Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Google Enters Web-Office Market 232

Posted by Zonk
from the looking-forward-to-online-clippy dept.
jaiva writes "Google's official blog tells us that Google has acquired Writely, a collaborative word processor." From the article: "To be clear, Writely is still in beta, and it's far from perfect. Upholding our great user experience means everything to us, so we're not accepting new registrations until we've moved Writely to Google's software architecture. If you're interested in giving us a try, we hope you'll get on the waitlist so we can let you know when you'll be able to try out Writely."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Enters Web-Office Market

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09, 2006 @05:33PM (#14886491)
    In other news, Google releases a new slogan:

    "What starts in beta, stays in beta"
  • Login Info (Score:4, Informative)

    by ZiakII (829432) * on Thursday March 09, 2006 @05:34PM (#14886498)
    Typical slashdoter... not checking www.bugmenot.com .... Try this

    Login: boston@dodgeit.com
    Password: Boston

    Enjoy! (Yes I tested it unless some troll changed the password. )
  • by creimer (824291) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @05:34PM (#14886499) Homepage
    To be clear, Writely is still in beta, and it's far from perfect.

    A perfect into the Google product line.
  • wiki killer? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by keilinw (663210) * on Thursday March 09, 2006 @05:37PM (#14886520) Homepage Journal
    I'd really be interested in something along these lines... but with wiki integration! How cool would that be? WYSIWIG wiki, end user focused, and with security features.... so that even dumb people could use it... err.. I think thats what this is huh?

    --Matt Wong
    http://www.themindofmatthew.com [themindofmatthew.com]
    • Re:wiki killer? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Mean Variance (913229)
      Or they'll just buy Jotspot.
    • From Mark Aliers team. Gives you a wiki with access control, wysiwyg, and all that cool wiki stuff.

      Actually there is a wysiwyg wiki in Moodle now, but the new one is better:-).

      Get the beta here, [moodle.org] (get 1.6 for the wiki) :

      And tell Google to hire us all, I mean shouldn't google have an LMS too?
  • I can't wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09, 2006 @05:37PM (#14886525)

    till i can upload my company files to an American advertising based company so they can rifle through our documents looking for whatever them or their goverment takes their fancy

    yeah i can predict this will be a great success

    • Re:I can't wait (Score:5, Insightful)

      by quanticle (843097) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:51PM (#14887109) Homepage

      I understand the point you're trying to make, but I really wouldn't mind having something like this. As a college student, I often have multiple unsynchronized copies of term papers in different places. A service like Writely helps keep everything up-to-date, and in one place.

      As for privacy, if you want to search through my History of Science term paper, be my guest.

      • And offer me some help also please.
      • As a college student, I often have multiple unsynchronized copies of term papers in different places.

        OK, I'll bite.

        WHY do you often have multiple unsynchronized copies of important documents laying around?

        Are you really that disorganized that you can't keep track of a single copy?

        Puzzled...
        • I don't know if I had different unsyncrhonize term papers all over the place, but I can totally see his point that it's great to have an online document when working on term papers in university. When I was in school, I had no laptop, so I had one computer at home. If I wanted to work on it somewhere else, I'd have to email it to myself. Then I'd work on that and email it back to myself. Sure, I just always check the most recent email for the most recent copy, but this just makes so much more sense. And ima
          • I'm not disputing the value of web-based word-processing software -- being able to work from any (net-connected) computer is indeed A Good Thing.

            My point is that having multiple, possibly un-synchronized copies of ANY document is a logistical nightmare. Having lived through too many cases of "it works on MY system" where the problem turns out to be different versions of the "same" source code makes me cringe at the thought of anything other than One True Copy of a document being "live" at any given time.

            Fo
      • Re:I can't wait (Score:2, Insightful)

        by missing_boy (627271)
        You sound like my mom. She says that "Why should I be afraid of , as long as I'm not doing anything wrong...?" in reply to my concerns about our decaying civil liberties. You cannot accept the possibility of your private affairs being surveilled, read or gathered by anybody, unless you're perfectly happy with living in what can very easily turn into a dictatorial police state.
      • I took history of science.. If you're not careful someone will search your paper and then patent it as an insomnia treatment. Before you flame me.. I thought the class was interesting.. the reading was much more dull :-p
    • You don't think this will be successful because many companies won't upload their important documents to an online site? That's pretty ridiculous. All of google's tools are geared for the most part toward desktop computers at home. As such, I'm going to use it because it's a great alternative to paying 600 bucks or however much Office costs for a word processor, and I'm sure that many other people will feel the same way.
    • companies can buy google hardware [google.com] for intranet searches. Maybe they will do the same for all other applications they are working with. Since these are however still closed source "black boxes", AND connected to your network, I don't know how trustworthy you can be that these will not upload everything to the big google database.
    • What kind of moron would use this service on company files, or on documents with information you need kept secure? We've been over this same thing with gmail. If your dumb enough to publish secrets to another company's system you deserve what you get.

