October 10, 2006 9:01 PM PDT

Google combines word processing, spreadsheets

Google is diving further into the Web-based productivity-applications market by offering a new product that combines its online word-processing and spreadsheet programs.

The company launched on Wednesday a beta version of Google Docs & Spreadsheets. The free program lets people create, manage and share documents and spreadsheets on the Web.

The program enables people to collaborate online in real time, use a variety of file formats for importing and exporting, and publish documents and spreadsheets on a Web page or blog.

Google Docs & Spreadsheets

Google is not targeting the desktop productivity suite market place that Microsoft dominates with Office, despite speculation that it is, said Jonathan Rochelle, Google Docs & Spreadsheets product manager.

"It made sense to combine these products and people were asking for that," he said. "It doesn't change our strategy. This is complementary to desktop products...and lacks certain advanced features" of desktop products.

Starting with e-mail, Google has been launching Web-based services and software in a move seen by many as encroaching on Microsoft's turf. Microsoft has responded by revamping its business to focus on Web services under the Windows Live and Office Live monikers.

Google acquired the online word-processing application Writely in March and launched Google Spreadsheets in June. Google recently opened Writely up to the public.

Google also sells a product to corporations and organizations that they can offer their employees and members for free called Google Apps for Your Domain that ties together Web-based e-mail, calendar, chat and Web page publishing.

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Google Docs, spreadsheet, Writely, word-processing, Google Inc.

46 comments

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Google Docs & Spreadsheets - create PDF on the fly
Wow finally we see bits and peices of the "Office killer" Google has in mind.
I am impressed especially by the "Save as PDF" option, which allows easy creation of PDF.
Wish Microsoft atleast now learn something out of this and try to get it done in future versions of Office.

Manu (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://manusword.blogspot.com/" target="_newWindow">http://manusword.blogspot.com/</a>)
Posted by bk_manu (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
PDF Feature
If you use early beta version of Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft put feature to save as PDF. But Adobe sue Microsoft and don't allow it to put that function in default installation of Microsoft Office. So, user have to download addins for it. Stupid Business Politics..
Posted by Gunady (191 comments )
Link Flag
Office 2007
You should do some research before you post. Office 2007 has had the ability to create PDF's since its conception.
Posted by hybris06 (66 comments )
Link Flag
Better PDF Answer
I had been annoyed that Office didn't include save as a pdf. But then I went out and bought pdfFactory. This is a much more elegant answer because it works with all software, not just within office. It's allowed me to go paperless on many things. For example, when I place on order on the web, I just print the invoice as seen in my browser to pdfFactory and place it on the desktop. No matter what app I used for the document creation, I can share it with anyone who has Adobe Reader. It works with my older software versions, such as Visio Technical, TurboCad, etc. And the UI is always the same. The only better answer might be if it was included in the OS, but I don't see that happening.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Two days, two developments
Two days, two developments. I know the web-centric world moves fast, but Google just punched it into overdrive. First, they bought YouTube. Wether you think it was investment or not, this much is certain. It signals a shift in Google's strategy. Over the last year Google has furiously released products, to mixed reviews. Buying YouTube shows they have "manned up", and realized that other companies have better products, so why re-invent the wheel, we we can just buy it.



The second shift came today, when Google combined Writely &#38; Google Spreadsheets into Google Docs &#38; Spreadsheets. Last week Google said they were going to stop releasing new products &#38; services, just for sake of releasing them. Instead Google said they were going to focus on improving their existing products, and it only took them a week. They have also refocused the efforts of their engineers to tweak their world class serch engine



Now compare that to Microsoft. Over three years ago Microsoft announced their "Trustworthy Computing" initiative. Talk about a load of hot steaming bullsoft. Microsoft's current software is as buggy as ever and the new software still hasn't made it out the door. Meanwhile, Microsoft dives head first into the security software and portable document business. Major bullsoft. All this after rebranding/repackaging/renaming many existing software services under the "Windows Live" brand. Notice I didn't say improving.



