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Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better! Beta - Google's Answer to Word

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the more-options-for-fun-and-excitement dept.


bahree writes "Google has launched their beta version of Writely is their word processor and answer to Microsoft Word. In addition to the usual editing features it includes many collaboration features, as well as the ability to save documents as PDFs and RSS feeds."

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What?! (4, Informative)

FunWithKnives (775464) | about 8 years ago | (#15942476)

No Opera support? Oh well.. Maybe in the future..

Re:What?! (4, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | about 8 years ago | (#15942506)

No Safari support either, which may actually affect more users than the lack of Opera support, despite Firefox's popularity on Mac.

Re:What?! (3, Informative)

prockcore (543967) | about 8 years ago | (#15942568)

No Safari support either

Not suprising, Safari's DesignMode support is pathetic. You'll have to wait until Leopard.

Re:What?! (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 8 years ago | (#15942593)

No Konqueror support. Not that this should be surprising considering the lack of Safari support.

I gave up on firefox due to the excessively long timeouts when loading pages. For whatever odd reason it occasionally takes all day to load a page, and when this happens other tabs refuse to load either. I've had browsers with 15 tabs all spinning doing nothing and then all the sudden they all load.

Re:What?! (4, Informative)

WoLpH (699064) | about 8 years ago | (#15942618)

Wouldn't be the first, google doesn't support opera at all, not with gmail, not with gcalendar, not with spreadsheets, not with personalized search, not with....etc.
(altough most of it works pretty well without the support)

Re:What?! (4, Informative)

takeya (825259) | about 8 years ago | (#15942649)

gmail works perfectly in Opera

I dont use the other apps you listed but gmail definitely works with no flaws.

Re:What?! (3, Informative)

WoLpH (699064) | about 8 years ago | (#15942683)

Yes it works, but that's because you get the basic html version of gmail, not the reqular gmail that other browsers would give you.
See the google help [] for more info.

Re:What?! (2, Informative)

Mike Savior (802573) | about 8 years ago | (#15942771)

Who are you to say which version he gets? I use Opera on occasion and their fancy frontpage there and gmail both work just as well as they ever would on Firefox, and certainly better than on IE.

Re:What?! (5, Informative)

jlarocco (851450) | about 8 years ago | (#15942648)

Why the hell did someone mod the parent troll? It really doesn't support Opera. It redirects here [] . I know it goes against the usual unabashed fellating of Google, but pointing out a flaw in one of their products is not trolling.

Re:What?! (1)

nerdcore666 (836297) | about 8 years ago | (#15942657)

Too true! I love Google, but spread the word: No love for non-IE, non-Mozilla browsers. Opera is very standards-compliant. This can be forgiven because it's Beta, but Gmail still doesn't formally support Opera. That ain't right.

Re:What?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15942789)

I still don't see why it should. Opera doesn't have nearly a big enough market share for Google to go out of it's way to pander to its users. Firefox, etc. do.

Re:What?! (-1, Offtopic)

davidsyes (765062) | about 8 years ago | (#15942791)

Hu r u to say Google is receives "usual unabashed fellating"? Last time I though about it, Google could very well receive abashed cunnilating. And, I'm not even trying to be a cunning linguist...

Re:What?! (1)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | about 8 years ago | (#15942656)

More people are switching to Opera now. Whether you like or hate the widgets thing, it's still a damn good brwoser. Some of FF's most popular extensions are imiations of standard features in Opera. That was not a troll.

Bonk the Zonk (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15942741)

Hey, Zonk, have you ever considered retirement? I mean, a perfectly competent /.er is sitting around and needs a job, or at least a better one than the admin job he has. He would make an excellent editor: he spends enough time here, and he always tends to point out dupes. He goes by the username TripMaster Monkey [] [].

Also, have you got the message? The Slashdot community doesn't want you. They don't like articles comparing games to female orgasms. They don't like seeing the same story twice while their own interesting and original submissions are rejected. They don't like typos. They don't like links to articles from The Onion. They don't like a lack of respect for Nintendo at the GDC. You can tell this in the majority of comments to your posts.

A Slashdot analogy: the /. effect is to a DDoS attack as a Zonkism is to a crapflood.

Is there any wonder why "bonk the Zonk" is now a widely-used phrase? I'm not puzzled. You're a troll disguised as an editor. Either that, or you're secretly working for Antislash.

You should resign before you hurt [] [] your [] [] reputation [] [] further [] [].

