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Google Declares War on Microsoft

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the they-will-fight-them-in-the-spreadsheets dept.

Google 628

hajmola writes "According to an article in The Inquirer, 'Google has confirmed that it will launch free spreadsheet and word-processing software online and take on Microsoft in one of its biggest markets. Under the deal, Google will allow web users to access Sun's OpenOffice from a toolbar.'" This is full confirmation of a story from Tuesday. Forbes thinks this isn't anything to write home about, while InfoWorld disagrees.

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628 comments

Has anything like this been done before? (4, Interesting)

Bongoots (795869) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729553)

Does anyone know of any previous cases where companies have taken fairly successful desktop applications and made them accessible on the web?

Re:Has anything like this been done before? (5, Funny)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729767)

Does anyone know of any previous cases where companies have taken fairly successful desktop applications and made them accessible on the web?

Sure. Hotmail.

I guess this mean's Microsoft will now buy Google, and then proceed to completely fuck it up.

How is this a confirmation? (4, Informative)

mu_wtfo (224511) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729556)

I've read through all the linked articles, and the articles *they* link to, and while the claims of "Google confirms it!" are plentiful, I haven't seen a single named source or attribution for this story.The Forbes story, in fact, still calls any Google online office venture 'speculation'. Where is this 'declaration of war'?

Re:How is this a confirmation? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13729639)

How do you read through ALL the articles in less than 1 minute? Need a frist p0st?

Re:How is this a confirmation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13729713)

he's a subscriber, genius.

Sun's OpenOffice? (5, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729557)

Excuse me. StarOffice is Sun's. OpenOffice is ours.

Re:Sun's OpenOffice? (1)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729594)

OpenOffice is ours.

That is, assuming you've done work (designing, developing, testing, etc.) on OpenOffice. Else, you really have no claim that it is yours.

Re:Sun's OpenOffice? (5, Informative)

Phroggy (441) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729614)

Excuse me. StarOffice is Sun's. OpenOffice is ours.

Not only that, but the name of it isn't OpenOffice, it's OpenOffice.org (which is incredibly stupid-sounding and I wish they'd figure out a way to fix that). If Google and Sun were partnering on this, they'd use StarOffice, not OpenOffice.org.

You'd think journalists would be more careful, this soon after the single-use DVD hoax...

Re:Sun's OpenOffice? (5, Funny)

gik (256327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729669)

"You'd think journalists would be more careful, this soon after the single-use DVD hoax"

Oh yeah, I'm sure every "journalist" in the country did alot of soul-searching after that.

Re:Sun's OpenOffice? (2, Funny)

sootman (158191) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729726)

You'd think SLASHDOT editors (and the use of that term here gets looser and looser every day) would notice it, especially twice in two days.

Tomorrow on slashdot: read about the new browser Google will build, based on Netscape's Mozilla!

Re:Sun's OpenOffice? (4, Funny)

Phroggy (441) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729780)

Tomorrow on slashdot: read about the new browser Google will build, based on Netscape's Mozilla!

Amazing! Will you be able to launch it from a toolbar button?

Single-use DVD was not a hoax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13729750)

Microsoft backed off the story once they received the wide-ranging negative feedback online. Their software, and they even admit this still, allows the creation of a single use DVD movie -- just not one in standards' compliant MPEG-2 format. But you knew that already: it wouldn't be single use if it were actually MPEG-2 compliant. So, Microsoft denies a story that originated with them using tautologies, even though their software lets you make single-use DVDs.

Re:Sun's OpenOffice? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729655)

No, actually it's Sun's. The copyright on the code is owned by Sun. I believe they require you to assign (joint) copyright on contributions to them, but even if they didn't then they still own the vast majority of it (all of the old StarOffice code and around 85% of all new code).

Re:Sun's OpenOffice? (0)

Decaff (42676) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729769)

Excuse me. StarOffice is Sun's. OpenOffice is ours.

It it? How much code have you contributed to it?

