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“Your Online Office” at PCWorld

General | November 21, 2006 | 2 min read

Michael S. Laskey at the PCWorld has a good article titled “Your Online Office“. Some excerpts :

The sites clearly have something Microsoft currently does not: the ability to create easily shareable documents, spreadsheets, and calendars on any Internet-connected PC, regardless of OS–and without your having to install expensive software. After creating or editing your doc or worksheet in Google’s offering, for example, you can use one-click publishing to put it on public display at a unique Google-created URL. Or you can collaborate by sending an e-mail to workmates containing a link to edit a particular document. Both ThinkFree and Zoho offer similar sharing options.

All the suites largely mimic Office’s interface with familiar menus and toolbars, and create a desktop-app feel with Ajax (asynchronous JavaScript and XML). Largely credited as the magic behind the more interactive “Web 2.0” approach, the popular Ajax style of Web programming means that users don’t have to wait for a page refresh after making changes, and it can also enable right-click menus specific to the online application instead of to the Web browser.

Though the online apps are currently lacking in comparison with Office, they’re developing fast. …one advantage of a fully online app is that you don’t need to download (or pay for) updates to obtain newly added features or fixes–next time you log in, they’re already there.

Zoho also offers fee-based products, including a “Virtual Office” suite with e-mail, documents, and calendaring that a company can run on its own servers, along with other productivity tools. The Virtual Office on-premise version is free for up to ten users.

The online suites that do stick around will no doubt continue to evolve quickly.

The online office apps from Zoho continue to evolve (followers of this blog would know it) and we have come a long way since we launched Zoho Writer Alpha in September 2005. Already there are students, teachers, lawyers, writers and people of all professions around the world using Zoho. If you haven’t yet, do give Zoho a try. You don’t even have to register as we have quick create and demo options for you to give a feel before you can jump into the online office bandwagon.