Microsoft=Success; Google Docs=Fail?

I’m usually on the lookout for new shiny objects. New ways of doing things that turn out to be better than the old way. A post on ReadWriteWeb demonstrates why Google’s online word processor and spreadsheets aren’t as good as Microsoft’s stuff. Richard MacManus said it brought about one of the funniest quotes on a blog comment ever: “Google docs is chock full of FAIL.” I can see where Karim, the guy who made that comment, is coming from.

On the other hand, I’m moving my stuff online increasingly. Why? First of all I have several computers. Second of all I erase their drives frequently and installing stuff just is a pain in the behind. Heck, just finding the DVDs for installing is a pain (I’m not that organized).

Also, I need to work with people all over the world now. Some of my editors are in New York. Others are in San Francisco. Rocky is an hour away in Pacifica. Shel is an hour the other way.

So, sending more docs and spreadsheets via email is just not going to do. Yeah, I know that Microsoft has online collaborative stuff, but it requires installing Office and pretty much having Windows (half my computers are Macs, which makes going back and forth even tougher).

Is Google’s stuff chock full of FAIL? Absolutely! Hope they are listening to Karim, cause if Google made all that stuff better it’d certainly be a shiny object worthy of our attention.

Comments

  1. I think it depends on what you’re looking for in your online applications. I still do not have access (that I know about) to Microsoft’s online office tools. Even though I’ve requested an invitation to the “beta”. If it’s no longer in beta, I haven’t heard.

    Google Docs allows access NOW, and does have room for improvement in it’s offerings, but for free, quick, and little frills document editing Google has a decent product.

  2. I think it depends on what you’re looking for in your online applications. I still do not have access (that I know about) to Microsoft’s online office tools. Even though I’ve requested an invitation to the “beta”. If it’s no longer in beta, I haven’t heard.

    Google Docs allows access NOW, and does have room for improvement in it’s offerings, but for free, quick, and little frills document editing Google has a decent product.

  3. I think it’s obvious MSFT has superior engineers for information worker productivity apps and software in general. Google might be good at ancillary dot-com tools like web search (and it’s lead is shrinking by the minute as MSFT innovates with Live services). When it comes to real software development, FAIL is Google’s mantra.

  4. I think it’s obvious MSFT has superior engineers for information worker productivity apps and software in general. Google might be good at ancillary dot-com tools like web search (and it’s lead is shrinking by the minute as MSFT innovates with Live services). When it comes to real software development, FAIL is Google’s mantra.

  5. If you are too lazy to send via email – there is another alternative

    upload the files to a web hosting site set up just for that purpose

    upload them in their native formats

    when they are downloaded they will open up in the right software

  6. If you are too lazy to send via email – there is another alternative

    upload the files to a web hosting site set up just for that purpose

    upload them in their native formats

    when they are downloaded they will open up in the right software

  7. I’ve found Google Docs is great for collaborative editing. Once everyone’s done editing then it’s up to someone to take the Google Docs version and properly format the doc using a desktop word processor.

    Based on this observation, Google needs to completely clone a desktop word processor or focus on perfecting collaboration (it’s so damn annoying when you get moved to the top of the document because someone else made a change).

    Hrmm…since online editing is tough, wouldn’t Google Docs and Latex work well together? Or a dumbed down version of Latex for the masses? The idea of separating style from content could work to Google Docs’ advantage.

  8. I’ve found Google Docs is great for collaborative editing. Once everyone’s done editing then it’s up to someone to take the Google Docs version and properly format the doc using a desktop word processor.

    Based on this observation, Google needs to completely clone a desktop word processor or focus on perfecting collaboration (it’s so damn annoying when you get moved to the top of the document because someone else made a change).

    Hrmm…since online editing is tough, wouldn’t Google Docs and Latex work well together? Or a dumbed down version of Latex for the masses? The idea of separating style from content could work to Google Docs’ advantage.

  9. I mostly agree with anon’s comment, but if one is looking for an online word processor that clones traditional, stable formatting features and page layout of desktop apps, look no further than Adobe’s Buzzword (www.buzzword.com). It looks, feels and acts just like a desktop app, but is simpler and is online. It features excellent page layout (with real pagination), formatting that is _not_ fickle like that of ajax applications, and is free to use. It is really easy to collaborate to. The only downside is that you can’t collaborate simultaneously, but that is probably coming.

    And yes, LaTeX support in any of these online apps would be really suite… I’ll bet Zoho gets it first.

