OffiSync's Office-to-Docs Plugin Goes (Mostly) Free As It Prepares For Competition From Google

OffiSync, a startup that lets you collaboratively edit documents using Microsoft Office and Google Docs in tandem, seems to be doing well — the company’s plugin is the third most downloaded on the entire Google Apps Marketplace. But it also has a new challenger approaching: Google itself. Back in March, Google acquired OffiSync competitor DocVerse, and there’s little doubt that Google will soon leverage their technology to begin offering plugins for Microsoft Office. So where does that leave OffiSync?

Today, the company is launching some new features and a new pricing plan that it hopes will keep it competitive with whatever Google eventually launches. Given that we don’t yet know what Google will be launching it’s difficult to give an accurate prediction, but CEO Oudi Antebi says that from what he’s heard from various Google partners and customers, OffiSync will have a few key differentiators.

First, OffiSync is switching up its pricing model. Previously all of its document collaboration features were for premium users (you could read files from the cloud but couldn’t upload changes). Now OffiSync’s integration with Google Docs will be free for all users — download the free plugin, install it for Microsoft Office 2003, 2007, or 2010, and you can collaboratively edit documents alongside other users who are also on Office or Google Docs. OffiSync will still offer a premium product for its Google Sites integration, which runs $12 per user per year (or $30 lifetime).

But how will that differ from what Google will offer? Antebi believes that Google’s DocVerse integration will only allow users to edit docs simultaneously using native versions of Microsoft Office, and not the Google Docs web editor. OffiSync allows you to use both — you could have a coworker using Microsoft Word while you collaboratively edited the document with them using your Google Docs in your browser.

The second key differentiator involves Google Sites. Antebi suspects that there won’t be any integration with Sites when Google launches its DocVerse product. OffiSync already sports full integration with Google Sites — you can upload a native Office document to your Site, then edit it collaboratively from Microsoft Office, with your changes synced to the document in the cloud. Antebi says that businesses have been using this feature as an alternative to Microsoft’s SharePoint.

Of course, Antebi’s predictions about what Google will launch could be off the mark — I’ll be surprised if Google isn’t at least planning to allow Office users to collaborate with users logged into the Google Docs web interface, for example. Even if Google does match them feature-for-feature, the startup is also expanding its technology to take advantages of platforms beyond Google Docs. It has already launched an integration with CentralDesktop and has six more deals in the works.