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Google Releasing an Office Suite 198

Posted by Zonk
from the target-business-software-market dept.
prostoalex writes "Google Apps for Your Domain is Google's entrance into the office productivity world, but contrary to popular expectations, the company is not shipping word processor or spreadsheet for corporate use just yet. Google, Inc. bundled e-mail client (Gmail), shared calendaring environment (Google Calendar), instant messaging client (GTalk) and HTML page generator (Google Page Creator) to be used across specific domains. The service will be ad-supported, reports the Associated Press." From that article: "The free edition of Apps for Your Domain is, like Google's main site, supported with ads. By the end of the year, the company also plans to launch a paid version that will offer more storage, some degree of support, and likely, no ads. A price for this edition hasn't been set. Providing e-mail and other applications for businesses moves Google closer into what has traditionally been turf occupied by Microsoft Corp. Earlier this year, Google released a program that builds simple Excel-type spreadsheets but lets users access them on the Web."
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Google Releasing an Office Suite

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  • Google Spreadsheet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aussie_a (778472) on Monday August 28, 2006 @06:54AM (#15992855) Journal
    I would have been very surprised if they had released Google Spreadsheet for business use as it just isn't anywhere near Excell's functionality yet. If they want to compete with such a heavily entrenched program, then they're going to need to make it at least as useable before it will be accepted (which Google seems to realise).

    Also it's pretty slow, so that's a big downside as well.
    • by dk-software-engineer (980441) * on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:00AM (#15992867)
      I would have been very surprised if they had released Google Spreadsheet for business use as it just isn't anywhere near Excell's functionality yet.


      It doesn't need to be. Most people use far less than 10% of the functionality. I've seen people using Excel on daily basis, but don't know how to even use formulas.

      There is so many users out there that doesn't need functionality, only ease of use. They would love a spreadsheet that only has the very few features they actually use.

      Personally I find Excel a bit limited in functionality. I use a lot of formulas, but I probably still don't use even 2% of the functionality. But the ones I need is often missing. I don't care about the 98% I don't use, I care about the 5 I need that is not there. Have those, and the 2% I use, in an easily accessible web-application, I'll probably use it daily, with ads and all.
      • by Tx (96709) on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:05AM (#15992877) Journal
        While I think you're right in general, Google Spreadsheet didn't do charts last time I checked. If people only use 10% of excel, I can bleeding well guarantee that charts is in that 10%. For mainstream business use, that is pretty much essential.
        • by cubicledrone (681598) on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:21AM (#15992905)
          For mainstream business use, that is pretty much essential.

          Yep. If a middle management type is clop-clop-clopping through the marble-floored reception area with her steel-rimmed glasses and her Vallejo broach towards the conference room where the hairpieces will sit around and guffaw over cracked lobster while they decide how to divide the salaries of all the people they're about to fire, she better have some CHARTS AND GRAPHS with her or her presentation won't be entertaining enough.

          Because as we all know, as long as the presentation is entertaining, it doesn't matter if it's completely wrong. How else could she afford 17-inch wheels for her S-I'm better than U-V with enough chrome to turn Mount Vesuvius into the world's greatest IMAX theater? Priorities, man. Priorities.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Thrip (994947)
          In my experience, the vast majority of spreadsheet users do not use charts or even formulae. They just use them as very simple databases. In my company, every single person uses Excel at least once in a while, because that's how the company phone list is distributed. Spreadsheets are also used as shared to-do lists, bug trackers, requirements lists, and test matrices (despite the fact that we have specific software for all these tasks). Any time you have a little bit of tabular information to throw around,
          • by Doctor O (549663) on Monday August 28, 2006 @09:14AM (#15993268) Homepage Journal
            Greatest thing I've ever seen was a complete user's manual for an online media (think ad-booking) software, 32 pages, with illustrations and screenshots, completely built in...

            Excel. I *was* impressed. I have seen a lot, but this was genuinely special.

