Today web-based word processor Zoho Writer moves further into Microsoft Word’s territory with the announcement of offline editing capabilities. Zoho enabled offline read-only review of documents in August.
With features like this, Zoho’s office apps might someday entirely replace Microsoft Office in the toolbox of many web workers. But other online word processors take what looks like a complementary approach. For example, recently-announced Live Documents integrates web-based editing and collaboration with Microsoft Office using an “embrace and extend” strategy. And Google Docs, at least for now, serves mainly for real-time collaborative editing of lightweight online documents.
Last week, startup InstaColl announced its preview of Live Documents. Live Documents joins desktop and web applications by wrapping Microsoft Office with a collaboration capability that allows for offline editing of documents and later resynchronization.
Meanwhile, where’s Google? They have an offline capability in Google Gears (which Zoho used to implement Writer’s offline feature) and have used it to give Google Reader offline capabilities. But so far, we haven’t heard any announcement of offline support for Google Docs. Perhaps Google as well sees its online word processor as more a complement to than a replacement of MS Word.
When Zoho released its read-only offline capability for Zoho Writer in August, Google responded to questions about when they might offer disconnected Google Docs with no firm answer, telling AppScout blogger Brian Heater that they would add new features when enough users had requested them.