Windows Live ID you will be able to use Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Word for free. These will of course be scaled down versions of the desktop software but will still prove to be quite useful for the portability aspect. So in this area Google and Microsoft Web Apps are equal.
Look and Feel
Google maintains a simple and easy to use interface for the Google docs. This is one area where Microsoft will differ from Google. The Microsoft Web Apps will have a similar look and feel to their desktop counterparts, including the ribbon feature. Microsoft is also promising that the formatting of the documents on the web will render correctly in IE, Firefox and Safari browsers.
This feature is what could set Google apart from the web version of Microsoft Office. With Google docs it is very easy to have multiple users work on the same document. With Office not enough has been said as to how this will be done. They are introducing a co-authoring feature which claims it will allow users to simultaneously share and work on documents.
So which one is better?
That answer will vary depending on what you are looking for. If you want a very simple easy to interact with tool then Google docs is the choice for you. If you want to stay with the more familiar Microsoft Office and don’t mind a little complication then you of course would want the Office Web Apps. Personally I think I will prefer the Office Web Apps. I do currently use Google docs but I do see many downfalls and limitations to the Google docs. If Microsoft can provide at least some of the missing features in Google docs then I think they could take a large audience away from Google docs and into Microsoft Office Web Apps.
For more information about these tools you can visit the following web sites: