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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.

Google Docs & Spreadsheets file manager, also the home page for signed-in users [notations added] [Click to view full size.]
Google Docs & Spreadsheets file manager, also the
home page for signed-in users [notations added]
[Click to view full size.]

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.

Google Docs word processor showing the file menu  [Click to view full size.]
Google Docs word processor showing the file menu
[Click to view full size.]
Google Docs word processor with toolbar and style menu [Click to view full size.]
Google Docs word processor with toolbar and style menu
[Click to view full size.]

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.

Posted by Linda Dawn Hill at 11:38 PM
Categories: Google, Webware


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Google's Spreadsheets

Google Lab's Spreadsheets (click to enlarge, notations added)
Google Lab's Spreadsheets
(click to enlarge, notations added)

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.

Posted by Linda Dawn Hill at 11:37 PM
Categories: Google, Webware


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 editor interface (click to enlarge)
Writely editor interface (click to enlarge)

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.

Writely file manager (Click to enlarge)
Writely file manager (click to enlarge)

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.

Posted by Linda Dawn Hill at 8:53 PM
Categories: Google, Webware