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When I talk to customers, they frequently ask, "If I have Office [the desktop apps], then why would I use the Office Web Apps?" It’s a fair question. Office is an extremely powerful and efficient set of productivity tools. I use Office every day. But the Office Web Apps have changed the way I think about content and how I use the Office desktop apps.
In the past I have always stored my files locally. Even when documents needed to be stored in a shared location, I kept local versions of my files. It's not that I don't trust server storage. In fact, in over 15 years of working in tech I have never lost a file stored on the server. On the other hand, I have lost plenty of files stored on my own machines.
No, the reason I kept local copies of files is they were easier to work with. SharePoint has been pretty good at working with the Office desktop apps for some time. But there are times when someone opens your work just to take a look and inadvertently prevents you from making changes. This is because in the past only one person could edit most files at a time. When this happens a few times, you learn to keep your working copy to yourself. With Office 2010 and the Office Web Apps I don't keep local versions of my files anymore.
There are two core reasons for my change in behavior. First, the likelihood of being prevented from working is much lower. And second, the benefits of keeping files in SharePoint and SkyDrive are much greater.
The Office Web Apps are only part of this change. But the web apps are a very conspicuous piece of a larger shift to make Office better at working with documents that are not on your local machine. Here's why I love to store files on SharePoint. The same reasons also apply to SkyDrive.
This really isn't a feature of Office Web Apps but I use multiple machines in multiple locations and I can always get to my files. Not only that, but when I open files from SharePoint or from SkyDrive they open in the desktop apps seamlessly. That is, when I click "Open in Word" the document opens in Word on the desktop exactly as if the file were local. This means that any changes I make are written to the file on the server. Even better, if for some reason the server becomes unavailable Word is smart enough to keep a local version ready to automatically synch to the server when it becomes available again.
If I am using a machine that doesn't have Office installed (maybe a netbook, an internet kiosk, or just a machine I haven't finished setting up yet) I can still get to my files to view and edit them. For some folks this is only a backup but for others this may become a core part of how they work. Either way, you can't do this if your files are all locked away on your local hard drive.
When I need to get people's feedback on something I've written in Word (like this blog post) I send around an email. That hasn't changed. But now I just put a link to the document in Word Web App viewer. I don't need to worry about what version of Word other people have. It doesn't matter if they have Word at all. They will be able to view my document as long as they have any of the more commonly used web browsers. And when someone uses the viewer, there is no risk that they might accidentally open the file and prevent me from editing it.
When I want to present a PowerPoint presentation remotely, I can broadcast my slide show using the PowerPoint desktop app and technology that is part of the PowerPoint Web App. Essentially, anyone can follow my presentation just by navigating to a URL I sent around before I began presenting. The only requirement is a browser.
One of the most obvious benefits of storing my files on SharePoint is giving others the opportunity to change those files. This is extremely valuable when collaborating on a project. A lot of this collaboration is facilitated by the Office Web Apps. My favorite example of this is OneNote.
Compared with other Office applications OneNote is not that broadly used. But it is fantastic for collaborating. Before OneNote Web App came along, you could only use OneNote to collaborate with folks that also had OneNote installed. With the web app you can create a notebook on SharePoint or SkyDrive (still to come) and anyone with a browser can add content and see what others are doing. Changes are immediate just as they are in the OneNote desktop client. Also, folks can use either the desktop client or the web app to work in the same notebook.
These are the biggest ways that Office 2010 and Office Web Apps have changed the way I work. And I really think we are just getting started.
Nick Simons Program Manager, Office Web Apps
Will Office Live Workspace be supported with Office 2010?
I use Office Live Workspace very frequently and have the add-in installed on my computer. Bu since I upgraded to Office 2010, the add-in no longer functions.
If you are the only person to access your files and carry them around on a SD card or USB key, the advantages of saving to the cloud may be minimal or zero.
Although maybe not completely fair, the recent recent of T-Mobile/Microsoft Sidekick made me very much aware of the risks and disadvantages of saving to the cloud.
With other words: saving data to the cloud can have it's advantages but it should also make sense. It is not a goal per se. It does not always make life easier.
I don't understand why you and the Microsoft Marketing Department keep promoting Office Web Apps as if it's currently available to customers. Every time I get a message about this, I check SkyDrive, click on a Word document, then Edit, and get "TBD". Do you have any idea how frustrating that is?
I feel like you keep lying to me and I keep falling for it over and over again. Personally, I don't think that's the best way to connect with your customers, especially the early adopters like me.
"If you are the only person to access your files and carry them around on a SD card or USB key, the advantages of saving to the cloud may be minimal or zero."
I disagree. With SD or key you have to synchronize the files everytime back and forth if you edit the files on multiple places, and never forget to do so.
On the other hand, if you keep your files on the cloud there's no need for synchronizations.
"Although maybe not completely fair, the recent recent of T-Mobile/Microsoft Sidekick made me very much aware of the risks and disadvantages of saving to the cloud."
What about keeping your files on a device as small as a SD that you can forget somewhere or maybe be stolen... Not to mention that you will end keeping copies of the files on every machine you work with. I don't see why it would be safer.
Cloud computing is about ease to experience alternatives. Until recently, everyone had to have the same software, the same Office on their machines to ensure that it could read a document from a friend, or edit it. With cloud computing you simply provide a link and your friend not only opens the document, but also the application that generated it. Zero friction to try alternatives. The end of natural monopoly in IT.
I don't know when this will be coming out? It seems Office Web Apps being available to public is more secretive than Apple's tablet. And I am only talking about the Beta. Everytime I go to edit a document online, it says "coming soon, we are working very hard". I must say you must consider your "productivty per day" if it is taking this long to bring it out. Are you waiting for Google Docs to improve or Apple to design one before you bring it out.
when we can try office web apps on skydrive. It just show "Still to come...
Editing is not currently available. We are working on it though."
Is this already available for like an Enterprise edition?
You will see (in word, excel and powerpoint) in Backstage View, you will see something that says add-ins and is located under "Help". Click on it and you will find "Save to Office Live" and "Open from Office Live"
Hope this helps
That's what I'm wondering, but it says that "editing in Word Web App and OneNote Web App will not be available during the Technical Preview" on the getting started document. So this may be only available for Enterprise or SharePoint users only.