Docs.com went live on Wednesday at Facebook’s F8 conference. The site allows Facebook users to log in using Facebook Connect and create, edit, and share Microsoft Office documents with their Facebook friends. New documents will show up in a user’s news feed, just like status updates or pictures.
It’s in beta testing for now, and service was spotty in the minutes following its introduction at the conference. Microsoft is planning to launch its own online document-sharing service later this year, but Docs.com gives it a good way to test its technology within Facebook’s walls.
Google has been making a big push around online-document sharing, with Google Apps development, courting businesses large and small in an effort to get them to switch to its version of cloud-computing services. Docs.com is probably not as business-friendly, since it either requires collaborators to be Facebook friends or the document to be shared with all of Facebook, but it might make sense for smaller teams.
The project emerged from Microsoft’s FUSE Labs, set up a year ago to work on social-networking technology. Also worth noting, of course, is the $240 million Microsoft invested in Facebook in 2007.
Google on Tuesday is making a big move with its Docs service, opening it up to all types of file uploads. This includes photos, movies, music, and ZIP archives, all of which will be stored on Google’s servers.
Along with opening up Docs to additional file types, Google is also dramatically increasing the size of individual uploads. Where the company will still limit users to 500KB for Microsoft Word documents, and 10MB for PowerPoint presentations and PDFs, the new limit for all other files that cannot be converted into a Google Docs format is 250MB. This is 10 times the size of what’s allowed as an attachment in the company’s Web mail service Gmail.
In a post on the company’s blog, Google Docs’ product manager Vijay Bangaru said that the new size and file type allowances serve to make Docs a replacement for USB drives, allowing users to access their files between computers. The company is also applying the same permissions-based sharing system it has for documents that it hosts, allowing users to share files with one another.
That said, the amount of space for non-Google Docs files that are stored within Docs will only be 1GB. Users can upgrade though, and Google is planning on that.
Just like users can purchase additional space for other Google services like Picasa Web Albums and Gmail, users will soon be able to rent space from Google. For standard Google Docs users this will be 25 cents per gigabyte, per year, while Google Apps enterprise users have to pay $3.50 per gigabyte, per year. That’s a hefty price difference, but customer support, and a service level agreement that guarantees uptime add costs.