Microsoft Office Live Workspace is a portal that allows you to view your Microsoft Office documents online. This includes the ability to share documents and do desktop presentations of Microsoft Office documents. Microsoft Office Live Workspace is in beta and free, so why not give it a try? That’s what Microsoft is asking now that Google Docs and Zoho are moving towards commoditizing the document and spreadsheet space.
So first impressions? Office Live Workspace doesn’t let you edit documents. Anyone who has used Google Docs or Zoho is going to be looking for that feature. There is a nice plug-in that is free that allows you to save up to 500 Megabytes of new or existing files into the Workspace portal as well as edit documents that are actually located on the portal. You can also create multiple locations for others to access, called workspaces and sync task lists or online events with Microsoft Outlook (a feature most Outlook Web Access users are already using). If you don’t have Office though, you can only view files and create notes about them. Changes are automatically synchronized so you can easily work while offline without a lot of headache.
There’s also SharedView. SharedView is part of Microsoft Office Live Workspace and gives other users the ability to view or take over your desktop as part of the collaboration benefits of Microsoft Office Live Workspace. This is already available through other Microsoft technologies, but this is a little more user friendly and nicely ties together with the document editing process. All in all, users of Microsoft Office just got a host of new features with the Microsoft Office Live Workspace. So we might as well take use of this new technology since Microsoft was so nice to give it to us. However, if we’re looking for something that mirrors the functionality of Google Docs then this isn’t it. It’s more of meeting half-way between Google Docs and Microsoft Office.