More on the Zoho Plug-in/API and the Desktopize Widget

Thanks everyone! We had a very wonderful response for yesterday’s update. Particularly, everyone liked the Zoho Plug-in for Microsoft Office. And thanks to those who had blogged about it and for those who had sent us valuable feedback mails.

The update post we had didn’t have much on what the plug-in, the API and the desktopize widget do, but the bloggers did a very nice job of writing about it all. For those yet to get the whole picture of it all since the first report in TechCrunch, I’m quoting below excerpts of what the blogosphere had been saying about the update.

According to Huw at Gizbuzz, “Zoho blurs the line between web and desktop”.

… the plugin for MS Office and the Desktopize for Zoho releases are a clear attempt to blur the line between desktop and web apps.

With the office plugin release, Zoho is hoping that people will chose to store all their documents with them, and then when they don’t need collaboration they can use their desktop suite, and when they do they can switch into online mode.

Ryan at CyberNet put it as, “Zoho Brings Interactivity With Microsoft Office“.

The plug-in is for Microsoft Office and will allow you to save and open your Microsoft Word/Excel documents to Zoho from within the application itself. So you could look at Zoho almost as being another storage spot on your hard drive.

They also have a program from Desktopize that will make Zoho feel even more like a desktop application. It will provide things like shortcuts on your desktop, drag-and-drop uploads, and system tray icons so that your files will be easily accessible without that hassle of fumbling through websites or opening a sluggish program.

Zoho Zoli, one of our advisors, had a nice post too explaining the update with very good screenshots. A few more screenshots from us as a embedded slide show using Zoho Show :

Amit Agarwal, in his trademark simple style, captured the whole thing in a beautiful way.

The new Zoho plugin greatly simplifies the online-offline workflow. You can create a new document in Microsoft Word locally and directly save it from the Word program to the web [Zoho Writer]

Alternatively, you can download an existing document from Zoho Office, edit it offline with Microsoft Word and publish it again to the web.

Effectively, you get [the] best of both the worlds – the speed and flexibility of editing inside a desktop program that you are so much used to plus the sharing and collabarative environment offered by an online service.

In a post titled “Zoho fills Office vacancy”, Elsa Wenzel wrote,

Zoho wasted no time filling the gap that Microsoft left between its new Office software and the Web. There’s no online version of Office 2007; nor has Redmond built a bridge for consumers to quickly migrate desktop files to an online folder for anywhere-access.

But now, if you spend a minute to download this free plug-in for Office, you’ll get no-brainer buttons within Word and Excel that save work to Zoho’s servers. Zoho’s buttons show up within the Add-Ins tab on the Office 2007 Ribbon toolbar.

When away from your desk, you can log into Zoho from a browser and edit Office documents within the Zoho Write word processor or the Sheet spreadsheet maker. You can open Zoho files within Word and Excel, too.

Matt Marshall at VentureBeat had this to say about the plug-in :

The plugin makes Zoho what Microsoft’s online applications (dubbed Live) should be. It allows Zoho documents to be opened and saved in MS Office with a click (Word and Excel, at least; PowerPoint doesn’t work yet with Zoho, but will come). If you’ve got Microsoft office documents on your local drive and want them available online, you can get them via Zoho with couple of clicks.

And about the API,

The APIs will allow other developers to use Zoho applications. For example, online storage companies will be able to let users open documents through Zoho and save them back to their service without having to download the documents locally.

Chris Harris at Infomancy,

Zoho’s new Microsoft Office Plug-In makes it possible for you to have your documents and use them too. Recognizing the need for bloated full-featured office suite at times, Zoho’s plug-in makes it possible for you to still step away from the office and have full access to your documents and spreadsheets. While it may be easier for me to just use Word when I am sitting at my desk, it will be very handy to be able to “open,” “save,” and “add to ZohoWriter” directly from Word.

Believe the above snippets from around the web captures what yesterday’s Zoho update was all about. We will be coming up with suitable Help pages on the above said topics soon.

And last but not the least, there was a very good side benefit of yesterday’s update that went unnoticed (or no one explicitly mentioned). It is the ‘close-to-perfection’ of the ‘Import’ feature in Zoho Writer and Zoho Sheet. Many a time you would have found that while importing complexly formatted .doc and .xls files into Writer/Sheet, some formatting may have got lost. Now, when you do it using the plug-in (exporting directly from inside Microsoft Word/Excel to Zoho Writer/Sheet), the file comes out quite fine.

Give the all new Zoho Plug-in for Microsoft Office a try. And if you are a developer having ideas for creative mashups between your application and Zoho Writer/Sheet, do apply for the Zoho API key. Not to forget, try the Zoho widget by Desktopize too.


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