And to everyone else, feel free to copy this comment and FP it to other articles. Also feel free to reply with suggestions for future posts of this letter. With many slashdotters behind this movement, we can clean out the incompetency here. I mean, give a job that pays >$200,000k just to approve/reject story submissions to someone who knows what they're doing.

And if TMM is an editor, that means he'll only post in the discussions once every few years. No more ^_^ smileys and ascii art sigs!

Bonk the Zonk! TMM for editor! Serenity NOW!!!
Trolling all trolls since 2001.

One step closer... (5, Interesting)

ack154 (591432) | about 8 years ago | (#15942478)

... to a complete office suite. I've been using the Google Spreadsheets [] for a little while from the link in my Gmail account. Signed up for Writely the other day when I saw it on Ars. Pretty neat for an online application. Not too much left for a nice office productivity suite, excpet maybe a database app and/or a presentation app.

Re:One step closer... (3, Informative)

gradedcheese (173758) | about 8 years ago | (#15942498)

I suppose Google Base is a step toward the database side of things: []

The real question (1)

Tony Lechner (994093) | about 8 years ago | (#15942519)

Will Google be able to turn the pseudo-naive business sector from 1 Microsoft Way? That's what it really comes down to for market dominance. Isn't spreadsheets what launched the Apple II into every desktop anyways? There's nothing like a little healthy competition. Microsoft seems to be catching on, at least with it's new "Live" betas, so over the next few years I think we're going to see some real dangerous stuff from Redmond.

Re:One step closer... (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | about 8 years ago | (#15942545)

As a business, why would I use an office suite that requires me to (in effect) give a copy of all of my documents to another corporation, when I have a perfectly good alternative that only costs a few hundred bucks per seat? The privacy concerns for this thing are far too great to overcome the cost advantage for a business that cares about keepings its corporate secrets secret.

Re:One step closer... (1)

Cybersonic (7113) | about 8 years ago | (#15942564)

And if the privacy thing is no big deal - free is quite compelling...

Re:One step closer... (3, Insightful)

JFMulder (59706) | about 8 years ago | (#15942602)

Why have free and not private when you can have free and private. I've been using Open Office for a year under Windows and haven't felt the need to switch back to anything else. Google has actually created something that is less useful than other free alternatives.

Re:One step closer... (5, Insightful)

stony3k (709718) | about 8 years ago | (#15942651)

One advantage I can see is that your documents will be available anywhere you can get access to the web, which can be a pretty compelling argument. I also suspect that Google will try to sell a complete Office server to corporates, which will let them keep their data secure on their private servers while still letting their employees access these documents from the web. In fact, I'd bet that's why MS is so scared of Google.

Re:One step closer... (4, Interesting)

JFMulder (59706) | about 8 years ago | (#15942689)

Well, I believe that Microsoft's Share Point initiative is something similar to what Google might be about to unleash. The only difference would be that Microsoft's costs more. This might be an interesting thing to implement in Open Office or any other open source office application. As far as availability, my preference is to have my USB key in my pocket to bring stuff around. I wouldn't put anything important on Google's servers, because of privacy issues. For example, I'd never put my budget spreadsheet in Google's Spreadsheet even it was the best application ever. There's just some data that is more convenient to be private than to be accessible.

Re:One step closer... (2, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 8 years ago | (#15942766)

Well, I believe that Microsoft's Share Point initiative is something similar to what Google might be about to unleash. The only difference would be that Microsoft's costs more.

Actually, Sharepoint Sevices costs nothing, apart from the base Server2003 licensing. Sharepoint Portal, OTOH, does dig into your pocket. But I imagine most small/medium companies could get by using just the Services portion.

Now shipping as part of Windows Server 2003 R2 or available for download at no additional charge, Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services technology in Windows Server 2003 is an integrated portfolio of blah de blah [] And Sharepoint/Office2003/2007 is FAR more integrated than what Google has produced so far. Doc managemnent, collaboration, customization.

Re:One step closer... (1, Insightful)

siriuskase (679431) | about 8 years ago | (#15942643)

I've seen the future and it is not private. No matter how much we may say we want privacy, we will trade it away in a heartbeat for anything thats free.

Re:One step closer... (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 8 years ago | (#15942640)

The privacy concerns for this thing are far too great to overcome the cost advantage
I would have thought so too, but surprisingly I've had people give me a gmail or hotmail account for business mail. In fact, one person I know with a .mil email was having me send copies to hotmail due to reliability problems with their official account! (Of course, I'm sure that was against a rule or two).