I think (2, Interesting)

zegebbers (751020) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729563)

quite a few people would use a service like this. Not for anything private, but the same sorts of things that I use gmail for. It would be great to have access to documents at home, work, overseas anywhere!

has there been..... (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729564)

has there been any legitimate hint that they are going to combine to offer spreadsheet/word processing via the web or is all of this just speculation?

Re:has there been..... (4, Interesting)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729691)

Well, most big companies don't sign partnership agreements for the purposes of just looking cool. Google doesn't run Solaris (they use Linux), nor do they use Sun servers (they use cheap white boxes). So, why else would they "partner" with Sun? Google isn't going to swap our the OS on 1000's of servers even if Solaris was FREE, nor are they going to switch hardware. SO...what else does Sun have to offer, StarOffice which competes with MS-Office. It's been pretty obvious Google is targeting MS, since they hired away the guy (Dr. Lee) who was helping MS develop thier strategy for the worlds biggest market (China) until he fell into disfavor with Bill and/or Steve.

But really using apps over the network is NOT I repeat NOT new. When I started in software in the early 1980s all we had were cheap green-screen Televideo 9600 buad terminals hardwired to a mainframe (or VAX in some cases) server. All the applications ran on the server. This is just an "upgrade" to 1980s technology, with a nicer user interface. I'm not impressed with the idea, but I am glad someone is after MS. INMHO, competition is good and produces better products for less.

Re:has there been..... (4, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729697)

has there been any legitimate hint that they are going to combine to offer spreadsheet/word processing via the web or is all of this just speculation?

Not only is it just speculation, it's just speculation from stupid people.

There's no way in hell Google or anyone else is gonna make an AJAX-based front-end to StarOffice or OpenOffice.org; that's a retarded idea. Google could build their own AJAX-based word processor and spreadsheet, and maybe license some of the code for importing/exporting .doc/.xls formats, but AJAX is completely different from a normal application GUI.

Huh? (3, Insightful)

big_groo (237634) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729566)

How does this help me when I have no network connectivity?

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729634)

How does this help me when I have no network connectivity?

Exactly the same way that Google Maps helps you, I'd expect. Which is to say not at all.

It may not help you, but (1)

codesurfer (786910) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729661)

it could certainly represent a boon to businesses and individuals with constant network connectivity.

The company for which I work has over 30,000 employees, and I've not seen a newtork disconnect lasting more than 10 minutes in the last 5 years...that's potentially a lot of licenses (or Enterprise licenses) that will not have to be purchased.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

hazee (728152) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729696)

And how is MS Office going to help you when you have no electricity?

Get a reliable network connection, just as you would do for your other utilities.

Re:Huh? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729782)

Get a reliable network connection, just as you would do for your other utilities.

There are few areas that people have permanent residences in without electricity. I can't say that's true for Internet connections.

How about, instead of assuming that everyone out in the world is like you (and every other geek on their high horse), you step down and realize that locally stored programs are a benefit to everyone in the short and long term (like when they start charging you a monthly subscription).

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729722)

It seems to me that Google's future business plans all entail the idea that within 5-10 years, all computers will be online almost all the time. I mean, I can get online at my college campus everywhere except my bathroom. That's the only place that doesn't have an Ethernet port in the wall or wireless access. And if we can do it at most college campuses, and knowing that we've got commerically viable wireless at distances of several miles (article yesterday), we will probably have wireless or high-speed everywhere in the US, or at least covering the majority of the population.

Re:Huh? (1)

simong_oz (321118) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729759)

Not to mention the significant proportion of internet users who still don't have access to broadband.

Assuming it works as it implies - does it mean I have to connect to the internet to use the word processor? If not, that's surely going to be one hell of a download to use the app offline.

Most importantly, is it practical for (big) business?

