Google Docs: Spreadsheets, Writely on The Web

Google is scheduled to officially launch Google Docs & Spreadsheets later today at the Office 2.0 Conference in San Francisco.

Docs is a Web-based word-processing and spreadsheet that Google said is designed to
make it easier for people to create, manage, and share documents and
spreadsheets online.

Google Spreadsheets had been in beta testing since June. Back then,
product manager Jonathan Rochelle told internetnews.com the
product’s “biggest wow feature” is the ability for multiple users to
simultaneously edit spreadsheets and chat.

Rochelle said in time Google would add features to the product beyond
its spreadsheet capabilities.

That time has arrived.

Now, with a Google Account, a compatible Web browser, and an Internet
connection, users can export and import a wider variety of file
formats. There’s now an option to publish the documents to a blog or as
an HTML page, too.

Google Docs is available as a free beta starting today at this Web site.

Microsoft dominates the market for office productivity applications with its Office software suite. Google isn’t the first to challenge Microsoft. In fact, there are other online
spreadsheets designed to facilitate collaboration, such as JotSpot Tracker.

Google said it intended their product to complement existing
solutions by adding its collaboration and document-management
features to the productivity options people already enjoy.

But when Google Spreadsheets came out in beta last summer, Microsoft
withheld enthusiasm.

“Google’s new spreadsheet product is just an imitation of
functionality that many other vendors already deliver,” Microsoft
spokesperson Heather Gillissen told internetnews.com then.

“The innovations we’re delivering in Excel in terms of new usability,
new visual user interface advancements, support for collaboration and
business intelligence with things like Excel Services are so far
beyond [Google Spreadsheets] that it’s like watching a time machine
from 10 years ago.”

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