OffiSync — the handy little app that bridges the gap between Microsoft Office and Google Docs — has been updated. I reviewed OffiSync in May of last year, and thought it worked well, but the new version brings a feature that’s mighty useful for collaboration: real-time document co-authoring.
To get started, open a Google Doc in Office via OffiSync, or save an Office document to your Google Docs account through OffiSync, then share that document with your colleagues. If any changes are made to your document by anyone else while you’re working, a pop-up will appear asking you if you’d like to enable co-authoring via OffiSync:
From there, if anyone else makes a change to any document you’re working on, a notification pops up at the bottom right of the screen asking you what you want to do with the changes (merge them into your document, preview them, or hide them):
Document co-authoring is one of those cloud features that sounds great in theory, but could be really annoying if not implemented correctly. I like the fact that in OffiSync, you can choose what to do with any changes to the document, as seeing someone’s changes being merged straight into your work would be distracting, and probably downright irritating. OffiSync says that co-authoring is currently only a beta feature, although it worked fine in my tests.
It’s worth noting that Office 2010 and Office Web will also offer cloud co-authoring functionality like this, but OffiSync works with previous versions of Office. I tested it out using Office 2007, but it should also work with Office 2003, which means that it will be useful in plenty of companies that won’t upgrade to the latest version but would like to get the benefits of using the cloud in Office (to learn more about working in the cloud, check out our Structure conference in June).
In addition to the new co-authoring feature, the new version of OffiSync allows you to create and work with Google Sites from within Office, and has also improved the stability of the app.
Let us know what you think of the new OffiSync below.
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Real-Time Enterprise