SiliconFilter

Googlelighting: The Google/Microsoft War of Words Continues, Now in Musical Form

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“Who knows what the future holds for Google Apps.” That’s the question Microsoft would like its customers to ask themselves before switching away from Microsoft Office and to Google’s cloud-based productivity suite. To underline its point, Microsoft just released a new video attack ad that accuses Google of running Google Apps “on the side” even though it has no business meddling in productivity software because it only has “twelve years of experience in ad sales.”

♫ “If Google Apps Meets is Grave, Your Business is Hosed” 

Microsoft, of course, is making fun of Google’s general development mode here by highlighting that Google Apps could potentially change at any point while a company is using it – and while unlikely, it could even potentially kill it off at any point. That, indeed, could be a major point of resistance for large companies that would like to switch to a cloud-based productivity suite like Apps. For them, a change in a widely used piece of software, after all, means retraining staff, for example. And just to highlight this point, the video then kicks into a music number that explains that Google really can’t be trusted to even keep really useful features around.

For the longest time, the rivalry between Google and Microsoft was fought through features and a few sly remarks here and there, but things have gotten rather public and heated between the two companies lately. For the most part, the aggression seems to come out of Redmond, though, with Google trying to defend itself against the accusations on its own blog and in the press.

Microsoft, for example has been taking out ads in national newspapers to highlight the changes Google made to its search engine and privacy policy lately and also happily jumped on the bandwagon of those accusing Google of trying to circumvent the privacy controls of Apple’s Safari and its own Internet Explorer.

Microsoft also launched an anti-Gmail video ad earlier this month:

google_ms_office_comparison

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9:48 am


Google Docs Gets Customizable Styles, Sparklines and Google+ Sharing for Forms

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Google just announced some welcome new features for Google Docs. Maybe the most important of these updates is Google Doc's new-found ability to apply changes to a document's style and formatting across the document with just a few clicks. This means that if you want to change how subtitles look, for example, you don't have to go through the whole document anymore and change them one by one. Instead, you just change the style of your subtitles once and then apply it to the whole document. If you use Microsoft Word or Apple's Pages, for example, you know that this isn't a revolutionary new feature, but it can definitely save you quite a bit of time.

Sparklines google docs

Sparklines in Google Docs

In addition to the new customizable styles, the spreadsheet application now also features support for sparklines, an increasingly popular way of presenting data in a glanceable visual format. Other new options for spreadsheets in Google Docs include the ability to create more sophisticated charts "including different Y-axes on either side of the chart, formatting options for the axis and title text, and all sorts of other customization for how your lines, bars, or pies are displayed."

Sharing Forms

Google already featured Google+ sharing in Google Docs, but with today's update, it also lets you share right from the form editor.

But there's more…

In an interesting move that becoming more common among Google products, the Google Docs team has also decided to bundle new feature announcements instead of writing a new blog post and announcement for each small update. Here then are the other updates Google made to Docs over the last month:[list]

  • Adding images to your docs from a high quality stock photo gallery. Simply go to Insert > Image, select Stock photos, and then search for the images that you want.
  • A more streamlined format for document discussion notifications that batches multiple discussions into a single email.
  • Quickly opening and selecting items from specific menus with keyboard accelerators. For example, when using Google Chrome, Ctrl+Option+E on a Mac and Alt+E on Windows or Linux will open the Edit menu.
  • Copying and pasting via the context (right click) menu in documents when you have the Chrome App installed.
  • Easily adding Google drawings or Google Groups discussions to a Google Site from the Insert menu.[/list]

 


11:29 am


OnLive Goes Beyond Gaming: Announces Cloud-Based Windows 7 Desktop for the iPad

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Here is some unexpected news from CES: OnLive, the company best known for streaming video games over the Internet, just announced that it will release a new iPad app later this week that will give users access to a virtual Windows 7 desktop with access to Word, PowerPoint and Excel, as well a browser (which we assume will be Internet Explorer). The free app will offer 2GB of storage. OnLive also plans to launch a pro version for $9.99 per month with 50GB of cloud storage. According to PC Magazine, the company also plans to launch an enterprise version in the future that will allow customers to run their own applications.

