CloudOn brings Office to your browser

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Another way to have real Microsoft Office.

Cloudon, makers of an app to bring MS Office to Apple and Android devices has now expanded to browsers as well.

Now you can use Chrome or Safari browsers to open up a Cloudon window with Word, Excel or Powerpoint running. The base product is free with a Pro version at a very reasonable price. Firefox and IE support is promised for the near future.

Cloudon can read and save documents to DropBox, Google Drive, Box and Skydrive. That’s a key benefit compared to offerings from Microsoft, Apple and Google that are locked into their own cloud storage.

After login at cloudon.com you choose one or more cloud stores to access files. Then select an existing file and it opens up in your browser. There’s a one-time browser add-in to install, only 2MB.

Like Office Web Apps, you first see the document in a view only mode. Click on the pencil icon to open up the editor.

As you can see, the interface is similar to the Office ribbon but limited. However the large buttons should be easier to use on touch screens. Certainly easier than the touch mode in Office 2013.

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Password Protected documents can now be opened and edited with Cloudon. Great news for anyone concerned about the security of online storage. Document collaboration isn’t available nor is printing.

This version of Cloudon is a lot faster and responsive than when we first looked at the product. The free service is worth setting up, if only as an alternative to use if your Office software misbehaves. With the licencing and control of Office installations become stricter, CloudOn is also an alternative for any extra computers you might have.

Naturally, you need a good and reliable internet connection. CloudOn isn’t an offline alternative to Office. But it is a better choice than the browser based Office Web Apps or Google Docs because those services are limited to a single cloud storage system.

ClouOn Pro has extra features like Track Changes and Data Filtering. The price until 31 Dec 2013 is compelling; $2.99 a month or $29.99 for a year. The regular annual price is $79.99 .

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