For ages Microsoft and others touted the change from using applications on the hard drive of a computer to using the same apps but being fully accessable from the internet - without the actual software being installed on the computer.
The idea did not catch on. At the time, internet connections were much too slow to provide a satifying experience and browser support was very limited.
Recently, Microsoft has began announcing that their own store-bought software such as the popular Office suite, would make its way onto the internet to be used for free. It would be supported by ads.
However, there is already strong competition to Microsoft's plans and to their current expensive word processing solution.
AJAX techniques (which have suddenly become very popular) allow for a fast and easy solution for this type of service:
Writely - The Web Word Processor offers a free registration to use their currently beta (soon to come out) online word processer.
Writely has many advantages over Microsoft's Word. With Writely, the main aspect I am most excited about, is the ability to share a document with many others who edit the same document at the same time as you are. Everyone involved can SEE eachother making edits. You can edit and view your own documents that are stored on the free unlimited space they give you, from any computer.
Writely can upload your current .doc Word documents as well as many other formats; or you can start a new document within the online browser driven program - which happens to look very similar to Word.
Unlike other online word processers, Writely does not use java -- which can take an especially long time to load. Writely 's internet software loads instantly using AJAX and is ready for action. Documents show history of revisions and you can publish them online if you wish (even onto blogs).
Bill Gates is weeping.
So, go check out
Writely.com and try it for yourself!