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Google Releasing an Office Suite

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the target-business-software-market dept.

198

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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first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15992847)

first post

Google Spreadsheet (4, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | about 8 years ago | (#15992855)

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.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (5, Insightful)

dk-software-engineer (980441) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (5, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | about 8 years ago | (#15992877)

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.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (5, Funny)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 8 years ago | (#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:Google Spreadsheet (5, Funny)

giorgiofr (887762) | about 8 years ago | (#15992950)

It looks like hitting on your hot manager and being turned down hurts a lot.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (0, Redundant)

Erectile Dysfunction (994340) | about 8 years ago | (#15992983)

Well done.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (3, Funny)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 8 years ago | (#15993462)

So what makes you think "hot?" The glasses or the broach?

Most of the managers I worked for who claimed to be female had faces that could stop a clock. Nice try though. Leave the schtick to the pros there, Sparky.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (1)

joshetc (955226) | about 8 years ago | (#15992951)

17's on an SUV? Pfft its all about the 22's

Re:Google Spreadsheet (0, Offtopic)

unity (1740) | about 8 years ago | (#15992952)

This isn't flamebait. This is funnier than 95% of the lame stuff modded funny.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (1)

cloudmaster (10662) | about 8 years ago | (#15993120)

Stupid pointy-hairs and their desire for data [gnuplot.info] visualization [sourceforge.net] .

Re:Google Spreadsheet (3, Insightful)

Thrip (994947) | about 8 years ago | (#15993098)

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, people reach for Excel. In my eight years in office jobs, I have seen hundreds of spreadsheets -- I have only seen one person generate a chart from them. I'm sure it's different at other places.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (1)

PHPfanboy (841183) | about 8 years ago | (#15993182)

Yes and it's horrible. I used to do Filemaker work which was so much easier to work with and reuse than Excel. However, when every computer has Excel on and Filemaker is an extra 250 USD per seat (or was something like that) it was a big fight.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (4, Insightful)

Doctor O (549663) | about 8 years ago | (#15993268)

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:Google Spreadsheet (3, Interesting)

theguyfromsaturn (802938) | about 8 years ago | (#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:Google Spreadsheet (2, Interesting)

mysticgoat (582871) | about 8 years ago | (#15993421)

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 color to paint each of the slices of the pie. Also, developing locally would help assure that the impact of the graphics on your audience wasn't diminished by their prior exposure to the rough drafts.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (1)

Erectile Dysfunction (994340) | about 8 years ago | (#15993022)

Pivot tables, charts, and templates would all be a good start in providing a larger percentage of the functionality used in various business functions, though I have to confess to having spent an insignificant amount of time playing with Google Spreadsheets. It is obviously true that no competitor needs to implement everything that Excel offers to be useful to different groups, but the people using Excel without any formulas aren't really the intended audience of the program. They might as well use Gnumeric or OpenOffice.org's Calc if they don't require Excel, though that isn't to suggest that there is no niche for Google Spreadsheets.

Adding functionality wil be easy ... (4, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | about 8 years ago | (#15993180)

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.

Re:Adding functionality wil be easy ... (3, Interesting)

It'sYerMam (762418) | about 8 years ago | (#15993437)

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.)

Re:Google Spreadsheet (5, Interesting)

babbling (952366) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

Define serious. 90% of businesses are tiny. (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

 

Re:Define serious. 90% of businesses are tiny. (1)

babbling (952366) | about 8 years ago | (#15992892)

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.

Most people aren't interested in computers (5, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 8 years ago | (#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:Most people aren't interested in computers (2, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | about 8 years ago | (#15992942)

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...

Re:Most people aren't interested in computers (3, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

 

Re:Most people aren't interested in computers (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 8 years ago | (#15992982)

Well as long as you aren't too interested in securing then Google Spreadsheets is the place for you.

Re:Most people aren't interested in computers (2, Interesting)

Erectile Dysfunction (994340) | about 8 years ago | (#15993034)

Do you use Google Spreadsheets for anything yourself?

Re:Most people aren't interested in computers (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 8 years ago | (#15993129)

Sure for basic stuff, it isn't terribly advanced. I also use google calendars.

 

Re:Most people aren't interested in computers (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | about 8 years ago | (#15993314)

I likes the Google Calendar as well. Very useful. I also use Google Notebook a lot. The spreadsheet I'm still kind of trying to find a use for it in my daily life.