            Seems as if for a secretary with Excel, everything looks like a table.
            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by Daengbo (523424)
              I worked for a CFO once who claimed that Excel was the only app anyone needs. She did her memos in it and I'm sure she would've written a book in it if that was on her todo list. F'ing amazing. I always just stared at her when she told me that, which was often.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Doctor O (549663)
                I wonder... if she wrote a book in it, would she use one cell per paragraph, page, or chapter?

                Aw, make that image go away from my mind. *shudder*

                Just want to mention that I regularly get sent pictures for use in ads and brochures... in Word. They call them "Word images", accordingly. "Hey, I just sent you a Word image of the diagram you asked for."

                Thanks Bill. Thanks indeed.
                • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                  by winnabago (949419)
                  This reminds me of many of my coworkers, who otherwise know quite a bit about document layout, large format printing, and the like (we're an architecture firm). It is a common belief around here that the only way to make a PDF is to copy-paste an image into Word and use the menu command. I frequently try to explain how to use our PDF writer/print utility that we pay for a server licence, support, etc. If you can't paste it, apparently it can't be a PDF.
                • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

                  by smparadox (831358)
                  Just want to mention that I regularly get sent pictures for use in ads and brochures... in Word. They call them "Word images", accordingly. "Hey, I just sent you a Word image of the diagram you asked for."

                  In my office the official procedure we are supposed to follow for screen prints is to use the "Print Scrn" button to copy the screen image to the clipboard and then paste it to a Word document.


                  In. Order. To. Print. It.

        • by theguyfromsaturn (802938) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:31AM (#15993100)
          True enough. There is still some things where it is useful though. A few months ago, I was wishing for something like that, as I was teaching a class and sent all the TAs a spreadsheet for them to fill in when they corrected each assignment.... I thought that having done the work for them it'd be easy enough to just have them share the file every time they added stuff. I was dreaming of course. The files were shared how they pleased... I only got a copy from each of them at the end of the class... given that some students signed up late it was up to each T.A. to decide where they were going to stick the name. Some decided that the end was the right place to put the new additions while others thought they should immediately be inserted in alphabetical order. And not all of them could spell correctly the name of the new students. Needless to say, that there was a lot of reconciliation to be done before the final compilation of grades could be made. In that case, a google spreadhseet, at its current level of features would have been exactly perfect. I was wishing for something like it... then just as the class ended google came up with its deployment. Oh, well. Next time, if I ever teach a class again, I'll make sure to use it. I didn't need a very sofisticated spreadsheet then. Just something that could produce an output.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mysticgoat (582871) *

          OTOH, there is a lot to be said for keeping graphic development like charts local, rather than shared among a group. The workflow I envision is using Google Spreadsheets for data collection and shared reference resources where its collaborative nature really shines. Then develop summary reports and graphics by downloading and importing into Excel or OpenOffice and having at it.

          I shudder to think of what business graphics produced by a committee would look like, or how long it would take to decide what col

        • i actually missed the ability to sort on multiple columns more than charts and graphs, have they added that feature yet? it'd also be nice to be able to insert columns or rows faster than one-per-minute
      • Since its all client-side javascript, I can see them addressing both bloat and functionality by having users custom configure what functions they need the spreadhseet to have, and having only those javascript libraries loaded by default.

        This would also open it up to 3rd-party developers, who could submit their scripts as add-ins.

        Want your spreadsheet to automatically text message you when a certain field hits a critical value? Want your spreadsheet to email a diff when Joe Luser saves it? Wnat yur spreadsheet to look up stuff in an external database based on a crc64 of the values in other fields? No problemo.

