Google edges closer to Microsoft Word’s territory


1 Apr 2008

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Google’s free online productivity suite Google Docs is set to give Microsoft Word a run for its money, as later this week the option to use an offline version of Docs will become available so that when their Wi-Fi kicks out, users can continue to work on a document

Prior to this, as soon as your internet connection failed so did the web browser-based Google Docs. Say you are working on a report and wanted to edit a paragraph and save those changes – now you can do this when your Wi-Fi fails, instead of having to wait to come back online.

Janani Ravi, software engineer at Google, said on the firm’s official blog that this change makes Google Docs even more ideal for people on the go.

“You no longer need an internet connection when inspiration strikes. Whether you’re working on an airplane or in a cafe, you can automatically access all your docs on your own computer,” he said.

Google is an online company and only recently began tentatively exploring the offline area in the form of Google Gears, a downloadable application that can bring web content to your desktop to read or use when offline.

Gears has only just been used in conjunction with Google Docs. However, Google’s RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reader has been using this offline functionality for a while now, where the user has the ability to download the various webpages and blogs in their RSS feed for reading later.

This can also be used with other websites. In fact, Google Gears combined with an extension from web browser Firefox called GreaseMonkey, allows the offline reading of the web’s collective fountain of knowledge Wikipedia.

While Google is slowly injecting offline abilities into its online software as a service (SaaS), Microsoft is working on Albany, a rumoured SAS package that will be low-priced and aimed at the home user and student.

By Marie Boran