Re:Huh? (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729770)

When you have network connectivity:
  1. Load Internet Explorer
  2. Click OpenOffice.org button on Google Toolbar
  3. Download, install OpenOffice.org if it's not installed
  4. OpenOffice.org loads
When you lack network connectivity:
  1. Load Internet Explorer
  2. Click OpenOffice.org button on Google Toolbar
  3. OpenOffice.org loads
There is no JavaScript Office reimplementation. Google's just cross-marketing a free product, in the same way that Adobe Reader 7's installer prompts you to install the Yahoo! Toolbar.

Thing to Ponder (5, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729574)

All the power to them if they suck some marketshare from Office. But there is one thing about the direction that all this is taking that bothers me.

TFA says it's not the value of the software but rather the service and content that matters. I'd tend to agree with that statement. But a little part of me can't help but dislike and be paranoid about all these web services. Do you really want the future of web processing to be entirely web based and saved on somebody else's machine? G-mail bothers me like that -- even though I pretty much use it exclusively for e-mail now.

I'm not a big fan of making all the desktops in the World into dumb terminals -- even if that means some measure of freedom from Microsoft.

Re:Thing to Ponder (4, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729605)

Do you really want the future of web processing to be entirely web based and saved on somebody else's machine?

That would be word processing and the reason that preview exists. Oh well ;)

Re:Thing to Ponder (2, Insightful)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729740)

TFA says it's not the value of the software but rather the service and content that matters. I'd tend to agree with that statement. But a little part of me can't help but dislike and be paranoid about all these web services. Do you really want the future of web processing to be entirely web based and saved on somebody else's machine? G-mail bothers me like that -- even though I pretty much use it exclusively for e-mail now.

Well then don't use online services if they bother you. You have it totally within your power to use local programs over remote services. I believe Gmail even offers POP access [google.com] as well?

I think it will be interesting to see how the public accepts the idea of using such online services but it's a far cry from, "...making all the desktops in the World into dumb terminals."

Re:Thing to Ponder (1)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729773)

entirely web based and saved on somebody else's machine?

Consider a related scenario -- banking. We keep our money in banks instead of under the mattress nowadays because it's far safer to keep it there. If that same level of security is afforded to web-based content storage, I see no reason as to why this should be any different.

I will admit that we're probably not at that point yet where Average Joe ComputerUser can do this securely and reliably, but the technologies already exist to get us there -- implementation, education, and acceptance will get us the rest of the way there.

I was wondering what was going to happen (2, Insightful)

VAXGeek (3443) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729576)

With all the nifty cool features of Office 12, I was wondering what OpenOffice was going to do to even it up. Let's face it: OpenOffice is pretty much tracking Office 2000. That's not really that bad. I can get all my work done with OpenOffice no problem. This web front end is a killer feature, especially as the new OpenOffice file format becomes more popular.

Re:I was wondering what was going to happen (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729642)

Well how many of those cool features does the average person use? Is it worth the cost? I wonder how many people sill use office2000 because it really is good enough just as a lot of places still use Windows2000 because it is also good enough.

Hey VAX geek. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13729663)

Remember when DEC declared war on IBM ???

A war where everybody wins (5, Insightful)

panxerox (575545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729583)


1. Customers win as there are better cheaper choices

2. Google wins because well just because they are google

3. Microsoft because they can now say they have competition



Re:A war where everybody wins (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13729774)


4. ...?

5. Profit!!

pick your poison (0)

brandanglendenning (766328) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729585)

google word processor:

1. turn on your computer
2. watch your operating system boot
3. start your web browser
4. click your word processor button on the google toolbar
5. age 2 years as the program loads

word:

1. turn on your computer
2. watch your operating system boot
3. start microsoft office

Re:pick your poison (1)

borawjm (747876) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729664)

The future:

1. Turn on your computer
2. Watch GoogleOS(tm) boot up
3. Click your word processor button


Re:pick your poison (1)

muyuubyou (621373) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729668)



google word processor:

1. turn on your computer
2. watch your operating system boot
3. start your web browser
4. click your word processor button on the google toolbar
5. age 2 years as the program loads

word:

1. turn on your computer
2. watch your operating system boot
3. start microsoft office


You seem to think "operating system" means Windows. Not that I think you are right otherwise anyway.

