OffiSync Nov. 10 launched a paid version of its Microsoft Office plug-in that lets users access their Microsoft Office documents from the Google Sites wiki as an alternative to Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration platform.
OffiSync launched earlier this year with a plug-in for Microsoft Office that lets users access Google Apps, Google Docs and Google search from within any Office application, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents.
The plug-in allows users to save their Office files online for access from any desktop or laptop computer using Google Apps and Docs; find specific Office files with Google search; and collaborate on Office documents with coworkers through Google Docs. The idea is to render traditionally static on-premises Office files actionable in the cloud, or the Web, while retaining fidelity of the data.
OffiSync is now supporting Google Sites, letting users access their Office files online through the Sites team wiki and document repository, said OffiSync founder Oudi Antebi. Users can save and open Office files from Google Sites file cabinets, and create, delete and move Google Sites file cabinets right from within Microsoft Office.
During a demonstration, Antebi showed eWEEK how he created a new folder on Google Sites and saved existing Office files on the app, pushing the files into the cloud. OffiSync also posted a demo video here.
"The goal that we had was to make the Office experience with Google Sites superior to what the user would get with SharePoint," said Antebi, a former product manager for Microsoft Office.
OffiSync uses Google's Data APIs to connect to Google Apps. That approach sits well with Google and its cloud computing approach.
"Information sharing is at the core of Google Apps, and we believe OffiSync makes it significantly easier for Office users to share information with their coworkers using Google Docs and Google Sites," said Scott Johnston, senior product manager for Google Sites. "We are happy to see our APIs used to bring the desktop closer to the cloud."
OffiSync, which Antebi said has hundreds of thousands of users, is brave for targeting SharePoint, the killer collaboration application that earns Microsoft $1 billion per year. Moreover, OffiSync has the added challenge of trying to compete with SharePoint Online, Microsoft's hosted version of the software.
However, there will always be some customers who are tired of Microsoft and its licensing scheme, and they may be looking for an alternative. Google Sites, paired with OffiSync's premium edition, could be that choice, allowing users to access their legacy Office files without losing their data.
OffiSync will now come in a standard and premium edition. The standard edition will remain free, offering Office integration with Google Docs, search and image search and other features. The premium edition will include Sites support, and will cost $12 per user per year, or a one-time payment of $30.
Antebi said OffiSync will sell the premium edition through a partner channel, including LTech, Cloud Sherpas and Horizon Information Services, all of whom are also Google Apps partners.