Software

Use Microsoft Office to create Google docs with Cloud Connect

Google Cloud Connect synchronizes your Microsoft Office documents with Google Apps automatically as you create them, saving time and hassle.

I admit it - I like Microsoft Office more than I like any web-based office suite, including Google Apps. It may just be a case of not being able to teach an old dog new tricks, but I prefer to use Word to do my writing. I have even got to the point where I don't mind the infamous ribbon. (Although, I do prefer the old menu system.)

However, there is now something called Google Cloud Connect, which promises to give me the best of both worlds: Microsoft Office and Google Apps. Cloud Connect synchronizes my Office documents with the CBS Interactive Google Apps system. That means that as I write this blog post in Word and save the file locally it is also automatically being synchronized and stored in the Documents section of Google Apps (Figure A) as an searchable, editable and shareable Word file.

Figure A

My blog post in progress is synchronized with Google Apps

It may seem like a small thing to you, but now I can get at this blog post from any PC connected to the Internet running Microsoft Office, and edit it without having to use a Remote Desktop Connection - saves me some hassle when I work from home.

Installation and configuration

The Google Cloud Connect client is available as a free download (Figure B).

Figure B

The Google Cloud Connection is a free download
The installation will add a toolbar to your Office applications like the one shown in Figure C.

Figure C

The Google Cloud Connection toolbar in Word
During the installation process you will have to log in using the appropriate username and password combination to create the synchronizing connection. You may also want to check the default configuration settings (Figure D) to make sure Google Cloud Connect is operating the way you want.

Figure D

Check the default configuration settings

Because I have just started using the Google Cloud Connect client, I cannot give it a ringing endorsement just yet, but I am anticipating and predicting that the tool will greatly improve my productivity. I'll let you know at a later date if that prediction proves true.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

16 comments
txreal
txreal

Is this better that just save the document to your google drive? My google drive auto start at boot to sync anyway.

sdpfeiffer
sdpfeiffer

If you use Cloud Connect in automatic sync mode, and you open a redlined document from your hard drive, it seems that Cloud Connect essentially "accepts all changes" and forces you to use its revision history as the means of change tracking. For anyone involved in legal / contract negotiation, this becomes a giant pain in the neck. Until all red-lined changes have been agreed by all parties, it would be unlikely that anyone would want to lose the visibility to each and every change, onscreen, without having to plow thru each revision history file. This is just a crazy implementation.

8string
8string

I just got a script error message (coming from Google according to the error message), when trying to share out my document the first time I synced with Google cloud connect. Not a good start. I tried again and again a script error. using Chrome browser, W7 64 bit, Office Pro 2010 (32 bit). think I'll hold off on this for the time being.

databaseben
databaseben

Although MSSkydrive gives you 25 gigs of free space to store personal files, it lags behind Google Doc's in 2 key areas. 1) Google Doc's can be sync'd with older versions of MSOffice, while Skydrive is now only sync-able with Office 2010 and above - although there is a clunky explorer like interface that older MSOffice users can utilize. 2) Google Doc's preserves, "yes preserves" edited versions of a document. This is a valuable "valuable" tool for people writing articles, reports and class papers because in the event that the document is lost or inadverdently modified, a previous version of the document exists on Google's Cloud. "THIS IS A BIG BIG PLUS" for writers who understand the pain and sufferring after losing many hours of time and sacrifice inputted into a document that is lost or corrupted. The only thing i would add for people wanting to use Google Doc's, is that in order to download a document from their cloud onto a computer, you will need to use a browser like Google Chrome, as the IE is unable to do so. But other than that, uploading thereafter is a breeze via the MSOffice application.

Ricky Tandiono
Ricky Tandiono

I am not even talking MB here. Just 200kb. Around 5 worksheet with each has around 15-20 columns and 100 rows

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you remember how large the Excel file was? Are we talking MBs? This is one of my concerns that I have yet to test.

