September 02, 2006
Some light blog reading turns up Google Spreadsheets as well. It allows you to upload and download spreadsheets in Excel .XLS or .CSV (comma separated value) file formats. Again, the defining feature is the real-time concurrent collaboration. Multiple people can edit and view at the same time.
Now with word processing, I can see where simultaneous edits makes sense -- for instance, a group of authors working on the same article. With spreadsheets, though, a group would need to be more careful not to disrupt dependent formulas and cell logic. In this instance, it may make more sense to agree as to who will develop the calculations, and then allow others to enter or modify the data as needed.
In any event, it's a nice addition to the Google family, with the caveat to use good judgment with sensitive data.
September 01, 2006
Writely is Back
Just noticed that Writely is now accepting new registrations -- finally. As I posted previously, it was temporarily closed to new sign-ups after Google acquired it months ago. Writely is a free web-based collaborative word processor. You may want to read their terms of service along the way, and I wouldn't store sensitive information in such a service. Be that as it may, it's a useful evolutionary step to augment word processing with online collaboration. To learn more about Writely, visit the Writely Help Center.
In other news, Google will be releasing a premium version of its collaboration services later this year. This week, Google released Google Apps for Your Domain, a group of free, hosted communication and collaboration tools such as email, instant messaging and Web authoring tools.
As the linked article above describes, Google is going to have an uphill road in convincing conventional enterprise IT management that they are a serious enterprise player. I see their services having more immediate appeal to small to mid-sized companies. Google needs to demonstrate how their services will enable an organization's business drivers and strategies, with sufficient security and support, to such an extent that companies will want to displace current technology and vendors for it. Cost savings alone may not be enough, although it's effective at times.
It wouldn't surprise me if some form of Writely will be included in one of those offerings, perhaps geared with better focus on security and protection of confidential data. Google's strategy appears aimed at attacking Microsoft and other large technology providers at their soft underbelly -- the SMB market, where pricing and IT support costs are more sensitive. Not a bad first step for a company perceived as mainly a consumer web service provider.
Either way, the Web 2.0 juggernaut continues to move forward with Google among those leading the charge.