Following the launch of a preview flavor of Office 2013 last week, Microsoft made available for testing the preview of its new Office Web Apps on SkyDrive and Office 365 Preview.
The new launch provides users with the possibility to create, view or edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint or OneNote documents right from their Internet browser, without even having Office installed on their computers.
Those who have already taken advantage of what Microsoft's Office Web Apps has to offer to them before will enjoy a range of new capabilities, along with a brand new look for the preview flavor of the software, brought in line with the aforementioned Office 2013.
Mike Morton, Group Program Manager for the Office Web Applications team at Microsoft, explains in a blog post the main principles behind the new Office Web Apps:
- Anywhere Access – People should be able to access Office documents from any device with a Web browser. This means supporting standards (e.g. HTML) and ensuring compatibility across a wide range of devices.
- “Fidelity" with Office – Office documents should be displayed in the browser as the author intended. The Office Web Apps should preserve all edits and content, even when they don't support all of the features of Office on the desktop.
- Collaboration and Sharing – It should be very easy to share and work with other people. People can collaborate with anyone without having to worry about what software or device they are using.
The first version of the Office Web Apps landed in June 2010, and has registered quite a success among users, Microsoft reports.
Over 50 million people have accessed and used the software / service each month lately, many of which also provided feedback on their experience, so that improvements could be made.
The new flavor of the Office Web Apps packs many of these enhancements, while leaving the aforementioned principles untouched.
According to Mike Morton, the latest version of these web apps represents the most important update Microsoft ever made to the service.
Some of the main enhancements in the new release include Improved Authoring, support for touch (which makes the Office Web Apps easier to use on Windows 8-based tablets), support for co-authoring, and better performance.