Working in the cloud and collaborative working are now part and parcel of the modern workplace. For individual and small business, however, many of the available solution prove to be too complicated or expensive to be practical. This is something Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office aims to change; the software is available free of charge and is incredibly simple to get up and running.

The tool can be used with Word, Excel and PowerPoint and makes it possible to backup, share and collaborate on a range of documents. Files are continuously synced with Google's online storage and each is assigned its own URL to allow for online access.

Google Cloud Connect automatically uploads changes whenever a file is saved, but it can also be used in offline mode - changes will be synchronised the next time you have an internet connection. Should two people make conflicting edits to a document, it is easy to reconcile which changes should be saved.

Files do not have to be shared for editing, as it is also possible to share files so they can only be viewed by others - ideal for showing presentations to other people. Another handy feature of the service means that all change that are made to a document are saved so different revisions of the same file are always available.

The beauty of Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office is the fact that it integrates so neatly with Office. This means that not only is file sharing and work collaboration available free of charge, but there is no need to switch to new software, and little new to learn.

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A delightfully simple tool for online collaborative work. Even if you don’t intend to make use of all of the features, the service is worth using just for file versioning.