Microsoft and Google provide myriad popular tools for Web surfers and consumers. Lately, both tech mammoths are also gunning to serve small businesses online. Microsoft Office Live beta and Google Apps for Your Domain let you design company Web pages and collaborate with chosen colleagues.
Unfortunately if you’re a fan of Firefox or Macs, most Microsoft Office Live functions work only with Internet Explorer 5.5 and may require Windows 2000 or later versions. Google’s services, on the other hand, are compatible with Mozilla-based browsers and Internet Explorer, as well as with Macs and Linux machines.
Microsoft is giving away domain names for free, which otherwise cost around $10 from a third party. Via Office Live, you can park and keep www.yoursite.com for free, which is superior to using some lengthy URL embedded within Microsoft’s corporate domain. However, in return, Microsoft slaps the Office Live logo onto your Web pages.
Google, on the other hand, doesn’t provide personalized Web site registration and hosting, although you can reserve a clunky URL through Google Page Creator beta. Google doesn’t even suggest a registrar; it only links to Google search results for “domain registration.” Instead, you tailor Google Apps for Your Domain to work with a Web site that you’ve already reserved. Basically, this lets you display your company’s name and logo (rather than Google’s) within Google Calendar and Gmail. Thus, customers can e-mail you at, say, [email protected], while you open the messages within your customized Gmail interface.
Microsoft Office Live Basics is free, but there are expanded, paid services too. There’s no calendar or instant messaging within the free Office Live Basics, for example, while Google Apps for Your Domain connects to the beta Google Calendar and Google Talk. If you’re serious about managing a small-business site with Office Live, you can pay for a calendar as well as 19 other business applications. The paid Office Live Essentials and Collaboration are free to try while in beta testing.
Neither Microsoft nor Google wrap together a built-in online Word processor with their small-business packs, which is odd given Microsoft’s corner on the productivity tool market, as well as Google’s Web-based Writely and Spreadsheets. We also find it strange that Google Apps for Your domain makes no mention of Google Checkout, which lets you set up a shop on your Web site.
|Microsoft Office Live Basics beta||Google Apps for Your Domain|