Google Docs: Spreadsheets, Writely on the Web

It's back to business as usual at Google, moving in on Microsoft's turf.


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Google officially launched its Google Docs & Spreadsheets services last week 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 intends for its 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."

This article was first published on ASPNews.com.

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