Google Docs & Spreadsheets : An Online Office
Over the course of the evening Google opened Google Docs & Spreadsheets for beta testing by Google Account holders. Google Docs & Spreadsheets is one platform or office-style service which houses both the Writely based word processing application and Google Spreadsheets, both web based alternatives to Microsoft’s Office and Excel.
The integration of Writely and Google Spreadsheets does not go far beyond the inclusion of both programs under one Google umbrella. They are still two separate Office style offerings and information from each is not embeddable into the other.
Changes do include, however, a document list generated from both Writely & Spreadsheets along with a more Googley interface for Writely.
From Google Docs & Spreadsheets:
With Google Docs & Spreadsheets, you can:
* Use our online editor to format documents, spell-check and more.
* Upload Word documents, OpenOffice, RTF, HTML or text.
* Download documents to your desktop as Word, PDF and more.
* View your documents’ revision history and roll back to any version.
Plus, since its online, you can:
* Invite others to share your documents by e-mail address.
* Edit documents online with whomever you choose.
* Publish documents online to the world, or to just who you choose.
* Post your documents to your blog.
Lookout Microsoft Office!
Michael Arrington has a fairly in depth review at TechCrunch:
Google is straightforward in its goal to excel in collaboration and sharing of documents, while agreeing that desktop office applications will continue to offer superior editing features for the foreseeable future. Still, the ability to import and collaborate on a document, and then publish it to the web or take it back to the desktop, is a powerful feature not available to Microsoft Office users outside of Office Live or Microsoft Sharepoint Portal Server. And use of Google’s online office applications is free.
Google Blogoscoped chimes in:
There are still some quirks to be worked out here. For example, new docs open in the same window whereas new spreadsheets and old docs launch in a second window. Another example is that Google’s default name when you want to save a spreadsheet is “Unsaved spreadsheet” – duh, when you save it it’s not unsaved anymore, so the name never makes sense. Or, when you star a file, the whole page will stall momentarily (unlike in Gmail, where this is happening behind the scenes).
Ionut Alex comments on possible next steps:
The next logical move would be to add a new web application for presentations and to integrate all these applications with Gmail, Google Calendar and Picasa Web, so they can share attachments, photos and documents. Some pieces of the puzzle are still missing, but Google can’t deny they don’t want to build Google Office.
While Content Matters ponders the adoption of Google Docs & Spreadsheets by the business sector:
Google’s model of putting betas out there then enhancing them over time, suggests that the combination of Writely, Spreadsheets and Calendar has the potential to gain traction.
Google Docs is unlikely to gain adoption in the enterprise. Security-conscious companies are not about to entrust critical documents and spreadsheets to Google. There are a number of markets where a free hosted office suite could take hold, particularly the education market. The collaborative features, while modest today, could also drive adoption in niche markets over time.