Microsoft made their Office 365 cloud-based document service publicly available on April 18th. What might not have been expected is that Microsoft is already targeting Google Docs, having created a mini-site specifically drawing comparisons between the two services. Interestingly, the service provides an example document allowing users to see precisely what Office 365 does differently. The key points are summarised below:
- Headers. The Office 365 rendition of the header shows it using a specified font with 'small capitals', and is centered in the middle of the page. Using Google Docs, it is visible that the header is located at another position and uses a different font.
- Watermarking. Using Office 365, a watermark reading 'Confidential' can be seen on the page. With the Google Docs version of the document, no watermark can be seen on the page.
- Smart Art. When using Office 365, 'smart art' can be seen on the page, illustrating the key points of the document. With Google Docs, the art is simply removed from the page without a trace.
- Chart. A chart is removed from the Google Docs version of the document, though it remains present in the Office 365 version.
- Footer. The footer at the bottom of the document is visible using Office 365, though it is not present when using Google Docs.
It is possible that Microsoft have intentionally altered the document between the two cloud-based services, and it is highly probable that this will be a view taken by some users of Google's Docs service. On Microsoft's Sharepoint site for the service, there are links to view the document using both services, so it may be interesting for some users of both services to compare and decide upon their preferred cloud-based office suite.