Google Docs & Spreadsheets: Free and Collaborative

Dennis Faas's picture

Google has forayed into the word processing industry by releasing a test version of Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

Google Docs & Spreadsheets is a combination of web-based Google Spreadsheets and Writely, a word processor that Google acquired the rights to earlier this year. The new service aims to provide a solution for people trying to collaborate information stored in different word processors and spreadsheets by using the web to review and manipulate the data. (Source:

A key feature of Google Docs & Spreadsheets is the ability for numerous users to simultaneously work on the same document from different locations. Documents created with the service can either be viewed privately, be shared with a limited group of people, or be published to the web for public viewing. Furthermore, documents and spreadsheets can also be imported and exported into numerous file formats, including Microsoft Word and Excel. (Source:

Product Marketing Manager Jenn Mazzon describes Google Docs & Spreadsheets as "one place where you can create, store, share and publish your documents and spreadsheets online." She adds that "keeping your documents and spreadsheets online is an added treat because you can access them from anywhere via a web browser." (Source:

Many hurdles exist for a company entering the Microsoft-dominated word processing industry -- but Google has planned well. Google Docs & Spreadsheets offers features that Microsoft Office applications exclude, such as the ability to post a document directly to a blog or the capability to publish documents and spreadsheets online with a single click. Additionally, Microsoft only offers web-based document sharing to organizations that have purchased Sharepoint server software. (Source:

As the Web 2.0 trend continues and more software applications are hosted online, it is likely that more services like Google Docs & Spreadsheets will emerge. In the meantime, many people may find Google's new service as an innovative way to collaborate without convening.

Google Docs & Spreadsheets is available at Users need a Google account, a web browser and a web connection to use the service.

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