Update: Google Cloud Connect is no longer available. An alternative is to install Google Drive and open, edit and save documents using it in Microsoft Office.
How are you managing your documents? Are you using a desktop application like Microsoft Office or Open Office, or do you prefer a could based service like Google Docs or Zoho? Some users see benefits in both ways of managing documents, which usually means that they have to find a way to transfer documents between the services and programs they use.
Google has just announced the general availability of Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office which acts as a bridge between Microsoft's desktop application and the Google Docs online service.
Cloud Connect adds sharing and simultaneously editing of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint to Microsoft Office.
Documents can be synced with Google Docs which has the additional benefit that they are constantly backed up from that point in time and since all documents can be accessed via a unique web address it is easy to share files with other users and access them from other computers and via mobile devices.
Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office remembers edits if the user is offline to sync the documents once a net connection becomes available again.
Users need to install Google Cloud Connect first, then log in with a Google account. It is possible to log in automatically from that point on to avoid having to log in every time Google Docs need to be accessed in Microsoft Office.
A toolbar displays the features, for instance the web url of the current document, syncing button or the share button.
A click on the share button opens the sharing menu with options to give other users permissions to access the document.
The integration into Microsoft Office is solid. Documents can only be shared with other users once they have been synced with Google Docs.
Google Cloud Connect Feature Overview
Multiple people can edit the same doc at the same time. New users can be added as editors by the document owner. They then receive an email with a link that allows them to view the document in read only mode in Google Docs. Documents can be downloaded to Microsoft Office and edited simultaneously, providing that both users have Google Cloud Connect installed on their system.
Edits are automatically synced with all collaborators.
Google Cloud Connect tracks, manages and syncs all changes into one updated version of a document. Older versions of a document can be retrieved directly in Microsoft Office.
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Share a doc
It is possible to share documents with other people and give them specific access rights. Sharing and visibility settings are configured in Microsoft Office.
Resolve Overlapping Edits
Syncing in the cloud
Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office can be downloaded and installed from Google Tools. The application is compatible with Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 and Microsoft Office 2010. It runs on Windows XP with the .NET Framework 2.0 and Windows Vista or Windows 7.