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Google Docs or Microsoft Office’s web app?

By Akshith Rao on Monday 11th of Nov 2013

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Google and Microsoft are locking horns as they try penetrating into each other’s domain. Each company is striving to bring a seamless experience in everything you do. “One Login ID to rule them all” seems to be the dream they both are striving for. Microsoft, with its Bing search, SkyDrive, Bing maps, IE and Windows 8 Variants is trying to gain a market share from the reigning King Google and Google is trying the same with its Chrome OS and Google Drive. One commendable domain which can sway the war on either side is the Document editing tools. Office did the trick for the Redmond based Microsoft and is still the most widely used document editing software in the world. But now the scenario is changing, customers want the power to view, edit and share docs across all their devices. The cloud solves the ’having with you always’ part. Google Docs and Office web apps are addressing to this problem in the a slightly different way. Microsoft has recently announced a refresh to SkyDrive and Office, and they look more polished than ever. Will this change help Microsoft retain their market share?
Microsoft has recently announced a refresh to SkyDrive and Office, and they look more polished than ever.

Jumping In

Both of them have made Login compulsory, so there is no escaping the process of creating an account if you don’t have one. Once logged in you will be greeted with all your folders and files waiting in a seamless clutter free way. As of now you get 7 GB of space through SkyDrive and 15 GB through Google drive. The similarities in the basic design language are striking. Both have opted for big icons. SkyDrive borrows the color palate and working from its unified Windows language. On the right side we have an array of options the common ones being shared docs, recent and trash. Google does a better job with the options giving us an explorer fashion hierarchy allowing users jump direct to wherever they want in an instant. The activity feed is also an interesting and can be of great use with people entirely vested in the Google ecosystem. This gives the user a live feed of all the documents changed by him or his friends. In terms of functionality, Google has an advantage through Explorer style headings and activity feed.

On the Battle field

Once logged in you get 7 GB free for SkyDrive and 15 GB free on Google drive.
Google Docs: Creating a file is simple, and you jump directly into action. You are welcomed with a clean UI having all the simple and most commonly used functions in the menu. The menu consists of print, Text, alignment, Lists and formatting options. Docs does not disappoint in the insert field giving a wide array options some of them being images, Tables and Drawings. Keeping in mind of collaborative editing, one feature that is of great use is the comment section. With this you can leave comments at specific places of the documents for other people taking part in editing the document. You never miss anything as the entire evolution of the document is saved in the cloud and you get to change, move back a few revisions or just go with the flow not fearing net disruption as the process is continuous. Docs get Co-editing right in the first try. It is absolute fun to see real time Cursors of different users shown in different colours working together. Although Docs might be a good platform to create, it falls back in terms of functionality, you might end up being frustrated a couple of times over the lack of options. it is the answer only to the lite user as of now.
Although Docs might be a good platform to create, it falls back in terms of functionality.
Microsoft quotes “The power of Office in your browser” but this is true only to an extent.
Office Web Apps: After lagging back for a while, Microsoft is all in with the unified experience ideology .Creating files is as simple, and in a few seconds you see the familiar Office 2013 interface. You find all your menus, options as they are in the Office version. It calls them Office Web apps. Microsoft quotes “The power of Office in your browser” but this is true only to an extent. The browser app does not give everything that is available on Office. But nonetheless it is treat for the power user. Co-editing has been introduced in the recent refresh. We tried it out, it is not as smooth as its rival. The editing does not happen letter smooth. We guess this trade-off is caused due to the heavy functionality provided in the browser. Apart from co-editing, in terms of functionality include ability to find and replace words and phrases, apply styles and formatting to tables, and insert headers and footers for more professional reports and papers. In Excel Web App, the new ability to drag and drop cells and reorder sheets and supports more workbook types online. Microsoft does a commendable job in integrating the cloud in every aspect, Office 2013 and 365 work seamlessly taking the full power.All work in great sync across all fronts.

Reinforcements

Go free seems to be the mantra everyone is adopting to fight the Microsoft empire.
Google Docs: Sharing can’t get easier than this, Google does the job in a clutter free menu. Handwriting recognition is also available. So making Word files, Presentations in your native language is much easier. No more third party apps. Go free seems to be the mantra everyone is adopting to fight the Microsoft empire. Quick office and drive from Google are now free for all iOS and Android devices. Although not meant for complete doc making, you can tweak your documents. Surveys still remain very strong with the backing of the Google ecosystem.
Office Web apps: App makers have provision to make Apps for the Office world. This might be very helpful for the big corporations to have more customized apps. We are yet to see some good Apps for the general public. We have full-fledged editing capabilities available for IOS and Windows tablets. The UI is tailored for touch use, with bigger menus and swipe gesture support.
Storage Space and pricing: Once logged in you get 7 GB free for SkyDrive and 15 GB free on Google drive. You can get additional free space of 7 GB if you buy a windows phone, 200 GB of free space for an year if you get the Surface tablets. Drive is not far behind as it offers 1 TB of space on cloud with every purchase of a Chromebook. In terms of purchase, Skydrive comes with only 4 options 20 GB,50 GB, 100 GB, 200 GB priced at 10, 25, 50 and 100 Dollars per year. Google Drive on the other hand gives space ranging from 100 GB to 16 Tb with the price climbing from 4.99 to 799.99 Dollars/month.

So, who wins?

For a power user, the Office Web apps feel like home and for a lite user, Google Docs will serve the purpose.
For a power user, the Office Web apps feel like home and the sheer magnitude of accessibility is mind-blowing, you can access these docs through your Office, Office 365, Windows Phone, Windows tablets, iOS tablets and now your browser. Pause on one and continue through any device in your hand is the dream Microsoft is striving for, and we say they are pretty close in reaching it. Getting it to android will complete the circle. Other than this, it needs to work on Co-editing and try to make it lag free.
For a lite user, Google Docs will serve the purpose. It is fast, clean and seamless. Co-editing is pure fun! Ecosystem helps in easier sharing and Quick office on Android and iOS is a great tool for editing on the go.

Bottomline

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