Re:pick your poison (2, Funny)

program21 (469995) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729708)

You forgot one part for MS Office:
  1. turn on your computer
  2. watch your operating system boot
  3. start microsoft office
4. Age 2 years as the program loads.

Re:pick your poison (1)

Xabraxas (654195) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729715)

You forgot one step:

word:

1/2. Buy MS Office for $350
1. turn on your computer
2. watch your operating system boot
3. start microsoft office

That is going to be the biggest difference and you didn't even mention it.

Why the web interface? (3, Interesting)

Salo2112 (628590) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729586)

Why doesn't Google partner with Sun to release the product in the retail and OEM markets? If you could buy a PC with their office suite pre-installed, it would help them both and send MS into a tizzy. I, for one, am not interested in doing my word processing over the web.

The Inquirer? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13729590)

What next... the National Enquirer confirms UFOs are real?

OpenOffice has come of age... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13729595)

and Google is announcing it. OpenOffice is now "ready for prime time."

Office Online Long Overdue (5, Interesting)

mbrod (19122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729596)

Having your documents online is more conveniant and more secure. You wouldn't have to pass them around to all the different PC's you use. It is more secure because most at home users computers are riddled with virus's and spyware. A good online office solution is why Google's stock price is so high. They may or may not get there but if anyone has the tools and business culture to do it would be Google. To accomplish a good online Office Suite one would have to play well with others in the standards department and be willing to give some control away. Neither of which Microsoft is capable of doing.

Re:Office Online Long Overdue (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729667)

>> Having your documents online is more conveniant and more secure
MORE secure? surely not...

Re:Office Online Long Overdue (1)

mbrod (19122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729729)

They have professionals looking after their security and they are backed up. How are they not more secure?

Re:Office Online Long Overdue (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729805)

"It is more secure because most at home users computers are riddled with virus's and spyware." this is his reasoning.. I think he's spending too much time downloading porn when he needs spybot and better browsing habits =p

Re:Office Online Long Overdue (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729730)

Google is including a button on its toolbar that will let you download OpenOffice.org or run it if it's installed. I think Microsoft is "capable of" linking to a 100MB installer. The only thing that's "online" about this is that you can download the software.

From a toolbar? (3, Insightful)

BobTheAtheist (805111) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729597)

What exactly does from a toolbar mean?
Is it a web app?
Where does it run from?

Re:From a toolbar? (1)

lovebyte (81275) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729688)

Well, it's pretty obvious! It will run IN the toolbar.

In other words they have embedded ed in the toolbar.

Re:From a toolbar? (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729720)

Disclaimer: This post is 100% conjecture[1].

Sun ported at least the interface portion of StarOffice to Java a while back (they called it Star Portal or something). They could easily bundle the Sun JVM with the Google Toolbar (something they said earlier they would do) then have some kind of Java Web Start thing to download a Java front-end to Star Office which possibly does some processing on the server (although I can't really imagine what, unless Sun wanted to re-invent NeWS with a Java front-end replacing the PostScript portion).

[1] That means made up.

a toolbar, wow shocking (1)

WiFiBro (784621) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729610)

"Under the deal, Google will allow web users to access Sun's OpenOffice from a toolbar."
So where is OpenOffice, is it on het net or on the pc? If it's on the pc then I don't see a big difference between having an FTP client plus OpenOffice?

theinquirer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13729611)

Could you please check into your sources a bit before posting? As soon as I saw a link going to theinquirer, I disregarded everything. Even the wording of the article name is designed to piss people off.

These kinds of news stories are becomming as bad as email worms.

google beat em (2, Insightful)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729616)

Googe has beaten Microsoft to the "software as a service" model. Bill has been talking about how "you have to offer software as a service" for a while now... It's ironic that someone else beat em.

No. That is not irony. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13729660)

Irony is like rain on your wedding day. Isn't it ironic, doncha think?