      And besides, the goverment will just be able to crack into your computer and take anything they want soon anyway. Why bother with Google?
      • Re:I can't wait (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cmacb (547347)
        "What kind of moron would use this service on company files, or on documents with information you need kept secure? "

        Believe me, the typical user of Microsoft Office is even DUMBER! They carry around important documents on floppy disks and laptops, frequently misplacing both and sometime losing them. They e-mail their freaking Word and Excel files to each other anyway, up to the point where the files are so big they bounce. Finally they are often at the mercy of network administrators who don't give a ra
    • Why not, considering that GDS was?
  • by LiftOp (637065) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @05:39PM (#14886546) Homepage
    Spelchecker needs werk.

    Love, Gogle Developmint Teem

  • by pvt_medic (715692) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @05:40PM (#14886559)
    While there is great debate about googles master plan or if it has one. The whole concept that they make things and then try to make them profitable. The more i see their actions the more a threat to almost every element of the PC industry they present.
    1-Online Storage
    2-Office Suite Program
    3-Data Search
    4-E-Mail, Chat
    5-Entertainment (Video, Photos)
    6-Online Sales ?7?-Games?? (is this a possibility down the line) A large sector with big potential

    I'll be honest I am one who thinks that eventually we are going to be returning to dummy terminals, a lot of these items would support that. I think they have a bigger plan, and I think we are beginning to see pieces that fit together. But also they have one or two more cards they havent played yet.
    • we are going to be returning to dummy terminals

      So, you are switching back to Windows?

      Kidding aside, I doubt we will switch to dummy terminals but it would certainly lessen the requirement of any particular OS.
      • I doubt we will switch to dummy terminals but it would certainly lessen the requirement of any particular OS.

        Personally, I see us switching to dummy terminals to interface with computers, but home computers will still exist. The idea would be that the "Desktop Computer" as we know it today would disappear and be replaced by a device that is capable of video/audio I/O through devices like your televsion and stereo system (thus allowing you to "watch TV/listen to the Radio" off the Internet, or record your fa
        • Personally, I see us switching to dummy terminals to interface with computers, but home computers will still exist. The idea would be that the "Desktop Computer" as we know it today would disappear and be replaced by a device ...

          This is often called "convergence", but I think "divergence" would be more appropos. It makes sense to create specialist devices from general-purpose stored program computers. An MP3 player is a computer. A GameBoy is a computer. A Non-contact Digital Thermometer with Laser Sig

    • I'll be honest I am one who thinks that eventually we are going to be returning to dummy terminals

      Would that be like the Etch-a-Sketch that Dilbert's PHB has? (only desktop, not portable)

    • by larry bagina (561269) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:04PM (#14886780) Journal
      remember when google burst on the scene? Yahoo! was formerly the king of search engines, but they got sidetracked with other things -- message boards, chat, email, auctions, stores, credit cards, hell they even had a magazine. Google showed up, doing searches and nothing but searches.

      So now google has expanded into other territory. Half of their services are in perpetual beta. Thanks to keyword spamming and gaming the google, their search results are often useless. Click fraud is very real.

      Google is a threat, but they're a threat to themselves.

      • Ummm, Altavista was the king of search. Yahoo! was born a portal. Yahoo! viewed search as a commodity, or loss leader.
      • I left Yahoo when they started throwing up so much garbage on their front page related to every single service they were trying to offer. It started getting real hard to find the content among all the self advertising.

        Google has very much _not_ made that mistake. Their front page is about as simple as it can get.
    • 6-Online Sales ?7?-Games?? (is this a possibility down the line) A large sector with big potential

      Check out spore [google.com]. Ok, so it's not from Google, but it is hosted on their page. I'm posting this link because it just looks like such a cool idea.

