Do you know about Google Updater? There is a good chance you have it installed on your computer already as it’s bundled with other Google products like the browser toolbar. Well, in what seems to be an obvious attempt to steal even more users away from Microsoft Office products, Google just added “StarOffice” to the the list of available downloads that can be installed and updated automatically through Google Pack. If you download it directly from Sun, it will cost you around $70, however Google appears to be giving it away for free — or at least there isn’t a nag screen or an obvious way to upgrade to a full version.
Web applications like Google Docs are very useful in many circumstances, but for power users who need, or prefer, a fat client to do their work — there was no real choice but to keep using Microsoft Office if they don’t know about this suite.
StarOffice, which includes their own version of Access, Excel, PowerPoint and Word, is developed by Sun — but Google has been throwing resources at it since October, 2005. I am going to assume there is a plugin under development that lets users create documents on their PC and synchronize them with their online counterpart through Google Docs. StarOffice already has hooks into Google’s search and desktop capabilities.
It should be interesting to see if this move helps Sun get more exposure for StarOffice. What do you think? Are you surprised Google made this product available through the Google Updater? Will this affect Microsoft in any way?