Mod Parent Up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13729742)

Isn't it ironic?

Re:google beat em (1)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729738)

But the were beaten to the WWW, too. Microsoft was pulled into it dragging their feet, kicking and screaming. MS is really good at playing catch up, though, basically by buying (and assimilating :) whatever they need. So, if "served" apps takes off, watch for MS to buy some existing technology, and offer that.

Re:google beat em (1)

Kranfer (620510) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729796)

I don't think MS will ever offer served apps. Its not something I could EVER see them doing because they would have more and more issues on people finding a way around their security... OpenOffice for Google is a good thing for THEM since they don't offer an Office Suite for sale in almost every PC store. But its a possibility I guess, but MS would never make much money on it I don't think.

Re:google beat em (1)

spencerogden (49254) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729772)

I'm not sure that an unconfirmed rumour that they are releasing a web office is beating MS to it. Lets wait until its actually announced or better yet in Beta.

Google, what is best in life? (0, Offtopic)

snowwrestler (896305) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729618)

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.

A perfect world (1)

waterlogged (210759) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729624)

I'd still like to see a google OS, with enhanced searches. Since we are dreaming and all ... I also want it running their Algorithms, a Unix shell, and Mac design points and GUI.

Oh... and also buy up all the shares in microsoft, then pick the meat off their bones and throw away the carcass.

Just my dreams of a perfect world.

Security (1)

panxerox (575545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729625)

I know we all "trust" google but as a web application some or most of the components are going to be on thier servers, does this mean that all my documents are transmitted to them (spellcheck, grammercheck etc) before I get to print them? If I was paranoid I would say this is a perfect place for the GOV to sit and sift for keywords of "interest". Not that I am saying Google would do it willingly.

Go GOOGLE Go!! Bring us another beta software tool (1)

AnonymousYellowBelly (913452) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729627)

Well, maybe the links do NOT provide confirmation of the GoogleOffice BETA, but I really hope it is true. If they get enough people out of the MS Office Universe (more like a black hole really) MAYBE we'll get fully working interoperability. I for one do not like Word, but I need it to open the hundreds of documents people produce with it each day, from coworkers to the government (I hate it when public institutions -force- me to use MS Office products) because they use the f*ing features that OSS suites can not handle.

Competition is good, bring it ON!!!

Way to fight 'em Google! (1)

PrayingWolf (818869) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729636)

I'm really looking forward to a .doc-free world and seeing
Microsoft dwindle into a pitifull group of die-hards,
rewriting Windoze Vista, over and over again...

Love The Analyst Reactions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13729641)

Gotta love the guys who spend their entire lives typing away in Microsoft office software declaring this move as 'no big deal'

After all, MS is always 'teh winner!' right...

One quarter of MS's profits come from a product that has become a commodity. Nope no big deal at all.

Mark this day my friends (1)

Maven-X (890699) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729643)

This is either gonna be over before we know it... or its gonna be the beginning of a mighty war between the heavyweights. My money is on the latter. In 20 years time we're still gonna be talking about these two giants. And we read it first on slashdot.

MIcrosoft, meet IBM . . . (4, Insightful)

Kope (11702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729653)

A few years ago, the world's leading computer company almost went under because it didn't understand the paradigm shift that had happened.

Because IBM didn't understand the value of the desktop to the user, and Microsoft did, IBM lost big time. Only by totally reinventing themselves as a service provider FIRST and a computer company second did IBM survive.

Today, Sun and Google understand the value of the internet to the user, and Microsoft doesn't. They never have. That's why to this day, despite numerous losses and being forced to bow to consummer demands, MS thinks "embracing and extending" open network protocol standards is a good thing. Microsoft can not survive a market place they don't understand. No business can.

You either make money, or eventually you fail, that's the reality of business. In a world where computer software production is becomming more and more commodity production, MS doesn't know how to survive. Sun and Google do. So, Bill, meet Sam Palmisano, he can teach you a bit about what you will need to do after the bankrupcy . . .

