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.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Another web application seeking a piece of Microsoft's pie. Google Labs' Spreadsheets are a free service available to anyone with a Google account. The app is functional and pretty easy to figure out. I think it's greatest appeal is in the ability to share your work. Google Spreadsheets might be just the ticket to keep track of small group dues, expenses and contacts.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Writely.com - Online Word Processor
Writely.com is a Google project that caught my interest. Not exactly a threat to Microsoft Word, but potentially very useful. Because it is on the web, the user can access documents from any computer with an internet connection. Documents are saved securely, but can be published or shared. Users can also publish their blog with Writely.
Writely offers spellcheck, revision history, HTML editor and preview, and the ability to collaborate on a document. Writely accepts as upload .html and text (.txt), MS Word (doc.), Rich Text (.rtf), and OpenOffice (.odt, .sxw). Documents can be downloaded as zipped .html, .rtf, and .pdf (!) and as Word and OpenOffice.
Because you never know when you might need to hammer out a web page, I can see myself using this online application. It could also be especially useful for students and other individuals who frequently have to use computers that are not their own. The potential for real-time collaboration will make Writely a possible solution for groups and clubs.
Writely.com is a free online service. Registration is necessary, but all they require is an email address.
You can keep up with project news at the Writely Blog. And let's keep an eye on the trend toward more useful web apps.