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Google Office To Get an API

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the don't-say-the-O-word dept.

118

Orange Crush writes, "Google's new office applications, Docs & Spreadsheets, will provide APIs for custom apps. Johnathan Rochelle, project manager: 'We definitely want to build out APIs, especially for the spreadsheets side, as spreadsheets are more data-oriented, but maybe also for the word processor. People will be able to do mashups with our tools for other things, and not be stuck behind our dev cycle for everything they want. If I've already got data somewhere you can't really rely on manual cut-and-paste to make it collaborative. Imagine pulling data from any application you've already got in use... you get that data over to the hosted app, make it collaborative, then bring it back... that's what we'd like to enable at some point.'" Eating their own dogfood: Rochelle said that "Everybody in [Google] is using the tool" already.

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Dumbass Slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16430535)

Google Apps for Education API 2006.10.12 12:01 Rejected
Fucking submitted this when it came out ... you know when Docs and Spreadsheet were merged. Fuck Slashdot Editors.

fp (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16430537)

Slashdot should have an API so we can get lots of FPs!

Editing (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16430577)

"We definitely want to build out APIs, especially for the spreadsheets side, as spreadsheets are more data-oriented, but maybe also for he word processor," Google product manager Jonathan Rochelle said.

Repeat after me... Spellcheck does not replace good editing. Spellcheck does not replace good editing.

Re:Editing (4, Funny)

Jesterboy (106813) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431091)

I was scanning through the headlines, and I didn't even notice the mistake you mentioned. I just thought Google's office was getting an API, which made me think something like...
public void(ProposedAction action) {
if(action.notEvil()) {
  action.allow();
  pilesOfMoney.throwAt(action);
}
Etc...

Re:Editing (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431567)

but maybe also for he word processor
Repeat after me... Spellcheck does not replace good editing. Spellcheck does not replace good editing.

Repeat after me... A spell checker would not find this error, but a good grammar checker would. A spell checker would not find this error, but a good grammar checker would.

Re:Editing (3, Funny)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431983)

Repeat after me: Grammar checkers are the kings of false positives and are practically useless. Grammar checkers are the kings of false positives and are practically useless.

Re:Editing (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432215)

Oh yeah, I never use the things myself. Grammar checkers can't tell when you're utilizing slightly incorrect grammar for effect and their primary function is to bug the shit out of me. Regardless, pretty much any grammar checker would have found that error. Or at least, it looks simple enough :D

Re:Editing (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16435103)

Dunno about Word 2003 but XP's grammar checker never spots typos like that. I'm sure it's very clever and all but sometimes you think "why has it marked that" and the explanation when you right click usually confuses you more.

Re:Editing (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432077)

There exists such a thing as a good grammar checker?

Re:Editing (1)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432247)

There has to be such a thing as good grammar first. English evolves directly away therefrom.

Corrected, It should read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16432655)

Is there such a thing as a well grammer checker?

Re:Editing (1, Troll)

CmdrSanity (531251) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432125)

Maybe this isn't the right forum to point this out ;), but the new Office 12 contextual spell checker will correct this error (it looks at every word in the sentence and tries to figure out of the word makes sense in context, pretty cool).

Re:Editing (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432301)

Contextual spellchecker? Sounds like marketing-speak for grammar checker to me.

Re:Editing (1)

swv3752 (187722) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432743)

Except, grammar checkers suck in English. Something that could check contextual spelling, would work pretty well. Especially, as most things that one would think a grammar checker should fix, would be caught by a good contextual spell check. (ie There, thier, they're)

Re:Editing (1)

CmdrSanity (531251) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432985)

It does correct alot of grammatical errors that result from bad spelling, but it can also fix grammatically correct sentences that don't make sense semantically. For example, if you input "Are the fishes in the dish-washer?" It will correct fishes to dishes. Input "I drove in to work in a bar" and it changes bar to car. These are kind of stupid examples but the system can fix much more complex things as well. People make these kind of mistakes in English around once in 2.5 pages of text. In Spanish and languages where diacritics have semantic meaning it is much higher, around 5 times per page. Of course, it also handles grammatical errors their\there its\it's and all the other easy to get stuff. But the cool thing about this sytem is that it doesn't rely on part-of-speech information or require a critique system to fix the grammar errors (granted, it will only fix simple ones).

bah (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16430607)

don't use fucking "API" without explaining what such a thing is, some of us like to read the news and actually know whats going on, not have to look up what the hell the title means.

