These days when someone mentions the term “web office,” you probably think of the online suites like by Zoho or Google Apps. But alternative office suite, ThinkFree, has also been plugging along since their launch of an online suite in 2005. Lately, even though ThinkFree has been losing ground to their competitors, they aren’t ready for you to count them out just yet. Yesterday, ThinkFree launched a newly redesigned online suite with more features, including mobile access and online/offline synchronization previously a premium feature, now available to everyone, for free.
Lately, ThinkFree has had to watch as competitor Zoho continually added to their full suite of services, which now has everything from CRM solutions to databases and even more recently, an invoicing application. And Google Docs, only recently began offering offline access, a feature ThinkFree has had since last year. But ThinkFree isn’t giving up the battle.
ThinkFree’s office suite currently includes only a word processor, a spreadsheet program, and a slideshow app, and the program itself actually consists of Microsoft-compatible desktop software, including support for the latest Office 2007 formats, and the online office component. In addition, a sync tool, ThinkFree Manager, uploads changes made while you were offline.
Thinkfree’s suite also offers “Workspace,”, a feature which provides online collaboration and sharing functionality, though not in real time. Any document from your online office can be uploaded into the Workspace, where you can collaborate with colleagues, on your various projects and tasks.
Previously, the offline/online functionality was only available to Premium customers, but, as of yesterday, it became available to everyone for free.
In addition to offline support, the new office program also includes 1 GB of free online storage for your documents, a new web word processor called “Note,” which can function as a blogging tool, and, finally, perhaps most importantly, a mobile version of ThinkFree, which will allow you to not only view, but also edit, your online documents from any Java-based PDA or smartphone.
Still, some of these changes, like the mobile access and “Note” are listed as “coming soon” – right now, they are announced changes only… which makes us wonder – whatever happened to ThinkFree’s DocExchange?
While we would like to see ThinkFree do well, since a little competition is always good for innovation, even with these latest changes, ThinkFree has a lot of catching up to do in order to compete with the robust offerings of Google Apps or Zoho.