It's the collaboration (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | about 8 years ago | (#15993244)

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.

Re:Define serious. 90% of businesses are tiny. (4, Insightful)

asifyoucare (302582) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (5, Interesting)

gkhan1 (886823) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (4, Insightful)

meatspray (59961) | about 8 years ago | (#15993031)

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.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 years ago | (#15993137)

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.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (1)

orasio (188021) | about 8 years ago | (#15993235)

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, so I can't judge it), and winword produced documents didn't look the same across different machines. There was always some screwed formatting when dealing with documents with some complexity.

You can't say that openoffice is worse because it fails at the same task as openoffice. You could say it's slow to load, maybe. But screwed formatting is not an openoffice issue. Version 2 achieved exactly that: the same grade of compatibility that different msoffice versions have. I think now they should forget about further msoffice compatibility, and start moving in its own direction. People are accustomed to this migration problems among msoffice versions, it's only one more towards openoffice, and from now on, no more issues.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (1)

hacker (14635) | about 8 years ago | (#15993277)

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 are publicly available, whereas Microsoft makes it a habit to sue people for reverse engineering their own formats.

Show me where the documentation for the Microsoft Word .doc format is, and I'll make sure those corrections make it into the proper hands for fixes in Oo.org.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (1)

tzanger (1575) | about 8 years ago | (#15993485)

Open Office has another, more serious downfall.

(Microsoft Office file format bug explanation deleted, as Microsoft Office can't do this even between versions anyway)

What I see as the biggest OO flaw is the spreadsheet. Graphing *sucks*. Mightily so. It's extraordinarily limited, it's slower than molasses in January, it's impossible to print a chart on a page (honestly, I've tried and tried to select just the chart and say "print this, fit it to one page" -- is this just a glaring oversight, or am I just stupid?). It's got some strange UI modes but those are just strange because I'm used to the way selection and cursor movement in selections work with Word... but honestly... charting/graphing simply *blows* in Open Office. I feel that is the single biggest failing of the suite.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (0)

Nichole_knc (790047) | about 8 years ago | (#15993057)

Just cause it has a 'pretty' GUI does not mean that it has function.... Many ppl prefer 'slim and trim' interfaces with the OS or program enviroment. When you make a 'pretty' interface for eye candy it becomes just that .... Eye Candy .... and loses all hope of function leading to bloat and wasted clock cycles to be appealling to the eye... IMO

Re:Google Spreadsheet (2)

gkhan1 (886823) | about 8 years ago | (#15993102)

Oh, yeah, the geek "Who cares about design?" defence. The fact is, design matters, it matters alot. Design makes you more productive, it makes you understand how the program works, it makes the program appealing. Have you actually used Office 2007? If you have windows, try it, I'm telling you it's really cool. It makes all the features obvious, it makes it clear what results each option does. And you can't complain about the function of MS Word, it can do pretty much everything that you ever need to do. The only exception, I guess, is PDF-exporting.

These kind of comments are pretty silly, ever heard of sour grapes? Use OpenOffice for a while. Then switch to Office 2007. I can guarantee that you will have a more pleasurable experience with it.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15993213)

So, how long it took M$ to come out with such wonderful design? 10 years? 15 years?. Few days ago there was another /. story about users hating the new "ribbon" interface:

ahref=http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/25/ 1229226rel=url2html-30815 [slashdot.org] http://slashdot.org/artic le.pl?sid=06/08/25/1229226>

Re:Google Spreadsheet (1)

hacker (14635) | about 8 years ago | (#15993263)

Use OpenOffice for a while. Then switch to Office 2007. I can guarantee that you will have a more pleasurable experience with it.

Put $85 million dollars behind the development of OpenOffice.org, and then we can think about comparing the two.

How much have you donated to improve the free office suite you're crucifying here?

Re:Google Spreadsheet (2, Interesting)

orasio (188021) | about 8 years ago | (#15993274)

Hmmmm
It's hard.
They keep telling that the next version will be great.
I stopped believing when I switched from msoffice97 to msoffice2000 and its magically dissapearing menu options, remember that?
Now I use openoffice, and in the places where it's different from msoffice, it makes a lot more sense.
Now I'm using msoffice at work, I am kind of forced to use msoutlook2003, and I can't make sense of this. Funcions are really hard to find, for example, search is awful (google desktop makes it somewhat better) and to see message headers (to see why it doesn't respect spam assasin headers, broken header parser, not a usability issue, though) I need to use right button menu - options (!!).

