Facebook Docs: beta needs to be better

May 10, 2010

My invite to try out the new Microsoft Fuse Labs Word service just came through this morning. As I said in my last post, this service is supposed to make it possible to create Word docs online and then share them via Facebook.  Immediately created a doc, but after forty-five minutes of of fiddling with various privacy and other settings; I can’t get the “share” with my Facebook friends to work. I’m sure there’s some nifty explanation hidden deep in the  “Help” screens– but frankly, this is sooooooooo Microsoft-ian….making you jump hoops in order to set things up and carry out essential functions– and as somebody who tries to get people to use tools like this for a living, I rate this one –at least for the moment– a FAIL. Maybe if a link to the doc magically appears on my Facebook wall later today I’ll feel differently, in any case I’ll keep experimenting and keep you posted. [Updates after the jump]

Update May 12: Just tried to access the Microsoft/Facebook test doc I created two days ago and it shows in my doc list, but won’t open at all. “Sorry, we are running into some errors” is all the site has to say about this.

Update: May 14:  My two test docs open now, but the one I set to “share” with my Facebook “friends” isn’t showing up on my Facebook page.  But  reading between lines of this post from Docs own blog I think I see why: You gotta leave FB’s “new instant personalization” turned on, I’ve got it off and it’s staying that way.  “Instant personalization” shares FB info promiscuously with a bunch of websites w/o  asking you; so if I’m right, what Docs is saying is “can’t use Facebook Docs unless you are willing to share the rest of your info with world.” Sorry, no, I’m sticking with Google Docs. It’s got its issues, but . . . Didja hear that FB? Microsoft?

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