  10. I mostly agree with anon’s comment, but if one is looking for an online word processor that clones traditional, stable formatting features and page layout of desktop apps, look no further than Adobe’s Buzzword (www.buzzword.com). It looks, feels and acts just like a desktop app, but is simpler and is online. It features excellent page layout (with real pagination), formatting that is _not_ fickle like that of ajax applications, and is free to use. It is really easy to collaborate to. The only downside is that you can’t collaborate simultaneously, but that is probably coming.

    And yes, LaTeX support in any of these online apps would be really suite… I’ll bet Zoho gets it first.

  11. I mostly agree with anon’s comment, but if one is looking for an online word processor that clones traditional, stable formatting features and page layout of desktop apps, look no further than Adobe’s Buzzword (www.buzzword.com). It looks, feels and acts just like a desktop app, but is simpler and is online. It features excellent page layout (with real pagination), formatting that is _not_ fickle like that of ajax applications, and is free to use. It is really easy to collaborate to. The only downside is that you can’t collaborate simultaneously, but that is probably coming.

  12. Google needs to understand that somethings work better outside the browser. They need to make an offline version of office akin to OpenOffice that can open/edit documents users have stored online. Obviously the online version should still exist, but the offline version will be good to have for hard-core document editing.

  13. Google needs to understand that somethings work better outside the browser. They need to make an offline version of office akin to OpenOffice that can open/edit documents users have stored online. Obviously the online version should still exist, but the offline version will be good to have for hard-core document editing.

  14. I mostly agree with anon’s comment, but if one is looking for an online word processor that clones traditional, stable formatting features and page layout of desktop apps, look no further than Adobe’s Buzzword (www.buzzword.com). It looks, feels and acts just like a desktop app, but is simpler and is online. It features excellent page layout (with real pagination), formatting that is _not_ fickle like that of ajax applications, and is free to use. It is really easy to collaborate to. The only downside is that you can’t collaborate simultaneously, but that is probably coming.

  15. Buzzword? Let’s be serious here. I’ll agree that Google Docs isn’t as good as Microsoft’s Office but we all know that in the next year or two that will change and we’ll all be using Google Apps, Google Search, Google wireless internet and probably earth friendly Google toilet paper:)

  16. Buzzword? Let’s be serious here. I’ll agree that Google Docs isn’t as good as Microsoft’s Office but we all know that in the next year or two that will change and we’ll all be using Google Apps, Google Search, Google wireless internet and probably earth friendly Google toilet paper:)

  17. Were you Anti-MS just like right now, when you were getting your pay cheque form there? If not, spare some time to write a blog post on what made you change your religion???

    Sometimes, its really funny reading rambling..

  18. Were you Anti-MS just like right now, when you were getting your pay cheque form there? If not, spare some time to write a blog post on what made you change your religion???

    Sometimes, its really funny reading rambling..

  19. I thnik Google Docs and every other online app are great, but they need constant improving which I don’t see. I can’t use my fonts, there is a problerm if the browser crashes and so on. When all of this are going to be fixed, we can talk about succes or fail… Right now if I have OpenOffice I laugh at Google Docs & I laugh at Microsoft. Both seem very proud with their work, but in fact there are a lot of things to do. Why should I pay if OO. is free? Why shoud I accept ads? Just because it’s Google? No. I demand better features :-)

  20. I thnik Google Docs and every other online app are great, but they need constant improving which I don’t see. I can’t use my fonts, there is a problerm if the browser crashes and so on. When all of this are going to be fixed, we can talk about succes or fail… Right now if I have OpenOffice I laugh at Google Docs & I laugh at Microsoft. Both seem very proud with their work, but in fact there are a lot of things to do. Why should I pay if OO. is free? Why shoud I accept ads? Just because it’s Google? No. I demand better features :-)

  21. I’ve used both products extensively, and I’d agree that Word has more features … right now. But there are already things that Google Docs does that it doesn’t, and if you measure the amount of things that have changed between when they first launched it to the public (back when it was still ‘Writely’) and now, it’s pretty huge.

    So, for me, the relevant question is:

    How fast is Word adding features compared to Google Docs?

    For me, Docs is ‘good enough’ for basic stuff today, and Word is what I’d use to produce a ‘professional’ document. But looking at that features/time curve for Google Docs, it won’t be that way forever.

  22. I’ve used both products extensively, and I’d agree that Word has more features … right now. But there are already things that Google Docs does that it doesn’t, and if you measure the amount of things that have changed between when they first launched it to the public (back when it was still ‘Writely’) and now, it’s pretty huge.

    So, for me, the relevant question is:

    How fast is Word adding features compared to Google Docs?

    For me, Docs is ‘good enough’ for basic stuff today, and Word is what I’d use to produce a ‘professional’ document. But looking at that features/time curve for Google Docs, it won’t be that way forever.

