For a cloud-based service like Google Docs, one of the major challenges is integrates fully and effectively with the popularity productivity mechanisms already in place. While Google does offer the advantage of innovative cloud storage and document creation options, that advantage is likely to vanish in the near future thanks to Office 365. Likely to ensure the continued lifeblood of Google Docs, Docs integration with two major services – Microsoft Office and Box.net – is being expanded.
For Microsoft Office, the partner in question is certainly not Microsoft themselves. Rather, it’s the standalone “Google Cloud Connect” software that’s tuned to Microsoft Office. While the Cloud Connect service has been around for some time, several features have been missing. One of the more prominent is now being added: the ability to open files directly from Google Docs, viewing and editing them right from Microsoft Office. You can even use a search option in the provided dialogue box to locate your target document quickly.
Box.net, meanwhile, will allow users to open their Google Docs files directly from their Box profile. As explained by Aaron Levie, CEO of Box.net, “Box’s 6 million users can easily create and collaborate on Google Docs and Spreadsheets from within Box, as well as edit the existing 50M+ Word and Excel files already stored on our platform.” Box.net hopes that the collaboration with Docs will help expedite how quickly cloud software takes over as the main way to interact with documents and files, and by choosing Google Docs over Microsoft, Box.net is making an easily observable statement about how open the cloud should be. In the Box.net press release, Levi stated, that the company is “betting that platforms built around openness will triumph over the closed, proprietary approach” – such as that represented by Microsoft Office 365.