Google is launching an online spreadsheet that will let you load Excel files and share documents online. Up to 10 people can work on the spreadsheet at the same time – the names of people editing and reading it will appear in a chat window. Users can save the documents to their Google account or export them as .csv, .xls or html files. Like the launch of Gmail, Google is limiting the number of new users for software – still in beta – to avoid overloading its systems. Cnet wonders, should Microsoft be worried?
Google Offers Spreadsheet Beta
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2006-06-07 6:14 pmfornwall
Now, I think the only uses for this is
1) collaboration, when people want to work on stuff together.. other than that I don’t see much use for it.
Oh, people who wants to work on stuff together? That doesn’t seem very important, what use is that? Oh, wait…
No. Not at all. For small distributed teams this is a good idea, but no large company worth their salt would ever use this. Plus I just don’t know how trustworthy Google is as of late…
2006-06-06 11:25 pmscuro_falcao
google reffuses to give the DEA some information
while everyone else hands everything over.
and since google makes the news about it because they are trying to protect privacy..
and people say google isnt trustworthy?
2006-06-06 11:33 pmBig Al
I think the questions about Google’s “integrity” (if a company can have such a thing) is because they acquiesced to China’s censoring demands.
2006-06-07 2:54 pmCrimsonScythe
Yes, that could be a semi-valid point. Since they wanted to stay in business there, they didn’t really have much choice. What they did, however, was to make a fuzz about it in the news, and that way expose that both Yahoo and Microsoft censored without letting anybody know..
In my opinion, that’s the better way to solve this. If they’ve refused to censor, they would have been locked out of the market. Instead, they stayed in the market, while at the same time letting the Chinese users know that their searches are being censored by their government. IIRC, a message is displayed when a search has been censored in Google, while the other search engines just let the users think there were no results. If anyone have any corrections, please let me know.
I personally think this is a great way to silently fight the Chinese government and their censorship.
2006-06-07 4:32 pmsappyvcv
I like to put it this way: Some google is better than no google at all.
They had no choice. It was either no google in China, at all (shareholders and chinese people would not be happy), or allow themselves to be censored because that was the only other option.
It’s not the US we’re talking about. They couldn’t fight it in court. It was either a do or die.
2006-06-06 11:56 pmsmitty
I would trust google more than Yahoo or MSN, but after the way they rolled over for China I don’t think you can trust them either. Sure, they’re refusing to help the govt. now, but as soon as the going gets tough we’ll see what happens.
2006-06-07 11:43 amgrep
“No. Not at all. For small distributed teams this is a good idea, but no large company worth their salt would ever use this. Plus I just don’t know how trustworthy Google is as of late…”
With all the anti-trust cases on Microsoft I suppose they’re trustworthy? Right…
2006-06-07 7:51 pmj.blechert
I guess they’re not, but with all the private data google already collects (willingly or unwillingly) through search, gmail, google talk, etc. I don’t think they should be fed any more.
Google is a serious breach in privacy, even if it does nothing with all the information, the problem is still there.
It’s better to be save than sorry, I rather have my data on a local harddrive that I can secure in any way that I want to, than have it in the hands of someone I don’t even know.
Maybe great for home use, not for a business. Old technology rehashed…dumb terminals anyone? Those were replaced by the PC for a reason……
2006-06-07 4:49 amklynch
And what reason would that be? Thin clients have their place too. They are easier to secure, maintain, repair, upgrade, backup, … all from one central location.
Though PCs have their use, they are not always the best.
2006-06-07 5:01 amDrillSgt
“And what reason would that be? Thin clients have their place too. They are easier to secure, maintain, repair, upgrade, backup, … all from one central location.”
Well, true in a sense. No companies really use thin clients anymore. Is old technology, as well as slow. That is why the PC’s are better..they do things much quicker.
2006-06-07 6:18 amchekr
“Well, true in a sense. No companies really use thin clients anymore. Is old technology, as well as slow. That is why the PC’s are better..they do things much quicker.”
Thin clients are, as Matty pointed out, used quite alot. The most common is of course Windows Terminal Services. If you think thin client technology is slow you should head over to your local Sun iForce or solutions centre and take a look at the Sun Ray devices. A truly stateless thin client, or DoIP (Display Over IP) has its advantages (lower staff req., power usage, less air con, e-waste, hot desking, mobility, roaming, etc.). Just wait and see when DoIP and VoIP are merged!