        • What you're suggesting seems to be a non-retarded version of Excel's menu-hiding. Which, although a step in the right direction was, well... retarded. It generally resulted in half of the useful menus disappearing, and the speed and memory usage not changing, because it still had to load the gubbins into memory. Perhaps dynamic loading of function-modules is the answer, whereby you have a core set of features, a set which the user selects to automatically load (with preset, customisable user-types) and the rest can be loaded on-demand with some nifty shortcut, dialog and various other methods (so the power user can load modules as fast as possible, but the rookie doesn't need to memorise things he or she may be uncomfortable with.)
          • It appears that Microsoft agrees hiding unused menu items was a poor way of solving the UI problem. If you haven't seen Office 2007 yet, you should take a look at its UI.

            http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/ui/overvie w.mspx [microsoft.com]

            It's essentially very toolbar oriented, but organizes them based on the task they are associated with (page layout, document reviewing, etc.).
            • I was aware that the hiding had been ceased, and I also managed to turn it off in my copy, so no big deal there. For the moment, I rarely need a powerful wordprocessor, and openoffice, if not abiword, is fine.
      • by shaneh0 (624603) on Monday August 28, 2006 @11:33AM (#15994041)
        Of course the average user only uses 10% of {Excel|Word|VisualStudio|Etc}'s features. The problem, as developers should very well know, is that everyone uses a different 10%.
      • It doesn't need to be. Most people use far less than 10% of the functionality. I've seen people using Excel on daily basis, but don't know how to even use formulas.

        Most people are using Excel to present text in tables--totally ignorant of the fact that their word processor would probably be better at doing that job.

      • by Hawkxor (693408)
        if you want those functions, learning VBA is the next step.
    • by babbling (952366) on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:05AM (#15992876)
      It is pretty difficult to see how any serious business would use Google Spreadsheets. I reckon most businesses would find OpenOffice [openoffice.org] to be a more attractive option. As a side-note... I loaded up OpenOffice Portable [sourceforge.net] on a computer I was working on today, and a few people who saw it commented that MS Office wouldn't survive now that there's OpenOffice Portable. I found that interesting.
      • by Colin Smith (2679) on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:11AM (#15992889)
        One or two person companies. For them this is perfect. Microsoft have long since forgotten about this crowd as they focused more and more on the corporate customer.

         
        • by babbling (952366)
          I still think one or two person companies would be far more interested in something like OpenOffice. I think Google Spreadsheets might have a niche market for personal users, though.
          • by Colin Smith (2679) on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:34AM (#15992932)
            Getting, installing, fixing, securing, upgrading. Not interested.

            It's like me and my car, couldn't care less as long as it gets me from A to B. If public transport could get me pretty much from A to B as well as the car I'd happily ditch it. Same's true of computers, if they can get rid of all the IT bollocks, they will, happily.

             
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by babbling (952366)
              I'd have thought that an online spreadsheet application would involve far less "IT bollocks", but I acknowledge that it could appear to be easier if you ignore all the things that could go wrong with it.

              Google's server could go down, the company's internet access could go down, someone could attempt to brute-force their way into the account, and so on...
              • by Colin Smith (2679) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:35AM (#15993110)
                "Google's server could go down, the company's internet access could go down, someone could attempt to brute-force their way into the account, and so on..."

                The local hard disk could crash, they could get a virus, be attacked by script kiddies, a local switch could fail, the laptop could be dropped etc. Remote systems are no more risk than local ones. With remote systems you usually have competent admins, mirrored storage, secure connections, highly available networks etc. The risks are just a little different.

                 
            • by aussie_a (778472)
              Well as long as you aren't too interested in securing then Google Spreadsheets is the place for you.
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              Do you use Google Spreadsheets for anything yourself?
          • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadin@x[ ].net ['oxy' in gap]> on Monday August 28, 2006 @09:09AM (#15993244) Homepage Journal
            I think the market for Google Spreadsheet isn't in a direct replacement of an offline, desktop spreadsheeting program, but as part of a more collaborative workflow.

            Honestly I don't think Google is aiming to replace Excel, per se. MS has too long a head start, and frankly they'd just be putting themselves in the position of playing catch-up, forever. (Kinda like WINE; people that want to find some reason not to like it, are always going to find one.)