I'm not wasting my time trying yet another version, that I have learned in more than 10 years that has a big chance to be crappy.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (0, Redundant)

adbloggers (996663) | about 8 years ago | (#15993261)

I love open office too, although it takes some getting used to. http://www.adbloggers.com/ [adbloggers.com]

Re:Google Spreadsheet (3, Interesting)

shitzu (931108) | about 8 years ago | (#15992883)

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.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 8 years ago | (#15992990)

What's the point to accessing and sharing something you don't want to use though?

Re:Google Spreadsheet (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | about 8 years ago | (#15993292)

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, but if you just wanted to work on something with someone else, online, it's great. And the best part about it that it exports to Excel, so then you can take it and do all your analysis/reporting/charting in Excel. They're not mutually exclusive.

There's really no compelling reason to use Google Spreadsheet if you're satisfied with Excel as a single-user, desktop PC application; the people who are going to find it interesting are those who are constantly running into the limitations that Excel has when you attempt to use it collaboratively.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | about 8 years ago | (#15993266)

Give it time. They are constantly updating the Google Spreadsheet [google.com] . When it first came out it was very weak. Now it could hold up against MS Works Spreadsheets. It even has Freeze Pans, which I don't think MS Works Spreadsheets has. In a year from now that web based program will be very good.

Re:Google Spreadsheet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15993494)

All I've really wanted from the spreadsheet is an grid-like text entry that saves each cell after hitting RETURN.
It would be nice to have multiple users to be able to add data to a spreadsheet and have it 'always refreshed'.
I dont really need the formulas and fancy stuff, just give me a text grid that multiple people can update.

Almost like this AJAX refrigerator magnets demo:
http://www.broken-notebook.com/magnetic/ [broken-notebook.com]

-E

As a user of Writely and Google's Spreadsheets.... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:As a user of Writely and Google's Spreadsheets. (1)

kurtis25 (909650) | about 8 years ago | (#15993008)

I create reports for my job and I'm not sure if I've ever used excel to create a chart. I've created charts generally in Word as part of a report or in outlook and ever more in PowerPoint but rarely if even in excel. (Yes I know it all uses and builds on the shell game that is excel). A chart in Excel does me and others little good. I wouldn't be surprised if you saw chart capability in google spreadsheet built into other parts of google (pages, blogger, writely,) they clearly have the capability to make charts (ad sense analytics and the like) so it wouldn't be much of a jump for cross platform chart integration. p.s. google sheets is to slow to use so charts aside it is useless.

Re:As a user of Writely and Google's Spreadsheets. (1)

tzanger (1575) | about 8 years ago | (#15993509)

A chart in Excel does me and others little good.

Funny, I use charting in Excel more than I use any other feature in the entire Office suite. I regularly import csv data to graph easily. Packet jitter. CPU/VM/IO load. Process variables read in over a serial port from some proprietary equipment. I haven't found something smaller and lighter that allows me to do this as quickly and easily as dumping to CSV and importing into Excel to graph. gnuplot is a contender, but it's just not as fast for me to use it yet.

What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15992859)

Open source Google apps? If Google is so "Good" and "opposed to evil", then why is it years after their big debut, Richard Stallman still isn't running a full Google/GNU/Linux desktop??

demand? (4, Insightful)

legoburner (702695) | about 8 years ago | (#15992860)

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

Re:demand? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 8 years ago | (#15992872)

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.

Re:demand? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 8 years ago | (#15992879)

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 not for corporate users (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 8 years ago | (#15992875)

It's for small businesses.

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

 

Re:demand? (0, Flamebait)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 8 years ago | (#15992899)

How much demand will there really be from corporate users?

None, it's a complete waste of time and money.

Oh, wait, you expected someone to be able to predict the future with perfect accuracy, right? Something like what the egg-salad-stuffing asswedges in the conference rooms of our great free enterprises want on a daily basis so they have something to wave in the air and screech "it wasn't MY fault" when they fuck up?

