Google has launched a utility designed to let you synchronize your Microsoft Office documents with the web-based Google Docs service. That means you can create a document in Office, edit it on the go from another computer using a web browser, and your changes will be synchronized with your desktop computer so you can open the document, changes and all, when you get back to your computer.

The tool is called Cloud Connect, and even if you don’t want to edit your Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents using a web app, Cloud Connect can help protect your important documents by backing them up to the web.

Cloud Connect also brings collaborative editing to Microsoft Office. You can create an Office document, share it with a friend or colleague, and any changes you make will show up on their copy of the document. You can even edit documents offline and any conflicting changes can be resolved when you’re back online. Users can also share read-only links to documents, or roll back changes to load an earlier version of a document.

Google Cloud Connect is available as a free download for Windows XP and up, and works as a plugin for Microsoft Office 2003 and up.

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