Microsoft locks horns with Google Drive, launches Office Web Apps

Just a day after Microsoft launched its OneDrive cloud storage to replace SkyDrive, the tech giant has announced plans to rebrand its Office Web Apps to Office online.

The decision to rename the software comes after complaints from customers that including "Apps" in the title had been confusing. Many assumed that Office Web Apps were installable applications, rather than online Office variants.

Consequently, changing the name to Office Online should help simplify Microsoft's free web versions of Excel, Word and PowerPoint. With such fierce competition between Microsoft Office Online and Google Drive, it may be a step towards levelling the playing field.

A part of this is educating users, some of whom previously weren't even aware that Microsoft offers online versions of its Word, Excel and PowerPoint programs because before now they've been buried in the depths of SkyDrive.

To combat that Microsoft has also launched a new Office.com site that will place the web versions of Office at the front of the site. Laid out in a tile formation, the format makes clear exactly what services and online apps are available to the user.

Microsoft is also making it easier for users to find templates for Word, PowerPoint and Excel Online by pulling together its template system.

They're all minor changes, but the hope is that by making subtle tweaks the discoverability and usability of the rebranded Office online software more people will know the options available to them when wanting to edit documents online.