Facebook users will now be able to 'discover, create, and share Microsoft Office documents' with the announcement of Docs for Facebook in beta.

Built using Office 2010 Web Apps, Microsoft states that Docs for Facebook provides the best possible document service for the Facebook environment.

"Docs gives you a great, flexible social–productivity experience," said Microsoft's Fuse labs.

Collaboration

"You can decide who to share with... from privately creating, editing, and collaborating around docs, all the way to public sharing on the web.

"You can upload or start doc online, have someone help you edit it, incorporate feedback, and then share it with the world.

"Docs can be viewed and edited directly within a web browser – or, with a single click, you can edit them more richly and powerfully through the Microsoft Office software on your PC or Mac."

Key times

The online Web Apps functionality of Office 2010 is obviously hugely important for Microsoft, with Google Docs offering an alternative for both businesses and the general public.

"The fact that we've been able to adapt the Office 2010 "Web Apps" technology to work directly with Facebook truly speaks to the flexibility and power not just of the Facebook platform, but also of the Office system's rich "contextual collaboration" capabilities," said Lili Cheng, FUSE labs' general manager.

"And we'd never have been able to achieve our critical 'simplicity' goals had it not been for our ability to use a new test feature from Facebook that allows us to build an instantly personalised and seamless document authorisation and sharing experience directly from our site."

Powerful

Facebook has become a hugely powerful force on the internet, with the social network vying with Google for the most visited destination in some markets.

And although we aren't entirely sure we'll see the Facebook generation editing that Excel spreadsheet, Microsoft will be delighted that it is getting the word out to a new generation about Office.

In the meantime we'll look forward to poking that PowerPoint and seeing if editing 20 Word docs gives an extra pig pen in Farmville.