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Pete Rose, Rob Schneider mock Google for Microsoft Office

Microsoft enlisted former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Rob Schneider and disgraced baseball star Pete Rose to denigrate Google Docs in two new videos that posted to the Web Friday.

The videos posted on Microsoft's Office 365 blog suggest that users gamble every time they trust their productivity to Google Docs.

Of course, it's a time-tested strategy for Microsoft, which rolled out its Gmail Man videos two years ago, broadsiding Google's email service for its contextual advertising program.

In one of the new videos, two buddies hit a casino. One asks if they should play … Read more

Office 2011 update includes more Office 365 features

The latest update to Microsoft Office addresses a number of critical bugs with the program and offers new integration with Office 365, Microsoft's next-generation Office suite for both the Mac and Windows platforms. The update is available either through the Office 2011 AutoUpdate utility, or from the updater's Web page as a 113MB download that will bring the latest version of Office to 14.3.4.

If you have not yet installed any updates for Office 2011, this update requires that you have Service Pack 1 installed, so some people may see two consecutive updates for Office available … Read more

Microsoft tells more about 'Gemini' Office Web apps

Like the rest of the Microsoft Office unit, the Office Web Apps team seems to be on a path to deliver more new updates more frequently.

This week, the Web Apps team (which also internally goes by WAC, or Web Applications Companion) blogged about some of the new features coming to Office Web Apps "over the next year and beyond." These include official support for Chrome on Android tablets and real-time co-authoring (instead of "same time" authoring), starting with PowerPoint Web App.

Microsoft executives also previously have said that Yammer integration will be coming to Office Web Apps, … Read more

Unlike Adobe, Microsoft won't abandon packaged software

A day after Adobe Systems killed its Creative Suite software, moving instead to a Web-based subscription service, Microsoft said it would not follow suit with its Office suite of productivity applications--at least not yet.

In a blog post Tuesday, Office spokesman Clint Patterson said that Microsoft, like Adobe, believes in the future of software-as-a-service, in part because the applications can be always up-to-date, and because subscribers can use the applications across a range of devices.

"However, unlike Adobe, we think people's shift from packaged software to subscription services will take time," Patterson wrote.

How much time? Patterson … Read more

White House picks Twitter lawyer as Internet privacy officer

President Obama has picked Nicole Wong, Twitter's legal director, to be the White House's first chief privacy officer, CNET has learned.

Wong previously was a vice president and deputy general counsel at Google at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, where she managed a team of lawyers that worked with the company's engineers to review products before they launched. The reviews included privacy, copyright, and removal requests, which earned her a nickname of "The Decider" -- as recounted in a 2008 New York Times Magazine article.

A person familiar with the situation told CNET that the … Read more

Add handwritten notes in Polaris Office on Galaxy Note devices

Sometimes only so much explaining can be done with text on the screen. Adding a handwritten drawing or diagram can help pull together and solidify an idea. This is especially true when you're following along on a document that was given to you, like a business plan or notes for a class.

Polaris Office works with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Adobe PDF files. When using this app on a Galaxy Note series device, you can use the included S Pen to draw directly in your documents. Here's how:

First, open a document or presentation in Polaris … Read more

Pirate trolling and WWDC scholarships: The Week in Downloads

Every week, we compile the best new reviews, products, and features from the Download.com software catalog and blog, package them up in a tidy little newsletter, and e-mail it out to all of our lovely subscribers.

If you are a registered CNET member, you can sign up for the newsletter yourself (it's listed as "CNET Download.com Software Dispatch" under "Software News and Reviews"), or check back every Tuesday to read our latest roundup.

Top Download News and Features

Microsoft launches a public beta for its new Facebook app for Windows Phone 8 Game … Read more

Microsoft turns Forbes magazines into Wi-Fi hot spots

I have always believed that the old and the new can coexist with extreme joy.

Microsoft appears to believe this too.

In a promotion that melds the dying world of magazines with the living world of Wi-Fi, select copies of Forbes are enjoying a Wi-Fi router, which oozes 15 days of free Wi-Fi through T-Mobile.

This fetching gift was first noticed by someone on the Slickdeals forum -- handle BigMacG4 -- who wondered whether anyone else had been fortunate enough to be gifted this way.… Read more

Open Office to PDF Converter 1.0 Review

PDF files are much easier to send and read than your standard Open Office files. This app claims to convert your Office files into PDFs, but it does the bare minimum to live up to that name. In fact, Open Office to PDF Creator seems much more like a basic file viewer than anything else.

Most of Open Office to PDF Creator's navigation buttons are clouded by ads that take up the top and bottom of the screen. That really doesn't matter, since you can do most of the converting right from your file menu. Converting .odt files … Read more

Office Reader - .doc .ppt .xls 1.03 Review

If you're on a mission to have a fully mobile office, this app might seem like the answer to your quest. It offers to help you read Microsoft Office documents from any smartphone or tablet, but sadly, Office Reader is a massive disappointment as it offers limited functionality and is ad-infested.

This app only works with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but instead of letting you read the documents in their native format, Office Reader has to convert them to PDFs to display them. If you have a bigger file, that leads to a very long conversion process. It also … Read more