Tuesday June 27, 2006 12:12 pm
Test Drive A Web-based Office 2007 Beta *UPDATED*
Microsoft has made available today a website where users can take Office 2007 beta out for a test drive, without having to download a thing. Well, that’s not exactly true. While you aren’t required to download the hefty beta ISO, you are required to install a browser plugin from Citrix, and if you don’t already have one you’ll need to sign up for a Microsoft Live or Passport account as well.
Applications included in the Web-based test version of Office 2007 are: Microsoft Office Access 2007, Excel 2007, InfoPath 2007, OneNote 2007, Outlook 2007, Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager, Outlook Web Access, PowerPoint 2007, Project Professional 2007, Publisher 2007, SharePoint Designer 2007, Visio 2007, Word 2007, SharePoint Services, Project Server 2007 and SharePoint Server 2007.
This could be a sign that Microsoft is concerned about competition from Google’s online word processing and spreadsheet applications, or they could simply be looking at others avenues of growth for their Office products. Regardless of their motives, I decided to give the Office Beta Test Drive a little test of its own. Positive of the expected outcome, I loaded up Firefox 18.104.22.168 and tried accessing the test site. Microsoft didn’t let me down, and spurned my attempts to use a browser other than IE. So I dusted off IE 6.0, fired up the test site, and was greeted by the confidence inspiring message you see below.
Undaunted by this sign of either extreme popularity or poor planning on the part of the test site, I forge ahead. With the browser check complete, the next task up is the installation of the Citrix plugin. All goes well at this stage, albeit extremely slowly. So slow at times that I think the test site has given up and gone home for the day. The plugin does install though and I move on to the network check, and this is where things come to a complete, dead stop. Plenty of bandwidth is available on my end of things, so the hold up is definitely on the test site’s end.
And that’s where this story ends, for now. I’ll update this later today once the test site has decided to wake up from it’s nap, or once it finally succumbs and gives up the ghost.
*UPDATE* After a few tries throughout the day, the test site did eventually speed up and I was able to progress to the point of entering the waiting queue. With the prospect of a 173 minute wait in front of me, I finally threw in the towel and sent my IE window back to the depths from which it came. If anyone has the patience to wait it out, and is successful in trying the online beta, please let us know your thoughts.
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