Last week I was talking to my brother-in-law about creating a free website to promote his bar. Microsoft has an offering called office.live.com. This is Microsoft’s offering similar to Google Apps. The basic offering gives you several e-mail addresses, the ability to create a basic webpage, and access to Workspaces. Workspaces is like Google Docs, you can store all your documents on the web, they are now available anywhere. Just like Google Docs you can share these documents, it has basic document management so you can see your revisions. This uses Microsoft’s sharepoint technology. One neat feature of Sharepoint is the ability to edit your documents in place. You can click on a document and open the document in Word, and save it back in place. Most other options for editing your document is Word means you have to save the document on your local hard drive and upload the finished document again. This edit in place feature only worked with Internet Explorer, which means it only works on Windows machines and you had to use IE to access the website. To my amazement I was able to edit in place using Firefox. More investigation was needed, if edit in place works in Firefox, how about on a Mac? The answer it YES, if you have Word 2008 sp2 installed on your Mac. It will not work with earlier versions of Word. This will work in Safari or Firefox.
This is quite interesting. Office.Live workspaces are free but have limits. You are limited to 5 gb of total storage, and each document can only be 25 mb. Although you can use any live.com id, this is a little of a haste and if you want to add more users into your office.live.com account you have to pay for the additional users. With these limitations I do not know how useful Office.live workspaces will be for corporate workgroups but the technology is good. Now we should start seeing shared workspaces on the Internet that work more like a local area network. You can find the file, open, edit, and save right from the webpage.