Google Apps Go Corprate

The net has been buzzing recently about Google's announcement of Google Apps Premier Edition. I've heard a lot of talk, mostly how this is the Microsoft killer, or that the apps are useless and humble in comparison to Microsoft Office.

I think these are both true, to a degree. I have used Google Docs and Spreadsheets (as well as Reader, Adsense, Blogger, Gmail, Search, and probably others, so maybe I'm just a Google fanboy) and I think it does an excellent job at what it is.

I've spent most of my time in Spreadsheet. I have used it collaboratively as well as for my personal documents. For collaborative efforts, it certainly outshines the typical 'email around a document and everyone revise' workflow. There was a case recently where I was on the phone with a coworker and we were working up a spreadsheet to model something. This worked brilliantly for this task, as we could both update it and see the updates in real time. I've also had another situation where I wished we had gone down this path. Instead, we were all looking at the same Excel document (each on our own computer) trying to explain the concepts to each other without being able to illustrate our points.

It is not Excel. As far as I can tell, you can't graph or import graphs. It is a basic math spreadsheet. If you want a graph, or fancy formatting, etc. you will need Excel. This is OK for many people but some people will need to use features in Excel that are not in Google Spreadsheet.

Over time, the feature set will improve, and if Google does well with reliability and security, people will gain confidence in the service. If we trust the web for our Email, RSS Feeds, etc. why not to edit documents?

After all, the network is the computer, right?

1 comment:

  1. I am with you about Google having some great tools (perhaps even better than MS), and I have used their speadsheet tooll with great success. I've search all over the place for a decent web-based spreadsheet, and this is the first one that I'll actually recommend. The only others that come even somewhat close is the Gnu spreadsheet (http://www.gnu.org/software/oleo/), which is free and pretty decent, but also does not do graphs and a lot of the "fancy" stuff that Excel can do.
    And the other is not free, but is pretty cheap by comparison to Excel, and that is ThinkFree's online web applications (which I'm very surprised has not been gobbled up by MS or Google yet!)
    There web-based version of MS Office is just incredible (no I don't work for them!). ThinkFree has a word processor that is almost identical to MS Word, a "Excell" type program with almost all the same features (including graphs), and even a PowerPoint-type program. All of them seem to be completely compatible with all of MS Office, and you can store all your files there online and acess them from anywhere, which sure beats having everything on your computer at home or at the office!
    I have not tried it collectively, and would love to hear your thoughts and experience with it being used like that. We currently are using it in a small school system in Atlanta, which has proven to be much cheaper and far more flexible than MS Office.

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