Google's recently announced $25 million acquisition of DocVerse represented one saga of an ongoing war between Google and Microsoft over dominance in the productivity suite place. Today, Israeli enterprise software company Mainsoft is launching a Docverse-like plug-in that may up the ante in the battle. Harmony is launching free plug-ins that bring Google Docs documents and Microsoft SharePoint document libraries directly to Microsoft Outlook.
Once downloaded, Harmony for Google Docs will open in a sidebar pane within Outlook. The new Harmony sidebar enables people to share a single, centralized copy of the document, eliminating the many intermediary steps associated with sending e-mail attachments back and forth. The plug-in allows users to locate, share, and work on Google documents directly from their email client.
Once logged in to your Google account, you'll be able to drag any files (ie Microsoft Word files, PDFs) directly from an email to the Harmony sidebar to upload and convert them to Google documents. You can drag a Google document from the sidebar to create links in your e-mail messages and meeting requests to other users and viewers. Harmony automatically shares the document with the recipients. You can decide to give recipients read or write access. Recipients simply click the link in the message to open the document in their browser and don't need to have Harmony installed to view the document.
Harmony also allows you to search document contents on Google Docs from the Harmony search box and locate documents using the View Bar, which allows you to switch between common views, such as spreadsheets, starred items, items owned by or shared with you, and more. One of the major features of Harmony is the ability to actually open and edit Google documents from directly in Outlook. All your changes are saved online and are available to your colleagues. You can organize and create folders to store Google Docs and also save Google documents in Office format. Harmony can export Google documents to Office, Open Office, PDF, RTF, HTML, TXT, and image formats.
The SharePoint plug-in isn't nearly as sexy as as the Google Docs app but still offers a useful set of tools for enterprise users. The plug-in aims to transform Microsoft Outlook into a collaboration console, with access to documents stored on SharePoint. Similar to the Google Docs plug-in, you can drag e-mail attachments or entire e-mail messages to publish them on SharePoint. You can search the contents of documents in your current SharePoint site or library and share documents via e-mail message, calendar appointment, or task. You can edit a document from within Outlook, view document history and more.
Harmony was built using SharePoint Web Services interfaces and Google Docs open APIs and in the process has transformed Microsoft Outlook into a more collaborative application. Most importantly, the Google Docs plug-in makes the transition between web-based documents and the desktop email client seamless. It gives Microsoft users the best of both worlds, much like Docverse did with Microsoft Word documents and web-based files. If you use Microsoft Outlook and Google Docs, the plug-in seems like a no brainer to download. Plus its conveniently free. Considering the fate of Docverse, it may only be a matter of time before Microsoft and Google come sniffing around Harmony.