And Now Google Docs & Spreadsheets

Google combines its Writely online word processing software with spreadsheets into a single application destination:

Here’s more from Google:

Google Docs & Spreadsheets integrates Writely and Google Spreadsheets into a single, easy-to-use product that takes an innovative approach to a very specific problem in the productivity-software space: enabling people to manage and collaborate on the documents and spreadsheets they rely on in their personal and professional lives, no matter where they are or when they need to access them.

With Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google is taking a set of important tasks and offering an online solution to completing them individually or with a broader group. With a Google Account, a compatible web browser, and an Internet connection, users will now easily be able to:

— Create documents and spreadsheets, and then manage and access them in a single, secure location
— Easily collaborate with others, online and in real time
— Export to and import from a wide variety of file formats
— Share them with others as view-only
— Publish them to a blog or as an HTML page

Simply put, Google Docs & Spreadsheets is focused on providing users with an innovative and efficient way to create and share information on the Web.

And now for the perfunctory: “It’s another sign that Google is encroaching on Microsoft’s turf.” And the other angle here: “What about document security?”

While this is probably a very useful application for certain purposes it’s not yet in a position to really threaten Office. Also, yes, corporate IT types won’t go for this (nor will some individuals) because of security concerns. (i.e., Google’s got the data.)

Most interesting to me are the collaboration and publishing options, which makes docs & spreadsheets a little like a wiki. Google recently upgraded Groups to add more social and wiki-like features.

What Google really needs to do is figure out ways to combine its various applications into an integrated suite that doesn’t mimic Office functionality but offers interesting and different extensions of document creation and collaboration into groups and online publishing. Google would probably argue that’s what it’s doing with this release.

A fuller web-based Office competitor is Zoho.

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