      Willy

    • Alright, I've thought about Google a lot and here are my thoughts:

      First, google found an unexplored online market. Yes, they essentially discovered the market that allows for ads to be placed in a context sensitive way (freakish nerds who will say that no it was actually some other unknown that did it--just leave me alone damn you). They pwned this corner of the market completely. This means they got huge fat margins and a giant expansion curve. However, this market they cornered is, at the end of th
  • by slashbob22 (918040) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @05:43PM (#14886590)
    Slashpoo^H^H^Hdot:
    A collaborati^H^H^Hative environment is the^H^H^H only good if you hate^H^H^H^H trust the people you are working with.

    ---
    I have used my share of realtime collaborative environments. For some reason, someone is always immature enough to start drawing rude pictures or writing pointless statements.

    While I realize it isn't always the case, I find that half of the people I collaborate with online are in the same building. Come visit, lets go for a coffee and work on the same document there.
  • Right Direction (Score:4, Interesting)

    by whois_drek (829212) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @05:43PM (#14886591)
    This is certainly a step in the right direction. I'm interested in automatic document generation, and it's a coincidence that Peter Norvig gave a talk at a colloquium here at BYU this morning. I asked him if he thought Google would ever get into the business of automatically generating documents using their 500 TB of data as a source (i.e. automatically created Wikipedia articles on any subject). He said no, because of copyright issues and the like, but it'll be interesting to see how "Writely" turns out. It seems like it's a stepping stone to completely automated document generation, and might yield some good ideas.
  • Google's suite... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sdirrim (909976)
    On one hand, this may be an intro into a market in which Google will begin to destroy Microsoft's market share. On the other hand, this could be just the opportunity Microsoft needs to bring Google down. Google and Microsoft will now have products in the same category: Word Processors.
    • Wait, which one of them doesn't do Searching, Web News, Web Mail, Online Mapping, and Image Searching?

      Because if Word Processors are the only thing they compete on, something else must have changed.
    • Imagine this:

      Papers: Wallstreet disappointed in ms share erosion due to Google products being releases one after another...

      ms: (Chortling) We'll reverse our losses! We'll BUY GOOGLE!

      Papers: In a stunning REversal, ms share price rises..

      (2 days later)

      Papers: For the first time, a company refusing to be bought out publicly stated before journalists: FUCK YOU microsoft!

      (1 hour later)

      Papers: In a stunning TRAversal, Wallstreet HAMMERS the shit out of ms shares... ...

      In other news... Dove was found to contain no
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09, 2006 @05:46PM (#14886620)
    Writely is based upon ASP.NET.

    Will this save them appreciable time? They will have to do a rewrite or be based on Microsoft technology (yeah, right).
    • by pebs (654334) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:26PM (#14886956) Homepage
      Writely is based upon ASP.NET.
      Will this save them appreciable time? They will have to do a rewrite or be based on Microsoft technology (yeah, right).


      I doubt they will do a rewrite. Probably get it running in Mono/Linux if anything. Orkut is written in ASP.Net, but I believe they run it in Mono/Linux.
    • Are they buying the product or the talent? A few years back, Apple bought a small company that made an audio jukebox application. They scrapped the applications and had the developer write a new one learning from his previous experiences. They called this new application iTunes. Google may be doing something similar; buying the company because it gets them people with experience building this kind of application.
  • Best features (Score:5, Informative)

    by Beuno (740018) <(argentina) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @05:47PM (#14886624) Homepage
    One of the most impressive features of Writely is that it integrates perfectlly with Word and OpenOffice.
    From their FAQ:

            * Upload Word documents, OpenOffice, RTF, HTML or text (or create documents from scratch).
            * Use our simple WYSIWYG editor to format your documents, spell-check them, etc.
            * Invite others to share your documents (by e-mail address).
            * Edit documents online with whomever you choose.
            * View your documents' revision history and roll back to any version.
            * Publish documents online to the world, or to just who you choose.
            * Download documents to your desktop as Word, OpenOffice, RTF, PDF*, HTML or zip.
            * Post your documents to your blog.
    • Re:Best features (Score:2, Interesting)

      by coastin (780654) *
      Yes, they are also very responsive to their users. I began using Writely when they first rolled out could I could collaborate with my project leader on a technical paper we were writing for publication in a scientific journal. At the time they did not support OpenOffice, but they responded to an e-mail I sent that it was in the works. A few days later it was added to the supported format list. You can also e-mail your text to create a document.
  • by ferd_farkle (208662) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:03PM (#14886775)

    "a collaborative word processor that runs in a web browser"

    This sort of app is awfully reminiscent of The World Wide Web, written by Tim Berners-Lee at Cern a while back. Anything ever come of that...?