Re:MIcrosoft, meet IBM . . . (2, Interesting)

pl1ght (836951) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729707)

Oh whatever man. Thats the biggest slice of bologna i have ever read. You know nothing about any of these companies. They all have the same goal. The only reason you claim MS knows nothing about this is because your goal in life is to pray they go up in smoke one day. Microsoft reinvents themselves every 5 years. Maybe with bloated software that you hate, non OSS etc, but they come out with something that the masses times 10 buy and implement. Believe me they are in absolutely NO danger from Google or Sun. Sun is barely standing on their own now and Google will soon be dismissed as a major player in anything other than the search engine world. After everyone else hits the dust, no matter what you believe or want, Microsoft will still be standing duking it out. I know people here hate reading that, but its the plain and simple truth. Microsoft has enough resources where in the case of a total loss of their Software vs Google/Sun whoever, they can completely redo/outdo/steal/redo/etc better than the last guy. Its fighting an uphill battle on ice with ice skates.

Google, meet Microsoft (1)

kloidster (817307) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729786)

I'm sorry, but this smacks of Microsoft distributing IE for free simply to put Netscape out of business because they could afford to do it. I don't think that "declaring war" is helpful at all. This has become about over inflated egos at Google and not about providing customers with better products. I dislike Microsoft as much as the next envious geek, but I really don't have any admiration for Google for actively trying to hurt Microsoft either. Declare war? Please grow up.

Various thoughts (1)

rewt66 (738525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729654)

Well, I'd like to RTFA (the Forbes article, of course), but Forbes doesn't seem to be willing to talk to me. Did anyone grab a mirror before their site became a smoking hole?

Second, Google has been getting warning signs that Microsoft wants to "cut of their (Google's) air supply". Rather than sit there and say, "Oh, that could never happen to us", they are taking the fight to Microsoft and trying to cut of their air supply. I think this is wise. I don't know if it will work in the long run, but the other approach has been shown to not work, so what do they have to lose?

And anything that spreads alternatives to Microsoft is good with me...

This is clearly Bush's Fault (1)

elmerf9000 (653148) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729666)

Damn those neocons.... Give back the southwestern part of the US rightfully back to Mexico. This would have never happened if we followed France... Time for the USA to join the EU and give up our sovereignty to Iran.... Goddamn Republicans...

It's not clear what this means... (1)

pieterh (196118) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729676)

"Launch OpenOffice from the toolbar"...?

Taken literally, this is exactly what I do now when I click the "Word Processor" icon.

Assuming that Google is not moving into the software distribution business, the implication is that they will provide some kind of web-based access to OpenOffice. But this raises more questions than it answers. What kind of access? AJAX cannot exactly be retrofitted onto existing applications. Perhaps some kind of remove access? If so, why specifically OpenOffice? Surely it would imply remote access to any random application running on Google's network somewhere. And where would my documents be stored?

The idea is not unattractive, provided it can run quickly. I have switched entirely from PC-based email to gmail, and it is true that for many projects, it's annoying to have to carry documents with me, or use something like svn, which is non-trivial to setup.

But lacking so many vital details, this story sounds like a hoax or a misreport.

Office suite usage (0, Redundant)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729678)

I think that in order to compete against MS you should beat it on the same field.
Even the worse office suite installed into your PC is much better than any other one running only via web!
Especially when you are offline of with low bandwidth, unless there is some real major innovation in web technologies!

So, where is the rev? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13729690)

Free use for MSOffice like software, sure. I am too old to see this is significant at all. Maybe the younger generation can show me what is going on.

I feel the whole existence of Google is to take down Microsoft. Esp. after the Eric Schmidt took office. I throught this only happen in old industry, industry that has little growth. Is he pathetic or just plain pessimitic about the industry?

Very very seriously, a company that aim only to take down competitors doesn't do well, look at Sun Micro, the old Apple, Oracle. Find a niche market, develop it, now that's no evil doer.

