Archive for the ‘Online Tools’ Category

Facebook and Microsoft Office

April 22, 2010

With the upcoming release of Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft is putting a lot of time and energy into Office Live; their online version of Office. I’ve briefly played with if about a year ago but haven’t really touched it since. In my day to day life I’ve used Google Docs more for the type of collaboration that I’ve been doing. That doesn’t mean it’s better, just that it’s what works for my situation.

That said, Microsoft is turning up the heat (so to speak) with a new collaboration with Facebook, one of the most popular Social Networking tools out there. They recently announced the beta version of Docs, which allows you to create Word documents, Excel Spreadsheet and PowerPoint presentations AND share them in Facebook.

This gives you the ability to work with others on documents, presentations, and spreadsheets without leaving Facebook. I took a quick look at it and it seemed pretty slick. The only thing that kept me from diving in, and it may be a HUGE issue to some folks, was that in order to connect Docs with Facebook I had to let the application pull my Facebook information. That means my Name, Profile Picture,  list of Friends and other public information.

I haven’t decided if I want Microsoft to have this information. My Name i’m fine with but my friends? That I’m not so sure about.  So I did what I always recommend to everyone (but seldom do myself), I read the Terms of Service. A couple of things stand out:

  1. The beta can only be used for personal non-commercial service
  2. Use the service in any way that harms Microsoft or its advertisers, affiliates, resellers, distributors and/or vendors or any customer of ours or customer of our advertisers, affiliates, resellers, distributors or vendors (what exactly would constitute “harm”?)
  3. They can cancel your account or the service at anytime without notice. This isn’t so unexpected but you need to beware that if they do you have NO ACCESS to those files, so keep a backup copy somewhere else.
  4. They don’t own your content. This is a good thing

It did not, however, way what if any use they would have for my information (such as my friends list).

I’ll have to think about whether or not this would be something I’d use. So far I haven’t really had a need to collaborate with others in my Facebook network. But now that I know I can, that may change. You can get more information at docs.com

Two great things that go great together? I guess that depends on you.