There's only so much extra functionality you can add to a piece of productivity software, which is why the market leader - Microsoft - focused on the cloud with the launch of Office 2010. The other reason would have been the knowledge that Google is determined to challenge its dominance, and the cornerstone of its strategy is the cloud.
In this context, the cloud means geographically unconstrained access to your work and the ability to collaborate online. Google Docs, at its core, is a cloud service, while Office, of course, has a long heritage as a boxed, locally installed product. That's why the Office 2010 move was strategically important.
Now Google has unveiled what is effectively its riposte. Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office is designed to take away another reason not to move from Office to Google Docs. "With Cloud Connect, people can continue to use the familiar Office interface, while reaping many of the benefits of web-based collaboration that Google Docs users already enjoy," boasts the blog post.
This latest Google innovation is the direct product of the acquisition of DocVerse earlier this year, which was founded by two former Microsoft execs specialising in SharePoint and SQL Server. It looks like there are some features that differentiate it from the Office 2010 cloudy stuff - such as compatibility with Offcce docs going back to 2003 - there will be things Office 2010 does better.
So what Google is really doing is listening to the objections it's getting from Office customers when it tries to persuade them to defect to Google Docs, and systematically solving them. With each new innovation Google can go back to the market and say "now what's stopping you." It might just work.