Look ma, my docs are in the cloud!

Nice to see that Google has finally launched offline access for Google Documents — or at least for text documents anyway (apparently presentations and spreadsheets are coming later). I guess we should be grateful, although I still have to wonder why Zoho has had offline capability for its document-sharing service since way back in November sometime, which is based on Google Gears. I thought having inside knowledge of features helped companies triumph over their competitors — or is that the kind of thing that only works for Microsoft?

Late to the party or not, I still think Google is the one to beat. Zoho’s services are great, and I use Zoho Show in particular a fair bit, but when it comes to trusting a company with my data I would have to come down on the side of Google. Doesl being a multibillion-dollar company mean that they won’t be vulnerable to outages that take down the cloud? Hardly. But I expect them to have some pretty mean backups and redundancies, thanks to those 600,000 servers they have in warehouse farms around the world (or however many they are up to now).

Some — including Frederic of The Last Podcast — say the sharing part of Google Docs doesn’t interest them much, and that they need features that only an offline or desktop version of a word processor can offer. I have to say I don’t need the latter, and I think the former is a critical feature, especially as companies try to make it easier for their employees to collaborate and become more creative. (Note: Rafe Needleman at Webware points out that Mozilla is planning to build this feature into its browser).

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