Saturday, March 11

Google's first Office app - Writely

This news item just goes to show you should read Idiots for the analysis not the news value, since yet again I am more than a heartbeat behind the news that Google has acquired my favourite Web 2.0 application, Writely.

Is it a Microsoft Word-killer? While it's free and so friendly, you bet your ass it is. But it's not a Microsoft Office-killer - for that you need a competitor for Excel and PowerPoint. Why hasn't someone built a spreadsheet tool in AJAX yet? Puh-leease! I'm askin' nice! As for PowerPoint... well, the first person to propose building something Web 2.0ish to help spread the cancer of corporate presentation media should be taken out and shot. And the second person, and so on.

I've corresponded a couple of times with friendly folks at Writely and it's always awed me how well they've implemented common word processing features and interface with AJAX - it's stunning stuff for a tiny pre-money startup team. Well, now they've joined the Googleplex, hopefully they won't be stuck in Bldg 2357b way out on the edge of the marsh, a couple of miles of looping parkway from the main action. Hopefully the intellectuals at Google won't snub something that's so effective as a consumer tool. Maybe they'll even market it effectively to the bazillions of people using the Google front page every day.

Prediction: Sam, Steve, Claudia and Jen will all be moving on from Google once enough of their options have vested. Not because Google's not a great company, just because nobody there will care quite as much about their product as they do.

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