Re:One step closer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15942731)

It's no worse than using an ISP email account. And you can send encrypted email through webmail if you need to, though it's a bit clunky.

Re:One step closer... (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 8 years ago | (#15942773)

It's no worse than using an ISP email account.
Usually businesses of any size host their own email, so mail within the company never leaves the site (or vpn) at all.

But yeah, most individuals trust their private correspondence to ISPs, so I don't see why they'd be any less trusting with their documents or spreadsheets. (Between credit agencies, electronic banking, and warantless domestic spying, I suppose it's virtually impossible to have any privacy as a "private" citizen anyways, unless you're Theodore Kaczynski.)

Re:One step closer... (5, Insightful)

supabeast! (84658) | about 8 years ago | (#15942668)

"...why would I use an office suite that requires me to (in effect) give a copy of all of my documents to another corporation, when I have a perfectly good alternative that only costs a few hundred bucks per seat?"

Any business with a competent IT staff is already putting all its documents in the hands of another corporation on a regular basis in the form of off-site backups. This just automates the process :)

Re:One step closer... (3, Insightful)

pchan- (118053) | about 8 years ago | (#15942787)

Any business with a competent IT staff is already putting all its documents in the hands of another corporation on a regular basis in the form of off-site backups.

Your off-site backups are not encrypted? Why not? You may want to rethink the comment about competent IT.

Re:One step closer... (1)

Solder Fumes (797270) | about 8 years ago | (#15942672)

Google offer business several localized, private versions of their more popular tools. Google searching of corporate intranets, for example. It is not impossible that when these office tools have matured, Google will offer a standalone server option at a cost businesses can afford.

If this were the case, the privacy issue you mention would suddenly become the greatest feature of the application. Documents are kept on the corporate server and can be controlled, searched, and backed up easily, collaboration is built in from the start rather than tacked on as a last thought.

Re:One step closer... (5, Insightful)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | about 8 years ago | (#15942684)

The reason you'd use Google everything as a small business, isn't because you'd save $<small> on MS Office. It's because you'd save $<large> on servers & an IT Department.

Would you rather set up exchange, some open source calendaring app, or goocal?

Me too.

So you're right, it's cost vs secrecy, but the cost savings is gigantic.

Re:One step closer... (2, Interesting)

Skim123 (3322) | about 8 years ago | (#15942690)

As a business, why would I use an office suite that requires me to (in effect) give a copy of all of my documents to another corporation, when I have a perfectly good alternative that only costs a few hundred bucks per seat?

You wouldn't. Good things that Fortune 500 companies are not the market audience for Writely. Google, IMO, is trying to market to a very large consumer segment that the other entrenched players aren't interested in (i.e., Microsoft, Apple) - the novice computer user who's computer use does not justify spending the money on an Office suite (or, heck, even a computer). Will Google be able to bring in enough advertising revenue? That remains to seen.

Re:One step closer... (5, Interesting)

mshiltonj (220311) | about 8 years ago | (#15942745)

As a business, you might find it useful to buy a "Google Office Box" to install on your network. This preconfigured works-out-of-the-box hardware/software product will run your small office's email, calendaring, search, spreadsheets and documents. It also comes with with a great Service Level Agreeement backed by Certified Google Technicians.

Need more horsepower? Add another box, change a couple configuration settings, and the load is distributed - it scales horizontally.

Since its all server-side and browser based, it fits seamlessly into you current environment. Training shouldn't be a showstopper. Heck, many of your employees are probably already using a couple of the consumer versions these services already.

It won't be long until it comes time to upgrade your offices desktop PCs. You won't need any Office licences any more. No more Exchange Server. In fact (as your Google account representives tells you) there's this Ubuntu Linux package that may even make all those Windows licences uncessary. They can refer you to a Canonical account representative.

Re:One step closer... (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | about 8 years ago | (#15942753)

Well once google gets the bugs worked out of it they can release a corprate edition that does it on site like their LAN indexing tools.

Re:One step closer... (1)

Wind_Walker (83965) | about 8 years ago | (#15942760)

I don't think you should, as a business. For personal matters though, it's quite nice. I've been trying to lose weight and have been using Google Spreadsheets to track my calorie count through the day. I can access it from work and from home, and since my task is so simple the lack of advanced features doesn't bother me that much (all I need is a SUM() function and tabbed browsing).