Ricky Tandiono
Ricky Tandiono

I first find that this is a good try as editing in google doc is not that fast compared to editing a local excel file. With file that contain small table, it works fine. it can collaborate the file. But when I tried an excel file with multiple tab, even with just an update of 1 cell 1 font, the synchronization always failed/error and ask me that there is an update, whether I want to discard changes in local or discard changes on the cloud. So, until it can handle big file, I will wait. good attempt though.

glnz
glnz

How does this compare to Windows Live Mesh, Sugar Sync and others? In some detail, here's what we are looking for, and we are a very small business. Will Google Cloud Connect work for us? Question #1: Imagine five PC's to be connected by some kind of sync setup: - PC "General" needs six folders (and all files in such folders) automatically syncing. - PC "Colonel" needs most of them, maybe all. - PC "Sergeant" needs to see/sync only three folders "Fish", "Dog" and "Cat" and NOT be able to access or even see the others. - PC "Private Smith" needs to see/sync only two folders "Fish" and "Cat" and NOT be able to access or even see the others. - PC "Private Jones" needs to see/sync only two folders "Dog" and "Cat" and NOT be able to access or even see the others. Can Google Cloud Connect do this if properly configured on the five PC's? (And I'm talking folders on each PC with folders automatically syncing, without anyone having to go to a browser after the initial setup.) Question #2: If some PC's are in the US and some are in Asia, is the sync too slow? Question #3: If most of the files to be synced are Excel spreadsheets, is the sync too slow? Here's why we ask our questions: We have a very small business and must keep costs down. My partner ("General") and I ("Colonel") would like to share and sync all six folders directly on our PCs. But we have a tiny office abroad that handles only production, not sales, so they ("Sergeant" and two "Privates") should be syncing only a subset of the folders dealing only with production, parts inventory and production costs (folders "Fish", "Dog" and "Cat") and not have any access to -- or even know about -- the remaining three folders that deal with US sales, revenue and net income. And it has to be real simple to use with syncing on the PC's, which is why we want it to work on the folders on each PC automatically in the background without anyone having to go to a browser (after the initial setup). Please give us your thoughts for these three questions. Thanks.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Have you tried Google Cloud Connect? Does the premise interest you?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I received an email today about getting a Script Error when trying to use Google Cloud Connect. Anyone else run into this problem and have suggestions?

Ogundiya
Ogundiya

1) Microsoft Office SkyDrive docs do support versioning. I've used versioning in the SkyDrive previously. 2) MOSS 2010 SkyDrive is really the better way to go when you desire to have the most up-to-date application. If you require use of MOSS 2007 Docs, such docs can be stored in the SkyDrive as well, as I have also done this with some of my MOSS Word docs using MOSS Word 2010 to store the MOSS Word 2007 version of the file. MOSS Word, and MOSS Excel are also able to encrypt the doc with a password that can be used to store the docs in the SkyDrive securely (I currently do this as well. And, I've been doing this for the past year or so.) Although, the Word and Excel documents cannot be viewed in the Cloud if they have an encrypting password, you can use the docs by opening them locally. The docs can also be stored in the SkyDrive using Information Rights Management (which is a free download from Microsoft for non-corporation scenarios up to 25 machines) that will allow you to use LiveID [e-Mail address assigned] protected permissions. Again, I've been doing this for the passed year or so. 3) Microsoft IE9 supports HTML5 protocols, and object oriented pinning of web browser windows to both the desktop, toolbar, and start menu. 4) Microsoft will be releasing Windows 8 (demos and video of which is available on the Microsoft web site), and IE10 is already on the drawing board (alpha status). I encourage all of us to take a look at the Microsoft web site and examine the help and support areas for additional information. Writer is a Microsoft Certified IT Professional Windows Server 2008 R2 Administrator.

Ricky Tandiono
Ricky Tandiono

I am using IE 8 and I can download google doc to my computer. By the way, something maybe can be improved in the future is to be able to edit google cloud connect file (still in the native office format) in google doc. Currently you either upload your file and convert it to google doc format, or you use google cloud connect and edit from your office application. good to have if can be both. so can edit using office when we have office, but while on the go, can use the google doc. that will be perfect :)

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Files could be shared with the individuals that need to see it, excluding those that don't, but you could not do it from Office - you'd have to enter Google Apps at the time of creation to specify how it will be shared. Also, Google Apps does not use a folder metaphor - files are shared and they can be categorized with labels that are basically canned searches. In Google Apps the metaphor is search. What you propose is doable, but I'm not sure it is the best solution. Has someone tried this kind of management? What was you experience?

Ricky Tandiono
Ricky Tandiono

From what I tried, the sync is not per folder, but per file. so you need to sync per file inside the file

Ricky Tandiono
Ricky Tandiono

The share setting can be done from microsoft office. Not necessarily from the google app. In the microaoft office. In each file when you open it, there is google cloud connect bar. You can set your share setting there.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Yes, you can set the share settings from your Office App - my mistake.

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