Google has announced the acquisition of collaboration firm DocVerse in a bid to boost the capabilities of Google Docs with a number of new features and the ability to use Microsoft Office products.
DocVerse enables users to run Microsoft Office products such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and take advantage of web-based collaboration tools.
Jonathan Rochelle, group product manager for the Google Apps team, explained in a blog post that the future of productivity applications lies in the cloud.
"We have always believed that the web is the best platform for creating and sharing information. DocVerse is a small team of talented developers who share our vision, and they have enabled true collaboration right within Microsoft Office," he said.
Rochelle added that this could help Google to persuade users who are still accustomed to desktop software to move to the cloud.
Shan Sinha, chief executive at DocVerse, said that the companies will work on combining DocVerse with Google Apps to create an easy migration path from Microsoft Office.
"For many people who use desktop software, moving to the cloud was a challenge and individuals are often forced to make a choice between those two worlds. Google's acquisition of DocVerse represents a first step to solve these problems," he said in a blog post.
The acquisition could also allow Google users to work on documents online or offline, tracking changes, updates and saves on all versions of the document shared between users on desktops or in the cloud.
An activity stream and a version history stream could be added, providing a
far more straightforward way of monitoring changes to a shared document, Google
Finally, live comment and discussion capabilities could be made available on the document to offer real-time collaboration between users, even for those without Microsoft Office installed.
Google has currently suspended new sign-ups to DocVerse until it announces updates to the service. Existing users' services will remain unchanged.
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