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Google Waves the White Flag on Productivity with Announcement of Cloud Connect.

Google Waves the White Flag on Productivity with Announcement of Cloud Connect.

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Yesterday, Google announced Cloud Connect, aiming to embrace Microsoft Office as the preferred productivity environment for all Google Apps users.  I think this is welcome news for many users who gain another way to share documents in whatever way they prefer.  In fact, just last week, we were pleased to announce that the new Facebook Social Inbox would also offer users to ability view Microsoft files via the Office Web Apps with just one click from their Facebook email.

Oprah Moment - Holiday's Come Early

Google's announcement is sort of like an "Oprah Moment" for her favorite things and just in time for the holidays!  As great as Cloud Connect is for users giving them more choice, I still think Google Docs Does Not Make Office Better and this announcement acknowledges Mountain View's struggle to figure out how to build a productivity suite that is business ready. I still believe the best way to collaborate is without messy connectors, add on's and after market parts. The momentum of Office 2010, Office Web Apps and Office 365 confirms that position.

Familiarity Matters

In the announcement, Google said "people can continue to use the familiar Office interface, while reaping many of the benefits of web-based collaboration' (emphasis mine)  validates that people like choice and prefer tools that provide a full experience like Microsoft Office.  A few months back when they announced a back track on threaded conversations, I shared my view that this was also a radical moment that shows how challenging Google's take it or leave it set of features in the workplace has become. No one wants a lump of coal in their stocking!

Supporting more users means supporting more requirements.  That leads to complexity of features which Google appears to openly dismiss. They almost revel in uniformity and simplicity, almost to a fault. So by fully embracing Office, they are in fact waving a white flag on their play to replace Office. 

Dave Girouard once said, "We wouldn't ask people to get rid of Microsoft Office and use Google Docs because it is not mature yet."

Dave probably knows the reality that even their oldest customers still don't use Google Apps fully.  Customers continue to defect - which is likely why Google's Enterprise division revenues have declined the last twp quarters according their the financial statements. It's also why Gartner has pegged their paying user base at just a few hundred thousand users after four years in the market!  Cloud Connect is compelling and a welcome option to give Office users more choice.  However it might signal some extra time off this season for the engineers who were building Docs as a replacement.


Comments
  • I don't know why would anybody converts their documents into Google Docs after they spent countless hours perfecting their formatting.

  • Andrew - You hit it on the head. My freinds who work for Google use our tools. Sometimes I think Google is like a pre teen. They think they know everything and want to impart thier will on you.

  • we use google docs heavily for just about everything, and open office for client based word processing/excel'ing. we have also converted many of our business clients over to google docs (google apps for business)... and there has been very little complaints. of course there are differences between the two, there are differences between any word processing suite. i don't think this is google's way of waving a white flag, lets be honest here! after microsoft released their office 365 (ms cloud version of office) it only makes sense gDocs would follow suit. gDocs IS pre-teen... sure. but more like a pre teen prodigy that will soon saturate the market in cloud office suite options, and will definitely give ms office a run for it's money when people remove the crust out of their eyes and see, "wow there IS life after microsoft"! (Google Docs, Zoho Docs, etc...)

  • @madgeeks  thanks for the comment.  Part of what you are sharing is my point.  You are still running OpenOffice which sounds like it works for you.  you are likely using docs for sharing and viewing attachments.  It's not replacing your primary tool. And given that despite Google sitting on the ODF Alliance, they still don't support full rendering of ODF files, so my guess is you are seeing content issues when importing documents from OpenOffice?

    The larger point is that I firmly believe Microsoft's experience in productivity tools will move to the cloud better and faster than Google can figure it out.  Some will use Google Docs but it's not likely to erode market share as a full replacement.

  • man your posts are boring andrew. you're like a little girl.

  • @mister.elop  LOL.  Love the compliment.  Same can be said for folks that leave comments with a fake name.  

  • dont want to offend anyone with my old fashioned Andy Griffith esq crap but Google giving a little most assuredly will gain them a lot.  Like Jesus told Paul "it  is hard for you to kick against the thorns" This is Father Bil Gates'es House if ya'll  dont like it kick rocks!

  • Does anybody in business use Google Docs ??? I don't know of any company that does.

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  • Utter nonsense to claim that giving users a choice of MSO's interface validates that people prefer the "full experience" of MS. It hardly even proves that *select* people prefer the familiar. Let alone comes anywhere close to validating the idea that people prefer MSOs interface. You play loose and fast, on this point.

  • It is not surprising that OffiSync - A product that integrates MS Office and Google apps is ranked as the 3re most popular application in the Google Apps market place.

    I'm a Google Apps customer and have been using this product for over 2 years now. I wonder why Google decided to build their own and not buy this amazing product which is proven and works really great

  • @Rodolfo Gil - I just started at a large Gaming company - and I can confirm that they use Google docs - in fact they seem to use google everything.  I was quite surprised - I thought Office was still the de-facto office tool.

    We are allowed to use MSO if we want to, but personally I haven't opened MSO for years and I like it like that. It's much easier to click a link in an email and be taken straight to a doc of spreadsheet IMO, rather than having to wait for MSO to fire up and then potentially have to attach the edited document to an email to send elsewhere.

    I think the interesting challenge for MSO will not be the die hards who have MSO grafted into their DNA - but people like my kids who just use whatever is easiest and gets the job done.

  • Hey - looks like your link to Dave G's quote is broken.  

  • @ASP Link now fixed. Computerworld moved the article. Thanks

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