On Tuesday, ThinkFree Office launched a new Flash-based document viewer called Uni Paper that takes files up to 10 pages and 5MB in size. It works for most common office file types like PDFs, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint presentations. Like Scribd, Docstoc, Docuter, Issuu, and others, it lets users view and search through documents quickly and without the need to have any special office software installed.
If a user wants to make any changes, they can then send that file into one of ThinkFree's various Java-based office document editors, which gets reflected in real-time back anywhere the Uni Paper has been embedded or shared. To make this process a little more streamlined, ThinkFree has also tightly grouped together its document, spreadsheet, and presentation tools into something resembling more of a suite.
This is definitely good news for ThinkFree users who can get a quick preview of any of the files they have stored on the service, but it's not quite as advanced as some of the Flash-based viewers from the competition. It's missing the option to view all the pages of a document at once, and the the directory of publicly shared documents contains very little categorization, or genre-based exploration.
I will, however tip my hat to ThinkFree for wanting to charge into this space. Unlike the rest of these document hosting services, you can actually go in and make edits with a Web-based document editor designed by the very same folks who made the viewer. That's a great way to get people in the door.
I've embedded an example Uni Paper below, and no, there's no way to get rid of the annoying API ad on the bottom.