Re:bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16430951)

Slashdot new for nerds. Stuff that matters

RTFM! It doesn't need explaining. It's common knowledge especially in this context

Re:bah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16432025)

And what the hell is RTFM supposed to mean? Read the Fucking Man page?

api (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16430611)

what the heck is an api for the non-nerds out there?

Re:api (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16430691)

what the heck is an api for the non-nerds out there?


Application Programmer Interface [wikipedia.org]

Basically, a programatic way of accessing the functionality of Google's software.

Re:api (1)

Swampwulf (875465) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432095)

The wikilink was appreciated, but thanks for the courteous 'non-tech' summation. Good personal kharma to you for your courtesy.

Re:api (1)

TaggartAleslayer (840739) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432925)

Generally speaking, though, the term API is widely overused and sadly misunderstood.

I had a vendor tell me the other day that they had a File Transfer API for collecting data.

They were referring to a plain old FTP server.

It's a brave new world, full of wonder and things that make me want to stab myself in the face.

Re:api (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16430707)

api = Application Programming Interface - you can think of it as something that allows programs to talk to each other. You can write a custom program to merge your database with a google spreadsheet for example.

Well, given your question I suspect that you can't, but just about everyone else reading this site can do at least a few party tricks with the api. And before you ask, yes, those kind of party tricks WILL get you lots of girls, they love those kind of party tricks.

Why are you people helping this maroon? (4, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16430837)

what the heck is an api for the non-nerds out there?

Take a look at the top of the screen. See where it says "news for nerds"? Do you want that to be true, or don't you?

Re:Why are you people helping this maroon? (2, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#16430891)

Take a look at the top of the screen. See where it says "news for nerds"? Do you want that to be true, or don't you?

My friend, *you* are the odd type around here : true nerds don't know what an API is, they stick their entire program in one giant file called "spaghetti code".

Re:Why are you people helping this maroon? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431629)

true nerds don't know what an API is, they stick their entire program in one giant file called "spaghetti code".

I thought that was a true hacker... did a new version of the Jargon File come out or something?

Re:Why are you people helping this maroon? (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432479)

A nerd writes an API to access the spahghetti code.

Re:Why are you people helping this maroon? (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432715)

A true nerd doesn't use files. He passes everything into gcc with cat, and rewrites it before every compile.

Re:Why are you people helping this maroon? (1)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432879)

Aren't gcc and cat both files?

Really, you can't do much on Unix without files.

So a true non-file using hacker would have to do crazier stuff than that.

Re:Why are you people helping this maroon? (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#16435835)

I meant that he didn't use files for his code.

Re:Why are you people helping this maroon? (1)

patiodragon (920102) | more than 7 years ago | (#16435399)

"Take a look at the top of the screen. See where it says "news for nerds"? Do you want that to be true, or don't you?"

What about nuclear physicist nerds, or people who build parts for the space shuttle, do they all have to know about programming? That's not right.

Re:api (1)

dugjohnson (920519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432343)

Don't let them know you're not a nerd. They will eat you....alive.........!

Re:api (1)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432459)

It stands for "Application programmer Interface". Basically its a set of functions that are provided to someone who is writing an Application. So for example here there could be a function like setCellTo(int row, int x, int value). A whole set of these sorts of things makes up the API.

Sad and confused, little man? (1)

gascan555 (983419) | more than 7 years ago | (#16433631)

What a sad, confused little man you must be here.

Another Look at Google Spreadsheet (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16430639)

I did a quicky review [slashdot.org] of Google's Spreadsheet when they released it six months ago. Since then, it would appear that Google has fixed some of my complaints. In particular:

1. Cell borders have been added.

Umm... that's all I've got. :(

Everything else still appears to be an issue, including the calculation errors I spotted. And while Cell Borders have been added, there is no way to apply different styles. I'm pleased to see that Google is adding a new API for their "Office Suite", but they really need to fix some of these issues before they can be taken seriously.

