Microsoft today took another step into the growing realm of web-based productivity tools by opening to the public worldwide a test version of its “Office Live Workspace,” a service that allows users to save Office documents online so that they may be accessed by others connected to the web.

Live Workspace is, needless to say, the company’s answer to online applications emerging from competition including Google Docs and Zoho Office. However unlike the aforementioned services, which rely on nothing but a bare browser to edit documents, you’ll need Office’s desktop software components installed on your PC in order to perform any editing in Live Workspace – obviously, this limitation is part of Microsoft’s strategy of keeping its cash cow Office product in the spotlight.

Despite notably lacking the ability to edit directly from the browser, the saving of documents straight to the web is a major leap forward for Microsoft. Those interested in testing Live Workspace can sign up for free at http://workspace.officelive.com and start using the service right away.