Thin clients definitely have their place, no you are not going to deploy them for image manipulation or video playback but they do more than suffice for administration, call center and productivity applications.
2006-06-07 6:33 amDrillSgt
“Thin clients definitely have their place, no you are not going to deploy them for image manipulation or video playback but they do more than suffice for administration, call center and productivity applications.”
I suppose. The only use I have ever seen is like VMWare server and software testing. I sure as hell would not run any applications on them for critical business use. Citrix is a joke and useless IMO. YMMV of course.
2006-06-07 7:01 amchekr
“Citrix is a joke and useless IMO. YMMV of course.”
If you had specified Citrix I would agree with you wholeheartedly
It is a shame that so many people view Citrix as the epitomy of thin client computing.
2006-06-07 8:15 amSoulbender
“They are easier to secure, maintain, repair, upgrade, backup, … all from one central location.”
Because it’s really good for security to store your companies confidential documents at Google. I cant see how that could possibly go wrong.
Also, how do you work on your important and urgent spreadsheet for the afternoon meeting if your network connection is down and you cant get to Google?
2006-06-08 6:55 amklynch
You took my comment out of context. In no way was that in reference to Google’s Spreadsheet, or any other future Google webapp. I was defending the concept of thin clients, not talking about running web based apps (which in my mind is different from a thin client setup).
2006-06-07 5:13 pmSphinx
Maybe great for home use, not for a business. Old technology rehashed…dumb terminals anyone? Those were replaced by the PC for a reason.
That would depend on your business. But that was when, about 1984? And what exactly was that reason? Could times have actually changed and technology evolved? As I recollect:
Then: Most frame relay connections were around 16k, lan was arcnet about 2.5 megabits if even that. There was no internet but you could dial my bbs running CPM on two 8 inch shugarts and a screaming eagle 8086 card and send fido mail around the globe, arriving in a couple days after being relayed over and over by local calls only.
Now: Broadband almost everywhere, I have a 10 megabyte fiber optic cable terminated in my house, voip works great, video is streaming, working remotely is almost indistinguishable from local. I send someone mail it’s immediate.
Sun has it right, “the network is the computer”, resistance is futile.
2006-06-07 5:21 pmDrillSgt
“Now: Broadband almost everywhere, I have a 10 megabyte fiber optic cable terminated in my house, voip works great, video is streaming, working remotely is almost indistinguishable from local. I send someone mail it’s immediate.”
True in a way, not in others. You say broadband almost everywhere, yet roughly 1/3 of the US can not get broadband and is still stuck on dial-up. All things are relative. If you are on the coasts, fine. If you are in the middle of the country, broadband is not everywhere. There are too many places which can not even get cable let alone DSL. 10MB Fiber would be nice, but also extremely expensive, over $2K US per month. That does not sound all that great and popular to me.
2006-06-08 11:17 amSphinx
Spots on the west coast, I happen to be lucky enough to be in one, get 10 megabit fiber optic to the front door for around $45.00 USD a month with a 40 gigabyte monthly cap, raised to 80gb for another $20 with a fixed ip for $2 more, installation is free, combined with 20 channels of cable TV and POTS for about $84 altogether You’re right, I forget it’s not everywhere yet.
2006-06-08 4:32 pmDrillSgt
“Spots on the west coast, I happen to be lucky enough to be in one, get 10 megabit fiber optic to the front door for around $45.00 USD a month with a 40 gigabyte monthly cap, raised to 80gb for another $20 with a fixed ip for $2 more, installation is free, combined with 20 channels of cable TV and POTS for about $84 altogether You’re right, I forget it’s not everywhere yet.”
Very nice. I hope they get that in LA soon!
2006-06-08 10:57 amSphinx
Damn, should be 1.5 megabit vs. 1 gigabit.
Google’s launch of a Web-based spreadsheet on Tuesday is further proof that the company is eyeing Microsoft’s Office stronghold
emm so ?
Has Microsoft not been eyeing up Googles business for the past few months, even going so far as to buy Yahoo ?
I learnt long ago about CNet, (news.com.com), they are 100% Microsoft shills and always take their side.
