Many Internet users who want to view and edit documents online use Google Docs to do so. There are other services besides Google Docs, but none that can compete with Google's service on an eye to eye level. (Update: Microsoft's OneDrive and Office 365 services can, as can others like Zoho).
This could change however in the near future with the public release of Docs.com, an online document processing service by Microsoft and Facebook.
Docs.com is built on Microsoft Office Web Apps platform. It allows Facebook users to create, edit and share Microsoft Office documents directly on the website.
The service is
currently in private beta available to all Facebook users . Interested users can use their Facebook account to join the waiting list and receive notifications when the service becomes available for them. All that is required to start using Docs.com is to click on the sign in button and select to sign in using the Facebook account, a Microsoft account, or a work or school account.
Let’s take a moment to walk through a typical social document lifecycle. Creating a document is the first step—and it couldn’t be easier. You can start the document on your desktop version of Microsoft Office, or you can go to Docs and start one in the cloud.
Once you’ve saved a document to docs.com, you can begin sharing by granting viewing and editing rights to your friends. By clicking on the ‘edit’ button beside ‘viewers’ when you have one of your docs open, you can choose to add one or multiple friends, let all your friends view the doc…or share your doc with all Facebook users. By clicking on the ‘edit’ button beside ‘editors,’ you can also add one or multiple friends…or let all your friends edit this doc.
Once you’ve shared a doc, your friends will discover it just like they discover photos or videos today. Friends who log into Facebook to see what you’ve been up to will see the docs you’ve shared. They can also see your docs integrated directly into your profile. You can also add a tab to your profile page that will let your friends see any documents that you’ve shared just with them…and docs you’ve share with everyone.
On Facebook, you can discuss a doc just as you would a status update or photo —so there’s really nothing new to learn here. To start using Docs, just pop over to docs.com and upload or create a new doc. If you need a little more help, go to docs.com/about and watch the ‘Getting Started’ tutorial.
Microsoft has created two demonstration videos that explain the basic functionality of Docs.
The beta version supports Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations which can be uploaded, created and edited on Docs.com.
That's different from Google Docs which allows a user to upload and create other document formats as well. Another difference between the two services is work collaboration which exists in Google Docs but not on Docs.com.
Update: The service is out of private beta. Facebook users can link their account to the service so that they can create Office documents right on the web without any software installation.
Document discovery has been added to Docs recently which means that you can use it to find documents of interest uploaded by other users of the service.
The service can tap into OneDrive or Sway to upload documents from these services to Docs for viewing and editing. The option to upload documents from the computer is also still available of course.
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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.