Online WP... A good start but... (1)

Kranfer (620510) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729727)

It seems that online word processing is not really a good way for users or even corporations to have a good handle on their documents. Seems like another added layer of security to access documents. Not only that but an annoying layer to access the documents too. I like clicking on the Word processor Icon and everything done locally. Its a good idea to fight against the mammoth Micro$oft, but if you are gonna fight against M$ office, put out a product that can allow you to edit stuff without internet access or without having to open a web browser goto google and find the doc.

BTW... OpenOffice... Is it really Sun's project or everyones... I would refer to it as just "OpenOffice."

I place my faith in Google either way though.

Bar None. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13729731)

I'll C&P what I said elsewere.

[Web Value]
"Sounds more like a chance to get Java more exposure by bundling. Anyway I do see the *Bar space being valuable to more companies in the future. Everything else is being blocked through extensions like Adblock, and tricked-out hosts files. The *Bar space can do not only advertising, but through the magic of Web services like GoogleAPI, Amazon, eBay, etc. Add a level of value that'll keep jaded web users using it."

That's were they should go.

Let me get this straight (5, Insightful)

Michalson (638911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729735)

Ignoring the fact that this seems like more speculation (already well discussed with less then 10 comments), how exactly is this a threat to Microsoft and its Office family? Microsoft's main customer for it's 500$+ office suite is not home users, but businesses. Taking away some home users (half of whom where likely running pirated copies) is like a drop in the barrel.

For a business, dropping out $500 isn't much, especially when compared to wages (this is something OSS needs to understand when they try and convince businesses they're cheaper - the initial cost is meaningless, they want figures on the support cost). On the other hand, having your critical work depend on a network connection to some internet server is quite a huge risk (especially if you can't call up that internet server and demand instant human support for any little problem). And that's before you figure in the fact that Google's whole business model is personal information data mining. Even if Google is going to give their song and dance that they won't use it for evil, most companies aren't going to let a 3rd party store their documents, let alone run an automated program over every document they have mining out key information. As has been shown in the past "Google Hacking" is often used to get to information you weren't supposed to see. Can you imagine "Google Hacking" used for corporate espionage? A company wants to know if their competitor is looking into sprockets. So they take out an "ad" on Google specifically targeted at that keyword, but with completely different ad text. They then record IPs from incoming clicks to gauge if that ad was shown to people in the target company a lot, indicating that Google had mined that phrase from many of their documents and emails (gmail). And that's before you consider the fact that Google becomes a serious hacking target (even to hostile foreign governments), since a breach would affect tens of thousands of companies. With so many eggs in one basket it might be enough to warrent a physical breakin, stealing the data of thousands of companies, which are then sold to competitors or held for blackmail.

Details? (4, Interesting)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729736)

What are the details?

What's it going to be
1) Google directs you to the staroffice website for you to download &
install it locally on your machine & google provides a place for you to
store your documents

OR

2) Google & Sun rebuild StarOffice as a Webservice & then allow you
to edit your document through a webapp & also proves a place for
you to store your documents

Model 1 -> In my opinion, doesn't provide anything new. You
can do it now. Still doesn't solve the problem of people being
locked to Microsoft's format.

Model 2 -> May be good - may solve the problem of people being bound to
the Microsoft document format (i.e. the format isn't important if you have
a service, which is always accessible to everyone to open/edit/print it,
but there is one problem.
50% of the time, documents are edited offline. It's going to be some
years, before people are online all the time. Even when that happens,
what happens if your service goes down & you need to edit the document
coz you have a presentation in 15 minutes.
Plus can a webbased service really provide all the functionality & speed of
a native application?

4 things Google has done for us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13729745)

Google's achievments so far:

- a great because simple to use search engine
- a mediocre desktop search
- an okay webmail app
- daily hype-spam about things that will come or will not come but that usually require some man-years to develop and are not likely to be released in the next time to come but that keep journalists and a whole scene of bloggers happy and busy speculating

Less privacy for us... (2)

HateBreeder (656491) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729747)

This is yet another milestone in Google's quest to achieve access to all of our personal information.

