When Microsoft announced plans for Office 2010 that included free, web-native versions of its powerhouse applications earlier this week, I'm sure a lot of people will have seen this as the beginning of the end for Google Docs. I beg to differ and now Google is showing its mettle with a few plans of its own to rev up the online apps sector.
In a blog posting, Google said that it will "create a brand new shiny interface". In particular, the G-men want to improve searches and make it easier to display details of shared documents, one of the key advantages of web productivity tools.
If Google is as smart as I think it is, it will realise that the launch of Office 2010 will be a watershed event that will force propsects to decide what sort of applications they want to be buying for the next decade. Microsoft has effectively endorsed the importance of browser-based applications. Plenty of companies have been munched by Microsoft, but with search at its heart and deep domain knowledge of web apps, Google has a shot at changing the face of the business desktop.