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Start Using Microsoft Office Web Apps -- Today

It's no secret that Microsoft has been cooking up a Google Docs-like online version of Office for some time. It's called Office Web Apps and all the heavy hitters from the Office suite are represented here -- Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote -- all in online form, storing your documents in the cloud. And while this new Office offering is far from fully baked, you can get a taste of it right now.

To try out Office Web Apps, you need a Windows Live account and, more specifically, SkyDrive (which is Live's 25GB online storage service). Go to SkyDrive and make sure that you have at least one Microsoft Office document in the My Documents folder.

Once you do, you'll see an invitation to enter the preview program.

After you join the program, you'll see a New menu item from which you can create and edit Excel and PowerPoint apps (Word and OneNote functionality is still to come). Give it a go! It's free.

Update: We've now got a hands-on tour of Microsoft Office Web Apps for your viewing pleasure.

Dave Johnson was employed by Microsoft Corporation at the time this article was written.

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