Well now I can truly say I’ve used both Microsoft Office Live and Google Docs for collaboration. I’ve been using Google Docs for months and have today took a quite spin of Microsoft Workspace.
There are clear differences in the two products, mainly the interface. Microsoft’s is quite “visually stimulating” with buttons and colors – like Microsoft Office. While Google’s is a bit more simplistic (but colorful still) – and more like their plain, but effective search engine interface.
While Microsoft has an add-in that you can use to save and download documents from your Workspace to your desktop, to use Google you have to be online (at this time).
While you need to be online to access your Microsoft workspace, in order to edit documents you have to first download the document to your desktop and edit it in Microsoft Office. So if you don’t have Office on the computer you are using – you can’t edit the document. You can view it online, however.
What does this mean to you?
There is no “better” choice, the question is which one is best for your business.
If you use Microsoft Office throughout the day, Microsoft Office Live Workspaces is going to appeal to you. If you are already using hosted applications and the ‘PC based’ application is not that important Google Docs could be of more interest to you.
I use Microsoft Office quite a bit for receiving documents and writing “documents” – contracts, proposals and things like that. The main reason is out of habit, but also because I prefer to start documents offline and not have to rely on the cloud of the Internet for the core of my work. Google docs or Office Live Workspaces for that matter would be an after thought when the need to collaborate and share come into play.
Having said that, when Google offers an offline version of Google Docs my reliance on Office could be lessened.
We’ll see. What’s your choice?
See your local Microsoft Small Business Specialist if you want more help on using Office Live Workspaces.