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Google Sharpens Word Processor For Battle With Microsoft
Dow Jones

SAN FRANCISCO -(Dow Jones)- Google Inc. (GOOG) has taken steps to broaden the reach of its Web-based features that compete with Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Office computer software.

On Monday, Google said it now lets users of its Web-based word-processing feature, known as Google Docs, edit documents they've created without an Internet connection, in part by creating a temporary version on the user's computer. Before Monday, an Internet connection was always required to access the feature.

Google also is actively working to bring the offline characteristic, now nearly two years in the making, to its Web-based spread sheets and presentation maker.

The changes, now and to come, address "gaps" in access to the features when Internet access isn't available, Google spokesman Jason Freidenfelds said in a posting on Google's official blog. "This gives us a taste of the future when you'll always be able to access the cloud," Freidenfelds wrote.

Google's array of free, Web-based versions of features so far has failed to provide much competition to Microsoft's dominant Word franchise, but the Google features' growth has nonetheless been impressive. Monthly use of Google Docs nearly tripled in November to 1.6 million from 600,000 in June.

Shares of both stocks were slightly off in after-hours trading, with Google at $440, and Microsoft at $28.25.

-By Ben Charny, Dow Jones Newswires; 415-765-8230; ben.charny@dowjones.com

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  03-31-08 2029ET
  Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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