Hotmail co-founder Sabeer Bhatia launches his latest product:

Indian software product company, InstaColl today announces the launch of Live Documents, a hybrid online-offline Office suite of applications.

Live Documents is a full-featured suite of online Office productivity applications offering functionality equivalent to Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Built using RIA technologies such as Flash and Flex, Live Documents allow users to view and edit documents within any common browser on any operating system from anywhere. Live Documents uses a Flash-based user interface that offers a richer and responsive user experience that is comparable to native Office software applications.

In addition, Live Documents is available as a optional desktop client application that wraps around Microsoft Office and embeds collaborative capabilities into these hitherto standalone software applications - Live Documents converts Microsoft Office applications from static standalone software to smart clients that are connected to the Internet and facilitate in-context document sharing (multiple people can edit a document at the same time) and management (security, access control and revision control) without requiring users to give up their familiar user interfaces. The Live Documents desktop client also ensures offline access to documents - a key failing of current online Office applications.

With its hybrid “Services plus Software” approach, Live Documents gives users the choice and flexibility to work on their documents either on the desktop or on the browser and while they are online or offline – any changes made on either side are automatically synchronized to the other side ensuring that the desktop and web versions are always in sync without requiring manual actions like check-in/check-out, upload/download or import/export. Live Documents is designed to increase consumer choice when it comes to purchasing hardware, selecting an operating system, choosing a network and accessing and sharing file formats.

Here's an interesting comparison of Live Documents, Google Docs, and Microsoft Office.