Google Apps take on Microsoft Office
Google has updated its suite of business applications to provide a rival to Microsoft's forthcoming Office 2010
With just a couple of months to go before Microsoft launches its Office 2010 suite of business applications, Google has updated its own Apps suite.
At a conference on cloud computing, the search company was more direct than it has been previously in suggesting that many business users do not need Microsoft’s products.
New features introduced to the online suite include enhanced collaboration tools, allowing up to 50 users to work on the same document simultaneously, and to see the changes other people are making as they make them.
Drag-and-drop columns in spreadsheets and better support for imported documents were also added.
At £33 per user, per year, Google claims its software suite is significantly cheaper than Microsoft.
"When they come knocking saying that you need to upgrade to Office 2010, you should know that you now have a choice, a viable replacement for the vast majority of your users," said Anil Sabharwal, product manager of Google Apps.
Microsoft itself, however, has already shown off Office 2010 features that will encourage far more cloud computing and online collaboration, and has introduced elements of social networking into its Sharepoint product.
It is also launching a free version, called Office Starter.
A spokesman for the company said “Basic features like document fidelity,auto fill, cut and paste and the ability to share content across applications are essential."
"That's why it's so revealing that after three years in the marketplace, Google is just now adding the type of functionality most people want and most businesses require."