So, Google's strategy it seems, is to focus on existing products to strengthen them and to buy companies that compliment their company. Microsoft's strategy is to rebrand/repackage/rename their existing average/over priced software, and hope that no one notices they really don't have a strategy.



In my first blog article, I wrote about the Long, Slow Death of Microsoft. Prophetic? Visonary? Not really. Millions hold the same opinion, and that number grows daily. But over the last few days it may prove I've miscalculated. Maybe it's not going to be the Long. Slow Death of Microsoft. The web-centric world is speeding along, and Microsoft is just a deer in the headlights.



I'm Guessing ©2006
Posted by imguessing (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What strategy?
All I see is a company without a clear plan: one day they're a search provider, the next they're offering hosted applications, the next they're a content provider. This "throw everything against the wall and hope something sticks" approach to building a company can't be too encouraging to investors.

And before you count Microsoft out, try and remember that 95% of Google's customers come to them via a competitor's platform (Windows).
Posted by Betty Roper (121 comments )
Link Flag
Google is a Search Engine!!
And that's it. It might offer a lot of other goodies but every penny it makes come from its search business. If MS can overtake Google in this one area, Google is history. Google knows that and hence its trying to create as many baskets as possible for its eggs but the baskets are too small to hold anything. I can't imagine Google making any serious money out of any of this current offering including this one.
Posted by FutureGuy (742 comments )
Link Flag
What strategy!
It seems to me that Google has no idea how to offer a better search engine so they are trying to pump up their stock price with one press release after another of products that offer little real value (UTube) or are far from best of breed (this word processor).

I guess valley VCs want to dump more of their stock on the public so it is press release pump it and dump it time.
Posted by caudio_roma (57 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Anti-Google?
How is this any different from what Microsft has been trying to do
for years?
Posted by lesfilip (496 comments )
Link Flag
You do not understand the strategy
Microsoft has a monopoly in the desktop OS. So forget that platform, you will get screwed if you try an innovate there.

The Web is a platform that is bigger and richer than Windows and the best part is that it is nuetral and open. So it is better to innovate there and Google is basically the start button of that platform.

So it is only natural to provide services once you have gone beyond start. If Google didn't do that, then they would be throwing away a great opportunity.

They are a billion dollar company and you are just some guy with no vision and strategy.

Who should I believe?

For every big idea there will be small minds trying to bring you down.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
Is this article news worthy? "Google combines word-processing, ....
... spreadsheets"; What ever this article was intended to do - whether to introduce a new technological development from Google or not; then, the introduction of "composite" applications is nothing new as the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) has done so a long time ago when it introduced "OpenDoc in Warp 4.0" which "is a way of building compound documents with collections of small, portable components called Parts. These parts reside in Containers, and you can put any type of part into any kind of container. Learn only one text-editing part and you can put it into any document container you please. The same goes for spreadsheet parts, or graphics parts, spellchecking parts and so on." The rest of the story on "OpenDoc" may me read by following the below attached link:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.os2ezine.com/v1n13/opendoc.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.os2ezine.com/v1n13/opendoc.htm</a>

Any real threat to the Microsoft dominance on the desktop platform from my perspective will come when IBM introduces the new Lotus Notes (HANNOVER)

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/productivitytools" target="_newWindow">http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/productivitytools</a>

which is scheduled to be released in 2007.
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's about Business Strategy, not technological innovation
It poses a threat to MS's Office.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Link Flag
composite document?
Are you guys sure about this?

