Google Cloud Connect Review (Limitations)
There has been plenty of hype about the Google Cloud Connect plugin which allows you to bridge Microsoft Office with the Google Apps Cloud. Being an avid user of Google Apps, I was excited about providing my avid Office users a seamless pathway onto the Google platform. The installation was simple (unlike what MSFT claims: Microsoft pooh-poohs Google Cloud Connect) and the user interface is intuitive enough for most folks to navigate. It adds a toolbar to your Office suite labeled Google Cloud Connect.
When testing the software, it worked exactly as advertised when syncing to Google Docs. I created a test document on Microsoft Word and it easily synced with my Google Docs (once logged in). It also provided a Google Doc active link inside Microsoft Word and offers revision history on the document. Great!
Unfortunately that is where the excitement ends, as the collaboration feature is not what Google lead me to believe. From what I understood, I thought we would be able to actively edit a document in real time in Microsoft Word using Google Docs. That feature is non-existent and in fact when the document is stored in your Google Docs, it is saved as a Microsoft Word file. Google does not convert the document into a collaborative document and is stored as read-only. The shared document must be converted by the user to a Google Doc before anyone else can edit the document collaboratively. But once you convert the document, that leaves behind your Microsoft Word capabilities. And that is the biggest hurdle and limitation of Google Cloud Connect. Until that is fixed, it will be difficult to completely role this out as a truly cross-platform solution. One step at a time I suppose…
You can download Google Cloud Connect on the Google Docs Blog. It works with Microsoft 2003, 2007, and 2010. It is also important to note that it doesn’t work with Office for Mac 2011.