            Rather than just looking at G-Spreadsheet as "Excel...but free!" it seems better to look at what it can offer that Excel can't. Particularly since being 'free' isn't that compelling a feature, given that most companies see Microsoft Office as a sunk cost -- just part of the overhead of owning a computer. The killer feature of Google Spreadsheet is sharing.

            A little ways up in the thread somebody was discussing a problem (that is very common) where you might send a bunch of people a very simple spreadsheet, in his example it was a class grading sheet. Each of them work on it and send it back to you. When you get it back, you have a mess -- how do you combine the changes back into one document? There's really not any good way to do it. The best thing you can do is to have a rigid document-management workflow, where only one person at a time can have the "working copy" of a document, and then they pass it around. (Storing it on a fileserver basically does this, but necessitates a fileserver and also brings in additional problems.)

            There's definitely a market for something that allows for a lot more collaboration than the MS Office suite either allows or is designed for. Google, if they're smart (and I have every reason to think that they are) is probably looking to do more than just "reinvent the wheel...online." Or at least, if they're going to reinvent the wheel, they know that their wheel has to have some compelling features that will make people switch. In this case, I don't think that the feature is going to be the fact that it's free, it's going to be the ability to share and collaborate without worrying about CMSes, file sharing, Citrix, or any of the other hacks which people basically use in order to make single-user desktop apps more collaborative.

            In the same way that someone once joked that IRC is "multiplayer Notepad," G-Cal might begin as "multiplayer Excel," but end up looking like something totally different from what it would be like, without the interactive/collaborative ability.
            • by gmuslera (3436)
              Several of the latest google products have "collaboration" as one of their strong points (not only the spreadsheet, the er... "wordprocessor" too, and of course the calendar that is already considered), I wonder when they will add those services to the "for your domain" tools collection, or at least if they will have shortcuts to quickly add the domain you belong (if managed there) to the people enabled to view/edit/whatever your work.
        • by asifyoucare (302582) on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:55AM (#15992976)
          Agreed, and one or two person companies grow. In the past such growing companies would automatically board the Microsoft train and never be able to get off, but now that decision is not nearly so automatic.

          Unfortunately, very few accountants are willing to work with anything but Excel. I guess they feel that use of any other spreadsheet will limit their value to other employers.

          Still, the cracks are beginning to show in Microsoft's clay feet.

          End ramble.

      • by gkhan1 (886823) <oskarsigvardsson@@@gmail...com> on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:58AM (#15992985)

        I used to use exclusively OpenOffice and I think it is great, but there is one thing that stands in the way of it being wildly used: design. For all it's greatness, it doesn't look very good at all, infact, it's kinda ugly. Meanwhile, I just downloaded Office 2007 which looks, and feels, amazing. Say what you will about Microsoft, but they sure as hell nailed it with Office 2007. Not only does it look great, but their revamp of the toolbar system (the ribbon) is fantastic. Very slick. Right now, I do everything with it.

        OpenOffice needs like 10 professional designers to really hunker down and figure out a way to make it look better. That's easily the number one complaint I hear from people when I try to convince them of using OpenOffice.

        • by meatspray (59961) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:14AM (#15993031) Homepage
          Open Office has another, more serious downfall.

          Take a slightly complex word document from a client. (bulleted lists, block indents, embedded objects)
          View it in word, view it in writer.
          Both are readable, but they do not look exactly the same.
          Margins are off, wrap doesn't line up, linespacing is slightly off.
          You can fiddle with the document to make it look the same, but it needs to be identical by default.
          It's pretty darned important for people to see the page as it was intended.
          And no PDF isn't really an option of you want to edit the content and use it elsewhere.

          • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:43AM (#15993137) Homepage
            I find that you get exactly the same results if you type a document in MS Word 97 and open it in MS Word 2000. Even though they are supposed to be completely compatible, the documents always look different. The same can also happen between the same version of MS Word if the computers have different printers attached to them. I don't know why the printer makes a difference, but it does. What it comes down to is the simple fact that .Doc is not a publishing format. It isn't meant to maintain 100% of the document formatting across all computers and it almost never will. Add that to the fact that it's proprietary, which means that OO.o will have a really hard time making anything look "exactly" the same. PDFs are different. They are built for the sole purpose of ensuring that the document looks the same on every computer using the document.
          • by orasio (188021)
            You are not making sense.
            Winword doesn't have that feature.