  23. You are touching an important point here. Data portability is more important than applications (or even operating systems). I find this increasingly frustrating, keeping important data while upgrading machines and software. More than once I have lost data, even if I have done backups. When you loose a disc, you not only looses data, you loose the application and maybe the encrypted license key as well. Finding that e-mail with the license key can be a challenge.

  24. You are touching an important point here. Data portability is more important than applications (or even operating systems). I find this increasingly frustrating, keeping important data while upgrading machines and software. More than once I have lost data, even if I have done backups. When you loose a disc, you not only looses data, you loose the application and maybe the encrypted license key as well. Finding that e-mail with the license key can be a challenge.

  25. Your stupid backing of someone from Microsoft (Karim) is the same than saying that online videos have a low bitrate, so we should instead only use our expensive DVD players.

    Typical of Microsoft. This “feature comparison” rant has been going on for more than a decade. As if Microsoft Office was not bloatware.

  26. Your stupid backing of someone from Microsoft (Karim) is the same than saying that online videos have a low bitrate, so we should instead only use our expensive DVD players.

    Typical of Microsoft. This “feature comparison” rant has been going on for more than a decade. As if Microsoft Office was not bloatware.

  27. Lets take the points part Robert:

    1. The point about MS virus safety being better than Google’s?? Surely that MS employee must be joking, right?

    2. have you tried to save a MS Word processing Document in a needed format lately? Doesn’t it fail sometimes??

    How about a little honesty in the debate??

  28. Lets take the points part Robert:

    1. The point about MS virus safety being better than Google’s?? Surely that MS employee must be joking, right?

    2. have you tried to save a MS Word processing Document in a needed format lately? Doesn’t it fail sometimes??

    How about a little honesty in the debate??

  29. To my mind, Microsoft’s best strategy here would be to build an Office Lite in SilverLight, which saves to the cloud, has rich formatting, and allows multiple editors like Google Docs.

    Microsoft currently own the office space but Google are starting to eat into their marketshare.

    If Microsoft had a good offering in this space, with their brand and marketing reach they would quickly own it. They should have a freemium model on it with basic functionality free, and more advanced for $25 p.a., for instance.

  30. To my mind, Microsoft’s best strategy here would be to build an Office Lite in SilverLight, which saves to the cloud, has rich formatting, and allows multiple editors like Google Docs.

    Microsoft currently own the office space but Google are starting to eat into their marketshare.

    If Microsoft had a good offering in this space, with their brand and marketing reach they would quickly own it. They should have a freemium model on it with basic functionality free, and more advanced for $25 p.a., for instance.

  31. But I don’t see how Microsoft’s online apps are full of WIN, either. It’s highly doubtful they’ll have an API as accessible as Googles and their interfaces are traditionally way more bloated and packed with graphical ads. Does anybody really see an indication MS is going to break out of this mind set?

    By the way, online apps are held back largely because of browser limitations at this point, it’s the HTML editor that sucks in particular…

  32. But I don’t see how Microsoft’s online apps are full of WIN, either. It’s highly doubtful they’ll have an API as accessible as Googles and their interfaces are traditionally way more bloated and packed with graphical ads. Does anybody really see an indication MS is going to break out of this mind set?

    By the way, online apps are held back largely because of browser limitations at this point, it’s the HTML editor that sucks in particular…

  33. I love office 2007 and am quite happy with it, but I would defiantly pay to have a sort of softwre on the desktop and the cloud toghether, I can’t wait to see what MSFT does down the road.

  34. I love office 2007 and am quite happy with it, but I would defiantly pay to have a sort of softwre on the desktop and the cloud toghether, I can’t wait to see what MSFT does down the road.

  35. You know, I had just started writing in defense of Google Docs when all of a sudden it hit me… shouldn’t a company with the resources of Google have come really close to nailing this right out of the gate? Shouldn’t they have done some kind of massive overhaul, or big update at this point? Please don’t misunderstand me here, I have come to rely on them in the last year or so. I just feel like with that amount of resources, the other products mentioned within these comments shouldn’t even matter. That being said, I am going to check out that Adobe product… right… NOW!!

  36. You know, I had just started writing in defense of Google Docs when all of a sudden it hit me… shouldn’t a company with the resources of Google have come really close to nailing this right out of the gate? Shouldn’t they have done some kind of massive overhaul, or big update at this point? Please don’t misunderstand me here, I have come to rely on them in the last year or so. I just feel like with that amount of resources, the other products mentioned within these comments shouldn’t even matter. That being said, I am going to check out that Adobe product… right… NOW!!

  37. Oh, duh… should’ve guessed that Buzzwords would be Flash based. Which of course means, no iPhone access.
    Looks like a reasonable product otherwise, though.

