Yesterday, I wrote about Zohowriter (and received a quick response from one of their people.) Today, Google released the integrated Writely and Spreadsheets as Google Docs & Spreadsheets (Beta, of course…enough with the Beta already).
I easily migrated my Writely docs into my Gmail account and now have mail, calendar, docs and Picasa photos under one roof, as it were. Arrington calls Docs & Spreadsheets “another shot across the bow of Microsoft Office.” His more in-depth post is worth the read.
Microsoft’s problem is how do you keep selling an expensive product, Office (at $400 from CompUSA), when most of its functionality is available, on-line, for free. Yes, there might be security issues with Google Docs, Zohowriter et al – but how big a concern is that for most of us.
Google “Office” in Daily Use
I find that I do 95% of my emails through Gmail. My .mac account is forwarded to Gmail and Gmail allows me to respond to those emails as if from my .mac accounts (as well as my other business email accounts). The Gmail Notifier alerts me whenever I receive a new email and makes it easy for me to see who it’s from, before I bother going to Gmail. Entourage, the Mac version of Outlook, has become nothing more than a place for me to archive emails. And search is much faster in Gmail, than Entourage.
Google Calendar (in spite of my deep love for the new Calendar in Backpack) is my main calendar program – and it syncs with iCal allowing me to integrate it with my phone calendar easily. I write collaborative documents in Writely Google Docs (although I still use Word for long form writing- but doubt I will ever upgrade from this version). And if was a Spreadsheet user, I’d use Google Spreadsheets, just as my son, Liam, did all this summer.
Microsoft is not idle. Their Office Live product is an attempt to compete. But their core business is still boxed products selling at high margins. That battle is already lost. I quoted Phil Wainewright in my “Does the OS Really Matter?” from 13 months ago:
Microsoft’s focus on desktop capability is the crux of why it can’t possibly succeed against Google (or any future Google equivalent). It’s focusing on yesterday’s market. Microsoft’s dominance of the desktop is as relevant to the future of computing as Union Pacific’s dominance of the railroads was to the future of transportation in the twentieth century.