Working the Web 2.0

A Few Conclusions

If my mission was to try to live without Office, this experiment was an abject failure. But I did have fun. I learned a lot. And I got all my work done.

Herewith, a few conclusions:

Online storage can be addictive. Sitting down at any PC with a Web connection and having instant, effortless access to all your documents can change the way you work. (Microsoft, why hasn't this feature been built into Office for years?)

Even highly connected people aren't connected all the time. And a productivity tool that's available only when you're online is one that will never eliminate traditional software from your life.

These services are still extremely immature. Their streamlined simplicity can be refreshing (in some ways, Writely is already a more pleasant place to sling words than Office 2003). But even if a browser-based service gives you 80 percent of the Office tools you need, that missing 20 percent may be really, really important.

Ultimately, my ten-day trial left me thinking that Office won't be roadkill anytime soon. But Office living in happy coexistence with browser-based services? That's not just a possible future scenario--it's one that can make sense right now.

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Harry McCracken is editor in chief of PC World.

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