Thursday, October 12, 2006
New Google Docs and Spreadsheets
Swift changes for Google's online office applications: Writely.com and Google Spreadsheets. On September 21, users of Writely were surprised to learn that their Writely accounts had become Google Accounts - promising increased functionality and flexibility, of course.
Now, Writely and Google Spreadsheets are combined into Google Docs & Spreadsheets. It's heartwarming the way they were so obviously meant to be together! Both docs and spreadsheets are accessed through the same file manager. This file manager serves as the front page for the signed-in user. I also like the links to other google services in the top left hand corner. It's starting to seem like a real web portal - a web office portal. Below is a screenshot.
The interface of the spreadsheets seems unchanged, but a bit of fine-tuning has gone on with the word processor since I looked at it last. See the screenshots below.
The great strength and appeal of all this is the built-in ability of the users to collaborate in realtime. Think of a bridge club - on their home computers the members have various different word processors and perhaps very little tech savvy. But through the collaboration available with Google Docs & Spreadsheets, they can share all their pertinent information such as schedules and contact info. If a member has a new phone number, she can sign in and update her own information. The most up-to-date info is available to every other member immediately.