You're absolutely right about businesses having more robust and feature-full alternatives, which is why I think Google's going for the home market rather than the professional market.

Google doesn't target corporates with these (1)

alphabetsoup (953829) | about 8 years ago | (#15942809)

Google's target markets are individuals and to some extent 3-4 man business operations. What Writely or Google Spreadsheets provide is usually sufficient for most individuals and small offices.

In fact, Google's office product is much more of a competitor to OpenOffice than to MSOffice. They both target the same market - individuals and small businesses - and have (or will soon, as Google catches up) more or less the same set of simplistic features. Catching up MSOffice in terms of functionality may never be possible for a browser based office suite.

Re:One step closer... (4, Informative)

andrewman327 (635952) | about 8 years ago | (#15942761)

I don't know if they are any closer to anything than they were a long time ago. Google referred to Writely as being in beta back in March [] . I have used it since before Google bought it and the overall experience has constantly improved. I fail to see how today heralds anything new at all. Many people [] have commented about it here.

IE crashing (-1, Troll)

56ker (566853) | about 8 years ago | (#15942479)

My first experience was not good - as IE had crashed

But, since I am running IE 7 (Beta 3), I am not sure if there is an issue with IE itself or if the problem is with writely.

It really doesn't inspire my confidence in the reviewer to hear a) they're running Internet Explorer b) running a beta version no less and c) can't tell that it's obviously a problem with IE 7 (Beta 3) (which no doubt Google didn't test it on) rather than Writely.

On the plus side though if it causes IE to crash it might convince those die hard users to switch to Firefox. :)

Re:IE crashing (1)

eliot1785 (987810) | about 8 years ago | (#15942514)

Well I am using IE 6 and I had an error as well. I tried to save a test document as a Word file and got an error message. However, I tried again and it worked for all the formats I tried. So it may well be that the error was Writely's - you write (no pun intended) as if a beta version that was just launched (today?) will obviously not have any bugs, when clearly it will.

Deep irony: The website is programmed using ASP.

Re:IE crashing (1)

repruhsent (672799) | about 8 years ago | (#15942583)

Dear 56ker,

I want to punch you in the eyes. Please forward a home address so I can accomplish this goal. I will provide air fare for me to visit; you need only provide your eyes so I can punch them.


Re:IE crashing (1)

Garse Janacek (554329) | about 8 years ago | (#15942611)

It really doesn't inspire my confidence in the reviewer to hear a) they're running Internet Explorer

It would in fact be a pretty incompetent reviewer that didn't even try it on the dominant web browser (yes, that's still IE, however the trends are going).

b) running a beta version no less

Alright, I'm with you on this one. This falls in line with my "incompetent" description above, since IE beta is not the dominant web browser, and can be expected to have problems.

c) can't tell that it's obviously a problem with IE 7 (Beta 3) (which no doubt Google didn't test it on) rather than Writely.

And neither can you, since you didn't try it on regular IE, presumably (from the rest of your comment). Granted, that's a likely source of trouble, but you say they "can't tell" the problem is IE7 as though you have some evidence that it is true. The real issue here is that the reviewer didn't bother to try it on a more standard browser, not that they didn't immediately know some "fact" you're assuming.

All that said... I ran it on Firefox and had no problems :)

Re:IE crashing (1)

someone300 (891284) | about 8 years ago | (#15942671)

A browser crash is not the website's fault, therefore, IE7 or Windows (or something else linked into IE7) was definitely at fault here.

Sweet (5, Funny)

Spazntwich (208070) | about 8 years ago | (#15942487)

I'm sure this will also feature Google's well known "infinite retention" plan, whereby anything you ever write is saved on their backup servers, sent into space as microwaves to be preserved should the earth be destroyed, and also dumped into several randomly selected alternate dimensions so even cataclysmic destruction of our reality can't get rid of your records.

Re:Sweet (5, Insightful)

mochan_s (536939) | about 8 years ago | (#15942534)

Seriously, since I heard about Google's infinite retention policy, I'm even afraid of using google search anymore. For the simpler stuff I use other search engines. Half the pages I go to have Google ads and by using gmail and google groups, they've got a lot of information on me.

The last last thing I want to do is use Google to edit my documents.

It hasn't happened as much yet but soon I expect to go somewhere and see Google ads with very interesting (to me) titles. Then, I'll click and spend time on it and make me feel like I need to buy this or that.