  38. Oh, duh… should’ve guessed that Buzzwords would be Flash based. Which of course means, no iPhone access.
    Looks like a reasonable product otherwise, though.

  39. I’ve been usin google docs for more than a year and I have no complains at all. Plenty of docs and spreadsheets with basic stuff but enough for my needs.

    Portability is key in my case and they do it great.

  40. I’ve been usin google docs for more than a year and I have no complains at all. Plenty of docs and spreadsheets with basic stuff but enough for my needs.

    Portability is key in my case and they do it great.

  41. Online storage of documents is the way of the future. Yes, Google’s products are arguably languishing in adoption – however – this is only because the use of their products requires a fundamental change in behavior and mindset. The ramifications, if these changes set-in in the computing masses, is ultimate takeover of Microsoft by Google, albeit in the distant future. The trickle of early adopters will turn into a flood.

  42. Online storage of documents is the way of the future. Yes, Google’s products are arguably languishing in adoption – however – this is only because the use of their products requires a fundamental change in behavior and mindset. The ramifications, if these changes set-in in the computing masses, is ultimate takeover of Microsoft by Google, albeit in the distant future. The trickle of early adopters will turn into a flood.

  43. I love MS Office 2007 (and 2008 on my Mac). It’s one product that I think MS has done exceptionally right.

    But my workflow these days starts with Google Docs. It’s simply the easiest way to keep something synchronized between my many computers. The versioning is dead simple to use, and the collaboration is nice for when someone else is doing the editing. It’s only when I’ve finished writing it that I copy it into MS Word for formatting.

    In a general sense, I’m always surprised these kind of comparisons get made, since the two offerings offer almost completely different feature sets. One is designed for collaborative editing of a glorified HTML document. The other is designed for formatting and ultimately printing.

    It’ll be interesting when/if Microsoft offers these kind of collaborative features (and if they’ll be free to use – ie, not require Sharepoint or Exchange), and what Google will do to stay competitive.

    I think everyone realizes Google Docs is far from ideal, but it does fill a niche and if you’re someone that can use the features it offers, then it’s a pretty great product.

  44. I love MS Office 2007 (and 2008 on my Mac). It’s one product that I think MS has done exceptionally right.

    But my workflow these days starts with Google Docs. It’s simply the easiest way to keep something synchronized between my many computers. The versioning is dead simple to use, and the collaboration is nice for when someone else is doing the editing. It’s only when I’ve finished writing it that I copy it into MS Word for formatting.

    In a general sense, I’m always surprised these kind of comparisons get made, since the two offerings offer almost completely different feature sets. One is designed for collaborative editing of a glorified HTML document. The other is designed for formatting and ultimately printing.

    It’ll be interesting when/if Microsoft offers these kind of collaborative features (and if they’ll be free to use – ie, not require Sharepoint or Exchange), and what Google will do to stay competitive.

    I think everyone realizes Google Docs is far from ideal, but it does fill a niche and if you’re someone that can use the features it offers, then it’s a pretty great product.

  45. Scoble, when you share a sensitive document, either Brin or Bill can read it. Edit it, if they want :)
    Both have failed to secure user data.

  46. Scoble, when you share a sensitive document, either Brin or Bill can read it. Edit it, if they want :)
    Both have failed to secure user data.

  47. I still don’t see why the world views things so mutually exclusively. Need to make some serious docs (big legal files, massive spreadsheets, etc)? Office is the right way to do it. Need to make a quick table or short list, and need to work on it with 3 other people? Google Docs.

    They BOTH fail when it comes to the other’s strength – which is why IMHO Office has a great chance to take on the online collab space as well. But instead MS will probably focus on how to enable ALL of Excel to work in a browser. OH well…

  48. I still don’t see why the world views things so mutually exclusively. Need to make some serious docs (big legal files, massive spreadsheets, etc)? Office is the right way to do it. Need to make a quick table or short list, and need to work on it with 3 other people? Google Docs.

    They BOTH fail when it comes to the other’s strength – which is why IMHO Office has a great chance to take on the online collab space as well. But instead MS will probably focus on how to enable ALL of Excel to work in a browser. OH well…

  49. Robert,

    Check out blist.com – They have an amazing online database application. It is a work in progress but they are adding features at a very fast pace and soon the application should be ready for read stuff.

    The front end is done in Flex and provides a very rich experience, much better than what AJAX does today.

    In my opinion, that’s the direction online applications need to take if they really want to match the capabilities of thick applications.

    -R

  50. Robert,

    Check out blist.com – They have an amazing online database application. It is a work in progress but they are adding features at a very fast pace and soon the application should be ready for read stuff.