Also, the continuing lack of charting is really sticking out. Data visualization is an important feature in a spreadsheet, whether you're preparing a market analysis or just balancing your household budget. The fact that plenty of web technologies exist to accomplish charting (SVG, round trip images, Flash, Java, etc.) only makes it stick out that much more. Now the API might allow external coders to help in this area, but so far I'm still not impressed.

Re:Another Look at Google Spreadsheet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16430969)

Ask for a refund!

Re:Another Look at Google Spreadsheet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16432241)

It's Beta!

Re:Another Look at Google Spreadsheet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16431031)

One of the most basic features they seem to be missing is the whole "drag outside selection to extend series or fill". I wanted to perform a pretty basic calculation on every row in a column (column1 + 3*column2)... I had to copy & paste the formula into every single cell in the calculated column. In excel or calc, I would have written the formula in the top cell in the column, and dragged it down to the bottom.

Re:Another Look at Google Spreadsheet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16431137)

I think these features will come fast, EditGrid already has charting and fill, but is more slow and have a few bugs.

Re:Another Look at Google Spreadsheet (5, Informative)

SimplexO (537908) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432571)

Let's take a look at that list from someone who uses the Spreadsheet app daily (personal finances):

1. Formulas are edited in the cell rather than having a text field on top. This is REALLY annoying to anyone who uses a spreadsheet program regularly. There is an uneditable text field at the top (doesn't work right in Mozilla 1.7.12), but it's not useful for anything other than ogleing at.

Let's not mock Google for trying something different. Because they use "ribbons," that bar up top is only visible when the formatting ribon is selected. I know that you've got Excel muscle memory and you want to go up to that function bar, but why should you have to click on a cell and then click up on the formatting bar when you can just edit by double clicking a cell and staying there. Open your mind and try something different. It might be better.

2. Auto-resizing by double-clicking doesn't work. This is a core feature that I should think that everyone uses.

You're right, double-clicking a column header's edge doesn't auto resize, but since cells auto word wrap based on their contents, you can just resize a column until rows no longer wrap. This feature should be added -- it would be nice. It should also be easier to grab the column header's edge.

3. No size indicator when changing cell sizes.

This is a nice luxury feature I'd like to have (when resizing similar sheets to have the same column widths). Regardless, I don't really NEED it to do my work. That's just me though.

4. You're limited to 100 x T cells. If you're one of those people with a lot of data, good luck. It doesn't look like Google will let you store it without manually inserting enough rows or columns to hold it all.

If you highlight all the rows and then go to insert, you'll see that you can insert however many rows you have selected. For instance, if you select 100 rows, you'll get an option to add 100 rows up or 100 rows down. You can also right click on the row headers to get this option. Works the same for columns, too.

5. The formatting menu is useless. It's got a few data types, and that is IT. If you need a custom style, or a date in one of the billion other formats, you're SOL.

You're not SOL, but you do have to do some work: You need to use the TEXT() function. Check this out [google.com] to see what you can do with that function.

6. No cell borders. Raise your hand if you tend to mark headers with a cell border. (/Me raises hand.)

It's simple, but it works. Frustratingly, it seems that the common solution to most problems are to download, and open it in excel then update online. Maybe that'll change as the project matures.

7. The "Freeze Rows" command makes no sense. Why are you choosing the number of rows from a menu, when a multiple row-select exists?

I don't know if you don't understand what it's supposed to be doing, but it emulates the pane feature in excel, where you can keep one or more header rows frozen as you scroll down. This works well for my financial stuff that I do. It'd be nice if they had the first couple of columns freezable too.

There are some downpoints, noticably the speed, especially when you've got lots of data and you do lots of calculations on it, or when slashdot covers it on the front page. When typing things, they stay up on the page while the server gets updated and that works for random text being added, but if the data you are changing changes other data, you'll have to wait for the server to catch up. Like I said, the column dividers could be easier to select. And the autofill feature could be smarter. That really hurts my productivity.

In excel, you could have two cells with values of 2 and 4 and then autofill the next couple of cells and you'd get 6 and 8. In Google, you'll get 3 and 5, then 4 and 6, and so on.

Though really, since I don't have excel, Google Spreadsheets works very nicely from home. This way, I don't ever have to bring a floppy or USB key with my data on it. It's any computer I go to. And no, I don't care if my data is secure. I got my friend to put his weekly NFL picks on Google spreadsheet so we can both keep up with it without relying on me to update some central scoresheet. The colabrative editing really rocks.

