June 7, 2006 12:45 PM PDT

Reader poll: Spreadsheets could erode Excel user base

Following the release of Google Spreadsheets, Microsoft may find it difficult to retain some of its Excel spreadsheet users, according to an informal CNET News.com poll.

Thirty percent of readers who responded to the poll indicated they would make the switch from Microsoft's Excel program to Google Spreadsheets, which debuted earlier this week.

In addition, another 40 percent of the 1,891 readers participating in the poll said they might be interested in alternatives to Microsoft Office, which includes Excel, Word and other programs.

Google's Web-based spreadsheet is designed to allow users to read and simultaneously edit information while engaging in an "in-document" chat. Google Spreadsheets will also support the import and export of .xls-formatted documents used in Excel.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see higher uptake of Google Spreadsheets than anyone anticipated," said a News.com reader who used the name "director blue." "For those folks who don't want proprietary content transiting their firewall, look for a Google Office Appliance someday."

Other readers said they envision using both Google Spreadsheets and Excel, rather than dumping Excel.

"I've been trying Google's spreadsheet program, and it seems pretty good. It's not as full-featured as Excel, but the collaboration features are quite nice," a News.com reader named "ablocker" said in a posting. "I can see using it when I want to edit a sheet as a group. (It) seems far better than e-mail exchanges or clustering around a screen. I can see using Google's emerging suite alongside Office for collaboration and working on essential files from the road."

One reader, however, advocated using OpenOffice, an open-source office suite, rather than Google Spreadsheets or Microsoft Office.

"Why spend hundreds of dollars on solutions from Microsoft...when you can achieve perhaps even better results (than this Google Spreadsheets) with a $49 OpenOffice.org Solution," said a reader going by the name of "Captain Spock."

Still, other readers said Google's latest offering does not make much sense for them.

"Google thinks that everything that is on the Web is cool...I am using Office 2007 beta 2 at the moment and there is no way that I would switch to some crippled product, even if it's free," a reader going by the name "Alenas" said in a posting on the News.com site.

See more CNET content tagged:
spreadsheet, reader, Microsoft Excel, Google Inc., collaboration


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Its all about the macros
When Goog has a handle on migrating VBA macros to their Excel web app, they might have something. Until then, it will be relegated to grocery lists and calculator functions. Neat trick though.
Posted by ravic1967 (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
VBA I fully agree and the Macro Recorder too
I fully agree, VBA the subset of VB is veryyyyyy useful, if Excel didn't have it, then it would be a worthless product, and also the Macro recorder.

Formulas alone aren't good enought, but very helpful. If Google attaches some kind of a scripting language to that Excel, then yes, it will be a competitor.
Posted by rmiecznik (224 comments )
Link Flag
This is mostly hype, like pretty much everything else Google does. This product can't even be compared with Excel 1.0 or OpenOffice spread sheet. Folks will ooh and ahh for sometime and go back to whatever they are used to. Even a minute of productivity lose a day would cost way more then the license fee for any good spread sheet.
Posted by FutureGuy (742 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Never gonna happen
Who in their right mind would allow Google to host their spreadsheet data?
NSA: Say, since you already provided Goferboy's porn surfing habits, why don't you send over his monthly budget spreadsheet as well. Thank you good citizen.
Posted by Goferboy (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
OpenOffice 2.0 for free, with Macros
I completely switched to OpenOffice for free and never look back.
Posted by AbuLafya (86 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Definitely think it could have some effect - at least with me.
As a frequent but very basic user of Excel, I'm probably only using 5% of the software's feature set, cause that's all I need. And, I don't really rely on macros very much. Knowing I've paid several hundred dollars for something that I essentially use as a glorified calculator makes me feel pretty silly. I'll definitely be interested to see how how Google's efforts pan out.
Posted by CBStar (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Very useful
I think this could be very useful not to mention it is free. People need to look at this with an open mind. Most MS users are close minded.

Majority of Google apps or other companies apps are better than MS, but most people are set in their ways. Give something new a try for a change people, you will be glad you did.
Posted by acurism (14 comments )
Link Flag
Agreed - OpenOffice 2.0 is MUCH Better.
And it's securely on your local desktop or server. Your sensitive data is not on some stranger's server subject to Federal subpoenas.

Besides, I just test drove the Google Spreadsheet. It's still raw. Setting up some of the complex financial formulas on it is a pain. And there's no excryption function on it. You basically have to bend over like a choirboy and cry "I BELIEVE!"