    The front end is done in Flex and provides a very rich experience, much better than what AJAX does today.

    In my opinion, that’s the direction online applications need to take if they really want to match the capabilities of thick applications.

    -R

  51. Think back Robert to when you first left Microsoft. I seem to remember you saying that you would never get used to working with online documents, or any calendar/mail system other than Outlook.

    I know quite a few people, young and old, but mostly old, that say the same thing to me all the time. I send them a link to a Google doc, ask them to change it and save it, I make changes. Then I show them the revision history, how we can both work on the document at the same time.

    I expect oohs and aahs, but instead I get “I just can’t get used to this!”

    The problem of course is that their time frame for “getting used to this” is measured in minutes, not days or weeks.

    I know a guy who carried around a 10 year old cell phone held together by scotch tape for years. He had painstakingly memorized all the key sequences for the phone and refused to learn a new one, even if getting a new phone would mean all sorts of new capabilities.

    I’m sure there are people who will never voluntarily stop using Office. But there will be new people who come along having never used it.

    The end-point is not (as Ballmer believes) Microsoft vs Google. The end-point is online data, with choice of UI (user interface) vs local with only Office, or maybe something like Open Office. Google Docs is still not only a Beta, but a limited prototype. still is is good enough for most of the documents I create.

    Reuters recently used a plain old Google spreadsheet chart as the graphic on an election results page. They updated the spreadsheet behind the scenes and the public just saw the resulting graphic on a page. It stood up to huge load and was not done as a promotional stunt in conjunction with Google. They didn’t pay Google for extra bandwidth etc. It just worked.

    That’s the future. Things on the web that Just Work, even if you don’t have Windows or Office installed.

    Maybe one day Microsoft will even participate in the change. But they have to put away their tape dispenser first.

  52. Think back Robert to when you first left Microsoft. I seem to remember you saying that you would never get used to working with online documents, or any calendar/mail system other than Outlook.

    I know quite a few people, young and old, but mostly old, that say the same thing to me all the time. I send them a link to a Google doc, ask them to change it and save it, I make changes. Then I show them the revision history, how we can both work on the document at the same time.

    I expect oohs and aahs, but instead I get “I just can’t get used to this!”

    The problem of course is that their time frame for “getting used to this” is measured in minutes, not days or weeks.

    I know a guy who carried around a 10 year old cell phone held together by scotch tape for years. He had painstakingly memorized all the key sequences for the phone and refused to learn a new one, even if getting a new phone would mean all sorts of new capabilities.

    I’m sure there are people who will never voluntarily stop using Office. But there will be new people who come along having never used it.

    The end-point is not (as Ballmer believes) Microsoft vs Google. The end-point is online data, with choice of UI (user interface) vs local with only Office, or maybe something like Open Office. Google Docs is still not only a Beta, but a limited prototype. still is is good enough for most of the documents I create.

    Reuters recently used a plain old Google spreadsheet chart as the graphic on an election results page. They updated the spreadsheet behind the scenes and the public just saw the resulting graphic on a page. It stood up to huge load and was not done as a promotional stunt in conjunction with Google. They didn’t pay Google for extra bandwidth etc. It just worked.

    That’s the future. Things on the web that Just Work, even if you don’t have Windows or Office installed.

    Maybe one day Microsoft will even participate in the change. But they have to put away their tape dispenser first.

  53. Larry Page (not the real one, according to IP addresses) if you were really a reader of mine back when I worked at Microsoft you would have remembered that I regularly praised Microsoft’s competitors and took shots at Microsoft’s products.

  54. Larry Page (not the real one, according to IP addresses) if you were really a reader of mine back when I worked at Microsoft you would have remembered that I regularly praised Microsoft’s competitors and took shots at Microsoft’s products.

  55. Anti-virus: have you looked into the encryption used to protect data at Google or Microsoft? The privacy policies? I have. Bill Gates isn’t allowed access to the data stores at Microsoft.

    And, if you have a document of such high sensitivity, it’s pretty easy to encrypt it in a way that no one would be able to read it, even if they had a supercomputer trying to hack it.

  56. Anti-virus: have you looked into the encryption used to protect data at Google or Microsoft? The privacy policies? I have. Bill Gates isn’t allowed access to the data stores at Microsoft.

    And, if you have a document of such high sensitivity, it’s pretty easy to encrypt it in a way that no one would be able to read it, even if they had a supercomputer trying to hack it.

  57. Microsoft gives instant access to their Live Office Beta if you have a .edu e-mail and from using it, I can vouch for its integration and ease of use if you have a copy of Microsoft Office on your local machine.

    Of course, I’d like to see some of the tracking features make the leap from Word to Live Office but that isn’t a big deal unless you don’t have Word on the computer already.