Seriously, someone has to start an open-source project to write a super-duper search engine code so that websites can use it to search themselves. It's easier to use google to search through slashdot that to use the slashdot search feature (which sucks really bad by the way).

We have open source firefox and thunderbirld, we need open source code for searching.

I'm staying away from Google calendars and google what nots from now on due to privacy concerns.

Re:Sweet (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15942537)

even cataclysmic destruction of our reality can't get rid of your records

Which means, of course, that any three-lettered government agency should have no trouble whatsoever getting them. And you thought that the death of the universe would help your sorry ass... ;)

Re:Sweet (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about 8 years ago | (#15942547)

Anything you type down should be things that you don't mind any others seeing. This is something you might think only needs to kept in mind with gmail, but it is a good overall rule, as even regular email itself can be stored by the recipient indefinitely and be used at a later date.

As Cardinal Richelieu said:
"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him."

Re:Sweet (3, Insightful)

mochan_s (536939) | about 8 years ago | (#15942588)

We're not talking about individual pieces of information here. It's a collection of information from various sources that are available to be mined.

Google will know who you talk to, where you spend your money, where you spend your time and what you talk about and do. Now, also the documents you work on.

Just from a couple of posts on slashdot, I can see you either own iPod or use iTunes extensively. I'm sure you will be very interested in a detailed review when a new iPod comes out. You said you are buying the Wii in a post. And, I'm just human. A machine can make a list of all the things you plan to buy or check out and direct you to reviews, discussions, blogs about them that makes you want to buy them more.

Re:Sweet (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15942551)

Unfortunately, I have it on good authority that alternate dimensions use IBM Deskstars.

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15942631)

Some how I saw "anal" in there and it didn't help

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15942703)

Wrong. Check the privacy policy. Anything you delete will be wiped within three weeks.

Very Impressive (3, Insightful)

dontbflat (994444) | about 8 years ago | (#15942490)

The interface was very easy to use. I'm impressed. Google spreadsheets didnt impress me this much as writely does. Publish, others can edit it, save as PDF....damn its beautiful. I have no complaints. Heck, now I can use this for work to create PDF documents for my co-workers to follow. Yay for Google.....maybe powerpoint competitor next?

Links please! (5, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | about 8 years ago | (#15942499)

What's with the lack of a direct link [] ? Oh right, blogvertising. Forgot.
(check the blog's title for a laugh from the author's mental age by the way)

Re:Links please! (1)

repruhsent (672799) | about 8 years ago | (#15942604)

I was about to say "you must be new here," but your uid is much smaller than mine; so, suffice to say that Slashdot is pretty much one big advertisement anymore. That's why nobody reads the stories before they post; they figure they're just blogvertising/astroturfing/something else.

Seamonkey (3, Informative)

pembo13 (770295) | about 8 years ago | (#15942502)

Doesn't work in SeaMonkey 1.0.4, though I suspect this is an oversight as they have Mozilla 1.6 in their compatability listing.

Do they keep a copy? (1, Redundant)

The New Stan Price (909151) | about 8 years ago | (#15942503)

Does Google keep a copy of everything you write?

Re:Do they keep a copy? (1)

Lord Prox (521892) | about 8 years ago | (#15942516)

But more importantly do it keep a copy in Open Document Format ODF? Does is scan the contents and insert relevent ads, and will the DoJ subpeona them at a later date.

Inquiring minds (read: tinfoilHat) want to know.

Re:Do they keep a copy? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | about 8 years ago | (#15942521)

Why not? Why would you assume otherwise?

Re:Do they keep a copy? (1)

Deathly809 (887240) | about 8 years ago | (#15942637)

I would say yes since you save it to their servers. And also.. how would you edit it later?

Re:Do they keep a copy? (1)

kfg (145172) | about 8 years ago | (#15942707)

Google has a copy of your frickin' DNA.

When their clone army comes to get you, they're going to look just like you.


Works in Safari though unsupported (3, Informative) (731545) | about 8 years ago | (#15942504)

Under 10.4.7, set Safari to Mozilla 1.1 as its User Agent (in the debug menu). Writely works great then, even though it is listed as unsupported.

Re:Works in Safari though unsupported (3, Informative)

prockcore (543967) | about 8 years ago | (#15942576)

Writely works great then, even though it is listed as unsupported.

If by "works great" you mean "only bold and italic are supported, no font changes, no font size changes, no links, lists, images, or any of the other stuff" then yes.. it works great.