But than, they DID state Clearly that it's Alpha. Not even Beta yet.
Posted by kamwmail-cnet1 (292 comments )
Reply Link Flag
C'mon, Is not Even Close...
I just tested it today, is not even close to OpenOffice Calc or even the spreadsheet in Microsoft Works.

If you were an Accountant or Financial Manager or someone that uses a Spreadsheet to do specific financial modeling, you will never trust saving your spreadsheet with critical information in Google servers. We are talking about heavy weight users, not everyday kids in college doing homework.

Beside that there is a BIG (HUGE) application developer community that uses Excel as the calculation engine or the base for number crunching applications.

Excel is the defacto standard for Business Intelligence/OLAP data manipulation, you'll wait years before Google figure out a way to integrate their On-line calculator with OLAP servers. And don't even think that an AJAX based pivot table interface will be as good as the desktop counterpart.

Microsoft is safe for a decade at least. Excel calculation is lightning fast.
Posted by dw10 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
30% say they will move from a proven spreadsheet product to something they have never used or seen? Sounds to me like this "poll" is likely no very scientific.
Posted by tbsteph (62 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Poll Results Skewed by Rage and Revulsion Against Microsoft
CNET has a lot of guts calling itself an objective media outlet running a poll that has a sampling scheme and interrogatory regime that would so obviously play toward PC users rage, hatred and revulsion against Microsoft.

What PC user that hasn't suffered through endless parades of blue screens, flakey software, inexplicable lock-ups and data losses due to Microsoft's incompetence *would not* tell a pollster, "Oh, yeah, I'd stick a bayonet into Bamller's eye in a heart beat!" or "Hell, yeah, anything but that piece of crap Excel!" ?

You might as well ask the survivors of the Tate and LaBianca murders what they think about Charles Manson's hair style.

Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Glad to See Some Common Sense Here
By reading the comments, I'm glad to see that at least some folks have common sense.

The result of this clearly unscientific and informal poll can't be taken seriously. For one thing, we have no information whatsoever about the sample population -- Are they spreadsheet power-users? Did they actually try Google Spreadsheet? What are they using the spreasheet for?

Making a story out of this meaningless poll only means one thing: CNet can be very pathetic at times.
Posted by dysonl (151 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sample isn't good, but sharing is
The sample for the reader poll is, of course, unscientific and not useful for telling us how Google Spreadsheets will be received on the market. That said, I can see using Google's program for collaboration with spreadsheets I primarily work on in Excel; I can't invite other people to edit a sheet simultaneously, online w/Excel. Interesting times ahead, it would appear.
Posted by ablocker (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Focus Google-son", said Mr. Miagi.
I've had a chance to see several demos of Office 2007, several of which I've viewed right here on CNET. The problem Google will face is that Office 2007 has already solved the "sharing" problem. It does so both for internal users through something named Excel Server and externally through Ray Ozzie's Groove acquisition. Advantage MSFT. It is an order of magnitude superior for sharing.

Of course there is the "free" advantage. However, OpenOffice fills that void a lot better than Google with a ton more capabilities. Advantage OpenOffice.

Plus, think about the information people store in spreadsheets. People want to ensure that data is secure and stays close to them. Storing the information somewhere "out in the cloud" is unnerving.

Google needs to focus. They are becoming a jack-of-all-trades and master of 1 (Search). If they keep wasting human capital and financial capital on silly things like this they will spread themselves way too thin and lose their way. Forget a focus on things like spreadsheets. Consider innovating new, creative uses of Internet Services and create new markets.

Posted by James_U (80 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google IS focused
I disagree. Google is not in the search business. Google is in the online advertising business.

Over 90% of Googles revenue is from web based advertising. All these different Google apps are creating a "Google World" for the user. Cant you see how all the apps tie into one another? Google search is integrated into google mail, which is integrated with google talk, and also integrated with google calendar....

Even if one Google app on its own does not dent the competition, the combined effect of all these Google apps working together online is tremendous.

They provide Google with a greater, more targeted audience. And greater profit.

The future: Content and Software are free (or almost). Advertising is king. Google is getting ready for the future.

