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.

116 thoughts on “Microsoft=Success; Google Docs=Fail?

  1. 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. :-)

  2. 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. :-)

  3. 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!!

  4. 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!!

  5. 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.

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