Microsoft has announced the public availability of Microsoft Office Live Workspace beta, their Google-rivalling "cloud computing" web-based extension of Microsoft Office that lets people access their documents online and share their work with others.

Now available worldwide in English, people can sign up for free and will get immediate access to the service.

Microsoft is also unveiling a number of new Office Live Workspace features based on feedback from the private beta, such as an activity panel, notifications, direct links and multi-file upload.

"Today's announcement moves us further down the path of bringing a software plus services experience to people at home, work and college", said Stephen Elop, president of the Microsoft business division.

"By combining the rich client experience of Microsoft Office with flexible, intuitive service offerings, we're providing seamless computing experiences for our 500 million Office users worldwide."

Office Live Workspace lets people organise documents and projects online and work on them from almost any computer.

People can save more than 1000 Microsoft Office documents to one place online, and access and share them via the web.

They can view and comment on documents in the browser as well as create simple web lists and web notes, and share
documents in real time through integration with Microsoft SharedView.

Microsoft plans to offer the beta program later this year in various languages for international markets and expects to release the final public version of Office Live Workspace later in the year.