            A lot of things need to happen so you can reopen a document in another machine, and see the same that the guy who produced it.

            At least, you need the same version, the same platform, and the fonts the guy used. But if you have that, openoffice is just as good, the same documents looks the same if you open it with the same version of the same program.

            I stopped using winword at office2000 (I have winword2002 right now at work, but I just don't use it,
          • by hacker (14635)

            Take a slightly complex word document from a client. (bulleted lists, block indents, embedded objects)
            View it in word, view it in writer.
            Both are readable, but they do not look exactly the same.
            Margins are off, wrap doesn't line up, linespacing is slightly off.

            Microsoft properly asserts that OpenOffice is not 100% compatible with their product. Microsoft, however, has apparently decided not to support the OpenOffice formats either, for which they have no excuse: the standards for OpenOffice documents

          • What's really frustrating is that the same thing happens if you take an .odt and open it in both KWord and OOWriter. Then you can't even blame proprietary evilness.

            Of course, I can't really be mad at OO and the K people, because everything has this problem (or I could just be mad at everyone?). Even PDFs look different between Adobe, KPDF, and Foxit. *sigh*
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by lahvak (69490)
            As other people noted, this is also true with different versions of Word, actually the problem is even worse there. When I was in graduate school, I had a part time job working for a textbook publisher. We were supposed to use Word for everything, but we had a very strict short list of features we were allowed to use. I remember it said no automatic numbering, no numbered nor buleted lists, no page headers nor footers, etc. The reason was that the documents had to go to a number of people who had differ
        • Design: it's not only about what's inside the application.

          One of the basic problems I have with OpenOffice: it's called "Office." One of the basic problems with "Google Apps for Your Domain," well in the vein of bad naming, is a comment even necessary? So bad is Google's product design at the identity level -- you know, where you create a great name and logo and make sense of yourself to your target markets -- so bad is Google at this that we are all knee-jerking with "Google Releasing an Office Suite."

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by shitzu (931108)
      Well, but you sortta can access it from anywhere in the world with any pc any time. And you sorta can share the spreadsheets without rolling out any servers and buying any licence fees, so thats a big upside as well.
      • by aussie_a (778472)
        What's the point to accessing and sharing something you don't want to use though?
        • by Kadin2048 (468275)
          This doesn't make sense. Google Spreadsheet has one feature -- sharing, online, from anywhere -- that Excel can't touch. In all other respects, it's admittedly primitive. But if you want to do that, there's not really any question. You either use Google Spreadsheet, or you find some sort of roundabout way to avoid the problem and use Excel. (By trying to email the documents back and forth, which isn't really online in any significant sense of the word.)

          Google's doesn't offer much in the way of data analysis
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 28, 2006 @06:56AM (#15992858)
    the emphasis is on SIMPLE. Forget anything the least bit beyond straight text/numbers. Even relatively simple formatting (SKU's looking like they're printed with - appropriately placed) isn't going to happen. The Google version as it works now has a limit on 50,000 cells, which, seems like a lot, but probably isn't so much. There's a nice sharing thing built in which would make it pretty dang handy for a not too fancy fantasy football league. I guess it fits in that niche between tables on a website and Open Office, with a bias towards collaboration but that's about it.
  • demand? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by legoburner (702695) on Monday August 28, 2006 @06:57AM (#15992860) Homepage Journal
    How much demand will there really be from corporate users? I would assume that most would be nervous about this sort of application environment due to the failure of ASPs (application service providers) to take off a few years ago, and see a lot of similarities between ASPs and what google and others are offering, the only main difference being that it is google and not some startup. Are the companies that would be interested in this already nervous from being burned by ASPs. Obviously there are many ASPs that are successful, but they tend to be more specialised than the generic offerings from google and yahoo et al. fwiw; here are some of the risks from wikipedia's ASP page [wikipedia.org]:
    * Loss of control of corporate data
    * Loss of control of corporate image
    * Insufficient ASP security to counter risks
    * Exposure of corporate data to other ASP customers
    * Compromise of corporate data
    • by aussie_a (778472)
      A lot of those fears could simply be allayed by Google offering a downloadable, easy to install program that placed all of the necessary code on the server of their choice (ala Google Desktop). However they don't appear willing to go down this route (as they could have with Google Desktop), I imagine because it would cut into their revenue far too much.
      • by aussie_a (778472)
        And I just provided Google Desktop for two conflictory things. What I meant was that Google Desktop does run locally, unless you use advanced features. However even those advanced features wouldn't need Google's help if they released the necessary code.

