Acrobat.com will help those collaborating on documents
Adobe has made a move into online document sharing with the launch of the Acrobat.com community site.
It allows people to create, store and share documents online, and hold web conferences to discuss changes.
It was unveiled at the same time as the new version of Adobe's Acrobat software in which Flash video can now be embedded.
The service pits Adobe squarely against Microsoft, Google and others keen to bridge the online and offline worlds.
Currently the Acrobat.com service exists only in trial, or beta, form; but anyone can sign up.
Those using the service get access to the Buzzword word processor that lets them create basic text documents. Document creators can store their files on the site and invite others to collaborate, read or comment.
It also allows the creation of web conferences so co-authors can collaborate on and discuss a document in real time.
The trial version allows users to convert up to five documents per month to the PDF format free of charge. These documents can be embedded on a website or a blog.
Adobe said it would make the programming interfaces for the site available so others can plug it into their own services.
Acrobat.com can be used without buying any other Adobe products.
However, built in to the new version of Acrobat are menu options that link directly to the site so a document can be shared instantly. The completed version of Acrobat 9.0 is due in July 2008.
Adobe is coming relatively late to the market for business document and file sharing on the web.
In October 2007 Microsoft set up a trial version of Office Live Workspace that lets people get at and share Word, Excel and Powerpoint files via the web. Google runs a similar system via its online Documents service.
Online services such as Zoho have been offering stand-alone office programs that can be used online for some time.