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Why is Google Interested in Thinkfree Office ?

Google PowerpointSergey Brin may have asked Googlers to halt the development of new products and focus on integration of existing ones but Google very much remains in an acquisition mode to take on the cash cow of their favorite rivals, Microsoft.

There are strong hints that Google is actively negotiating to grab ThinkFree, an Online Office suite with a word processor, spreadsheet and a presentation program.

The owners of ThinkFree Suite seem reluctant at the moment to sell their baby to Google but they'll probably give in as Google loosens the purse strings.

Why Google Wants ThinkFree ?

If you are left wondering why would Google want to acquire duplicate products like Google Docs & Spreadsheets, here are two straight reasons - One, Google Office Suite still lacks a Powerpoint clone and second, Google wants an entry inside the corporate desktop.

Unlike Google Docs & Spreadsheet which run inside the web browser and stores document on external servers owned by Google, ThinkFree Office has a server edition that companies can install inside the firewall of their corporate environment.

Most corporate users would not be willing to share their internal data on third-party servers but given an option like ThinkFree office where data resides inside, the IT teams might reconsider their strategy.

ThinkFree Office 3 Show, the Microsoft Powerpoint clone, has all the features that one would expect in Google Powerpoint. It supports ppt, pps files and can export in PDF, SVG formats as well. [related story: Spresent for Google]

Are Online Office Suites safe ?

While most Office suites provide an option to hide confidential documents from others, Yoav Ezer [of EUDI] has unearthed enormous amount of private data residing on public folders of these office suites.

This includes medical records, network passwords and even corporate financial information.

Yoav investigated some 1,500 documents on the Internet published using various online office programs and the final figures are really scary - between 0.5 percent and 5 percent of all information published by online collaboration tools is confidential.

Maybe people are not sharing the confidential data intentionally but the study clearly marks a need for educating lot of users on data safety in an online environment.