        Perhaps next time I'll use Preview.
    • It's for small businesses.

      This is inevitable btw, as the cost of bandwidth drops and support costs remain relatively constant.

       
    • by nursegirl (914509) on Monday August 28, 2006 @09:18AM (#15993294) Journal

      At the end of the FAQ page [google.com] there's a section with information for people using Google Apps for Education. High schools (and perhaps even colleges) would benefit from being able to offload these sorts of IT needs onto Google, therefore allowing their meager IT staffing to focus on education-specific IT infrastructure requirements.

      Also, the SOHO and non-profit fields would really benefit as well. The more of these basic things we offload, the more we can focus our energies on our actual fields. If we were starting our non-profit from scratch, I would definitely be encouraging us to use this. Even still, once they release the ad-free version, I'm going to be comparing it to what we're currently paying for our webhosting. If it's the same or cheaper, then I'm going to be proposing a switch. Gmail is much better than our current email offering, and a shared calendar service would make many lives easier.

    • by asuffield (111848)

      How much demand will there really be from corporate users?

      In my observation, demand for applications like this is high with executives (who like shiny toys but never do any actual work with them), while the peons who would actually be using the system all go 'meh' and carry on using telephones for all their intra-office communication needs. Shared calendars are managed by secretaries via the simple method of talking to each other.

      Sure, there's always a few places where stuff like this gets used, and in any

    • Re:demand? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by owlnation (858981) on Monday August 28, 2006 @11:04AM (#15993887)
      How much demand will there really be from corporate users? ...
      Not really sure why the parent is considered insightful. I would consider it more short-sighted, most especially when supported by wikipseudofacts.

      Google is a corporation. Google probably knows, or at least very much should know, what a corporation needs in terms of security in an office package, particularly in light of the behaviour of its competitors. Assuming Google wishes to go down this road they would need to be prepared to offer secure solutions to potential corporate clients. I would be astounded if they haven't already thought of that.

      Sheesh, they are pretty smart guys, they aren't jumping in head first with a half-finished product. The volume of beta products shows they are prudent, and apparently concerned with delivering quality. If they want the corporate world there's a good chance they can eventually take it.

      Writely is good. It is already capable of completing the vast majority of real everyday WP tasks. It is fast and simple - far faster and simpler and more appropriate than Word for most things. Word already has far too much stuff crammed into it, and the new version seemingly even more deadwood than the current.

      It may be marginal, but a corporation could save money and increase productivity by switching to this product once it is fully ready. The only issues would be ones that you raised - which are solvable...

      I'm sure the demand is there.
  • by raffe (28595) * on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:01AM (#15992871) Journal
    This has nothing to do with the Office Suite!
    They want to compete with .mac and live.com and then let companies use this and kill exchange. THEN they will move on to the office suite.
    • Maybe they're not competing directly with anything; maybe they're carving out a new space before anyone else does. Face it, the hosted app space is a pretty nascent market as far as large-scale use goes. GMail isn't really directly analogous to any other web-based mail, and in some ways it could legitimately be thought of as its own breed of online app. Windows Live is pretty rushed, pretty rough and not extraordinarily useful, and MS is of course already working the angles on how to monetize it.

