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Take Your Office With You

I managed to forget to link to another piece at ZDNet, where I gave Office Web Apps a good going over, taking a long look at their collaboration features.

Collaboration has always been a big problem with desktop productivity tools. We've spent the last decade or more emailing documents to colleagues, wasting time as we wait to receive content and edits. In the meantime, workflow and enterprise content management tools were developed to fill the gap. But collaboration is what users want, and it's what they got with the first online productivity tools. Unsurprisingly, Google Docs' co-authoring functionality has been one of the online suite's main selling points. Equally predictable was Microsoft's about-face with the announcement last October that Office 14 (2010's codename) would include an online component.

The first technical preview of the newly christened Office Web Apps has been out for a week, and we've spent some time looking at Microsoft's highest-profile cloud computing application. There will be two versions of the Office Web Apps: one for consumers built around the Live online platform, and one for businesses built on top of SharePoint. The two versions will share features, but there will be significant differences — mainly to meet the security concerns of businesses. The current Technical Preview is a first look at the consumer service, and it's still missing many of the features we've been promised for the final release — among them integration with the Office 2010 desktop applications.

So what do we get in the Office Web Apps Technical Preview? First of all, it's built around Microsoft's SkyDrive online storage service. That means there's 25GB of space for your files, and with a current 50MB limit on file uploads that should be more than enough for most users. If you're on the Technical Preview, all you need to do to get started is log in to SkyDrive and upload an Office file. SkyDrive is likely to be a key piece of the next wave of Microsoft's Live applications, and is expected to be an end point for the next release of Microsoft's Mesh synchronisation service, Live Devices.
Read more at ZDNet.

You'll also find a nice big screenshot gallery.

Yes, that is an export from my LibraryThing! I needed a nice big data set for Excel...