  58. Microsoft gives instant access to their Live Office Beta if you have a .edu e-mail and from using it, I can vouch for its integration and ease of use if you have a copy of Microsoft Office on your local machine.

    Of course, I’d like to see some of the tracking features make the leap from Word to Live Office but that isn’t a big deal unless you don’t have Word on the computer already.

  59. Lotus Syhmphony. It may not help in all situations (like mac’s), but it is an option for all those machines and less need to pay full whack for the msoft stack.
    I am starting to use it a bit, its still all beta. Using more open document formats should help people build nice mixed mode documents, sometimes online sometimes private.
    It is amazing though isn’t it that something as apparently simple as word processing is still vexing us in the tech world!

  60. Lotus Syhmphony. It may not help in all situations (like mac’s), but it is an option for all those machines and less need to pay full whack for the msoft stack.
    I am starting to use it a bit, its still all beta. Using more open document formats should help people build nice mixed mode documents, sometimes online sometimes private.
    It is amazing though isn’t it that something as apparently simple as word processing is still vexing us in the tech world!

  61. until office live comes out of beta, i think that google’s offering of allowing access to your content online is good. What isn’t good is its web based productivity suite, which is ‘fail’.

    i’d like to see google put their ample money where their mouth is, and produce some suite addins for office, open office, office mac, etc, that allow users to save content directly from the apps to their google cloudspace. Much like microsoft do with office live.

    of course, that’ll never happen, because they’re too busy being hypocritical and sitting on the fence (with their feet dangling on apple’s side, of course)

  62. until office live comes out of beta, i think that google’s offering of allowing access to your content online is good. What isn’t good is its web based productivity suite, which is ‘fail’.

    i’d like to see google put their ample money where their mouth is, and produce some suite addins for office, open office, office mac, etc, that allow users to save content directly from the apps to their google cloudspace. Much like microsoft do with office live.

    of course, that’ll never happen, because they’re too busy being hypocritical and sitting on the fence (with their feet dangling on apple’s side, of course)

  63. Hunting around, it seems the only genuine MS Office alternative online is ThinkFreeOffice (http://www.thinkfree.com). Zoho, Buzzword, Google Docs are just text editors that seem based around HTML WYSIWYG editors.

    TFO aims to be a real MS Office compatible suite.

    Computerworld 12 months ago said of TFO: “If you’re concerned about document compatibility with Microsoft Office, you want ThinkFree. There’s simply no contest.”

    That’s my impression too. It’s biggest failing is it is a Java app and has slow screen refresh. (Which I think also means it’s not iPhone compatible?)

    ComputerWorld also rumored that Google was looking to buy TFO, which would be great if that had happened.

    Here’s the link to the CW article: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9007884

  64. Hunting around, it seems the only genuine MS Office alternative online is ThinkFreeOffice (http://www.thinkfree.com). Zoho, Buzzword, Google Docs are just text editors that seem based around HTML WYSIWYG editors.

    TFO aims to be a real MS Office compatible suite.

    Computerworld 12 months ago said of TFO: “If you’re concerned about document compatibility with Microsoft Office, you want ThinkFree. There’s simply no contest.”

    That’s my impression too. It’s biggest failing is it is a Java app and has slow screen refresh. (Which I think also means it’s not iPhone compatible?)

    ComputerWorld also rumored that Google was looking to buy TFO, which would be great if that had happened.

    Here’s the link to the CW article: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9007884

  65. hmm – Microsoft got by on creating software that was just good enough to be acceptable and Google Docs is better than that. Buzzword looks even better. When millions of people are willing to spent just a couple hundred bucks at WalMart to get a mediocre computing experience, Google Docs makes more sense than MS Office. And given that Google can sell advertising space and eventually, I’m sure, start charging small fees for extra features priority access speeds, or no advertising, or whatever, Microsoft’s whole business plan is beginning to look faded.

  66. hmm – Microsoft got by on creating software that was just good enough to be acceptable and Google Docs is better than that. Buzzword looks even better. When millions of people are willing to spent just a couple hundred bucks at WalMart to get a mediocre computing experience, Google Docs makes more sense than MS Office. And given that Google can sell advertising space and eventually, I’m sure, start charging small fees for extra features priority access speeds, or no advertising, or whatever, Microsoft’s whole business plan is beginning to look faded.

  67. I have MS Office and Open Office on my pc but I never use them any more except when I need to print. I find Google Docs good enough for 95% of the things I do. The only thing I care about is having easy access to my documents from any computer. Google Docs gives me portability. I will never buy MS Office again.