As far as I can tell, all Google allow you to do is see all the docs and spreadsheets in one place. It is not truly merging word processing and spreadsheet functions into one app.
Posted by Sonicsands (43 comments )
Link Flag
Heck, if I want free, I can just use Open Office
I'm not even sure why Google is trying to get into the application business. Reminds me when Novel bought WordPerfect. Anyone remember that? It was like, "hello??". Well, and looked what happened. They lost focus. Something I think Google is doing too.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Collaboration
The essential difference with sandard Word processing is multiple user access. As for chatting any peole ctaht are invited, can work on the same document simultaneously.
Look at the way Wikipedia works, not sending around .docs to diffrent people, that exist in all kind of different versions after a while.
And even moer important, automatic chage history, possibility to restore the previous document, display of differneces between document versions.
Not all thos features are present in Google docs, but this opens up possiblities for complete new and presumably, much more efficient ways of collaboration.
If you look for an laternative for just individually creating documents, just use OO
Posted by gerben49 (8 comments )
Link Flag
I just don't understand this...
We keep on hearing about Google's great products and revolutionary way of doing things, but aren't they just trying to re-package old ideas as their own? Given their recent work which is counter to their "Do no Evil" slogan, can you really trust this company to host your documents, spreadsheets, e-mail and personal credit card data? Why is everyone so enamored with Google that they start implicitly trusting this company with all of their personal data so that Google can make more money sharing that personal data with other or monetizing it themselves.
Posted by kenchangsf (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not so great if you really need to use it
I have been using both writely and spreadsheet for a few months now and when you are actually trying to use the spreadsheet (ie actually have real data and formulas) scrolling and anthing else takes a long time and is not very responsive.

It doesnt give you them same quick response as if it was locally installed.

I dont think corporations (esp the ones with tight firewalls) will want to switch out for this.

For the casual user (that doesnt use pirate software and cant afford ms office and doesnt know about open source alternatives) this is far better than Notepad... unless vista is comes with like Notepad spreadsheets or something.
Posted by joeyjoeyjoey (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Web 2.0
It's web 2.0, which is really just the web using old technology in a new way. That's how Ajax was born.

Anything web 2.0 makes news, like it's the coolest thing you've ever seen in your life or something.

Personally, I rather use openoffice. It's free, it sits in my computer patiently waiting for me to use it.

If I get to a point where my office documents need to follow me around all day, I'll need a vacation and a change in career!
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
One Advantage
Your Openoffice is sitting on your computer patiently waiting for your harddrive or system to fail while you forgot to back the data up. Having your data stored online is a huge advantage!
Posted by zanzzz (138 comments )
Link Flag
OK. So I'm paranoid!
So Google is a fine, upstanding company. But I still can't feature sending sensitive data over the net and STORING it at Google's site. Since the big deal these days is "targeted" advertising, who's to say they won't "mine" your data in order to get appropriate ads sent your way. Keep in mind that the rates they sell ads for increases if the "target" is narrowed to a more "productive" segment of users. No thanks, Google. I'll keep my data on MY machine!
Posted by Norseman (1319 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think it is great.
I run my business website on "Bring your own domain" service with Google.
Combined with Google Docs, Domain Web Pages, Gmail, Calendar, and Chat, I think it is better then having applications and files saved on a hard drive and my website in another location.
Weblications are a better paradigm than applications and files on a computer. I log in and I can do anything I need to do in order to run my business.

It may not be for everyone, but I think it is the future of computing and before you worry about having all your data online, you can backup by exporting your data to your computer .

Now I can run the website, look after emails, update spreadsheets, and write docs from any computer in the world.
I don't always need to lug around my laptop.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
wow
This is a pretty cool service ... I've uploaded a lot of my fiction and poetry now to a central location where I can keep track of revisions and never have to worry about backup them up ever again :)

Plus, I can easily publish them to multiple blogs, even if I switch blogging services!