CNet can safely be ignored
2006-06-07 12:07 amlopisaur
True anout CNet, they are part of ZD (or the other way around? I’m not sure). Back in the day, ZD had the best computing-related publications in the industry (PC Magazine, PC/Computing, Computer Shopper), but several years ago they went 110% Microsoft. PC Magazine has become anything BUT a magazine about PCs, focusing more on cell phones, MP3 players, etc.
The only things worth reading in PC Magazine used to be Jim Seymour’s column (who passed away in 2002) and John C. Dvorak’s. But Dvorak’s not who he used to be either; I’m guessing we’re all getting older.
Something like this and skype would be a boon for business students and other students too, and that popularity will find it’s way into the workplace in some way.
Think about the potential to work on a business plan with your online team partners!
I entered an email address on google’s email form this morning but haven’t gotten a reply. has anyone heard back from them? Am I already too late?
“But if Google can offer proper online software services before Microsoft can get its Windows Live juggernaut moving, it might win by default”
Umm no. Michael Robertson is trying to do the same thing (http://www.ajaxxls.com/) and aside from the neat Ajax stuff (if you could even say that), I haven’t heard anything else about it.
When it comes to Excel, Microsoft is the default…it doesn’t matter how long it takes for them get their “Windows Live juggernaut” moving…once it’s launched it will be the default web based Office solution. When I think of Google, I think search, not Excel. What a stupid idea.
2006-06-07 2:28 pmdmdavis
“When it comes to Excel, Microsoft is the default”
True, but I don’t think this is just because it is Microsoft. Excel is an amazing, incredibly featureful, very stable program. And they don’t just have fluff features, but really useful features that I see people using all the time, like pivot tables. Somehow, I don’t see those features coming into Microsoft’s web version if they make one, at least not right away.
Google’s Spreadsheet is a great app for making lists and doing formulas, with some great online features. If you want to really use a spreadsheet, it just won’t cut it. Really, nothing compares with Excel in that arena.
N.B. I’m not a Microsoft fan, but I certainly have a lot of respect for this piece of software.
I could get to use the goodle spreadsheet but can it plot graphs of data?
2006-06-07 4:51 amklynch
That’s what gnuplot is for!
Actually, I’m pretty serious. It wouldn’t be that difficult to have the spreadsheet to generate scripts that are run through gnuplot to a png and sent to the user.
Hmm, not necessarily ‘trust worthy’ but reliability will be the greater question.
Google, if they get their act together, might offer competition to the Office Live! service, but at the end of the day, the only real competitor to Microsoft Office is OpenOffice.org.
A few years ago, Wordperfect Suite would have been the ideal take over target for SUN – a good office suite, very familar name (Wordperfect and Wordstar, both names most people would remember from 10-20 years ago), good reputation etc. etc. The unfortunate thing, the latest version has fallen further behind Microsoft Office, and OpenOffice.org isn’t going to do much better given the lack of investment by Sun in the way of feature to feature competitiveness.
Edited 2006-06-07 05:34
Based on what evidence? the concept of ‘thin clients’ isn’t dead – I can assure you of that, what is dead, is the idea of purchasing a thin client when one can grab a regular $299 PC, load it with Linux, dump a winframe client ontop and voila, access to a Winframe/Windows Terminal server – the ATO (Australian Tax Office) along with ANZ Bank both use that in their organisations.
If thin clients wish to compete, the prices of these machines would have to drop atleast to $50 per unit to make it a viably competitor to the standard PC in terms of initial purchase – now sure, long term, thin clients do work out cheaper when looking at the overall TCO, but when it comes to the initial cost, that is what scares alot of people off the idea.
Well… Google spreadsheets has huge importance.. provided it remains free!
My company runs on Linux and many clients uses MS-Word, MS-Excel… and we do face lot of compatibility issues. Buying a MSOffice is out of reach for small company like us. If the google spreadsheet and google word [ writely ] doesnot face any compatibility issue then it has enromus value and is going to save thousand of dollars from small company like us.
It really doesnt matter much who is offering online spreadsheet program… as long as its free and has no compatibility issues with MS-Word and MS-Excel
So rumors were true, they’re not preparing new OS to fight with Windows. They will just make online programs like Office, Calendaring etc and steal MS Office customers. Because now customers can run any OS, even the free one
Pixel image editor – http://www.kanzelsberger.com
This is great. Not having to buy/download/install/maintain an Office app but just use an online spreadsheet I would imagine would be of use to many people, especially when you consider the limited use most people have for spreadsheet programs.
