I am currently beta testing Docs.com — the new online writing and collaboration website using your Facebook login and contacts and Microsoft’s stripped down version of Office. 


As you can see below, the interface is Microsoft-familiar — if not a little too busy for my Google Docs jaundiced eye — beware that you must actively save your work by clicking on a button as you go or you’ll lose all your work.  There’s no auto-save.  I found that out the hard way.  Everything I wrote last night turned up missing this morning.

You can update your Facebook wall with your Docs feedback and also edit viewing and editing permissions.

I saved my work this time and returned to the “My Docs” homepage and forced a page reload.  The timestamp on my Doc did not update.  It is still stuck at “21 hours ago” for some reason. 

Clicking on “Add a Doc” will fire a drop-down sticky menu that will let you upload a Doc — but only a Microsoft Office Doc — or you can create a new doc, but only a Microsoft Office Doc.  There is, alarmingly, no .PDF file support.

When you upload a Doc, you can set viewing and editing rights.

On the Docs homepage, Facebook will load images of your friends who are also in the Docs beta.  That should make it easier for you to share and collaborate online.

The Facebook Microsoft Office Docs beta made me really appreciate Google Docs.  Google Docs are so much easier to use and Google Docs are safer in backing up, faster in load times, and cleaner in the interactive interface.

If you want to try out the Docs beta, go to http://Docs.com and sign up using your Facebook credentials.  You’ll be notified when you’re added to the beta. 

2 Comments

  1. Almost seems like Microsoft saw how many people were using Google Docs and thought, “We better get in this while we can!” So release a watered down doc experience quickly and then improve it over time?

  2. The problem is MSFT are starting with Office and trying to replicate it online — a messy adventure that is fated to fail all and please few. Google Docs started as Writely.com — so there was already a dedicated userbase used to minimalism and Google have been careful to only enhance and shape and refine their Docs so the experience remains fast and fruitful… there’s no history of expectation that binds Google as MSFT are bound.