Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Adobe Goes Offline & Microsoft Comes On

Last week, I discussed Adobe's new AIR application that would let people take content from the Web and view it offline on their PCs without an active Internet connection. Now, Microsoft is doing essentially the opposite: extending its online presence via a new beta version of the Office suite that would let faithful Windows users access offline documents while online.

Aptly named Office Live Workspace, the online portal would let you store up to 1,000 Microsoft Office documents, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, then access them on any PC that's connected to the Internet. Funny enough, the Website (http://www.workspace.officelive.com/) reads: "No more flash drives or sending yourself documents via e-mail", the latter of which is exactly what I do!

Once you've set up a free account, settings can be adjusted to dictate who can gain access to your documents, as well as edit or comment on them. The site also offers the ability to synchronize Microsoft Outlook information, including contacts and to-do lists.

From a personal standpoint, this is a great way to share documents, ensure they are always accessible, and even back them up. From a business perspective, Office Live can act as a sort of "server", where employees can share data among themselves in a really simple way. Pity, however, that photos can't be uploaded as well.

With Office Live Workspace, Adobe's AIR, and even Google's recently announced user-updatable Websites, it appears that a battle is brewing for the management of content both on and offline. If you thought the high-definition DVD format war was a doozie, it looks like it might just pale in comparison to what's going on in the document and online arena! Who ever though plain ol' text could be so darned exciting?

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