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.
Netflix online streaming is coming to the PlayStation 3.
A Netflix press release spelled out the details of deal. The good news is that the streaming feature–which enables Netflix subscribers to access thousands of movies and TV shows on-demand via the Internet–is available at no extra charge beyond the monthly Netflix DVD-by-mail subscription, which can be as low as $9 a month. (By contrast, Xbox 360 owners also need to subscribe to Xbox Live, which is an extra $50 per year.)
The bad news: PS3 owners will need to put a special Blu-ray disc in the game console, which will enable streaming via the Blu-ray’s BD Live functionality. That’s a departure from all other Netflix-enabled devices (including the Xbox 360 and other Blu-ray players), which just have the Netflix option as a built-in feature. In our experience, tends to be slow and clunky, though it’s generally better on the PS3 than on other Blu-ray players. However, the press release specifies that the disc will be needed “initially,” so perhaps a future software upgrade will add Netflix as a built-in feature on the PS3.
Still, the Netflix feature of the 360 has long been envied by PS3 owners, so its inclusion–even with the need to be launched from a disc–will be welcome news. The Netflix site says that the feature will be available before the end of the year, and Netflix subscribers who own a PS3 can reserve a copy of the Netflix disc as of now.
So, what do you guys think: does the addition of Netflix put the PS3 at the top of the game console heap, or is the Xbox 360 an all-around better deal? Share your thoughts below.
Watch out Amazon. Google is hitting the online bookstore business.
The search giant announced Thursday at the Frankfurt Book Fair that in the first half of next year it will launch Google Editions, a new service that will deliver e-books to anyone with a Web browser.
Partnering with publishers which whom it already has digital rights deals, Google plans to initially offer about a half-million books through the service, according to press reports from Frankfurt. Readers will be able to purchase the books directly from Google or from online bookstores such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
In September, in conjunction with Congressional hearings into its Google Books project, the search titan had revealed a reseller program that would give competitors a share of money from such a service.
Google plans to share the sales with both publishers and the online bookstores. For books sold directly from its Web site, the search giant said at the book fair that it would give publishers 63 percent of the sales and keep 37 percent itself. For books sold through Amazon or other retailers, the publisher would get 45 percent, while the retailer would get almost 55 percent with a small share for Google.
The company said that consumers would be able to read the books on any connected device, including PCs, Netbooks, and smartphones. Apple iPhone users could access the e-books through their Gmail accounts.