I would assume that most would be nervous

Sphincters tighten at every overrated corporate desk when the fucks who ram thick wads of cash into their pockets by the hour are called upon to actually make a decision or do something remotely related to management.

So they instruct everyone to say they are in a meeting and hide under their hairpieces like the sniveling little weasel fucks they are, all the while trying to get everyone to think they are true starch-pressed captains of industry because they drive a car with leather seats.

What they should do in exchange for everyone else's paycheck is MAKE A FUCKING DECISION AND STAND BY IT.

But they won't. They'll just reverse-clusterfuck everything they touch and fire people to make up for the money they waste.

Re:demand? (1)

4solarisinfo (941037) | about 8 years ago | (#15993089)

Speaking of tight Sphincters -

Get out much? Geez, lighten up some. Just because you hate your company doesn't mean EVERYONE is fucked up or that they're all useless. I totally forgot what the subject of this thread was you're so wound up...

Re:demand? (2, Funny)

DSW-128 (959567) | about 8 years ago | (#15993227)

I take it you didn't get that promotion?

Re:demand? (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 8 years ago | (#15993528)

I take it you didn't get that promotion?

Most of the places I worked had persistent 50 MPH winds caused by the brown clogged rivers of bullshit thundering up and down the halls. People were fired so fast they didn't have time to fill out their parking sticker cards. I remember one fuck said something about a promotion once. He was holding the door open with one foot and scrabbling loose change out of his pen drawer like a starving hound before his department was toilet-rammed. This was about a week before they were going to ship a project about 100 people had been working on for a year. The project went with the department into the shitpipe at about Mach 3. All the hairpieces got bonuses. Oh yeah. Salad with croutons.

Re:demand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15993222)

You're exactly right. My business will never consider any such thing unless Google can meet the following expectations:

* Contractual terms protecting private data. My corporation's data belongs to my corporation. Any request for any information, whether purely statistical or detailed, from any party, including the federal government, must be processed by my corporation, not Google.

* The ability to export all data in an open format, such as ODF. Without this ability, this scheme will entrap users just like any other proprietary format does.

If Google can get this right, they can own this market lock stock and barrel. If they play this game too tight to the vest, they'll get what they deserve, which is a pittance and a pity.

Re:demand - Google Apps for Education (3, Insightful)

nursegirl (914509) | about 8 years ago | (#15993294)

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.

Google Releasing an Office Suite ?? (4, Insightful)

raffe (28595) | about 8 years ago | (#15992871)

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.

Re: Google Releasing an Office Suite ?? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15993127)

You, sir, are the first comment posted on this story that actually refers to it.

This is all about Exchange, and nothing at all about Office. But Google has been rumored to be preparing to launch an office suite, so this title is sure to turn more heads.

I guess I shouldn't expect so much, that people would actually read the article and decide for themselves if it is related or not.

Ballmer (-1, Offtopic)

zlogic (892404) | about 8 years ago | (#15992874)

Joke involving Ballmer, chairs and throwing going 3... 2... 1...

Hahahahahaaaaa! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15992895)

Hahahahahahahahahahaaaaa...hahaha
hahahahahahahaaaaa...hahahahahaha
hahahahahahahahahaaaaa...hahahaha
hahahahahaaaaaaa...!

Oh wait, sorry, that's not funny at all. My bad.

Re:Ballmer (0, Offtopic)

bangenge (514660) | about 8 years ago | (#15992901)

this is bad news for the environment. why can't those environmentalist groups target MS?

My main concern... (3, Interesting)

bangenge (514660) | about 8 years ago | (#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*

Re:My main concern... (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 8 years ago | (#15992925)

I don't know about that.
I just installed Office 2003 the other week (i had to "upgrade" to full outlook) and it runs like shit on my athlon 64
I see pages refreshing and lag all around (clicking a folder keeps the mail list from the first folder for just under a second), so much so that I keep remarking its like an online app.
Its coming to something when their flagship program cannot compete with Outlook Express for speed.