  • best quote (Score:4, Funny)

    by matt4077 (581118) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:05PM (#14886787) Homepage
    It's true -- everyone told us it was crazy to try and give people a way to access their documents from anywhere -- not to mention share documents instantly, or collaborate online within their browsers

    She sounds like Napoleon after starting the war against russia, or maybe Einstein telling someone time is relative and space is bent.

    Oh my GOD, sharing DOCUMENTS??? REVOLUTION! Someone call Nobel. He has TO GIVE HER A PRICE.

  • Another alternative to M$ is gOffice.com
  • Writely pros + cons (Score:5, Informative)

    by Damana Mathos (825898) <[moc.ecirsamoht] [ta] [samoht]> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:11PM (#14886834) Homepage Journal
    I've used Writely for about 5 months now. Obviously I like it, but what I see as the pros + cons are:

    Pros
    * Good, clean user interface
    * Access documents from anywhere (main reason I use it)
    * Don't lose your documents if your PC dies
    * Sharing documents is good when planning things in groups

    Cons
    * Privacy issues
    * Not as feature rich as Word

    Privacy wasn't really a concern of mine, mainly because the documents I work on aren't highly confidential -- I'm not writing down my PIN numbers and not plotting evil plans. ;) If you're not doing those, then it just becomes a trade-off between privacy and convenience.

    Features I'd like them to add include: user-defined styles, ability to copy/paste graphics, and improved table layouts. So far though, it's pretty good.

    In other words, check it out once it's open again. ;)
    • I'd list a lot more cons than that. I've been using Writely for a while also. I experimented with it as a means to document customer networks on the go, but decided that security is too much of a concern for sensitive data. As a word processor, it lacks some very basic elements, such as tab stops. The problem is that this type of functionality can be very difficult to emulate using native browser widgets. The interface is also very buggy. I regularly run into unexpected behavior when editing documents.

      I thi
  • Writely Vs Word (Score:3, Insightful)

    by highwaytohell (621667) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:18PM (#14886888)
    Is this an attempt for Google to compete with Microsoft in word processing? Because as cool as this may be, it's going to be mighty difficult to topple Microsoft in that department. The Office Suite is so embedded in the corporate world and homes that garnering support for this product will be difficult at best. People know how to use Word. The majority won't want to go to something else that is new and shiny. CIO's won't take the risk of switching over to a new system when they already have a tried and tested system in place.

    Microsoft already whipped most opposition to it. Also, after development is this going to be free or is the consumer going to end up paying for the privelege?

    It appears more and more apparent that Google is basing their business model on Microsoft (acquire and re-badge).

    I'd love to see Google actually take the fight to Microsoft on something that Microsoft has not traditionally been strong at and show them how it should be done. Show them that they are innovaters and not just tagging along on already established software. Trying and compete with them on this front is almost a lost cause.
    • Google's key strength is server-centric services, and I think it will continue to lead in this area.

      The key question is -- do you think we are moving to a server-centric world? For 20 years the home PC has been the key focus, but as broadband (always on) connections become ubiquitous and speeds increase, the disadvantages of doing things server-side declines.

      My view is that we are moving towards a world where more things reside server-side, and Google will lead in this area.

      For businesses, I think they'd em
    • Re:Writely Vs Word (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <{su.narima} {ta} {niwrehs}> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:42PM (#14887055) Homepage Journal
      I'd love to see Google actually take the fight to Microsoft on something that Microsoft has not traditionally been strong at and show them how it should be done. Show them that they are innovaters and not just tagging along on already established software. Trying and compete with them on this front is almost a lost cause.

      How about:

      Search (Google>MSN or Windows Live)
      E-mail (Gmail>Hotmail)
      Desktop Search (G. Desktop>Windows Indexing Service. We'll see about Vista)
      Corporate Intranet Search (Google Enterprise>WDS Enterprise)
      What about Google Scholar, or Google Answers?
      What about Google Wifi?

      Google's good at search. Really good. They've made a LOT of money with search, and "search" technologies are the kind of thing you can integrate into most any application, and cross-applications as well.

      Thus, when Google wants to compete with Microsoft, why bother building a new solution, when they can purchase a company that builds a great solution, but is financially incapable of competing with Microsoft?

      Buy Keyhole. Add Search.
      Buy Hello+Picassa. Add Search.
      Buy Blogger. Add Search.
      Build on Jabber. Add Search.

      See the trend?

      Add a program to the Google palette, make it interoperate with the other Google apps, and move on.