Offline Office at last (3, Interesting)

solafide (845228) | more than 7 years ago | (#16430641)

I was reading a article on zdnet a couple days ago about how the problem of Web2.0 and Web2.0 storing its data online was that you couldn't use this data when you weren't connected to the internet. Here's the answer: a small app that reads and writes using this API, but can store to your computer for later online storage when reconnected to the internet. I can't wait till it comes to Linux.

Re:Offline Office at last (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16430695)

It'd be nice if someone could make something that will sync your Google documents into a folder on your hard drive, maybe in .odt and ods format? It seems like the first thing I'd want from Google Docs&Spreadsheet.

Re:Offline Office at last (2, Informative)

zcsteele (924719) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431739)

There is an export feature. I'm not sure if it's new, but I just tried it out (Google Spreasheet -> OpenOffice *.ods) and it works fine.

Re:Offline Office at last (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432393)

Yes, I know. But I was saying I hope someone invents something that will sync your files to your hard drive in a specified format. I'm assuming that one of the things Googles API will allow is to upload/export files. If so, you should be able to write something that syncs all the OOo/MSO documents between a given folder and your Google account, which would allow you to keep a local copy in case you wanted to edit your documents offline.

The reason I bring this up is, I probably won't use any of this online stuff until it can be synced automatically. Without a sync, it becomes just another place where I have to keep track of my documents, and where the most up-to-date version is.

Re:Offline Office at last (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16436043)

"I hope someone invents something"

Another Open-Source Cargo Cultist

Re:Offline Office at last (3, Informative)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 7 years ago | (#16433115)

EditGrid Sync [editgrid.com]

(Plug: I wrote that...)

At the moment it's more like a backup tool than a fully operational sync tool (it doesn't automatically upload locally modified files). But it's open source, so if you find it somewhat useful but not powerful enough, feel free to check out the code and change things.

And it runs Linux too. (wxPython)

Anyone Remember Lotus Notes? (1)

sanman2 (928866) | more than 7 years ago | (#16433151)

I seem to remember a little product called Lotus Notes by Ray Ozzie, who has now become the head of Microsoft. Their special little replication concept seemed to endear itself to a lot of people.

Good, but not usable if you need formatting. (4, Informative)

biendamon (723952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16430655)

As I mentioned on an earlier Google Office thread, the word processor doesn't permit the kind of page formatting options that are an absolute necessity for a professional writer. Specifically, you can't define front-page headers, subsequent headers, or 8.5x11 inch page sizes with 1 inch margins.

Without those features, it's still OK, but no writer will use it as their word processor of choice.

Re:Good, but not usable if you need formatting. (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16430883)

As I mentioned on an earlier Google Office thread

(blah blah blah karma whoring blah blah blah)

As people have been mentioning off and on since this thing was announced, it's not for everyone, and it never will be. Even after all the features everyone wants have been implemented it'll still store your data someplace else.

Re:Good, but not usable if you need formatting. (1)

biendamon (723952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16430913)

I'm not actually against that as a sort of emergency backup.

Re:Good, but not usable if you need formatting. (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 7 years ago | (#16430961)

Why a processional writer would expect a word processor to do anything other than very basic, inexact layout is beyond me. I would much rather see them make a completely separate compiles-to-pdf layout tool than to smash those features into a word processor. Then you could link your formatted text documents into a layout program to get things like exact margins and arbitrary headers, just like on the desktop.

Re:Good, but not usable if you need formatting. (1)

biendamon (723952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431843)

Have you even looked at a modern word-processor? They do all that by default, now. A professional writer wants to be able to open a manuscript, write in the manuscript, and then print that manuscript. If it requires more work than using a typewriter to get a page layout that editors like, why in the world should a writer use it?

Re:Good, but not usable if you need formatting. (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431679)

As I mentioned on an earlier Google Office thread, the word processor doesn't permit the kind of page formatting options that are an absolute necessity for a professional writer. Specifically, you can't define front-page headers, subsequent headers, or 8.5x11 inch page sizes with 1 inch margins.

