Why Google is acquiring DocVerse or the Microsoft – Google web office battle heats up

Interesting news today – Google, which has been on a buying spree recently is acuiqring a startup in the Office document space called DocVerse. The startup was founded by Microsoft veterans, and lets people collaborate on the web, from within Office documents itself.

The reason is not hard to understand – Google is going headlong into competition with Microsoft Office, and having an effective way to share documents from within Office itself will hit Microsoft hard.

Right now, many companies (including the SlideShare team) use both Google docs and Microsoft Office. We use Microsoft Office for the richer documents that don’t need to be worked on by many people. And we use Google docs for documents that have multiple owners and need to be edited all the time. Having a way to share documents in Google apps, while from within office itself, might get a lot more people using Google docs simultaneously, making a final switch easier.

In the meantime, Google will keep making docs richer and faster, obviating the need for Microsoft Office.

It will be interesting to see how Microsoft responds to this. They keep making noises in the web sharing of office documents, but I don’t think any of those initiatives have really gained traction. They have however, not made any acquisitions in the space, which is interesting.

If memory serves me right, this is the fourth startup in the Office space that Google is acquiring. The others JotSpot, Zenter, (there was one more startup which had plugin for PowerPoint – whose name I forget).

Will be interesting to watch the next moves in this epic battle.

Shifting laptops when your data is in the cloud

Last week I shifted to a new laptop (a thinkpad X Series) with Windows Vista. I was dreading shifting computers in general and shifting to Vista in particular. But it turned out to be my easiest move ever.

I used MozBackup to shift my web browser. Given how much time I spend on a web browser, this being seamless was a big deal.

Next, I transferred all the files from my current laptop onto a Maxtor backup drive. From the Maxtor drive I copied all files to the new laptop. This too about two hours.

We use Google Apps at SlideShare, so all my email and documents are in the cloud anyway. I still download all my email into Thunderbird so that I have an offline backup (just in case). Tomorrow I will use MozBackup to shift my Thunderbird profiles to the new laptop and start downloading email again.

Every one or two hours, I come across a software I need (e.g., Microsoft Office, Photoshop, ScreenPrint). One by one I am downloading / installing that on to my laptop.

First experiences with Vista – its quite nice. The visual look and feel is nicer than for my old XP. I am still not quite used to the way that navigation works in Vista (especially finding and adjusting look and feel of the computer). I like the windows sidebar and the RSS reader and photo slideshows going through my photographs.

Looking back, a lot of the pain in shifting computers used to be shifting files and settings. Now that so much of my data is in the cloud, that paid is dramatically reduced.

Google Docs vs. Microsoft Office: there we go again

ReadWriteWeb wrote an article yesterday about why Google Docs is a threat for Microsoft Office. Someone called Karim posted a long rebuttal which is its own post now. Makes for some interesting reading. The discussion in the comments breaks into the typical anti MS or anti Google camp.

In my own experience, Google docs is useful for different reasons than MS Office. Yesterday, I created a Google spreadsheet to track a weekly column on Slide Design that we are planning for the SlideShare blog. I want to share the information with the rest of my team, the spreadsheet is not heavy (it has very little data), I don’t need any fancy formatting. Google Docs was perfect for that.

The day before I spent almost the entire day in Excel crunching SlideShare numbers, creating charts. There is no way I could use Google Docs for that. Its a lot of data, lot of charts and a lot of manipulation of data. Any type of network latency will be annoying. Also, I use many advanced Excel features that I am sure Google Docs does not support.

Google Docs is useful, but I don’t see it taking over MS Office anytime soon.