Grows into First-Class Sharing and Collaboration Hub for Facebook

With the latest update introduced to Facebook’s Office Web Apps, Microsoft’s FUSE Labs introduces a number of features pushing into the position of a first-class sharing and collaboration hub for documents on the social network.

The refresh follows an update delivered in August 2010, focused on boosting discoverability of content and people trough tagging and search capabilities.

FUSE Labs is now allowing Docs for Facebook users to enjoy enhanced search, PDF support, user generated templates and improved uploading.

Users searching for a specific term will be able to find not only the documents that have been tagged accordingly, but also all content that actually contains their query.

At the same time, FUSE Labs thought ahead, and made sure that customers will not come across yet another case of information overload. This is done through Social Document Ranking.

“We rank documents not only by their relevance to your search term, but also by several social criteria; for example, your relationship to the author and the number of Likes each document has received. This social ranking will help you find exactly what you’re looking for,” revealed FUSE Labs’ Pat Kinsel. users can now take advantage of an overall enhanced search experience, with full text search roll out having been completed.

“We’ve re-designed the search results page, moving authors and tags to the right column so that documents are center stage. We’ve improved the performance of the search suggestions,” Kinsel added.

“And, we now only show you people, page and tag results if you’re able to see at least one document for each.”

The update to also makes it simpler for users to copy documents and have their own version on which to work.

This has been done through the introduction of user-generated templates. The ‘advanced options’ section of the sharing control allows users to make sure that “Viewers can use the doc as a template.”

PDF continues to be an immensely popular file format, and although did not embrace it initially, this has changed with the latest update.

Customers running Office 2010 RTM already know that Microsoft has made it as easy as possible to save their documents as PDF files.

By extending Office 2010 into the Cloud for Facebook users, FUSE Labs enables them to upload and share their PDF files with other members of the social network.

“Over the past several months, we’ve built a Silverlight viewer that will allow you to read PDF files directly within,” Kinsel explained.

“Although we’re in the early stages, with improvements on the horizon, we hope you’ll like the performance and fidelity of the in-browser PDF viewing experience. For a browser-based viewer, it renders documents beautifully.”

Silverlight is not necessary only for viewing PDF content in Docs for Facebook, but also for an excellent new feature which streamlines document uploading.

“It’s now significantly easier to share several documents at once. Simply drag and drop them onto the new Silverlight uploader. This functionality is only supported with Silverlight 4.0 and higher,” Kinsel said.

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