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Google: FU, MSFT

By - June 05, 2006

From the WSJ:

Google Inc. plans on Tuesday to release a Web-based spreadsheet application, according to people familiar with the matter.

Google Spreadsheet, which will be made available on a limited test basis, follows Google’s March purchase of a company offering a Web-based word processor called Writely.

The two Google Web-based applications represent possible challenges to Microsoft Corp.’s core personal-computer software business. Microsoft’s Word and Excel dominate the word processing and spreadsheet markets.

Update: Gary points out that there is another player out there already in this market, Zoho Sheet. I have to say, this is simply the other shoe dropping (and there are more coming). As a Mac guy, who just bought a Intel Mac, I’m wondering if I ever have to buy Office again. I already use Apple Mail….

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17 thoughts on “Google: FU, MSFT

  1. Woops. Damn. Screwed up and lost a couple comments on this post when I was updating it, very sorry…

  2. Google HAS confirmed to Reuters that it is coming….

    today.reuters.com/misc/PrinterFriendlyPopup.aspx?type=internetNews&storyID=2006-06-06T003629Z_01_N05307872_RTRUKOC_0_US-GOOGLE-SPREADSHEET.xml

    It is midnight EST in USA – so it could be ANY time now…

  3. JotSpot is another player too. It has a wiki style spreadsheet application.

  4. Ashwan says:

    There’s also another one called Num Sum

    http://numsum.com

  5. Amit says:

    It’s live – some screenshots here from the Tour pages

    http://labnol.blogspot.com/2006/06/google-spreadsheets-screenshots.html

  6. Phil Bradley says:

    Not just Google and Zoho Sheet – there’s Numsum, iRows, and to a slightly lesser extent, TracksLife.

  7. Philip Cunningham says:

    If you want to organise the world’s information, it is a lot easier if it is in your format.

    The spreadsheet product isn’t for company budgets and other internal grinding, where you have all the “is my data safe stored outside the building” and “my macro can do more than yours” issues. There might be some Microsoft Office deflections, but that’s surely a bonus.

    Google HAD to do a spreadsheet because it is simply the best, most flexible, easy to use database currently available. It and Writey are nice big widgets, not serious standalone programs. The future is what you can do with them.

    A spreadsheet gets data into Google in a slightly more structured format. Think a GUI for GoogleBase. Think integration into Google page creator, then look at anycalc.com, powered by XL2Web, which just happens to have been founded by Jonathan Rochelle, the Google spreadsheet product manager. The analogy is Google Earth and the acquisition of SketchUp.

    Instead of the baroque complexity of Office and its islands of data, give people a tool to use information. Spreadsheet and Writely are just seamless components of that vision. You win by changing the rules, not by a feature-for-feature race with Excel or Word.

  8. a says:

    I went to use both the word proc and the spreadsheet. I don’t know how anyone manages to use them in any productive way whatsoever. I’ll stick with Office.

  9. John says:

    Great points Philip.

    If I am a branding guy at Google I’m scared to death of making moves that would open up more questions to the users about trusting Google with data. Moving into the online Office business would essentially be Google creating this conversation with users, it is just too easy for a competitor to paint Google into a corner here. It would be akin to Bill Clinton creating a MySpace profile.

    Your explanation makes so much more sense.

  10. Don Dodge says:

    Google is directly competing with open source projects like OpenOffice and Sun’s free StarOffice.

    Google acquired Writely (word processing) and now has a spreadsheet. There was speculation last year that Google would partner with Sun to offer a version of StarOffice. Instead Google has decided to go its own way and compete with OpenOffice and StarOffice.

    C/Net says “Google spreadsheets turns up heat on Excel” I don’t think so. Microsoft Office is a powerful, industrial strength, client based, information worker productivity platform. Microsoft Office is moving beyond just being a collection of applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) to being a server based application platform for ISVs. Lots of companies run their business on Excel spreadsheets. Now creative start-ups are using Office as a front end User Interface to a whole variety of business applications.

    I wrote a blog on this subject today http://dondodge.typepad.com/the_next_big_thing/2006/06/google_competin.html

  11. KING TROLL says:

    Don, I was going to read your blog but bro I stopped when I saw your mug. Why have that ugly mug on their bro. I was like , what the fuck am I going to learn from this guy. I know its not politically correct, but ugly doesnt belong in business bro. Remive your picture ASAP if you want to attract more users. You don’t see Henry or John posting their pics.

  12. KING TROLL says:

    Don, hope you dont mind. I did post your review on Henry’s Board- Internet Outsider. Man I just found out about these log boards recently and it’s so incredible how they are all connected some how and how everyone has one. Its like where the fuck was I when this shit was getting launched. I’ve been away from the net for a few years.

  13. saurab says:

    what’s everyone’s missing out on in all this euphoria is that Google is not using or inventing a new format for their web based spreadsheet app. They’re still making sure it’s both importable and exportable in Microsoft Excel format. So, all they’re doing is adding a web based layer on top of MS Excel. So this application will by no means be a threat to Microsoft’s Excel, but on the contrary is more like an unsolicited gift from Google to MS and a generous help from the former to the latter in popularizing their spreadsheet format even more. This will mean even greater dependency on Microsoft’s Excel data format.

  14. What would be most interesting of all, it to give Google Spreadsheets the ability to query other Google Spreadsheets and pull data out of them – perhaps interacting with the data in another spreadsheet it finds from a Search Query.

    For example, lets say that you could program a Google Spreadsheet to look the value of a Online Poll, of say, who how many people liked the DaVinci Code and then – based on the value – take a certain action.

    I hope I’m giving Google’s engineers some ideas on how to improve Google Spreadsheets.

  15. Carl Shimer says:

    You also want to take a look at Numbler which offers many of the features of google spreadsheet including real-time collaboration and builtin chat.

  16. Ajit Narayan says:

    The essence of life. Human Need.

    The war for usage of information and communication is
    being driven from two fronts. Bill Gates voiced the opinion of the world getting networked, but implemented that vision with a concept network computer and thin clints. So while Mcrosoft contuinues to make, distribute and connect more and more computers and tries to align the un-connected ones with Vista, IE7 etc …

    Google’s version of the same vision answers with the idea they would like to organise the world’s information.

    A bigger idea … one that questions the hypothesis of the vision. What’s the purpose of connection? What would one do with the connection? What use is the connection when the world is after all becoming more a lonely place to live! Is this a need? If so what’s the origin?

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