Google, Microsoft describe next generation 'Office 2.0'

IT must sort out plan for Web 2.0 tools before their business use explodes, execs say

As Web 2.0 technologies continue seeping into business systems, a new generation of corporate users is starting to gain access to the collaboration capabilities they are demanding from IT, according to attendees at the Office 2.0 conference in San Francisco this week. But before use of the tools spreads too far, they noted, companies must strike a balance between the Web 2.0 wants of users and the needs of corporate IT.

The conference, described as a collective experiment by its long list of sponsors, was organized in two months using the online productivity and collaboration tools that are the focus of the event, organizers said.

Jonathan Rochelle, product manager of Google's spreadsheet product, predicted that real-time collaboration capabilities, as provided in the Google Docs & Spreadsheets tool set, will become a key part of the next generation of office tools. Employees are increasingly demanding tools that will let them collaborate online when creating documents, he noted.

"The consumer expectation [for Web 2.0 tools] is being brought to the workplace," he said. "Work groups are taking the product in because they like working with it, and they are more productive."

Indeed, within Google itself, workers are now derided when they attach documents to e-mail instead of using the online editing tool in Google Docs, he noted. The traditional route is now viewed as a drain on productivity, he added.

Richard McAniff, corporate vice president of Microsoft Office, also predicted that Web 2.0 tools will become interwoven into corporate life over the next few years. For example, combining a social networking tool like Facebook with productivity tools could "really change the way people do work," he noted

"We really have to look at ... how we can have a complete game changer in terms of what the workforce is really doing," he said.

Still, companies have to reconcile the demand of its employees for the new tools with the inevitable productivity bumps that come when new technologies like Web 2.0 tools are added in the workplace, he added.

"What people want on the desktop is one thing, [and] what IT might want is something else," he said. "You have to strike a balance between the two."

Danny Kolke, founder and CTO of Etelos Systems, a provider of hosted Web applications, noted that many IT organizations are actually under assault by end users who are demanding Office 2.0 features and tools.

"The reason I use Spreadsheets in Google ... is because I know I can create it and share it easily," Kolke said. "IT comes along and says, 'We need control over this data.' A lot of [IT] organizations are defending their turf right now because they are get assaulted. The demand [for Web 2.0 tools] is there."

The speed in which these Web 2.0 technologies are being developed - and then moving into the enterprise - is increasing the strife between IT and users, he added.

"The market wants [office 2.0 tools] before we're ready to deliver it in many cases," he said. "We can't keep up with the demand. If you listen to the market and innovate for what they are hoping for you don't have to sell your product."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Heather Havenstein

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

Xiro Drone Xplorer V -3 Axis Gimbal & 1080p Full HD 14MP Camera

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things


Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on PC World

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?