It has been pretty evident that Google would have to step up its challenge to Microsoft Office and its eventual move to the cloud. The search giant showed no signs of letting up today when it unveiled its new Google Docs platform, which promises faster service and real-time collaboration tools. As part of the upgrade, Google is ditching Gears in favor of HTML5 for offline functionality beginning May 5, PC Magazine reports.
The new versions of Google Docs will be free for consumers and $50 annually per user for Google Apps Premium. According to The New York Times, up to 50 people will be able to work on a document at the same time. Google still faces an uphill battle in dethroning Microsoft, but its real-time collaboration on documents is the type of high-value feature that will help it chip away at Office's dominance.