I'm really not sure what you mean by a "professional writer," but in the publishing industry, a professional wouldn't use a word processor. Second, he most definitely wouldn't use 1" margins on 8-1/2x11 paper!

Yeah, I know those are probably default settings for most wordprocessor users. Doesn't mean they're correct, appropriate or much more than ugly.

Maybe you mean someone who does a lot of writing and does it using a wordprocessor before submitting his draft to a professional to redo? Or maybe something that will never get published?

Re:Good, but not usable if you need formatting. (1)

biendamon (723952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431891)

No, I'm pretty sure I meant what I said. Look at the web pages of just about any fiction market, and you'll see what editors prefer: 1 inch margins on 8.5x11 paper, double-spaced, and preferably with a Courier font. Of course that's not the layout the final product is going to be in; that will be determined by the medium the story will be printed in. But it's the format the editors want so they don't go blind reading a gazillion stories a day.

Want a guaranteed method the editor will skip yours? Send them a story on non-standard paper, with wacky fonts. Heck, you might as well use pink printer ink and cover it with sparkles.

Re:Good, but not usable if you need formatting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16431975)

Which professional writers do their own typesetting? Not the majority of book authors, people who write for magazines, journalists, or any other form of professional writing I can think of off the top of my head.

yay mashups! (5, Funny)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16430685)

Hooray for Google allowing disallusioned bloggers to create mashups of other disallusioned bloggers using data from Google Spreadsheets into a Google Map where you can click on each user and write a message to them through an API to Blogger while simultaneously overlaying sixteen YouTube videoes while embedding a chat control to GTalk and Gmail and embedding a moon phase widget in your Google Pages tray bar along with a world clock showing the time in thirty-seven timezones simultaneously while using Google Sets to locate good stocks to show charts through Google Finanance in an expandable IFrame using Google UI Controls and integrating Google Search and Google News to be tied into the page so it automatically searches Google whenever you click on any word on the page and if you click on a non-alphanumeric it searches through Google Code Search and every image will be linked to Google Image Search and Google Image Labeler.

But will it make coffee? (1)

biendamon (723952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16430763)

And will I get to Google the beans?

No (1)

aix tom (902140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431379)

The online coffee making market will be the only thing still owned my Microsoft with their 'Vista Machiato' OS version.

But every drinker must be licensed separately.

Re:yay mashups! (1)

Deviant Q (801293) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431481)

Priceless. You, sir, are a comic genius (and perhaps a tad too insightful, heh).

Re:yay mashups! (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 7 years ago | (#16433103)


You're the devil. I'm sure of it.

Hope payroll aren't using G-spreadsheet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16430819)

From what I've seen about the complex formula handling, all those 0000000's and stock deals could mean its a sad (or bumper) month in the googleplex. Maybe the Youtube aquisition bid calculation was shown as $! and some accountant just thought of a suprising number for a joke.

Good luck with ownership... (0)

Saint Ego (464379) | more than 7 years ago | (#16430869)

...another year out, and we'll all be hearing about how Google got caught selling access to Advertisers for searching your online documents, not just your GMail.

Sell me the platform, not the service.

Re:Good luck with ownership... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16431007)

For real. I'd much rather run a service such as this on one of my OWN servers in my OWN datacenter. Otherwise, it's pretty much useless for anything but non-confidential documents.

Re:Good luck with ownership... (3, Informative)

Onan (25162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431009)

Your phrasing suggests that Google does currently sell advertisers access to gmail content. That's not the case; you may wish to be more clear about your accusations.

Re:Good luck with ownership... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16431491)

How do you know? You seem to be under the impression that you have total control over what you store in Gmail.

Re:Good luck with ownership... (4, Insightful)

Onan (25162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432035)

How do you know? You seem to be under the impression that you have total control over what you store in Gmail.

Well, among other things, I work at Google. And everything about Google's culture of data-handling is that privacy is taken very seriously, even internally. Even as an employee here, I couldn't just go and read your gmail (or search logs, or writely docs, or anything else) myself; I don't have access to it, and would need to make a very strong case for a legitimate need in order to get access to it. Selling it to an outside party would be completely antithetical to the entire way I've seen the company behave.

But let's focus on the "among other things", so you don't have to take my word for it. I think that even if you assume Google to be evil, the logistics of them being malicious here wouldn't really work out.

