Office Web Apps vs. Google

Recently Google updated its Google Docs service and Microsoft officially released Office Web Apps. Office Web Apps servers several purposes:

  • Provides a free limited web-based version so that people can upgrade to the full client product
  • Provides web-based editing of Office documents in SharePoint (If someone does not have a client on his computer or phone)
  • Competes with Google Docs

Google “Document” is definitely more feature rich than Office Web Apps Word Document which is missing some obvious features such as:

  • Inline commenting
  • Version comparison
  • HTML/CSS editor

What’s interesting is that SharePoint List concept is not present in Microsoft’s approach (well, it’s in a completely different online offering). Google, on other the hand, is trying to add SharePoint list functionality to its spreadsheet by adding Add/Edit forms mapped to rows in the Spreadsheet tables and a small amount of business logic.  Of course, right now it’s nowhere close to SharePoint + InfoPath + Designer combination. Also, I am not sure that Google convergence will work out. It will be interesting to see what happens when people try to build more complex apps on top of Google spreadsheets or whether Google’s Wave paradigm will be more successful.

For using Office Web Apps with SharePoint, check out this video: The later part shows co-authoring feature of editing the same Excel with multiple people (just like Google Docs).

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