Google strikes again in the war against Microsoft for Cloud dominance.

Early today (November 22, 2010), Google Inc. announced the “Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office” plug-in available for to early testers.

With Cloud Connect, you can continue to use the familiar MS Office interface, while getting many of the benefits of web-based collaboration that Google Docs already offers.

If you are using MS Office 2003, 2007 or 2010 you can now sync MS Office documents to the Google cloud, without ever leaving MS Office. Once synced, documents are backed-up, given a unique URL, and can be accessed from anywhere (including mobile devices) at any time through Google Docs. And because the files are stored in the cloud, you always have access to the current version.

Once the plug-in is installed, you will see a new ribbon near the top of the Office user interface, which indicates the Google Docs link for the document you’re currently working on. It will also tell you when the document has been synced with Google’s servers.

Once in the Google cloud, documents can be easily shared and even simultaneously edited by multiple people, from right within Office. A full revision history is kept as the files are edited, and users can revert to earlier versions in one click. These are all features that Google Docs users already enjoy today, and now we’re bringing them to Microsoft Office.”

Due to the enormous interest in the plug-in, Google has now discontinued accepting volunteers for the early testing program. If you are not one of the lucky ones to laid hands on this great new tool, you can fill out this form and Google will notify you when Google Cloud Connect becomes available.

When Google Cloud Connect becomes widely available again, you will only need a free Google account and you will be ready to use the plug-in.

Unfortunately due to the lack of support for open APIs on Microsoft Office for Mac, Google Cloud Connect is not currently available on Macs We look forward to when that time comes so we can provide this feature to our Mac customers as well.

The technology behind Google Cloud Connect derives from DocVerse, a productivity tool that Google acquired earlier this year that lets multiple users collaborate and edit Microsoft Office documents.

Don’t forget that Microsoft is also making moves in this Cloud Computing area. Microsoft is encouraging users to share documents online using Office Web Apps and Sharepoint. It will be very interesting to see the developments in this area in the next 24-36 months.

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