The last time Microsoft updated their Office Web Apps service was back in February, when they brought new editing capabilities to its suite of Web Apps. Today on the official Office team blog, Microsoft announced that several new features are set to come to Office Web Apps soon. These include:
- Real-time co-authoring. The last update in October 2012, in line with the Office 2013 release, brought same-time co-authoring capabilities to all Office Web Apps (particularly PowerPoint Web App for the first time). However, with the exception of Excel Web App, the way it worked previously was that it requires the user to save and refresh the document before they can see other people’s edits and changes. The upcoming update will bring true real-time co-authoring to all Web Apps, starting with PowerPoint Web App, meaning that users will be able to see each other’s changes almost immediately. Check out the video below showing this in action:
- Android support. The upcoming update to Office Web Apps will also bring support for Android tablets running the mobile Chrome browser, bringing it on par with Windows tablets and iPad.
- Other enhancements. Whilst Microsoft did not go into detail other enhancements they are bringing to Office Web Apps, they mentioned several specific examples including adding support for the “find and replace” feature in Word Web App, as well as speeding up load times and making file management simpler. Microsoft indicated that these enhancements are based on customer feedback and the team prioritised those features that users considered essential to make editing via the web easier.
The above features are expected to arrive within “the next few months”. We also understand that Microsoft is working on a “Gemini” update to its Office productivity suite, which according to Mary Jo Foley is set to bring full Metro-style versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to the Windows Store, in addition to the currently available OneNote and Lync apps. The “Gemini” update is set to be aligned with the Windows “Blue” release later in the year.
What else would you like to see added in Office Web Apps? Let us know in the comments below!