Privately held Memeo has introduced a service for Google Apps Premier Edition customers that enables them to access, migrate and synchronize all file types -- including Microsoft Office files -- to Google Docs. Called Memeo Connect, the offering lets subscribers integrate online and offline content.
With Memeo Connect, Office 2003 documents on the desktop can be converted into Google Docs and automatically uploaded to the cloud. Moreover, Google Docs can be converted into local Office files for offline editing.
Both capabilities are important given that many businesses today use Microsoft Office as the primary desktop productivity suite. "Memeo Connect for Google Apps presents our customers with an attractive option to integrate or migrate all of their files into Google Docs," said Google Product Manager Matthew Glotzbach.
Syncing Desktop and Online Files
File access via Memeo Connect is independent of content location, which means subscribers will be able to open Google Docs files locally as well as online. Customers can select individual documents for download or have all their online files automatically downloaded to the desktop. To add an entire folder residing on the desktop to Google Apps, the user simply drags and drops the folder into Memeo Connect.
Subscribers can also retrieve files uploaded to Google Docs anywhere since Memeo Connect is log-in accessible.
Some businesses have been leery of relying on cloud-based productivity offerings after the high-profile outages that plagued Google's Gmail last year. However, Memeo Connect syncs all files stored in Google Docs -- whether native Google Docs files, Microsoft Office files, PDFs, videos or any file type -- to the user's Windows or Mac desktop, noted Spencer Chen, director of corporate communications at Memeo.
"In the event that a user's network or Wi-Fi is unavailable -- which is the typical case -- those files are already accessible locally," Chen said. "A user would merely access the needed files through Memeo Connect, make edits offline using an editor such as Microsoft Word, and wait for the network to be available again."
Once the network connection is restored, all the changes are quickly synced up to the Google cloud, Chen said. This preserves "all the work, even though a user was working offline or disconnected from the service," he added.
Building Outage Contingencies
Service outages will be a fact of life regardless of where services are sourced, said Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst Ted Schadler.
"You never hear about the e-mail or service outages in any company but your own, but they happen like clockwork," Schadler observed. "Common sources are upgrades, power outages, server replacements, and kicking out the cable."
His advice is that customers should build outage contingencies into their plans, and that includes archiving and products like Memeo Connect and Google's offline Gmail capabilities.
"But it also includes regular reminders to employees to back up their critical information and to be aware of any planned outages," Schadler said. "More importantly for products like Memeo is that people can be productive while offline. And that can happen for many reasons: Travel, vacation, poor cell coverage, or simply a desire to be off the grid."
Available Jan. 18, Memeo Connect will be licensed to Google Apps Premier Edition customers through an annual subscription priced at $9 per user. The company is also offering a 30-day free trial of the new service from its web site, Chen said.