This is one happy camper.
Posted by alucinor (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What Happens ...
What happens if, for whatever reason, all your files disappear off Google's servers? Not that Google would do this, but there have been other sites that in the past year or so deleted user accounts with no warning. Some lost years of saved data. I'd back things up.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
I use the search engine by Google
and it is good.
For the rest, I think they can better. I installed MOST of their software because there is real trust! about this company. I love them because they're able to sort my problems when I need to surf the web;-) but, Google earth for a low connection is not good, and plus it's heavy. Same for Picasa. If they will arrive to produce slim and very goof software, nobody will bein grade to win them. This is for sure, because I love ALL their products!!!!!
Anna
Posted by buckwriter (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Adding IRM lets Google's Docs and Spreadsheets pre-empt Vista & Office 7.0
This is great timing too - Microsoft is about to launch Vista and Office 7.0 and Google's Docs and Spreadsheets pre-empts and undercuts all that with it's collaborative functionality.

The security issues of having corporate documents on Googles servers is probably overstated at this stage. Many companies outsource their servers and data warehousing and even content stored on a server in corporate HQ still has a level of exposure if documents can be accessed offsite particularly for collaborative editing.

Of course the Office Suite in a browser approach also has a somewhat better resistance to the class of virus that forwards your local documents to everyone on your mailing list too!

In the real world the main risk with corporate documents are with leaks and unauthorized forwards - rather than hacking, cracking or virus related leaks.

In this space Google's Docs and spreadsheets are going to be particularly strong if they go ahead with the digital rights management module from AegisDRM which adds functionality similar to (but actually rather stronger than) Microsoft's Information Rights Management (IRM) into Docs and Spreadsheets.
Posted by DaveSimmons (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
"Adding IRM....."; So, Are We Talking About A "DataBase" As Yet...
... from which the DATA that will be "CRUNCHED" in the spreadsheets may be obtained. Additionally, where are those Microsoft or Google "ON-LINE TABLES" that will allow me to carry out some sophisticated computations/analyses whenever I need to!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Link Flag
Office
Microsoft's about to launch Office 12.0. Office 7.0 was about 11 years ago.

And Google Docs is no replacement for a full-fledged office productivity suite installed locally - we're just not there yet. No one has internet 24/7 wherever they travel.
Posted by Hardrada (359 comments )
Link Flag
Privacy, Security, Reliability...?
Now, Google can scan the contents of your documents and spreadsheets, to build a more comprehensive marketing database about you! :-)

Then, there are the issues of uptime/downtime and security.

Forget it...
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's as feature rich as...... Google Talk
Anyone who has used Google talk would know what I am talking about
Posted by cary1 (924 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The next step after Google Docs and Spreadsheets
When I first encountered a promotion for Google Docs and Spreadsheets Beta version after logging out of my AdWords account I was skeptical. Could this application really offer all the benefits of software like MS Word and Excel in a web-based format? The fact that Google has been developing a few other very impressive web-based applications lately convinced me to at least give it a try. Google did not let me down, it does everything they claimed it would do, and does it very effectively. The fact that you can create a spreadsheet online, not only upload them from your hard drive, is my favorite feature. It is especially impressive that you are able to use the same formulas as in MS Excel directly on the web-based spreadsheet.

Google Docs and Spreadsheets is a great collaboration tool. I can see it making a huge impact. However, I see this impact being for more simple collaboration needs. Students will probably use it more than any other group. It seems great for sending homework to yourself, working on assignments on various computers (in a library, computer lab, or other public computer labs common to academic campuses), and even for small companies with very simple collaboration needs.

I do not, however, see this solution being implemented for large-scale collaboration. It lacks high-level database structuring, key reporting features, certain access control privilege settings, advanced search and are necessary for it to become a complete enterprise business solution. Nevertheless, I can only think of one application that has all these features; it could be called Google Docs and Spreadsheets on steroids. This web-based software, <a href="http://www.interneer.com">Interneer Intellect</a>, would probably be more appropriate for mid-to-large sized organizations looking for a web-based collaboration solution. However, Intellect lacks the ability to create spreadsheets online. It does integrate with MS Excel, Access and Project to make up for that.
Posted by Msteffen (2 comments )
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