This is so old (2, Interesting)

ben there... (946946) | about 8 years ago | (#15942511)

Writely has been available for almost a year [] . The only news is that they've finished sending invitations to the waiting list and reopened public registration.

Re:This is so old (1)

ack154 (591432) | about 8 years ago | (#15942520)

Ya, the Ars [] link may have been better to explain the situation instead of some guy's blog trying to get hits.

Re:This is so old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15942527)

The only news is that they've finished sending invitations to the waiting list and reopened public registration.
In other words, it's been launched to the public. How is this not news again?

Mod parent up, you brainless cretins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15942712)

Slashdot is dead, unlike the parent post.

No privacy (5, Insightful)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | about 8 years ago | (#15942541)

Remember, anything on someone else's server is destined to become public knowledge. It may be inadvertent, it may be because of a court order, a government investigation, a rogue employee, or because someone hacks the server. In the future world of software as a service, where your personal data is stored on someone else's computer, the privacy of that data is only as good as the technical, legal, and political environment makes it. For the US, as recent months have proven, that means there is no privacy you can count on. So be sure you never write about your questionable deductions on your income tax, or your recent affair in the Bahamas, or how you managed to carry banned items on your last airplane trip, or anything else you wouldn't want public, when using this service.

Re:No privacy (1)

mochan_s (536939) | about 8 years ago | (#15942605)

I think the future model will probably be like phpBB. Anyone with a website can set one up in 10 minutes and so your information is scattered all over the web. Google is bad since it's in centralized Google but there are million copies of phpBB will their own posts everywhere.

Also,if it's going to be stored on someone else's computer, then it has to be encrypted! There is no reason to store unencrypted documents on Google servers.

Re:No privacy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15942641)

It doesn't take 10 minutes to setup phpBB, it only takes 5.

10 minutes is the total amount of time the phpBB devs devoted to security design/conding and testing.

Oops! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15942725)

From Reuters at e=oddlyEnoughNews&storyid=2006-08-19T140929Z_01_L1 9810009_RTRUKOC_0_US-GERMANY-SEX.xml [] ):

BERLIN (Reuters) - Two German women complaining on office email about their partners' poor sex drive found the details of their private lives broadcast to thousands after one of them hit the wrong button, Bild newspaper said Saturday.

"Everyone stares at us now and whispers behind our backs," Anica G., a 21-year-old worker at the Federal Labor Office, told Bild.

The emails between Anica and colleague Christina S., with descriptions on how the women try but fail to arouse their partners, were first sent by accident to other colleagues in their department at the Labor Office.

They were then forwarded to thousands throughout the Labor Office and other government agencies and widely distributed by recipients to people across Germany.

Anica told the daily she and her colleague had not broken any rules because the emails were written on breaks.

Hassles now... (5, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | about 8 years ago | (#15942552)

...or hassles later?

The reviewer says Writely might be useful because downloading and installing OOo is too much of a hassle. Hmm...what about the hassle of managing two sets of files: one on your computer's hard disk and one on the google grid? The confusion when you end up with two versions of the same file, one on your computer and one on google's grid? What about the hassle that comes when you want to edit your document, but you don't have internet access at the moment? What about the hassle when you find out it doesn't work in the browser you have installed on the machine you're using at the moment? What about the hassle when your document gets too big, and Writely's performance starts to be unacceptable?

AJAX is fundamentally a bad idea. It's an attempt to use a web browser and http for something they were never designed to do, and they can't do without browser-specific hacks on the developer's side, and breaking lots of familiar conventions on the user's side. It's also a retreat into proprietary software, at a moment when a full-featured stack of open-source apps is pretty much ready for prime time.

Re:Hassles now... (4, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 8 years ago | (#15942659)

AJAX is a good thing, as it allows for more dyanmic web-stuff. Dynamic is good. Web-stuff is good. Dynamic web-stuff is better. In my book at least. The only abuse of it at this point I've seen is that your browser freezes when you load a particularly large chunk of javascript. Some people (ahem Yahoo Mail Beta) should really slim up their AJAX apps.

I can't wait to... (0, Offtopic) (902541) | about 8 years ago | (#15942553)

...apply this editor to my dynamic content management system. []

dynamic content management system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15942566)

As opposed to a static content management system?

You've been listening to too many marketoids. (2, Funny)

jt2377 (933506) | about 8 years ago | (#15942555)

it's! so... Google use Microsoft's technology to answer Microsoft's product. humm...