I think they are focused.
Posted by ikenna4u (13 comments )
Link Flag
Anything's possible
If Google can equal or beat the programming, editing and debugging of VBA code in Excel I will be amazed and I will use it!
Posted by mysticwine (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"This is a pretty cool idea....
... With spreadsheets, email, webpage creator, maps and calendar, what will Google come out with next? I am predicting Word processor and Database will be next"; and while I tend to agree with you to a certain degree, the assumption here is that you have not forgotten the essential component of "in document instant messaging chat" that will introduce real-time communication for faster completion of tasks. My assumption is that an inline "video-conferencing" feature will be a fantastic next step in the stockpiling of the "Google" armory for any foreseeable future engagement with the "Empire"!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google IS focused
I disagree. Google is not in the search business. Google is in the online advertising business.

Over 90% of Googles revenue is from web based advertising. All these different Google apps are creating a "Google World" for the user. Cant you see how all the apps tie into one another? Google search is integrated into google mail, which is integrated with google talk, and also integrated with google calendar....

Even if one Google app on its own does not dent the competition, the combined effect of all these Google apps working together online is tremendous.

They provide Google with a greater, more targeted audience. And greater profit.

The future: Content and Software are free (or almost). Advertising is king. Google is getting ready for the future.

I think they are focused.
Posted by ikenna4u (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Workplace spreadsheets
Obviously, a lot of corporate users will not want their spreadsheets
stored on Google's servers. However, it is undoubtedly Google's
plan eventually to sell Google Mail, Google Map, Google
Spreadsheet software and/or servers, which can be implemented
internally on a corporate network. I for one would be very happy
to see a local copy of a Google Mail server replace the awful
webmail program currently in use at my workplace.
Posted by teledancer (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Spreadsheets vs Office vs OpenOffice vs ...
Google's Spreadsheets will just be one of the options available. You can still save to an Excel file, and that's Google acknowledging the format's popularity.

In terms of providing rich features, desktop applications are still the best. This application from Google is best only when you want to share through Google's collaboration services (maybe because you don't have your own).

But Office is collaboration capable (not free). And you might use this option if you're concerned about security online.

In any case, the Google Spreadsheets idea is noble. For example, I can manage my home budget online and update it online when and where needed. But that's where I can best fit the product: with personal files. I don't think it can grab the corporate market...
Posted by Mendz (519 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Now that's some thinking. Google was able to commoditize search with their Google search servers... So why not commoditize these "online" products as well... That way, I can setup my Google application and service server in my network and not worry about Google staff taking a peep at my company's files...
Posted by Mendz (519 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is in reply to:

Workplace spreadsheets
teledancer -- Jun 8 2006, 10:41 PM PDT
Posted by Mendz (519 comments )
Link Flag
When Will IBM....
... Begin the re-distribution of a fresh "brew" of "LOTUS KONA" that will be in "HARMONY" with "HANNOVER" so that GENERATION A-B-C... can take a step-back-to-the-future to listen and understand how the "SYMPHONIES" were played in those bygone days. They may very well be sounding sweeter in "HANNOVER" so why not Google pass the GOOGLE MUSIC SHEETS and listen to the new NOTES coming soon from IBM Project Harmony that is certain to guarantee the "SECURITY" that may not now be obtained from the new Google Orchestra. Read and enjoy the following:


"Lotus brews potent Java with Kona"

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.morochove.com/watch/cw/ff70206.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.morochove.com/watch/cw/ff70206.htm</a>

"New IBM Project Harmony offerings simplify SAP integration  and leapfrog the competition"

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www-306.ibm.com/software/swnews/swnews.nsf/n/jmme6q5jgb?OpenDocument&#38;Site=lotus" target="_newWindow">http://www-306.ibm.com/software/swnews/swnews.nsf/n/jmme6q5jgb?OpenDocument&#38;Site=lotus</a>

HANNOVER - "Coming in 2007"

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/hannover" target="_newWindow">http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/hannover</a>
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I like my data to be on my PC.
Call me old fashioned, but using computers since the TRS-80
and Apple II days, I like to keep my data on my own floppies,
and I'd prefer to not use a net program for things like
spreadsheets and such.

Running a puny web company now, I'd rather not let my finances
or any other company data get leaked out there. No, I don't
store such info on Windows PCs, but on Macs, for the security.

Over at Boycott Microsoft ( <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.network54.com/Forum/" target="_newWindow">http://www.network54.com/Forum/</a>
7505/ ), the poster named Wes has stated many companies will
not use such a program, either.

