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Google Docs VS Microsoft Office Web Apps

Author : Abdul Haseeb, Posts:38

Passionate Entrepreneur and Technology Blogger. Doing Computer Systems Engineering from CEME , NUST. Pakistan


Microsoft responded to its bitter rival Google, with the announcement that upcoming Office suite will be having  Office  Web Apps. It simply means that using web apps people will be able to create, edit , save and share their personal documents on the web just like Google Docs. Google Docs provide all these features and lot more plugins or utilities for that purpose which is being used by millions of users through out the globe.  To compete with Google, Microsoft further announced that web apps will be available for free to all the Live users.

Office Web Apps will be available on top of office Sharepoint or windows live spaces. It will work fine with Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari. Notice that Google chrome is not mentioned in that list by the sources.

Google Docs Vs web apps

Features Comparison:

  • Like most online applications, web apps are build to run from a cloud in a user web browser.
  • As Google Docs is quite compatible with most of the web browsers,  Web Apps will be optimized to work best with Internet Explorer. but they need to insure that it works well with Firefox and Google Chrome as they are becoming the main stream web browsers.
  • Office web apps will be the light weighted version of office suite containing Word, Powerpoint, Excel and OneNote. OneNote will help Microsoft in competing with EverNote, which  has been a revolution in online note taking.
  • One huge benefit with Microsoft web apps is that it is quite compatible with the enterprise office suite so users can work on the web and then save their document to use it offline. This feature will be available to Google Docs users only when Google Chrome OS will be available.
  • On the other hand Google is establishing itself fearlessly with regular updates to Google Docs and providing lot of powerful features to its users.

Google Docs Features:

Google Docs contains lot of rich features which gives Web apps team a great challenge. Some highlighted features are as follows.

DOCX Import:

The best and most important feature is that Docs are now supporting .DOCX extensions which is the used by most of the people. So users can import Word 2007 or later documents to their online Docs.  (Details Here)

New publish dialog for Spreadsheets:

This new improved dialog helps its users to publish their spread sheets in different formats. Using this users can get html snippets, pdfs or published links to share with their friends , colleagues or family. (Details Here)

Themes for forms:

Users can apply different available themes to their newly created forms and surveys. (Details Here)

Google Docs form themes

XLSX Import:

This is another important feature which helps users to import supporting cell data, formattting, colors, names, formulas and lot more from Excel 2007 documents. (Details Here)

Sheet Protection:

Owner of the sheet can choose to protect the sheet so that only the collaborators can edit the sheet with the permission of the owner. (Details Here)

sheet protection

Other Features:

Docs also provide many other features which include google search integration,  treasures and dictionary support, auto save option, slide zooming, analytics tracking on spreadsheets, scientific notations, engineering functions, custom colors and lot more powerful features. (Details Here) .


Office Web Apps Features:

Web apps will be made to work seamlessly with the desktop  clients, and the online storage space will be managed through Sky Drive. It is a probability that microsoft might introduce advertising to the online free service of the web apps.

Real Time Collaboration:

Developers are doing their best to insure that users of web apps can collaborate on any document with many users connected to it simultaneously. This feature will be very interesting as this is not seen by many people anywhere before. A rich text editor in the form of word or powerpoint and multiple users working on single document.

Behind the Firewall:

Microsoft has special offerings for enterprise use of the product.  First is that web apps will be available as part of Microsoft online services. Second offer will allow companies to host the web app on their own server on top of microsoft sharepoint. These are very attractive offers for companies which think that cloud applications are not meant for them.


Clearly Google Docs stand strong at now because of its non stop service for few years and its rich useful features. Unfortunately there is nothing to test Office web apps currently but time will tell if web apps will be dominating the online market of document world.


office web app word


Office web app Powerpoint


Office Web app Excel


OFFICE web apps OneNote

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Comments on this Article

  • Anonymous says:

    It will be interesting to see how the war between google and MS turns now with the launching of google wave, and MS office web apps. MS is now kind of gathering support.

  • Windy Millers says:

    I think anyone using google will move back to MS once it goes live. MS have been here for a long time, i think google would need something pretty special to steal the customer base…

  • Hamid says:

    Haseeb, its a very good information. Lets hope MS also goes better as it has a better compatibility and can be stored offline. Lets hope the rivalry benefits the users.

  • Dawei says:

    Very illustrative article with great initial comparison between Google Apps and Office products. IMHO, Microsoft Office We is going to be more of an extension to its desktop suite. It’s more about enhancing the traditional software with online integration and capabilities rather than a separate online experience like Google docs. Google is sticking to their online apps though, even with announcement like Chrome OS, which is mainly aimed at attracting users online.

  • Sanjay Poppadom says:

    The last time I tried to upload a word document to google docs the formatting became a mess; google docs cannot, as yet, do tab formatting - which renders it incompatible with all word files - bad for companies wishing to get rid of their expensive I.T departments, unless an easy conversion can be made. I gotta say I think M$ will win this one, they’ll probably offer a fee to companies and put advertising on it for the home user. Google’s trying hard though, they’ve put money into a lot of little companies and open source projects some of which offer an entire O.S environment via the browser; recycling bin, widgets, chat clients etc. and a browser - within the browser you’re on - it’s like online VM ware. Lost the links, sorry.

  • Sanjay Poppadom says:

    P.S - There’s a free download from M$ which converts docx (really annoying extension) into doc, compatible with Office going back to 2000 (my favourite, it’s instant on my quad core)

  • spuffler says:

    G docs is really klunky and not as well featured as a true Office suite like Open Office. More, G Docs is subject to web interruptions and internal network difficulties, G Docs can be accessed from ANY computer so employees can save a copy of their work when they get home….

    OTOH, Open Office has issues with the simpler and very ancient RTF format, which means RTF files won’t look the same on every system, and so the universiality of RTF is now getting hosed just as M$ trashes open standards. In the end, Joe Consumer gets 22′d.

  • Ali says:

    Google is one of the most popular in online documents or u can say any other online facility…. Microsoft is doing well in this field but i think that Google is one step forward to Microsoft on online product… because of its innovation…

  • Google products are far superior despite the ‘improvements’ MS is making. Theyre thinking always seems to be behind the curve.

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