It's pretty hard to both 1) try to sell a product to outside entities and 2) keep the availability of that product secret. How exactly would Google go about offering your data up for sale without disclosing that it's doing so? And if such deals were somehow arranged, for how long exactly do you think that every advertiser would keep it secret? As with most conspiracy theories, I think this just involves too many moving parts to really be stable.

And even if we assume that Google has both the willingness and the means to make such sales in secret, I don't really see the motive for doing so. Why would advertisers want your email? To extract relevant information to run ads against it... the way that Google already does for them, to the best of their considerable ability, without any human eyes being involved? And why would Google risk the damage to their reputation associated with doing this? They're not exactly hurting for above-board income, you know.

I'm fairly paranoid about the privacy of my own data, so I can see why you'd have hesitation about handing yours over to anyone else. But I don't think that the particular threat being described is especially realistic.

(If it wasn't obvious, I'm not speaking for Google in any official capacity, I'm just talking about how their culture looks from the inside. The "do no evil" thing is not just marketing schtick, it really is something that people talk about and take seriously all the time.)

Re:Good luck with ownership... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16432179)

Its Larry here you runt. Get back to Work.

Re:Good luck with ownership... (1)

Stupidity is Dumb (1002112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432117)

Well, I think we can logically say that if my (or anyone else's information) was being sold to advertisers I would be getting tons of spam from them and Google would set the spam filters to let all the adverts through. I guess another possibility would be that they could sell it just for informational purposes to the advertisers so they know what people want in a product but even then how do you know that your ISP isn't doing the same thing selling emails. Also, they could easily keep a list of every site that you visited and sell that. If you are afraid that people might get information you don't want them to, unplug your computer and your phone, lock your doors and windows, shut your blinds, go into your basement, and sit in a dark corner with a tinfoil hat. Of course you will soon realize even that is not enough. You then need to destroy all records of your existence. When you are sure all the information is gone, down to the last hair that flew out onto the highway, then you need to bring everyone, who ever more than glanced at you, to your house. When you and everyone else are inside, burn the house to the ground.

Re:Good luck with ownership... (1)

Stupidity is Dumb (1002112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432175)

Damn, post looks like crap. All the line breaks are gone.

Re:Good luck with ownership... (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432093)

They sell access to people's Gmail? Where do I sign? :D

Re:Good luck with ownership... (3, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432085)

Sell me the platform, not the service.


While I wouldn't be surprised if Google eventually sells the platform, at substantial cost, for enterprise clients, right now they aren't selling you anything, their offering to give you the service.

The API I want is (2, Insightful)

LeDopore (898286) | more than 7 years ago | (#16430947)

direct hooks between Google Office and my word processor of choice. As soon as Google Office respects .odt enough so that it can keep track of all changes people make (even if the web interface isn't yet able to let you use all of .odt), you should be able to get the collaborative benefits of Google Office along with all the benefits of having a local office app.

Think: all open standard word procesors could instantly have the best collaboration system on the planet (i.e. real time co-editing, with backups and rollbacks possible) with minimal coding effort.

Stop saying "mashup" ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16430989)

It just sounds fucking stupid. When something is mashed, it's mutilated, destroyed. Goddamnit.

So... what are the alternatives?

Yes, I know you don't want to use "synergistic combination" due to endless and satirised-in-dilbert abuse by PHBs, but it's sometimes actually correct, at least if the result is better than the sum of its parts.

How about just "mix"? It's accurate, has long-established DJ connotations and is therefore adequately cool (certainly cooler than "mashup", for pity's sake, which sounds like a painful accident).

How about "synthesis" ? Again, it's accurate, and could be contracted to "synth". I made a synth of foo, bar and blah... It also sounds a bit like "synergy" without being synergy.

But "mashup"? Mashup just sounds dumb.

Re:Stop saying "mashup" ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16431089)

To me, "mashup" sounds like anti-synergy, where the whole is LESS than the sum of its parts. That may not be the intended meaning by the person using the word, but it's typically appropriate enough!

Re:Stop saying "mashup" ! (1)

nonlnear (893672) | more than 7 years ago | (#16433893)

To me, "mashup" sounds like anti-synergy, where the whole is LESS than the sum of its parts. That may not be the intended meaning by the person using the word, but it's typically appropriate enough!
Exactly. To me "mashup" reminds me of such terms as "fuckup" and "cockup".