Re:My main concern... (1)

bangenge (514660) | about 8 years ago | (#15992957)

disclaimer: i haven't tried the google spreadsheet app yet but here goes...

have you tried the new yahoo mail beta? the new interface? now THAT is slow. i've been doing websites since 1998 (back when a guestbook would really be state-of-the-art programming) and there's still a lot of room for improvement. i don't think it's the bandwidth since loading the page with all the graphics doesn't take that long, but rather the lag times between the server and client. don't get me wrong, i really see these apps filling in a niche market where budget constraints are a major part of the equation. but not as a full fledged office suite with all the bells and whistles.

with that said, with your claim that outlook is slow as molasses, you might wanna compare what outlook can do compared with the express version, and with what gmail/yahoo mail (beta) can offer.

*update: while typing this comment, i just had to find out for myself what the google spreadsheet can and can't do... and while it's not up to par with excel, given that it installs 0 bytes on your pc and costs 0$, you get much more than what you pay for.

Re:My main concern... (1)

jbarr (2233) | about 8 years ago | (#15993125)

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 full usability while offline. And to me, the importent component of this is to make the standalone applications truely standalone and portable--No Java, no Registery writing, no writing in your Documents and Settings directory. Take a clue from the Portable Apps world, and you'll have an excellent solution.

Google Calendar (1)

ewisnor (870167) | about 8 years ago | (#15992916)

I knew they'd come out with this sooner or later, but I didn't see it coming so soon I guess. For the last couple of months I've been working on my own calendar program with a goal in mind of having it widely used, and I've been praying that Google would overlook the idea of an online calendar. As a small time guy with an idea and decent knowledge of programming, should I be worried and slow down on my development, or press on and put the same amount of effort and resources into it that I have been? It's likely that this would take me a couple years to have it worthy of showing the public, but do you think someone like me has a shot at competing against the big G? -Evan

data mine your office documents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15992958)

They mine the data out of your searches(google), your email(gmail), your computer(google desktop), your web surfing habits (google web accelerator), where you are going(google maps), what languages you speak (google language translator), what you buy(froogle), what you read(books).
What the hell, let them mine your business documents as well....

Users (3, Insightful)

ms1234 (211056) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

No spreadsheet or word processor: not office suite (5, Informative)

rickkas7 (983760) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

When is an office suite not an office suite (4, Insightful)

niceone (992278) | about 8 years ago | (#15993007)

  • No word processor. Check.
  • No spreadsheet. Check.
  • No presentation tool. Check.
Seriously - how is this "Google Releasing an office suite"?

Re:When is an office suite not an office suite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15993087)

If Google began selling dog shit the resulting artilce on Slahdot would be titled "Google Sells Web Based Fertilizer". In the eyes of many in the Slashdot crowd Google can do no wrong and everything that Google sells is gold. This product will fail. Google should stick to what it does best, search. If they try to branch out in to many directios instead of focusing on what they do best, they'll end up like Microsoft. One giant, bloated mess of a company that consistently over promises and under delivers.

Slowly Increase the Temperature (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15993012)

Slowly get the people used to free web applications.

Again, slowly let the people get used to hosting all your email and data on another server.

THis is nothing but data mining / NSA spying on a HUGE scale.

I still trust my DRM less PC, ala no TCPM to store my data, thank you.

Well... (2, Insightful)

Captain Murdock (906610) | about 8 years ago | (#15993049)

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.

Re:Well... (1)

wild_berry (448019) | about 8 years ago | (#15993307)

They're not offering that to businesses yet. This is Slashdot, where the headline has nothing to do with the linked article and your post need not acknowledge either. Reader 'niceone' points out [slashdot.org] that the Google Apps for Your Domain doesn't contain a word processor, spreadsheet or presentation tool. It has GMail, Google Talk, Google Calendar and Google Page Creator, which appear to me to be groupware stuff, not personal productivity stuff. They aren't asking to take your files off your network or even away from your computer.

SOHO and private firms (1)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | about 8 years ago | (#15993056)

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....

Re:SOHO and private firms (1)

Kefaa (76147) | about 8 years ago | (#15993148)

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 is gone. Google will keep it for eternity - like it or not. Then when the government requests the records and my lawyer would have stopped them, Google will turn it over to them without telling me.

This is home use only and even then, I recommend openoffice over this option. Anyone trusting security to an ISP or web site are going to lose eventually.

