Google Pack adds StarOfficeGoogle has taken yet another stab at Microsoft in hopes of luring users away from Microsoft Office. Now Google is offering StarOffice 8, which normally costs $79, as an optional download in the free Google Pack.

What surprises me the most is that Google chose to use StarOffice over the free OpenOffice. Of course I’m not going to complain because StarOffice is actually based on OpenOffice, but it provides some propriety templates and clipart that give it an edge over OpenOffice. And just like OpenOffice, StarOffice is created to run on both Windows and Linux.

Here’s a list of things included with StarOffice 8 that’s not in OpenOffice (from Wikipedia):

  • Several font metric compatible Unicode TrueType fonts containing bitmap representations for better appearance at smaller font sizes
  • 12 Western fonts (including Andale Sans, Arial Narrow, Arial Black, Broadway, Garamond, Imprint MT Shadow, Kidprint, Palace Script, Sheffield) and 7 Asian language fonts (including support for the Hong Kong Supplementary character set)
  • Adabas D database
  • StarOffice-only templates and sample documents
  • A large clip art gallery
  • Sorting functionality for Asian versions
  • File filters for additional older wordprocessing formats (including EBCDIC)
  • A different spell checker (note that does include a spell checker as well) and thesaurus
  • StarOffice Configuration Manager
  • Macro Converter for converting Microsoft Office VBA-macros to StarBasic

I did notice after installing Google’s version of StarOffice that they had enabled a Google Search Toolbar by default. I’m not sure what kind of deal they worked out with Sun to provide StarOffice at no cost, but I’m not going to pass up a great deal like this. :)

One of the more logical things that comes to mind, however, is that Google will integrate this into Google Docs, and thereby make it easy for users to open and save documents from their online Google account. Of course Zoho has already released a tool last year that enabled integration of their online suite of applications with Microsoft Office, but it is obvious at this point that Google pretty much despises Microsoft.

I’ll go ahead and close it up with a screenshot of StarOffice 8 Calc (comparable to Excel) and StarOffice 8 Writer (comparable to Word):

StarOffice 8
Click to Enlarge

Google Pack Homepage
StarOffice 8 Homepage & Video Tour
Source: CyberNet Forum, Google Operating System & Googling Google