Document syncing (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431047)

The article mentions a Google employee who uses a traditional office product while commuting, and then gets into the office and (ironically) switches to the Google product. So how does he merge the changes he made while on the road with the changes others may have made in the office? That would be a great feature to have built in for a product with such a strong collaboration focus, but I don't think they have it.

Re:Document syncing (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431113)

I just had a thought today about the hints of Google-Apple love... Wouldn't it be great if Apple's iWork suite were updated with hooks into the Google apps? Maybe that's what they're waiting for in order to release their Excel competitor. Imagine that; a desktop product which automatically integrates with an on-line, open collaborative storage system... That'd be awesome!

Re:Document syncing (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431359)

I wouldn't jump to any conclusions there. Google and Apple seem to get along, but Apple and Google aren't that close. There isn't even an office Google Talk client for OSX. Yes, Google has been filling out their support for OSX lately, but Docs still doesn't have support for Pages documents.

I would add, also, that this seems to me to be the sort of thing Apple would like to do themselves. It's only my opinion, but even if it were a fairly open solution (the Pages and Keynote document formats are both regular XML), I would think Apple would want to build the solution themselves, since Apple tends to be a bit controlling about their user-experience. I could imagine something like this integrating well into .Mac.

...Not that I object to the idea, but people get a little carried away with Apple rumors.

Re:Document syncing (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431559)

> ...people get a little carried away with Apple rumors.

Guilty as charged!

The Dogfood Tastes Bad. (4, Insightful)

X43B (577258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431121)

"Eating their own dogfood: Rochelle said that "Everybody in [Google] is using the tool" already."

I'm just an aerospace engineer and not a programmer/scientist....but I thought Google hired the best of the best brightest minds in the country. True I use Matlab for most analysis and Fortran and C for most simulations, but when I want to "play" with a snippet of data a bit and do some simple plots, Excel kicks butt. I feel sorry for them if all those PhDs can't even graph with their spreadsheets anymore. I can understand them not wanting to pay Microsoft but geeze, at least throw them oocalc.

Re:The Dogfood Tastes Bad. (1)

TheClam (209230) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431233)

He didn't say they use the tool exclusively.

Re:The Dogfood Tastes Bad. (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16433753)

Rochelle is the project manager. Of course he's going to say "everybody is using it". It's just marketing-speak. He probably wouldn't recognize some of Google's employees if he ran into them on the street, let alone know which tools they use.

Valuation (5, Funny)

edusmoreira (978831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431145)

Eating their own dogfood: Rochelle said that "Everybody in [Google] is using the tool" already.

Now I understand why the CFO paid 1.6bn for GooTube!

Ask slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16431173)

What I have never figured out is...Why would you eat somebody else's dog food?

Which dog food do you eat?

Am I the only one... (3, Insightful)

LaRoach (968977) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431247)

...getting sick of the term "mashup"?

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 7 years ago | (#16433077)

No. But its nowhere close to "podcasting".

Why was this a story? (1)

mattgreen (701203) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431321)

Given how feature-incomplete the Google Office suite is in comparison to any desktop application, I don't see why this is even important. If this was some no-name web application, it wouldn't be a headline. The amount of hype being generated over the ability to run applications inside your browser through a mess of client side and server side interaction is absurd.

What is clear is we need a better platform for developing these sorts of applications, but AJAX and DHTML fails to impress me.

Re:Why was this a story? (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431493)

think you wouldn't see a story about a no-name application for various reasons. First, mass audiences might be hesitant to upload files to random companies they aren't familiar with and don't trust. For better or worse, people do trust Google well enough.

I know my big concern with no-named companies making web apps is that, even if they're kind of cool, little companies trying something innovative often fizzle out. You spend some time uploading your documents and playing with things. You tell people that they can access your documents there. Next thing you know, right when you're coming to depend on it-- the site is gone. Or sometimes you might think, "This has potential, but they still need to work on it," but the company doesn't really have the money to work on it.

So I think that's part of the reason why this is getting hype: people expect that Google will make it work. Google isn't running out of money anytime soon, and they aren't going out of business. These apps are pretty snappy, and we all know that Google has the servers and bandwidth to run it, so there isn't a big fear of things being overloaded.