Re:SOHO and private firms (1)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | about 8 years ago | (#15993387)

Agreed but I still see a lot of Windows Server Small Business installs losing out to this. Which of course, is just fine :)

"Releasing"? Does that mean "not in beta"? (-1, Flamebait)

pedantic bore (740196) | about 8 years ago | (#15993097)

Google is taking a bunch of things they already make available for free download, wrapping a bow around them, and calling it something new? Doesn't seem like anything new to me...

Let me know when they release a version (of anything) that isn't ad-supported and does provide user support. That'll be something really new (and a departure from anything Google has done in the past). That'll be news.

Scam for Google to take over your domain?!? (0)

stry_cat (558859) | about 8 years ago | (#15993104)

I followed the link the summary and attempted to sign up for the service. However it wants me to change my MX and CNAME records so that basically google will handle everything for my domain. I most certainly don't want that. I just want to be able to use the office suite and have my other volunteers be able to use it. Am I missing something???

Re:Scam for Google to take over your domain?!? (1)

truthsearch (249536) | about 8 years ago | (#15993404)

And as they say there's no software to install. They host it for you. So how else are they supposed to host your email and web content on your own domain if you don't change your MX and CNAME records?

Tried both ms office live and Google App (0, Redundant)

shantanu.singh (745459) | about 8 years ago | (#15993135)

I have tried both ms office live and google app service. Frankly I tried to upload a excel sheet containing 20K+records (size around 400kb), google simply failed. Google website template are really bad however gmail give better User experience than window live mail. Microsoft give free domain (for example my domain enterprisemobilityindia.org) while google ask you to setup your domain (example www.fanclubindia.com). My concern on both cases, I shall have to be bounded by either microsoft or google. Today they may not be charging but you cannot be sure about this in future. I can get cheap root server and lots of opensource software to run my server. I think it is not prudent to go either google way or microsoft way!

Google Calendar (3, Interesting)

Kohath (38547) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

Maybe not now (1)

tontammer (988352) | about 8 years ago | (#15993209)

Maybe Google's office suite is not attractive enough now, but past experiences tell us they will improve it up to the point as to give the others a good ride for their money..

Why Google SpreadSheets Will Become Popular... (2, Insightful)

flight_master (867426) | about 8 years ago | (#15993259)

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.

how is this new? (1)

boredandblogging.com (983263) | about 8 years ago | (#15993302)

If anyone used google's hosted email service, they already get all this. Its not new.

Alt. to MS office? no. its better. (1)

kemo_by_the_kilo (971543) | about 8 years ago | (#15993341)

everyone said they were going to make an Office clone/compet. but they didnt do that the did one better. free office paid support.
IMO After Vistas release watch how quickly MS will start to adopt the open source policy of free code, expensive support.

This is all well and good, but... (4, Insightful)

hacker (14635) | about 8 years ago | (#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.

If I were planning an office tools entry (2, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | about 8 years ago | (#15993427)

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.

Google... what more... (1)

kasgoku (988652) | about 8 years ago | (#15993455)

Google has been expanding rapidly, and what's more interesting is that google does not publicly give out information about some of its services and how they are implemented. So, there is a secret side of google as well. Oh well it makes surprises more interesting.

Next thing you know... you will be drinking Google Bottled Water from the Fresh Lakes of California, i mean come... on.

Google is doing it the right way. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 8 years ago | (#15993470)

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 corporate customers, they are rolling it out as an ad supported "free" service to lure in beta testers. Many /.ers mention the need for corporations to have complete control over their data. I am sure Google knows that issue and eventually when it rolls out paid service, it will done with boxes owned and operated by the corporations themselves.

By the same token, Google will not introduce Writely as paid service to corporations till the service is really ready. All Google has to do is to show the corporations that the browser is a platform powerful enough to do email, calender, word processing and spread sheets. That would be enough to give the corporations a pause. When MS comes around dunning for a round of money to upgrade all apps to Vista and force the entire company to upgrade, they will think twice before automatically signing whatever contract MS is pushing. Along with it if, corporations follow the Massassuchetts (sp?) example and migrate to a portable open documents standards, there is some real possibility for competition to return to computers arena. That would be a good thing. If it just degenerates from a monopoly to a duopoly, it would be bad.

Hope Google really means it when it says, "First, do no evil".

Other contenders (1)

gregarican (694358) | about 8 years ago | (#15993539)

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.

Spreadsheets are shee-it (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 8 years ago | (#15993543)

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.
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