      I use both
  • My main concern... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bangenge (514660) on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:09AM (#15992885)
    is that even through all the advancements we've been able to make over the years, online applications are still slower than those that you install on your desktop. it _might_ be more secure since google _should_ have backups. hacking would be another story though. but i would definitely see this as a low risk set of tools given that it's free, the docs are portable and you just need a browser to start working. will it be enough to dethrone ms office? i don't see it that way though. but it should be enough to make bill and steve worry a bit. *insert chair joke*
    • by jbarr (2233)
      Speed is not the only criteria to judge usability. The HUGE advantage of Google's apps (or any online app for that matter) is their availability wherever you have a Web connection. This makes standalone versions unnecessary. Of course, it's also its biggest fault: If you are offline, you have no access to your data. So I think the most useful design would be to provide full online access with standalone, offline "companion" versions that would either completely or selectively sync online data, providing ful
  • Users (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ms1234 (211056) on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:49AM (#15992965)
    I don't think corporate users are the main target at the moment for Google (nor will they ever be I think). I think it is the home users who do not want to fork up for $$$ or for an office suite. Google has always targeted the small users which there are more of than corporate users and which in the long run will bring in more money than then corporate users.
  • by rickkas7 (983760) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:05AM (#15993001)
    If you look at Google's page for Apps for your Domain [google.com] there's no mention at all about the spreadsheet or word processor. This announcement is just gmail + calendar + IM + web page creator, which is nothing like an office suite at all.

  • by niceone (992278) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:08AM (#15993007) Journal
    • No word processor. Check.
    • No spreadsheet. Check.
    • No presentation tool. Check.
    Seriously - how is this "Google Releasing an office suite"?
  • Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    I'd like my documents securely on my hard drive and completely under my control. I see no reason to let Google store them for me.
  • This is only oriented towards private firms and not publicly traded firms that have to deal with the nightmare that is Sarbanes Oxley. Public firms have to retain data for some time, sysadmins have to document reboots of servers....
    • by Kefaa (76147)
      I agree, but I also suspect it will be a difficult sell to them too. If Google were to have an "accidental" release of data, you - as the personal responsible for protecting it, are hosed. While it is possible that data can leak from anywhere, the chances that it will come off my network are a lot less than Google. People are not trying to directly hack me every day - just to make a name for themselves (and critical data is not on a internet accessible machine).

      Further, when I shred a document - I know it
  • Google Calendar (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kohath (38547) on Monday August 28, 2006 @08:58AM (#15993193)
    Office Suite or not, Google Calendar beats MS Outlook's Calendar by a huge margin. And GMail searches are very fast, while Outlook email searches are very slow.

    Google has a good start on a superior replacement for Outlook.

    For the rest of the office suite, there's OpenOffice.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by warith (121181)
      No kidding... is MS going to figure out how to, I dunno, INDEX the mail properly for fast searching?

      When I can search thousands of GMail messages instantly, and then it takes Outlook a minute or two to search fucking TEXT on my LOCAL HARD DISK, you know there's a problem.
  • If Google decides to open up and the spreadsheet application, so that it can be installed on corporate networks, I can see it taking quite a bit of market share from MS. It would allow for full colaboration, instantly - instead of E-mailing the same file around a hundred times.


    Of course, it would need a *few* more features.
  • by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Monday August 28, 2006 @09:26AM (#15993359)

    Does it work on the airplane? The train? The bus?

    These new Internet applications are great as a demo of what can be done, but they're not really useful in the larger scheme of things, ESPECIALLY in corporate or business environments.

    In many of the corporations I've been in, getting outbound port 80 access from various departments is restricted (for good reason), as are IM ports and other things. You don't want to be putting company financials out on some website's spreadsheet, do you?

    What routers are you going through?

    Who else can see that information?

    Is there a caching proxy upstream that you don't know about?

    What happens when the network goes down?