  68. I have MS Office and Open Office on my pc but I never use them any more except when I need to print. I find Google Docs good enough for 95% of the things I do. The only thing I care about is having easy access to my documents from any computer. Google Docs gives me portability. I will never buy MS Office again.

  69. I found ThinkFree more than adequate for reading and writing compatible Office files. Like Office, and Open Office, it did about two orders of magnitude more things than generally wanted to do.

    On Windows the Wordpad editor is about right for me, on Apple the built-in text editor will read and write Word files and on Linux there are several options for a QUICK way to create richly formated documents that can be later uploaded to Google Docs.

  70. I found ThinkFree more than adequate for reading and writing compatible Office files. Like Office, and Open Office, it did about two orders of magnitude more things than generally wanted to do.

    On Windows the Wordpad editor is about right for me, on Apple the built-in text editor will read and write Word files and on Linux there are several options for a QUICK way to create richly formated documents that can be later uploaded to Google Docs.

  71. officelive / google apps does not encrypt files on their server, there is no such feature that I have seen. if you are talking about https, thats different.

    my questions remains the same, how one can prevent Bill Gates/Sergey Brin, consultants/employees working at google/MS reading (possibly abusing) them. Even if they abuse, the evidence itself resides inside their servers. (one way I can prevent it by third party solution as you said)

    they can argue that they have strong self discipline, but why should I believe them ?

  72. officelive / google apps does not encrypt files on their server, there is no such feature that I have seen. if you are talking about https, thats different.

    my questions remains the same, how one can prevent Bill Gates/Sergey Brin, consultants/employees working at google/MS reading (possibly abusing) them. Even if they abuse, the evidence itself resides inside their servers. (one way I can prevent it by third party solution as you said)

    they can argue that they have strong self discipline, but why should I believe them ?

  73. Can we ban any further discussion of this issue until all participants have read and understood The Innovator’s Dilemma?

    Does Google Docs currently meet the needs of a large percentage of users? No. Is it trending in that direction? Yes. What is the cost to the consumer?

    Is MS married to ongoing incremental improvements of a mature product? Yes. Wat is the cost to the consumers?

    Anyone see a pattern?

  74. Can we ban any further discussion of this issue until all participants have read and understood The Innovator’s Dilemma?

    Does Google Docs currently meet the needs of a large percentage of users? No. Is it trending in that direction? Yes. What is the cost to the consumer?

    Is MS married to ongoing incremental improvements of a mature product? Yes. Wat is the cost to the consumers?

    Anyone see a pattern?

  75. Why they have all those super-smug college grads from Ivy Leagues, working 89 hours a week, with 20% free time, they can’t fail. Google’s arrogance and hiring practices will do them in, one-trick-pony really.

    But to think that corporates, governments, medicals, schools (and everything that surrounds them) will abandon Office just for some online text editors, is Steve Gillmor-level foolish. Twizzleheady geeks might not need some of the Office 2007-level features, but thousands of customers still do.

  76. Why they have all those super-smug college grads from Ivy Leagues, working 89 hours a week, with 20% free time, they can’t fail. Google’s arrogance and hiring practices will do them in, one-trick-pony really.

    But to think that corporates, governments, medicals, schools (and everything that surrounds them) will abandon Office just for some online text editors, is Steve Gillmor-level foolish. Twizzleheady geeks might not need some of the Office 2007-level features, but thousands of customers still do.

  77. MS don’t listen innovation, I sent them set of innovative ideas for project “ “ (I worked extra 30% of my time totally 130%). Did they read it? Yes, did they respond? Yes but, did they discuss on it? No, all they do is ….. they have numbers – chase chase chase and kill. talk talk talk about ROI, investor value…and bla bla

    where is innovation?
    at MSR.. after eating billions of $, recently they showed a table, and now a telescope(?) Robert has cried, I believe he has acted otherwise you don’t allow him inside again. Who wants table? Wots next? A tea/coffee cup and a rocket? Show us something that we can use every day every our, increase our productivity to 500%.

    wot is fundamentally wrong at Google? transparency..Google still don’t know a simple formula: “trust = revenue”

    Back to me previous comment, there is another pattern going on…US Gov rapidly increases spending (recently 100B plan) to secure people on the web.

  78. MS don’t listen innovation, I sent them set of innovative ideas for project “ “ (I worked extra 30% of my time totally 130%). Did they read it? Yes, did they respond? Yes but, did they discuss on it? No, all they do is ….. they have numbers – chase chase chase and kill. talk talk talk about ROI, investor value…and bla bla

    where is innovation?
    at MSR.. after eating billions of $, recently they showed a table, and now a telescope(?) Robert has cried, I believe he has acted otherwise you don’t allow him inside again. Who wants table? Wots next? A tea/coffee cup and a rocket? Show us something that we can use every day every our, increase our productivity to 500%.

    wot is fundamentally wrong at Google? transparency..Google still don’t know a simple formula: “trust = revenue”

    Back to me previous comment, there is another pattern going on…US Gov rapidly increases spending (recently 100B plan) to secure people on the web.

