Google's purchase of DocVerse validates the market for applications that bridge the gap between the Google Apps cloud computing suite and Microsoft's Office on-premises applications. Google will stitch DocVerse's technology into Google Apps, appealing to customers who want to use Google Apps as their main collaboration suite but work offline in Office with the documents they created, without losing any of the data. The move comes as OffiSync is building its own suite of software that creates ties between Office and Google Apps.
of collaboration software startup DocVerse
for a reported $25 million
March 5 validates the market for
applications that bridge the gap between the Google Apps cloud computing suite
and the on-premises Microsoft Office suite.
DocVerse makes a plug-in that lets users group-edit Microsoft PowerPoint,
Excel and Word documents, which are created offline and stored locally on
users' desktops, and render those changes online in the cloud. ReadWriteWeb explained
the process best:
"The plug-in opens a widget in
the document sidebar that includes a unique link. Any time a user makes an
update to a Microsoft document, the plug-in syncs the Web page that is
associated with the document. Every modification gets synced. When multiple
people work on a document, the updates are made through the plug-in and
versions are stored online."
Google will stitch this technology into Google Apps, appealing to customers
who want to use Google Apps as their core collaboration suite, but still use
the documents they created in Apps offline in Office without losing any of the
"Our first step will be to combine DocVerse with Google Apps to create
a bridge between Microsoft Office and Google Apps," DocVerse co-founders
Shan Sinha and Alex DeNeui wrote in a blog post.
Google will also no doubt pick the brains of Sinha and DeNeui, who know the
ins and outs of Microsoft's collaboration and database software. This makes the
buy as much about talent as technology.
Building a bridge between the on-premises world and the cloud is crucial to
Google if it is to attack Microsoft in the collaboration software market. While
more than 2 million businesses are using the Google Apps suite, including
Google Docs and other collaboration tools, Microsoft Office has more than 500
DocVerse isn't the only company to recognize the value of building bridges
between the legacy on-premises world of Microsoft and Google's cloud. Jive
Software used DocVerse to integrate with Office. Startup OffiSync makes an Office plug-in
that lets users access Google
Apps, Google Docs and Google search from Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents.
eWEEK asked OffiSync founder Oudi Antebi if he felt gratified by his part in
the Office-to-Google-Apps bridge building.
Antebi said one key difference between DocVerse and OffiSync is that
DocVerse doesn't integrate with Google Docs and Google Sites. OffiSync does and
targets Google Apps customers "who would not have chosen anything else but
Google," he said.
"OffiSync is a better fit for customers who have already made a bet on
Google Docs and Google sites but still use Microsoft Office on the
desktop," Antebi said. "DocVerse might be a better fit for those that
have not used Google Sites and Google Docs."
OffiSync is trying to out-Google Google, in a way. This is a risky and gutsy
play. While Antebi acknowledged that Google has the technology and talent to
build a solution that could be redundant with OffiSync's, he said his company
is working to integrate with other cloud-based collaboration providers. He
declined to say which.
OffiSync is also "doing some very neat new things that include smart
text recognition and other things that take collaboration to a whole new place,"
How this will translate in the market remains to be seen. When eWEEK last talked
with OffiSync, the company had added support for the Google Sites wiki
DocVerse is Google's second acquisition this week, following the company's
March 1 purchase of photo-editing shop Picnik.
Google in 2010 also acquired mobile e-mail search company ReMail,
search engine Aardvark.
DocVerse is Google's second collaboration-oriented
acquisition in the last several months, following the company's December purchase of AppJet.