Posting to blog is nice (3, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 8 years ago | (#15942556)

I don't know about personal files, but I think that I'll be putting my blog posts in there. If they enhance the ability to post to my blog (wordpress) then I will probably actually just write all the posts there. But right now, I'll probably post to my blog, copy the text and then shoot over to writely and save it there. Obviously it is not private, but I like that google will be backing it up for me. The jokes above about it never going away are funny - but really, that is appealing for content that I intend to be public.
And if anyone is curious. The document I posted to my blog went over - but without the title or categories. That gets fixed and it is a nicer editor than the one built into wordpress itself.

This is on it's way... (1)

7Prime (871679) | about 8 years ago | (#15942559)

But it still seems a little bare-bones to me. There doesn't seem to be many formatting options... not even a ruler. I'm a little miffed that there's no customization what-so-ever.

Oh well, I'm the guy that thinks that everyone should write their documents in a propper page-layout program, like InDesign, or use a simple RTF edittor for the rest. I really hate DOC, ODF, and all these bastardized rtf/page-layout hybrids, anyway... so I'll probably just stick to using TextEdit and InDesign, like I always have. Unfortunately, work is exclusively Microsoft based (and I refuse to use Publisher), so I'm forced to use Word... so maybe once Writely matures a little, I'll switch to it.

CSS and printing (2, Insightful)

gradedcheese (173758) | about 8 years ago | (#15942721)

The trouble with rulers and other real-world dimention stuff (for printing) in web applications seems to be that the CSS features ( that handle them are not supported in the majoy browsers. The web application has, thus, little to no control over how the document will be printed and how dimentions, page breaks, and margins will be handled. I assume that, for those reasons, there's no point in including a ruler or the like. Hopefully this will change in the future.

First impressions (5, Informative)

planckscale (579258) | about 8 years ago | (#15942574)

When creating a new document, a popup dialog asks for the file name. The default text is Verdana. They give you about 18 different fonts. The font dropdown menu does not provide a preview of the font.

Inserting an image is easy - a dialog pops up asking to browse, uploading was very fast. Clicking on the image gives you handles and when dragging to resize, the image shades and is re-sized easily and centers again. Numbering works as expected, bullets are not aliased circles, but small "diamonds". Keyboard shortcuts like cut and paste, bold, italicize and underline perform as expected.

"Right clicking" in empty pane brings up their menu with cut, copy, insert image, insert link and bookmark, select all etc and the ability to insert 196 special characters

Save as html, rtf, open office, word, and pdf. Also has tags and create RSS. "Collaborate" looks interesting but did not have time to test it. I think this feature is Writely's biggest benefit. Also "Publish, blog, revisions, and HTML Preview menus".

Overall I'm impressed, the only problem I had was creating a colored background.

All your.aspx belong to us. (2, Interesting)

g35force (996569) | about 8 years ago | (#15942575)

Hmm. .ASPX. All your bases belog to us... I wonder how the asp environment works with the Google grid.

I found a major bug!!! (4, Funny)

nbahi15 (163501) | about 8 years ago | (#15942579)

I have discovered a major flaw in this version of the product. It offers Comic Sans as a font!!! Please Google, kill Comic Sans, kill.

Security... (1)

Duncan3 (10537) | about 8 years ago | (#15942590)

It's so secure Homeland Security is only sent ONE copy automatically. Wow that's good!

I use Google spreadsheet for tracking some clan items in a game, but that's just about as far as I would ever trust Google.

I understand their target(ed) market(ing) is kids who frankly just need to write about sex and drugs, but for any business, or really any adult, Google is just not an option at all.

Still, tis damn cool to have the collaboration of UNIX apps from the 80's ... ON THE WEB. It's double cool because nobody that works at Google is old enough to know that ;)


Bugs ? (1)

lowks (795637) | about 8 years ago | (#15942607)

Don't know if this is a bug on the service or something but posting to my blog at didn't work, google's other beta stuff works so well, that's why I guess my expectations were so high.

What's the big deal? (0, Flamebait)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 8 years ago | (#15942625)

A freeware word processor to challenge MS-Word. Uh, sure. Now exactelly what is it that makes this Writely thingy any better than Open Office, AbiWord, or any of the DOZENS of office apps out there?

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

icedcool (446975) | about 8 years ago | (#15942686)

Why? Its from google. Since they are one of the biggest brainbanks [] in the industry they should have good quality product with less bugs/problems/hassle/bullshit than others. If its anything like their search engine it'll be good.