Given that OnLive generally pushes for more graphically demanding content through its network, running Windows 7 should prove to be rather easy for the company's engineers. The app will officially launch on Thursday, though sign-ups will launch later today.

OnLive already has some experience with the iPad, thanks to its OnLive Viewer app, which allows you to watch games others are playing on the service. OnLive full gaming app, though, is currently only available on Android, but the iPad version should launch soon as well.

How Useful is a Windows 7 Desktop on an iPad?

It'll be interesting to see how much demand there is for a service like this beyond the first surge of people who will inevitably just want to try the app for the sake of it. Given that the latest versions of Microsoft Office allow users to save their content to Microsoft's own LiveDrive service, moving data in and out of the virtual Windows 7 instance should be easy. It's not clear how much else you can do with the app beyond editing office documents, though, and given that you can already edit office documents with the help of iPad apps like CloudOn, it remains to be seen how useful this service will be for mainstream users, especially given that Windows 7 isn't exactly optimized for tablet use.



10:35 am


Alfresco Brings Its Enterprise-Level Content Management Platform to Small Businesses

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Alfresco is an open source enterprise-ready content management and collaboration platform that is currently being used by major brands like Home Depot and Michelin. Until now, though, the organization mostly focused on these large customers with more than 10,000 users. Now, however, Alfresco is launching Alfresco Team, a new social content management solution for small business that is free for the first 5 users (a subscription to the company’s enterprise solution usually costs around $15,000 per year). Alfresco Team also includes access to the company’s new iOS apps for iPhone and iPad that allow its users to access their documents on the go.
(more…)



4:07 pm


Microsoft’s Updated SkyDrive Goes Ad Free

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Microsoft today announced a new version of SkyDrive, the company’s cloud storage service. With support for the Office Web Apps, SkyDrive hooks into the Microsoft Office ecosystem as well as the world of Windows Phone and regular Windows desktops. The new version of SkyDrive is written to take advantage of HTML5 and is, according to Microsoft, significantly faster and easier to use. Microsoft also dropped the ad banner that used to haunt the right sidebar and now uses this space to provide easier access to additional features. (more…)



11:26 pm



Microsoft Brings OneNote to the iPhone – Can the Rest of Office be Far Behind?

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OneNote is the unsung hero of Microsoft’s Office suite. The note-taking application allows Windows users (there is no Mac version yet) to quickly take notes during lectures or meetings, record audio, and compile images, videos and scanned documents into virtual binders. Starting today, OneNote is also available on the iPhone. The app marks the first time Microsoft has released a native iPhone version of one of its Office products.

For a limited time, the app will be available for free (iTunes link). It’s not clear how much Microsoft plans to charge for OneNote once at the end of the introduction period.

Features

OneNote on the iPhone allows users to quickly take notes and create checklists – or mix the two together in one document. You can also add images, though the app does not currently support videos. All of this, of course, is also synced to Microsoft’s Office web apps and accessible through SkyDrive.

Office Exec - Starting today, OneNote Mobile for iPhone helps free your ideas.jpg

Sadly, there is no iPad version of OneNote yet, though the iPad would obviously be the perfect device for an app like this.

As a first attempt at bringing its Office products to iOS, OneNote is a valiant attempt. It’s got just enough features to make it useful, without trying to add too much functionality in the mix. Its design is open enough to make it useful for taking quick notes on the go and for accessing your lecture or meeting notes on the phone.

On the other hand, though, OneNote for iPhone is not a substitute for a fully-featured task manager like ToDo or OmniFocus.

Will More Office Apps Follow?

The question, of course, is if Microsoft plans to bring more of its Office apps to iOS. Microsoft already offers Office for the Mac (and the latest version is probably the best one so far). In his blog post today, Takeshi Numoto, Microsoft VP in charge of Office, notes that “whether it’s on a PC or Mac, a mobile phone, or online through the Office Web Apps on multiple browsers, we continue to bring Office to the devices, platforms, and operating systems our customers are using. It should be about the ideas and information, not the device, right?” To us, this sounds like we can expect some support for the rest of the Office suite on iOS in the future.



11:20 am