Google is using its momentum to make Microsoft Office files available in the cloud—essentially beating Microsoft at its own game of cloud collaboration.

Google’s Cloud Connect software plug-in lets users move their Office files to Google Docs, making them accessible via Google’s cloud servers. The technology builds off of Google’s acquisition of DocVerse. Microsoft is working on business services that could offer the same features as Cloud Connect as a part of its Office 365 product, which is expected to be released this year.

In a blog post, Google product manager Shan Sinha explains how Cloud Connect works:

“The plugin syncs your work through Google’s cloud, so everyone can contribute to the same version of a file at the same time. You can edit a Word document’s table of contents from Dublin while co-workers adjust formatting and make revisions from Denver. Instead of bombarding each other with attachments and hassling to reconcile people’s edits, your whole team can focus on productive work together.”

Cloud Connect is free and works with Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 on Windows PCs. Cloud Connect, however, won't work with Mac versions of Office. Sinha explained in the blog post that Microsoft Office for Mac doesn’t support the open APIs necessary to make the service available to Mac users.

See this YouTube post from Google: