Microsoft is stepping closer to providing anywhere access to Office files. The free Office Live Workspace (more here), which lets people share work in Word, Excel and PowerPoint online, is expanding today to invite more beta testers.
You can sign up to try the work in progress at OfficeLive.com, although access may not be immediate. A final version is set for next spring.
When Office 2007 debuted nearly a year ago, it seemed curious that Microsoft offered no easy, one-click option for accessing work from the Web. Meanwhile, Zoho built an add-in for Office 2007, as Google Docs & Spreadsheets and other tools allowed people to share as well as compose work within a browser.
The free, ad-supported Office Live Workspace is a bridge to Office software, not a browser-based replica. Workspace synchronizes changes made to files stored both on a desktop and at Office Live's servers, including Outlook contacts and events. It works with Windows XP SP2, 2003 Server, or Vista with Internet Explorer 6 and Firefox 2 or higher (required for users of Mac OS 10.2 and up).
The online tools preview Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files as well as PDFs, PNGs, and JPGs. Workspace is meant to work in tandem with Word, Excel and PowerPoint XP, 2003, or 2007 running locally on a PC. You can preview, not edit, documents from a browser. Web Notes, on the other hand, do enable the creation and formatting of small text documents online.
Office Live Workspace emphasizes collaboration rather than composition. To share documents with other people, you can send them a secure URL without requiring them to sign in with a Windows Live ID. Everyone with access to the workspace can make and view each others' comments.
Those invited for editing can make changes to the work, as long as they have Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on their hard drive. Office Live Workspace handily preserves the Track Changes feature from Office apps while also keeping five histories of a file. And the Share View screen allows control of another user's PC.
Another desktop component of this service is the Office Live Add-In for Microsoft Office. This is a quick download, although you'll have to restart the system afterward. Once it's installed, a Save to Office Live option will appear under the Office button within Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, with the subsequent dialog box showing your available workspaces.
Workspaces are collections of documents. Ten templates are built to manage a classroom, sports team, travels, job search, household, and so forth. For example, a travel workspace will include an expense report spreadsheet with Word files for an itinerary, packing list, and personal data. You can store a maximum of 500 workspaces containing 500 documents each for a total of 500 MB per account and 25 MB per file.
Office users who learn about these tools are likely to come to depend upon them to stash their work online with a few, quick clicks. Workplaces that use Microsoft's staple software will probably find Workspace a fine collaboration tool that makes it easy to take work away from the office.
This is a well-designed service, but I'd still like something not only to store work, but to let me make edits without opening local applications. What if you only want to correct a misspelled byline in a 20 MB report? You'll have to open Word, since Office Live Workspace doesn't even allow light, text only edits within a browser. I'll continue to lean on Google Docs for that.
Office Live Workspace, by the way, is not to be confused with Office Live Small Business, which offers a free domain name and Web design templates.
Please see more images after the jump.… Read more
This is an interesting, old-school approach to organizing Web-based content on the desktop, unlike so much new webware that leans on the browser as the portal for anywhere-access to services. Another recently-released download that depends upon the Internet for most functionality is Microsoft's Windows Live apps bundle. However, while that package adds useful and novel tools, the AOL portal left me puzzled.
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It's a good thing Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger Santa is just an AI-powered chat bot. You'd probably want to think twice before sitting on his lap.
According to The Register, the now-disabled Santa bot that was once IM-able at email@example.com was prone to off-topic suggestions about oral sex. Microsoft has acknowledged the claims and disabled the chat agent.
While this feature might have had appeal to a limited portion of adult users, the Santa bot was unfortunately designed to be used by children. According to The Register, Santa made a reference to oral sex when … Read more
LiveJournal, the popular blogging platform/social network from Six Apart, has been acquired by Russian media company SUP. While financial details about the acquisition have not been disclosed, in today's press announcement Chris Alden, CEO and Chairman of Six Apart said the move "...is a great milestone for LiveJournal and also lets us to focus on the core products invented at Six Apart: Movable Type, TypePad, and Vox."
LiveJournal is the first English site in SUP's portfolio, which has a sports news service and two different Internet marketing agencies for audiences in Russia. The two companies … Read more
If your fair-weather friends are getting bored with your in-home theater, bowling alley, and bevy of indentured pedicurists, you may want to step up to a VirTra Systems' mobile live-fire training simulation trailer.
The trailer is based on the Houston company's IVR (immersive virtual training) simulation technology and offers a three-lane marksmanship simulator and "full-featured judgmental-use-of-force scenario" with both laser-based and live-fire training, including full auto in anything up to .50 caliber. Depending on your preferred quarry, it's available in either a police or military version.
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On the assumption that not everyone reads comments, I wanted to post a comment here that was made in response to my earlier post on Live Documents. Net net: Live Documents is much more interesting than I had originally supposed. In fact, I just registered for an account. Here's why.
Is Live Documents simply a competitor to Microsoft Word? No:[W]e offer the entire Office suite - online equivalents of Word, Excel and PowerPoint - and not just Word as you have mentioned. If it was only Word then yes, many of your points on create vs. collaborate are true but it is far more complex when your data is in a spreadsheet or presentation.
What about the limitations inherent in being a pureplay SaaS/browser-based model?...[W]hen we say that we are an "online" Office suite, we are not limiting ourselves to just a browser-centric experience. While we do offer a browser-based service that offers functionality equivalent to Word, Excel and PowerPoint, we also offer a client application that makes your existing version of Microsoft Office web-enabled.
Sabeer Bhatia, one of the co-founders of Hotmail (bought by Microsoft for $400 million ten years ago), is on a mission to lobotomize Microsoft's $20 billion Office business. He has an uphill climb.
Bhatia is behind Live Documents, a web-based competitor to Microsoft Word, which purports to offer enterprises an upgrade path beyond the $400/seat offer from Microsoft. The question is, "Don't we already have Google Docs for this?"
Designed to help consumers avoid expensive upgrades and to foster collaboration on a secure internet platform, Live Documents matches features found in Office 2007, the most recent version. It will be given away to individuals with 100MB of free data storage space per user. Companies will pay for the system, either hosted remotely or on an internal server, at a discount to Microsoft?s licensed technology. Aricent, an Indian software services group with 6,700 employees, is the first client.… Read more