A couple of weeks ago I used my Gmail account to send someone an attached Excel spreadsheet file, and noticed when I viewed the sent message in Gmail that I was offered the option to view the attachment as HTML, and sure enough, I could view my simple Excel file right in the browser (Firefox, in this case).
I’ve also played around with Google’s online browser-based spreadsheet and the Writely web-based word processor they now own.
I’ve long thought that Excel and Word offer far too many features for the average person (or at least me) to manage. I long for the original Word for Windows, which I thought was the best word processor ever – circa 1992.
All this activity at Google is obviously building towards something, and now Aaron Ricadela has an article in Information Week that lays it out:
Google this week will launch Google Apps for Your Domain, a software bundle aimed at small and midsize companies. The free, ad-supported package combines Google’s E-mail, calendar, and instant messaging with Web site creation software. It will be hosted in Google’s data center, branded with customers’ domain names, and packaged with management tools for IT pros.
That’s the first step. Later this year, Google plans to add its Writely word processor and Google Spreadsheets to the suite, build online collaboration features that work across its applications, and market the whole package to large companies for a fee. Google will include IT-friendly features such as APIs, directory-server integration, guaranteed performance levels, and telephone tech support.
Instead of trying to displace the hundreds of millions of copies of Office installed on business PCs, Google will try to snare users once they start sharing the Word and Excel files they’ve created. “The right way to view Writely and Google Spreadsheets, especially in the context of a larger business, isn’t necessarily as a replacement for Word or Excel,” says Matt Glotzbach, head of enterprise products at Google. “They’re the collaboration component of that.”
This is worth watching as it rolls out.