Who Needs Clip Art? OffiSync 2.0 Integrates Google Image Search Into Microsoft Office

Last month we wrote about OffiSync, a powerful plugin that directly ties Microsoft Office to Google Docs, allowing you to save your desktop files to the cloud automatically. Since launch the plugin has fared quite well, with over 50,000 downloads. And today it’s releasing a new version that could prove immensely useful for those of you that frequently use Office.

The biggest addition to the plugin is integrated text and image search. While Office comes with a directory of clip art, it leaves something to leave desired — I almost always find myself just going straight to Google Image search. Now, using OffiSync, you can search Google Images directly from within Office. The plugin supports advanced searches, like sorting by color, size, and usage rights. Once you’ve found an image you like, simply hit ‘Insert’ and the picture will appear wherever your text cursor was. There’s also an integrated browser: just navigate to the page you’d like to quote, highlight the text, and hit Insert.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgc69mWJwRI&hl=en&fs=1&]

Of course, you could accomplish the same thing by opening up your browser and copy/pasting an image or piece of text into your Office document, but this streamlines things and should also automatically deal with any formatting issues.

My biggest gripe with the plugin is the way it handles attribution. Or, rather, the way it doesn’t. When you choose to import and image or piece of text, a popup appears reminding you that the content may be subject to copyright. But there’s currently no way to automatically generate a bibliography or footnote for the content, which means you’ll have to do it manually. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means (plagiarists would just disable the feature anyway), but having to manually keep track of that information can certainly become a hassle.

OffiSync is free, with plans to release a premium version for businesses in the future. The plugin is Windows-only for now, but a Mac version is on the way (the company hopes to have it out by the end of the summer).