Microsoft Melds Office With Facebook

By  |  Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Facebook’s F8 developer conference kicked off today, so the Web is rife with Facebook-related news. One interesting tidbit: Microsoft is launching a beta version of something called Docs, which lets Facebook users collaborate on documents with their Facebook pals, in the browser or in the desktop versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. (The name “Docs” may prompt confusion with Google’s Office rival Google Docs, but Microsoft apparently owns Docs.com–and if I owned it, I’d want to use it for something like this, too.)

The beta as it’s been rolled out is semi-open: Anyone can view documents. But uploading, editing, and creating new ones requires an invite code. I’m don’t have full acess, so I can’t explore all of Docs’ features, but the idea doesn’t look so complicated: Basically, it’s a version of Office 2010′s workgroup features and Web-based apps that makes your Facebook friends your workgroup.

It’s tough to judge Docs until I get get full access to it, but it looks like it could be handy. One major question I still have: Even though this is clearly built on some of the Office 2010 Web technology, is it an entirely separate world–or can I create a document in an Office 2010 Web app and share it via Docs, and vice versa?

 
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7 Comments For This Post

  1. tom b Says:

    This is the kind of thing Google should be doing instead of getting involved in dumb side-projects like Android, which have essentially no chance of commercial success. Pretty sad when a company like MSFT out-innovates you in an area where you have an expressed interest.

    Key question though: will this run in a standard browser, or do you have to slum and use Windows plus IE?

  2. Nick Says:

    I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. What audience is desperately trying to share Excel spreadsheets with their Facebook friends? I don’t believe those people exist…

  3. tom b Says:

    “What audience is desperately trying to share Excel spreadsheets with their Facebook friends?”

    Good question. I think Word docs would be more generally useful. I just think that FB is the “the new E-mail” and easy collaboration over the web will become increasingly important over time.

    As for Excel, I bet more people misuse is as a kind of list / “database” than use it for its actual function.

  4. Paul Jasper Says:

    So it’s a SharePoint for collaborating with people you don’t work with?

  5. tom B Says:

    “So it’s a SharePoint for collaborating with people you don’t work with?”

    Yea, I guess so. But, since it would be hosted by Facebook, i suppose there’s a good chance it might be decently secure even given its MSFT origin.

  6. bims Says:

    .) This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

  7. leohusy Says:

    ffice 2010 Web technology, is it an entirely separate world–or can I create a document in an Office 2010 Web app and share it via Docs, and vice versa?Business Directory

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