It’s rebranding time at Microsoft, it seems. The official statement about SkyDrive being rebranded to OneDrive has barely made the rounds, and we’re now seeing another change. This time, it’s Office Web Apps, which is now called Office Online. It’s not that this move has been kept a secret, as there were hints in the past weeks, but now, it’s the real deal.

Office Online is basically the web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. I think all of us can agree that Microsoft Office is one of the strongest – if not the strongest – suite of software for its niche, and the web-based version can carry its own weight as well.

Office Online

Why the rebranding?

Perhaps it’a all a part of spreading more awareness for the product. As you may have surmised, Office Online (even back when it had a different name) led a quiet existence. Microsoft didn’t really promote it much, although the service is free. Or maybe, it is exactly because of that that Office Online was not highlighted.

One very noticeable thing about the new look is how the most popular software is highlighted from the get go. You’ll also notice the inclusion of OneDrive.

In any case, the rebranding can only serve to make users aware of this alternative online collaboration, especially those who want no issues with compatibility. Additionally, humans are creatures of habit, and I am willing to bet that the average Microsoft Office user will want to see the exact same thing (layout, etc.) if they use an online version of a piece of software. And yes, Office Online does look nice, too.

With Office Online now live, I wonder how this will affect usage statistics of Google Drive? If you’re a user of the latter, and you regularly use Microsoft Office, would you consider switching to Office Online now?

[Image via Office.com]