Am I the only one that is starting to get confused by all the online services offered by Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and others ? Microsoft seems to have jumped fully on the "Live" bandwagon branding every new online product with it. The newest is called Office Live Workspace [link] and is currently in public Beta.
If I had to describe the new service in a single sentence I would say it's an online storage for Microsoft Office documents. Users can basically add, view and share documents online including the new formats - like docx - which Microsoft introduced in Office 2007. It is furthermore possible to create so called Workspaces which are basically folders for your documents.
It's actually a little bit more than that but not that much. By default only a documents Workspace exists which will contain all documents that you upload to Office Live Workspace.
It is then possible to create new Workspaces, either blank ones or themed ones. The themed ones have names like Household Workspace or Job Search Workplace and add a number of templates into that workspace by default.
The Job Search Workplace for instance contains a Resume, Cover Letter and Interview Schedule Template. While the templates are a nice bonus for Office Live Workspace users their use is limited. The main difficulty that users will run into is the fact that you can view and delete documents online but not edit them. That's the major point of criticism over at the Download Squad and their review of the new Microsoft service.
Files can be shared with users that you add to a specific workspace. Shared simply means that users can view the documents contained in that workspace. Users with access can leave comments which is a great feature. What I think is problematic is that there is no way to really share documents, like working collaboratively on them with a decent version control system. That would have been nice.
An Office Live Add-in is available for Microsoft Office 2007 and 2003 running on Windows Vista, XP or Server 2003. It adds two functions. The first is that users can save documents directly from Microsoft Office into their Microsoft Office Live Workspace, the second that documents can be loaded directly from Office Live Workspace into their corresponding Office application.
Update: The Office Live Workspace website redirects to Microsoft's SkyDrive service now.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.