    Too risky, and it only works where there's an Internet connection, which (contrary to public belief) is not ubiquitous these days.

  • by hey! (33014) on Monday August 28, 2006 @09:40AM (#15993427) Homepage Journal
    for Google, the next step would be to create a javascript/css/html based presentation application to rival powerpoint.

    Powerpoint is the weak link in the chain of MS Office hegemony. It does the least of the MS Office suite to justify its proprietary format. Building a web standards (or defacto subset of standards) based application means immediately every desktop computer has a compatible player.

    Next GWT provides a toolkit for creating "active content" that runs in our presentations, a nice "aftermarket" for small software developers. Add a halfway composer/ide with webdav support and it could become, for many, a replacement for FrontPage as well.

    • for Google, the next step would be to create a javascript/css/html based presentation application to rival powerpoint.
      Don't they already have Page Creator? How much difference in there between a "presentation" and a web site designed to viewed fullscreen and with a defined sequence of pages?
  • It introduced gmail. Ramped it up to serve millions of users. Long back when I checked netcraft's tool bar, gmail.com had a site rank of 20, when mail.yahoo.com was at 60. (Dont have recent numbers, sorry). They hammered it till they understand the bugs and all the issues. Then they are rolling out a product to do email. Outlook, its address book, calender integration are extremely important to millions of MS users and one of the main pillars of the vendor lock. Though the product is intended for paid corpo
  • This seems to be a promising area. The collaborative and distributed basis of the Internet makes good for companies spread out and mobile employees. Has anyone had a time to check out a service called Dabble DB [dabbledb.com]? This is more of a database web app, but really is just a step up from a tweaked-out online spreadsheet. I have a 30 day test drive going using it and so far it seems to be a good resource for sure.
  • 200 slide Powerpoints is where it's at. Remember kiddies, management survival and promotion is about who has the highest tolerance for mind numbing boredom.
  • ...if you have to disable stylesheets in general, because most sites are badly designed.
  • It seems the development of this "office" suite goes hand in hand with new enhancements being made to Firefox -- especially a more robust Javascript (2.0) and the ability to have an offline mode for your apps as well as an open API to the local SQLLite storage engine.
  • Google Apps include:

    - Gmail
    - Google Calendar
    - Google Chat
    - Google Web Page Creator

    It sounds to me more like a competitive shared hosting solution for small business, rather than an office suite.

    (More info: http://www.h3rald.com/articles/view/google-apps-fo r-your-domain/ [h3rald.com])
  • privacy concerns (Score:3, Interesting)

    by john_uy (187459) on Monday August 28, 2006 @01:18PM (#15994857)
    based on the text being ad support, it will be very unwise for business to use it even if it is free.

    assuming they put up the increased functionality of a word processor and spreadsheet (even presentation,) then they will practically be able to read the documents of everyone. it's like giving your ideas, corporate secrets, intentions, plans, etc to google for them to see. even if they are for "ad purposes", it is still scary. basically, they already know me inside out from the searches i make (even though i disable cookies by default, my isp gives me an almost static ip add.)

    no thanks. i'll keep private data with me. i've got open office just in case the free argument goes into place. i'm beginning to appreciate microsoft now as google is able to collect much more information from me than them.
  • Hyped again (Score:3, Insightful)

    by danpsmith (922127) on Monday August 28, 2006 @04:36PM (#15996141)
    Google, Inc. bundled e-mail client (Gmail), shared calendaring environment (Google Calendar), instant messaging client (GTalk) and HTML page generator (Google Page Creator) to be used across specific domains.

    After all of this talk of an office suite, columns and opinions about whether or not Google is going to ship an office suite, they are calling this an office suite?

    Someone tell me how a web email client, a calendar, an instant messager and a HTML application is a full office suite? Then allow me to beat you over the head with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access and Microsoft Powerpoint. OpenOffice is an Office suite, this is media hype. But we can't plug OpenOffice in the general media though, because general knowledge that home users are paying hundreds of dollars for something they could just as easily get for free might slow down commerce.

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