  79. Google Docs a big FAIL? Yes, but that’s why I like it. Just like the google home page and google search. If works with not a lot of extra crap. I use it the same reasons Robert uses it. Lots of computers with lots of different software so Docs connects them very nicely. No muss no fuss! I also love ZOHO and wish Google would buy them like tomorrow!!

  80. Google Docs a big FAIL? Yes, but that’s why I like it. Just like the google home page and google search. If works with not a lot of extra crap. I use it the same reasons Robert uses it. Lots of computers with lots of different software so Docs connects them very nicely. No muss no fuss! I also love ZOHO and wish Google would buy them like tomorrow!!

  81. Good to see some brains engaged on this topic….

    I think the “Innovator’s Dilemma” is an incomplete description of the Hegelian dialectic. The established player is the thesis, the disruptive newcomer is the antithesis. Where it gets interesting, of course, is the combination of the two: the synthesis.

    First there were mainframes (thesis), then the disruption of the PC (antithesis). That’s what the Innovator’s Dilemma describes. But the PC turned into the server, the web farm, and now (the synthesis) you are seeing more and more cores, bigger and bigger iron used in server virtualization.

    Similarly, first there was Microsoft Word (thesis, most of the code runs locally), then Google docs (antithesis, most of the code runs on the server). This is not the end of the story.

    A few folks have made the comment that an Adobe AIR word processor would overcome most of my objections: it would have the features and performance of a desktop top, and allow you to do things like work offline, paste a picture into the app, and use fonts on your local hard drive. It would also have all of the benefits of a web app: deploys with a click, upgrades itself, doesn’t require keeping discs.

    That’s the synthesis: the right balance of code running locally, and on the server.

    It seems like Adobe figured this out, along with Microsoft and their Silverlight runtime.

    It’s fascinating to me how Adobe is doing demos showing how they can create ill-behaved apps using local resources on your PC, whereas Microsoft seems to be taking the approach that they had enough fun with that in the 1990s. The competition between AIR and Silverlight will be interesting.

    There are definitely brighter minds than mine at Google, but I don’t see how they’re going to get there via AJAX. While everyone else is targeting AIR or Silverlight, will Google still be trying to write Javascript with half the performance and 1/10th the features of a runtime, that plays nice with 97 browser versions across half a dozen platforms? It seems they must, when features like “search and replace,” which I believe line editors such as EDLIN successfully implemented during the Cretaceous Period, turn out to be so difficult to implement that they must be stamped EXPERIMENTAL. :-)

  82. Good to see some brains engaged on this topic….

    I think the “Innovator’s Dilemma” is an incomplete description of the Hegelian dialectic. The established player is the thesis, the disruptive newcomer is the antithesis. Where it gets interesting, of course, is the combination of the two: the synthesis.

    First there were mainframes (thesis), then the disruption of the PC (antithesis). That’s what the Innovator’s Dilemma describes. But the PC turned into the server, the web farm, and now (the synthesis) you are seeing more and more cores, bigger and bigger iron used in server virtualization.

    Similarly, first there was Microsoft Word (thesis, most of the code runs locally), then Google docs (antithesis, most of the code runs on the server). This is not the end of the story.

    A few folks have made the comment that an Adobe AIR word processor would overcome most of my objections: it would have the features and performance of a desktop top, and allow you to do things like work offline, paste a picture into the app, and use fonts on your local hard drive. It would also have all of the benefits of a web app: deploys with a click, upgrades itself, doesn’t require keeping discs.

    That’s the synthesis: the right balance of code running locally, and on the server.

    It seems like Adobe figured this out, along with Microsoft and their Silverlight runtime.

    It’s fascinating to me how Adobe is doing demos showing how they can create ill-behaved apps using local resources on your PC, whereas Microsoft seems to be taking the approach that they had enough fun with that in the 1990s. The competition between AIR and Silverlight will be interesting.

    There are definitely brighter minds than mine at Google, but I don’t see how they’re going to get there via AJAX. While everyone else is targeting AIR or Silverlight, will Google still be trying to write Javascript with half the performance and 1/10th the features of a runtime, that plays nice with 97 browser versions across half a dozen platforms? It seems they must, when features like “search and replace,” which I believe line editors such as EDLIN successfully implemented during the Cretaceous Period, turn out to be so difficult to implement that they must be stamped EXPERIMENTAL. :-)