OK it there might be a risk to security/privacy but a lot of the information people work out on spreadsheets probably isn’t that confidential.
Provided Google continue to fund this projects through advertising then I can’t see how the consumer can lose. Considering MS’s prices even a small monthly fee would probably be acceptable to a lot of people.
Does anyone get Google? Now they spit another weird app that does not seem to fit in any sort of global strategy of any kind. Did they get rich by accident but do not really have any sort of direction they are aiming for?
2006-06-07 10:07 amr2d2d3d4d5
I don’t think Google are particularly interested in selling any particular program, but rather in offering the Google experience in everything people use their computers for. Of course once people are hooked into one program they find out about another and so forth.
Kind of similar to MS shipping lots of tiny (but unrelated to the OS) apps with Windows. You don’t buy into Windows because of them but it’s all part of the experience.
Of course every time someone uses one of their online apps they also make some money through advertising.
2006-06-07 11:08 amelmimmo
The Google experience? Their products are everything but homogeneous. Sketchup, Picasa, Google Earth… You tell me what’s the common “experience” in them.
2006-06-07 11:19 pmr2d2d3d4d5
The one’s I’ve used at least have a sort of concistancy in the interface.
Also, the Google Messenger service ties in with the Google Email service which ties in with the Google Callendar service. The Spreadsheet Service probably also ties in with the email/messenger service when in co-operative mode.
The online version of Google Earth is an extension of the Google search engine in may ways.
MS have been selling Office suites with applications that often don’t tie in with each other for a long time. But people are often happy to buy into that, even when they are not aware of the individual application, partly for the overall Office ‘experience’.
It seems a bit odd that so far Google seem to have chosen not to support ODF or other open formats.
I would have thought that providing ODF support would have given them a small advantage, especially in circumstances where open standards are mandated. Of course it’s still work in progress so we’ll have to wait and see where it goes…
2006-06-07 6:00 pm@@__@@
ODF support is near, please be patient. This is only the first stage of Spreadsheets.
Regarding these online office suites, I think that ThinkFree was the only one that got it right. ThinkFree offers an online version of their ThinkFree Office Suite which comprises a word processor, a spreadsheet and a presentation software and since it is entirely developed in Java, I can only imagine that it was relatively simple to tweak it to work as an applet.
Contrary to the common belief, it is fairly responsive for an “applet” as big as it is (although I did test it on a reasonable powerful machine) and the online version kept the reasonable compatibility with MSOffice formats that they achieved with the regular version.
Since it is a Java app, it can overcome several AJAX limitations and still get close to the feature set offered by MSOffice and OO.org. Everything inside a browser window with the familiar user interface that users have grown used to.
ThinkFree went one step further and created a very nice online document manager that lets you even share your documents with other users of their services.
Google really dropped the ball here. They should have bought ThinkFree instead of Writely.com as the former offer so much more potential than the latter that´s not even funny.
Edited 2006-06-07 18:46
I doubt it will go anywhere. Because it’s Web-based, and because Linux and other non-MS users are generally privacy concerned, it will not do well in my opinion.
Export to CSV, HTML, XLS… where’s ODF? C’mon, Google, support open standards!
In case you do not get or have access to try out Google Spreadsheet, I gave it a run this morning and had some problems with it. It’s still a promising piece of software. You can read my brief review of it and check out some screenshots, here:
looks to me like they are wanting to build a portal
to stick customers to their website without buying their way into it.
Now, I think the only uses for this is
1) collaboration, when people want to work on stuff together
2) being able to open excell documents from websites when you can not afford to install microsoft office or have the resources or space for open office.
other than that I don’t see much use for it.
Google should pay attention to other useful projects.
for example, if they created user profiles (the same way myspace operates) in combination with GMail and Google Talk! the possibilities could be extreme.
Combine that with auctions and a payment processor with storefronts, and the most powerful search on the net and you got something that will be hard to beat.
Why is it that I understand this stuff but CEOs dont?
I believe creating online softare suites rather than software thats actually on the PC will not provide effective competition to desktop software because of having to be online and the wait for pages to load and privacy concerns. I’m sure it could be done but I’m sure the processing costs will exceed ad revenue. Why do it? Similiar projects have died off. Windows Live! Is a Joke and is basicly an alternative msn portal so far.
Edited 2006-06-06 22:24