I bet they'll be crawling all the documents you type, all the data you input, cross refer that with all your mail from your GMail account/Online searches/Google-Maps activity/Google Talk conversations/ISP traffic where Google-Wifi is available, etc.

It seems we're all waiting for it to become "too late" before we realize what's been going on.
Google can do far greater damage then Microsoft ever could.
Soon enough, Google would turn out to be our worst privacy intrusion nightmare.
Wake up people!

Er (2, Interesting)

cca93014 (466820) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729751)

Can someone explain to me how you access a thick client application from a browser toolbar?

Is Google throwing money at OO.o? (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729756)

I certainly hope so! I have enjoyed using OO.o and hope to see continued development on that project. I would like to see the project focus more on the speed of execution and loading. It's a bit slow even if it is worth the wait. Admittedly MS Office "cheats" by preloading components into the operating system, but then so should OO.o. Under Windows, I understand that OO.o already does some preloading, but I'm a Linux user primarily and only use Win+OO.o when I have to move data from Linux to Windows.

Or perhaps the problem I am describing has already been managed and I just haven't caught on -- this wouldn't be the first time. So if anyone could offer answers, I'm listening. I use FC4 and keep it as "stock" as possible by using only updates from the main channels. (I have broken my own rules, recently by subscribing myself to the nr-production channels to gain access to Gnome 2.12 as I have found it to be VASTLY faster and VASTLY more stable than 2.10 or whatever FC4 normally uses.)

Anyway... I digress... I hope Google will participate, then, in the development of OO.o and perhaps even in the Linux Desktop movement!

Google offering free office (1)

dgrati (877339) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729768)

Google can offer free office and other software in some sort of ASP model. But how do they make money? By infrastructure!

War, huh! What is it good for? (4, Funny)

phlegmofdiscontent (459470) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729777)

It's about time. I wanna see those Google tanks take on the Microsoft cyborgs with all the cluster bombing and the killing and Redmond getting nuked and I wouldn't wanna fuck around with Steve Ballmer, I can just imagine him in a torn shirt and a bandana armed with a minigun and stabbing the wounded with his bayonet and Bill Gates wired into some massive battle computer and Steve Jobs just biding his time waiting for them to destroy each other so he can piss on the ashes.......... Man, this is some good coffee!!!

Lovin it! (3, Interesting)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729778)

The day I may use Linux as freely as I am forced to use Windows to play my games, do my work, etc... is coming closer. If Google can make a concerted push to use OpenOffice then the document exchange I need done on a regular basis will be easy between Linux and Windows users.

Now if only Linux was as EASY to use as Windows, and we are there. I'm thinking something Mac OSX-esque for Linux -- Google has the means to deliver it. They don't need to release their own distro of Linux, but they can release a KDE/GNOME competitor that makes using Linux a BREEZE.

I'm just waiting for the day :)

Google's brand (5, Insightful)

Douglas Simmons (628988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13729781)

Forbes is wrong. I'm sure many other posts cover the software specifics and each company's history of innovations, but I want to say something about how Google's been so successfully branded. I cannot think of a more successfully branded company than Google. It's even in the dictionary. [reference.com] Microsoft's software, from OSs to pbrush.exe, is widely regarded by regular users (not the slashdot crowd) as unstable and complicated. The company's brand is not immaculate like Google, for example MS is stained with their relationship with the Dept of Justice while Google is still seen as the underdog. MS is the 800 pound gorilla, Google's founders and top execs are a few kids. Innocence. In addition to its popular search service, people are embracing excitedly the new toys Google hands out (EG Google Earth, Gmail).

Yes, MS has some strong arming advantages in their tactics to protect themselves from Google, but they've already been limited by the government, people are becoming frustrated with MSFT's stock performance [yahoo.com] over the past five years, and CNBC has been pointing out threats like Linux and the world is taking it seriously.

So, in addition to software quality, Google's war will be helped greatly by their brand, imo.

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