I'm not a huge fan of this stuff. Word processors and spreadsheets in web browsers? I take my laptop with me most everywhere, and I'd rather work locally. Still, maybe if Google works on it and other people can find clever things to do with the API, maybe there will be some use for it. I guess it'd be nice to send a simple spreadsheet to someone, and trust that they'll be able to view it with only a web browser, so it's not all useless. But I think the real thing is the promise that Google will figure out how to make it work.

Re:Why was this a story? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432163)

But it *was* a no name which hit Slashdot before Google bought it.

Developers, developers, developers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16431373)

But ... (1)

hubritc (770594) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431383)

Does it run in Emacs?

It's about time (2)

tonigonenstein (912347) | more than 7 years ago | (#16431923)

It's about time their office include an Animal Protection Institute for their code monkeys.

API for the Office? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16432199)

At first glance of the title, I thought that their offices were getting APIs, as in the developers wrote apps to control various features to automate the offices. Boy, was I disappointed. I wouldn't put it past them, though.

The API is Google's Intel inside (2, Interesting)

budGibson (18631) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432269)

If storage is becoming more net-centric [wsjonline.com] , what really matters is having the most ways possible to access your data. People don't really need the desktop software features. I'd gladly give away 90% of them if it was just easier to collaborate and be able to find our stuff when we need it.

To hell with expensive collaboration tools that require my own server. First there was eroom [emc.com] , then the much cheaper 37 signals [37signals.com] , and now the free google [google.com] . Long live google.

what happens when (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432461)

someone in India is selling your financial information?

Writely (1)

onetwofour (977057) | more than 7 years ago | (#16432935)

Yes it's nice that google are providing yet another API, but I'm really put off by the writely new skin. It's less appealing it use.

If they really want this to take off... (2, Interesting)

Gunfighter (1944) | more than 7 years ago | (#16433457)

... they should expand on the Google Apps for Your Domain idea and start offering all of this stuff in a nice, big bundle along with a registrar offering. Imagine if, for the low, low price of a domain registration, you were able to get the following in one, nice, dashboard-style interface:

  • Domain registration (don't think they offer this one yet)
  • Website hosting (Google Pages) (Note: Need to expand on this one and offer some programmability via PHP or Python or something)
  • Database (Google Base)
  • Message boards (Google Groups)
  • Image hosting (Picasa Web)
  • Office apps (Docs & Spreadsheets)
  • Email (Gmail)
  • Instant Messaging (Google Talk)
  • Calendaring (Google Calendar)
  • File storage (GDrive)
  • Video (Google Video/YouTube)
  • News aggregation (Google Reader)
  • Revision/code revision management (Google Code)
  • etc. etc. etc.


The key is to bundle them all together in an easy to use interface. Perhaps even a desktop client. Heck, with their resources, they could probably wrap it all up into that Google Operating System everyone was all giddy about a while back. Right now, everything (with the exception of the existing Google Apps for Your Domain suite) is pretty spread out as separate products. If they could tie all of these together and make collaboration and integration a little better, it would be the ultimate groupware suite. Just throw in an accounting program (Google Financials?) and you're all set. Charge monthly/yearly fees for companies/domains that go over the maximum storage (perhaps offer a combined storage limit for all of the products put together?) or need more users/groups.

Re:If they really want this to take off... (1)

Gunfighter (1944) | more than 7 years ago | (#16433481)

Whoops... forgot some:
  • Blogging and syndication (Blogger)
  • Ecommerce (write a shopping cart & auction system/Froogle/Google Checkout)

Version control for collaborative spreadsheets (4, Insightful)

AxelBoldt (1490) | more than 7 years ago | (#16434071)

Last time I checked, you could set up your Google spreadsheets for collaboration, but there was no version control, no way to find out who changed what when, and to revert changes. Has that since been added? Without it, I find collaboration impossible.

GOOGLE SPREADSHEET LIMIT (1)

thisnow1 (882441) | more than 7 years ago | (#16434693)

It's amazing they can put it on a webpage and it all works flawlessly, but the one drawback of their spreadsheet deal is that it only goes up to 100 entries- I bet for most tasks that's fine but what about folks w/ more rows?
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