Harmony for Google Docs
If you use Google Docs and Microsoft Office, you'll appreciate Harmony, the new Outlook sidebar from Mainsoft. Currently in free beta, this sidebar lets you share, e-mail, download, upload, and edit your Google Docs right from your desktop using Outlook 2007.
Harmony for Google Docs features drag-and-drop functionality to send documents via e-mail, upload a new file to Google Docs, or just view a Google Doc right in Outlook. The Harmony sidebar also travels with you, so when you open up a compose message window, the sidebar appears there, too, so you don't have to navigate between the main Outlook window and the message window to use Harmony.
To send a Google Doc via e-mail, you choose the file from the Harmony sidebar and drag it into your message window. Harmony creates a link to the Google Doc online instead of attaching it to the e-mail.
When the recipient gets your e-mail, they click the link and the document opens up on the Google Docs site. If the recipient doesn't have a Google account, they will be prompted to create one before accessing the document. Harmony also gives you the option to set editing or viewing permissions for your document before you send it through e-mail.
By default, Harmony sends your Google Docs as a link, but if you prefer, you can have Harmony send an attachment by adjusting your options in the Harmony sidebar settings. If you receive a word document, spreadsheet, PDF, or presentation via e-mail, you can upload the attached document to your Google Docs account; to do so, you just drag the attached file into the Harmony sidebar.
With Harmony installed, you can access both your Outlook and Gmail contacts from within Outlook. However, these lists are not synchronized or merged; Harmony merely makes the two contact lists available to you. This means you will see some duplication if you have the same contacts on file in your Gmail account and in Outlook.
Just like in Google Docs, Harmony allows you to filter your documents by type. At the bottom of the sidebar window are filtering options that let you see all your documents or only text documents, spreadsheets, PDFs, presentations, or folders.
Once you have your documents filtered, you can organize the list by clicking on the arrow on the top right of the sidebar. This lets you see your documents organized by owner, title, or most recent modifications. Harmony also lets you see who has editing controls on a particular document or folder by clicking on the sharing icon (the little hand). This will open up a pop-up window where you can add or delete document permissions for any documents or folders you own. The Harmony for Google Docs sidebar also features a search function to help you find your documents instead of scrolling through the list.
Harmony lets you create a new Google document, but you have to drag it into Outlook or open it online before you can edit it. Dragging a document into Outlook for editing openo the corresponding Microsoft Office program such as Word or Excel. But, due to the way Google Docs works, you will have to convert your files back and forth from Microsoft formats like '.doc' or '.xls' to Google Docs' proprietary formats. Google Docs does allow you to upload and store '.doc' or '.xls' files, but this functionality does not work with Harmony. For most files, conversion to Google Docs shouldn't be a problem. But if you have a heavily formatted document in Microsoft Word format, you may want to see what it looks like in Google Docs before sharing it through Harmony.
Harmony is an interesting addition for Outlook users who prefer Google Docs for online document collaboration and storage. Mainsoft's new sidebar also plays nicely with others; in my tests, I didn't see any conflict issues between Harmony and Xobni--another popular Outlook sidebar.