In the Google vs Microsoft war, one of the most contested territories is productivity software. While Microsoft holds the traditional offline user space, Google Docs managed to secure the cloud-based alternative. It seems that Google guessed correctly on the “way of the future,” and Microsoft is now playing catchup – but their brand name and established reputation will give them an edge as they pitch Office 365 and its cloud services against Google.
Google isn’t likely to sit still on the project, though. They add numerous features on a monthly basis, and one of their more recent efforts is to expand the number of integration features Google Docs has with other productivity and cloud software. Two targets of this integration are Microsoft Office and Box.net.
Microsoft Office, the longstanding champion of the productivity software field, is connected to Google through Cloud Connect, a Google-created product that lets users upload and download Docs-stored files into the Microsoft Office environment. Users can now control and access their files even more directly, since the latest version allows users to open Google Docs files directly in Microsoft Office – trimming off a couple steps that most users viewed as little more than a hassle.
Just as important is Google’s partnership with Box.net, one of the companies on the forefront of cloud file storage. The Box.net software will now allow users to access Google Docs files directly, and will make uploading files to Docs through Box.net far easier. Aaron Levie, the CEO of Box.net, implied in the press release for the partnership that Box could have partnered with companies like Microsoft instead, but that they are “betting that platforms built around openness will triumph over the closed, proprietary approach.”