Our first look at Office Live Workspaces

Well it took a few days, and I actually got an email saying it would be a few more, and hey watch this video while you’re waiting, but then an invite was waiting for me in another account this evening.  I had already installed the Office Live Workspaces plug-in to Office 2007, so signing up was a simple matter of logging in via the plug-in and signing up for Office Live, which only took a few clicks.  After that, preparing the workspace only took less than a minute, and I was in:

(click on the pictures for larger views)

officelivewelcome officeliveworkspace1

I added a file from the web interface, which was seamless and quick, but then after logging out, opening Office Live Workspaces from within Word took quite a while, I counted 12 seconds before I saw a file list:


Of course this is still extremely early in the beta, with less than a full complement of server allocation, so performance should get better.

Within Office Live Workspaces, you can work with either documents, sharing them using the Microsoft SharedView beta, or with workspaces.  Clicking on New Workspace gives you quite a list (which I pasted together for this illustration):

officeliveworkspacelistALL officeliveevent

As you can see, creating a new workspace generates a series of documents, ready to be customized for whatever particular project you have in mind.

Aside from some fairly serious performance issues, notably lacking in this early release is a link from within Word to open the web interface for Office Live Workspaces.  you can open a document, but don’t seem to be able to navigate to the website from within Office, which seems almost a necessary feature.  In fact, getting to the Workspace at all seems to be a little tricky – it’s at http://workspace.office.live.com/, or http://home.officelive.com and then clicking on Workspaces down on the lower left.  This was not as intuitive as it could be, especially with no quick link from within the Office apps.

We’ve just taken a quick look around, and will have more on Office Live Workspaces as we become more familiar with it.  At first glance, the web interface is much more polished than the interaction between Office on the desktop and Office Live Workspaces, but it is a beta, after all.