Office 2.0: The facts

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Atleast for the past couple of days, the Blogosphere was buzzing with a lot of sceptics of Office 2.0. More or less it amounted to the “what if” question. What is it that causes a hesitation on the part of most people to trust in an online Office application? Mostly it amounts to the following questions:

(1) Why should I use an online Office alternative when I have other Office packages that offer greater level of sophistication?

The classic answer to any “why” question is the George Bernard Shaw style, “why not!”. However, a more contemporary (and acceptable) answer will be, there are some compelling benefits of a web-based Office suite that a classic install and use Office package lacks.

(2) Which are?

Firstly, you need not worry about that pesky little virus that may do a clean sweep. Or an unreliable hard-disk that can crash when you expect it the least. Wasn’t it painful the last time it happened? Also, don’t you find attaching a file clumsy? Haven’t you ever felt the need of two heads georgraphically located at different places pouring over a research paper? How time-saving it will it be if the two of you could simultaenously edit the document!

(3) Yeah, but this requires a decent-speed internet connection, right? What if I suffer from connectivity problems?

Which brings to the next advantage: You can access your data from your neighbourhood cyber cafe should your Network card fail, or if you home-internet connection goes awry. You can access it from any corner of the World that has a decent speed internet connection, from anybody’s computer as long as it’s inside an insignificant blue-green planet called Earth. No one’s planning a lunar office, as of now ;)

(4) Hey, am not ready to store my confidential documents in a third party server, you know.

Web-based e-mail is third party, right? Haven’t you sent or received e-mails? Do you think your e-mails are intercepted? Has any information you shared by e-mail leaked to an outside source? Most online office applications work pretty much like e-mail.
(5) What if one of the Office 2.0 service I trust goes out of business?

It never hurts to do a little bit of research before you “trust”, does it? In this case, lot of people have already tried, tested and reviewed several services. It’d be a lot safer for you to take a lead, or may be pick up a hint or two from there. Ismael Ghalimi’s blog, for instance, carries several blogposts on the topic. And for exclusive test-driving, Zoho services have a “demo login” which you can put to use before settling for documents that are important to you.

(6) I still haven’t got an answer for the “greater level of sophistication” part.

True, there isn’t a feature-to-feature web alternative for any Office application. But hey, the good news is that we are evolving; at a good pace too!