      Writely is a nice product. It produces Word and OpenOffice.org compatible output. It's a good enough wordprocessor for 99% of people. And as a web app, Google can integrate it into Gmail, Blogger, hell, Google Talk. Add in search. Add in online storage.

      See the Google strategy?

      Of course, you've got to be able to run your web apps on browsers, and if MS dominates the browser market, that could get risky. Then again, one might wonder why Google funds Mozilla [slashdot.org] and Opera [gigaom.com]. Note that there isn't ANYTHING fishy going on here; Firefox (and Opera) give Google search referrals, and Google pays them. It's entirely straightforward, non-binding, and easy to change by the user.

      As soon as I get the opporunity, I'm switching my company to an online Office solution. Sure; you can use your own Office desktop if you like. But most people, who don't need the fancy Office (OpenOffice.org) features will be okay using Writely.

      A clutch feature for me will be if writely has excellent ODTDOC conversion. Then I can switch our file format, too.

      But I don't think its fair to critize Google for staying with its core abilities. Google is a search company (or started as one, anyways). Google's developers are brilliant, but there is no reason for Google to launch a completely new app if there are other talented developers out there doing the same thing. Either buy 'em out, or co-develop with them. You don't always have to be evil and use the embrace->extend model in order to win. I think Google is winning the battle v. Microsoft in an entirely "good" way.
      • Google's good at search. Really good. They've made a LOT of money with search, and "search" technologies are the kind of thing you can integrate into most any application, and cross-applications as well.

        Google has made almost *no* money from search. They do however make scads and scads of money from the ads they place on their search pages - and elsewhere.

        Google's current business model is based on serving up advertisements. Search, Gmail, Maps, etc... etc.. only serve as means to attract eyeballs to ad

  • by rklrkl (554527) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:19PM (#14886908) Homepage
    What I really don't like about Writely (apart from the fact that you really don't want to upload/type in anything confidential into it!) is that it makes a big deal about security:

    * Home page says "Store your documents securely online."

    * Sign-in page says "Simple & secure document collaboration and publishing"

    So if it's so secure, why isn't SSL used *anywhere* on the site? The even more strange thing is that there is a secure cert on the site at https://www.writely.com/ [writely.com] but nothing actually links to it...ho hum. Yes, you can indeed login via SSL if you want - apparently they're worried about server load if they made SSL the default... Maybe with the Google infrastructure behind them, they can turn on SSL by default?

  • Am I the only one, who thinks, that Google as a whole is becoming the best data source for intelligence agencies? Poeple search, read books, find products, read news, read and send email, post classifieds, read and post to newsgroups, look for friends on orkut, blog on blogger, I can hardly finish... Is it so difficult, to draw such a very bad picture of Google being one of the best targets for an intelligence agency? I mean, those organisations know how to bring their people into a trusted circle...
    • Sure Google is a good source of intelligence...if you want to find out what the average person does in the average day. It seems really doubtful that any terrorist would use Google or other unencrypted web services to send such sensitive data. It has been shown that terrorists have adapted to not using cell phones or other easily tapped forms of communication.

      Sure Google's data may be interesting to the government for different reasons, but I doubt it would be a good source of intelligence related to terror
  • by zenwarrior (81710) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:10PM (#14887258)
    Google:

              We know what you have. (You've indexed your hard drives.)
              We know where you [and family] live. (All mark their homes on Google Maps.)
              We know who you like; we know who you hate. (Chat & e-mail.)
              We know what you buy. (Let's be frugal.)
              We know where you go. (What's happening G-locally?)
              We know when you sleep; when you awaken. (Usage analysis.)
              And now, we know virtually all your thoughts & plans. (Using Writely?)

    Motto: At Google, your world is our world.
  • We've heard from some folks who run Writely running on Linux, but don't support it because there have been too many problems with it.

    Writely FAQ [writely.com] (Emphasis added). Looks like they'll fit in just right at Google.

  • Something like FCKeditor that I can run from anywhere?
  • I wrote http://kbdocs.com/ [kbdocs.com] for my own use last year, then decided to make it public. KBdocs is simple (about a 3 evening hack) : styled text editing, tags, and export for local word-processing. As an experiment, I wrote KBdocs twice: once in Java+JSPs+POJOs and once using Ruby on Rails - I bounced from one implementation to the other as an experiment comparing Rails vs. Java development. A simplified copy of my Rails rKBdocs is a little example program in a new Ruby book that I am writing.

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake

Working...