Re:What's the big deal? (3, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | about 8 years ago | (#15942794)

It's the usual advantages from online stuff with some extras. You don't need to install anything, it's automatically always the latest version, accessibility, online real-time collaboration. But I'm not saying with that that it's better, because these offline clients offer tons more features, isn't dependant on network availability, feels more safely stored on e.g. a local drive, or corporate LAN. But it's different, and Google sees a niche.

Revenue for google? (1)

bulliver (774837) | about 8 years ago | (#15942629)

Where are the targeted ads? I would have thought they would have a bank of ads down the right-hand side a la gmail. Then, I only looked at the screenie...

Well (1)

aitikin (909209) | about 8 years ago | (#15942634)

It may have OD, but it doesn't have password support. Guess I'm waiting for a while.

Oddly enough... (4, Funny)

Ichigo Kurosaki (886802) | about 8 years ago | (#15942635)

Google is not in its dictionary.

Re:Oddly enough... (1)

Bushido Hacks (788211) | about 8 years ago | (#15942793)

Also oddly enough "The Internet is a series of tubes" (Senator Ted Stevens, R-AK) /Yeah, it's off topic. But atleast it is not a reference to Snakes on a Plane. vs. my 3 evening hack (4, Interesting)

MarkWatson (189759) | about 8 years ago | (#15942638)

And the winner is: Writely!
I wrote about Writely a few days ago (and generally liked it [] ). I wrote my own online word processor last year ( [] for my own use, then opened up free registration - got 1000+ uesers. My system was a 3 evening hack - generally OK, but not feature rich.
Google Calendars has a huge advantage because of the GMail integration.'s advantage will likely be a good integration with blogspot, etc.

Missing feature (2, Interesting)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 8 years ago | (#15942667)

Writely is missing the fundamental concept of page breaks. I imported an ODT and my manual page breaks were ignored, footnotes were all dumped at the bottom of the document (as opposed to the bottom of each page). It wasn't pretty.

It also failed to import the font correctly (I typed the document in ARIAL, not Times New Roman!). Everything else was fine, though.

Countdown to IE7 breakage (5, Insightful)

supabeast! (84658) | about 8 years ago | (#15942682)

Anyone want to start a pool on what CSS/javascript features get broken or removed in future releases of IE7 as Microsoft tries to kill Writely and Google Spreadsheets?

Not quite earth-shattering? (2, Informative)

zoogies (879569) | about 8 years ago | (#15942693)

What? Am I remembering wrong, or has Writely been around long before it was a part of Google? I just read the headlines and thought, wait a minute, that makes no sense - how do Writely and Google go together? It was in a PC magazine a few months ago as a featured link, so I don't think this is cutting-edge new, although Google's affiliation may be.

Also worthy of note, this is also not the only thing of its type: Thinkfree Office [] is also around.

But good to see that services like these are getting more attention. Still, I wouldn't save any documents of even moderate importance online, even if it evolves out of beta.

Re:Not quite earth-shattering? (1)

RadarOnPaws (984866) | about 8 years ago | (#15942702)

No, you are absolutely correct. I was going to post this same thing, amazed that no one here remembered this. Doesn't anyone else listen to TWiT around here?! :D That was MONTHS ago I first heard of Writely. Amazing it's suddenly "in beta" now that google owns it. It always was in beta!

selfish reporter (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15942733)

the guy posting this is a selfish fish, he links to himself. lets kill his kittens and burn his cake.

I think I'm paranoid... (1)

Admiral Justin (628358) | about 8 years ago | (#15942765)

But the registrar and nameservers for writely don't match the other google holdings...

So, one has to ask, is it safe?

If it's made by Google... (1)

darkhitman (939662) | about 8 years ago | (#15942779)

Why does 'Google' show up as a misspelled word on their Spell Check?

Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15942800)

What's so different between saving data on Google Servers
or on your "own" Microsoft computer ?

Do you think you have any kind of control about the information
stored on your computer if you are using a closed source OS and a closed source
office suite ?

Who do you think your computer obeys: you or the company that wrote
the software ?

As a mather of fact you don't even own the software you are using on
your computer: you just own a license to use it...

Why do you think office stores a copy of you ethernet MAC address
on every document ?

pdf production by 2.0 (1)

mwc28 (622947) | about 8 years ago | (#15942818)

Try; create a new document, save to pdf, open and check the Producer tag. Mine says " 2.0"....
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