Google announced today they are launching a new plugin for Microsoft Office called Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office. The plugin will allow Microsoft Office users to collaborate with each other seamlessly, affording the same benefits Google Docs currently delivers, such as the ability to share and edit documents simultaneously among multiple users, all within the confines of Microsoft Office’s well-known interface. The plugin is available for the Windows versions of Office 2003, 2007 and 2010.
Cloud Connect offers a bridge from Microsoft’s desktop-based productivity software to Google’s cloud-based offerings, and will offer a way for millions of Microsoft Office users to “dip their toes” into the cloud without having to make a full-blown transition to Google Docs. Google’s strategy with Cloud Connect echoes the “embrace and extend” tactic pioneered by Microsoft: rather than competing head-on with Microsoft Office, Google is embracing Microsoft’s dominance and extending Office’s functionality with several substantial benefits unique to cloud-based computing. Google knows it will win out in the long run by making it easier for Microsoft Office users to gain exposure to the benefits of cloud-based productivity software, all without making a huge change in how their IT.
The big question is if Cloud Connect will make Microsoft Office users more apt to give Google Docs a try. Will you?