Then, after reading some of the Google web programs I use, I
know that Google retains all rights and such to the content
created. I remember that when G-Mail started, Google flat-out
said they'd read the content as it came thru their servers. I have
no doubt that they'd do this, too, with the spreadsheet.

Now, if users are using this web-based program for just
databasing movies and such, I see no need for my concerns.

Programmer #A-5 of www.totallyparanoia.com
Posted by fakespam (239 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Talking about being "old fashioned"...
... and that is why a first and foremost look must be taken at the DIEBOLD's ATM and ELECTIONS VOTING MACHINES that are still working away as 'EVER-READY" BATTERIES... if one can trust these machines (OS/2 WARP on the go) with your "CASH"... why not with your BUSINESS PLANNING DATA - and mind you, these are only your projections for "real-time" decision-making; and, to say that this is something new from GOOGLE may just not be necessarily true! IBM and some of its Business Partners who have not given up on OS/2 and the LOTUS 1-2-3's SPREADSHEET "ANALYTICAL" CAPABILITIES must certainly be looking forward to be "cashing in" at the BANKS very soon; perhaps, even before the "new-kids-on-the-block" people at GOOGLE!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Now! One Can't Say That I Didn't Say That Some...
... just like the "old fashioned" way of "going-backwards-into-the-future" just like the "Federally owned Banco do Brasil is showing the world"; and, if the "Federally owned Banco do Brasil" can demonstrate OS/2's continuing capabilities then this must say something and speak volumes to the rest of the world. One can bet the "farm" that there are much, much more to come on the future of OS/2. See news article Re: "BB completes XP migration to open source" from the attached link below:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2006/05/30/1662778.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2006/05/30/1662778.htm</a>

"(BNamericas.com Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)Federally owned Banco do Brasil has completed the migration of all its Windows XP computers to the OpenOffice.org open source suite, reported local tech service Computerworld.

The migration involved 35,000 PCs, and Banco do Brasil now aims to migrate another 30,000 computers that use the OS/2 operating system. These should all migrate to the OpenOffice.org system by year-end.

Brazil was one of the first countries in the region to adopt a policy of migration to open source at the government level, prompting multinationals to increase development in this area.

One such case is IBM (NYSE: IBM), which installed a Linux Technology Center in Brazil and recently invested US$2.2mn to expand the center, at its Campinas and Hortolndia sites in So Paulo state. The investment will cover new equipment and hiring of extra developers, with a view to boosting the center's activities......."
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What is Spreadsheet
A spreadsheet is a computer application that superseded paper worksheets. It displays multiple cells that together make up a grid consisting of rows and columns, each cell containing either alphanumeric text or numeric values. A spreadsheet cell may alternatively contain a formula that defines how the contents of that cell is to be calculated from the contents of any other cell (or combination of cells) each time any cell is updated. Spreadsheets are frequently used for financial information because of their ability to re-calculate the entire sheet automatically after a change to a single cell.

In 1971, Rene K. Pardo and Remy Landau filed a patent on a spreadsheet related algorithm. Visicalc is usually considered the first electronic spreadsheet (although this has been challenged), and it helped turn the Apple II computer into a success and greatly assisted in their widespread application. Lotus 1-2-3 was the leading spreadsheet of DOS era. Excel is now generally considered to have the largest market share.

A team of successful entrepreneurs credited for www.SelectWealthSystem.com
A new home-based-business marketing system that provides the strategic high ground for internet marketing.
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<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.SelectWealthSystem.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.SelectWealthSystem.com</a>

Muhammad ishfaq
Posted by ish221100 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Good move. Won't kill the beast
I think its pretty safe to say that Google will take a bite out of the home user that doesn't want to pay $500 dollars for office.

The real beast will be the workplace. This is one area where the spreadsheet won't compete with Excel. No IT department will trust putting/creating their spreadsheets online.

This is a pretty cool idea. With spreadsheets, email, webpage creator, maps and calendar, what will Google come out with next? I am predicting Word processor and Database will be next
Posted by mcbutterbuns (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Killing microsoft one move at a time
Well I am surprise we have not herd google doing any thing in the computer games industry, some people think that providing advertising through computer games could be a great revenue in the future. Plus I suspect as you do that we will be getting a database software of them soon, but have not google bought a company which already providing a word proccessing software over the internet. And yeah I think they are planing on killing the beast eventually one bit, one move at a time.
Posted by knowles2 (1653 comments )
Link Flag

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