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Google "Office": Why Switch?

Google_dsEveryone is all excited about the new presentation/slideshow feature that's coming to Google Docs & Spreadsheets.  I say "where's the beef?"  Google's docs and spreadsheet service has been around for quite awhile, but have you actually tried it?  I tinkered with it once, several months ago, and never went back.

Let's face it: Corporate adoptions are what makes Microsoft Office the cash cow that it is.  Despite the obvious licensing fee savings, how likely is your company to switch from Microsoft to Google?  If cost is the driving force in this sort of decision we'd all be running Linux on the desktop right now.  Clearly that's not the case.

Adding a PowerPoint knock-off isn't going to change things much at all.  Will anyone use this?  You bet.  Will it kill Microsoft Office?  I seriously doubt it.  Google needs something more compelling than cost to get customers to switch.

Comments

SEO India

I think Google is not really looking into break the Microsoft office segment , but gearing itself for the Online library thing they're working on. If i was working on the project i would love to have everybody uploading their books/documents to Google docs by the next 5-6 years and then it would leave me with some solid base to work on.

And yes, must appreciate them for their light weight applications and end-user experience. Far better than Microsofts. If that counts, my vote for Google Docs.

(Honestly, i haven't tried all of their online documentation products, so i may be wrong at places.)

Best,
Mani

Barbara Gavin

I give Google a lot of credit and know that there are probably some folks out there who are glad for Google Docs and will take advantage of it.

But for me, I need rich fully featured applications that live on my desktop. I need to be able to share seamlessly with colleagues inside and outside of my company.

Joe Wikert

Mani, interesting point about the content repository this model could offer the community. I just wonder how many IP ownership issues this would introduce...think of YouTube, but with documents, and all the copyright issues that come with it.

Barbara, you're absolutely right about there being an audience for a set of free, thin applications like this. I'm with you though and I think we're probably part of the majority, not the minority; even though I only use 10% or so of Word/Excel's functionality that's still considerably more power than Google's apps offer.

Jim

The stumbling block for me of seeing either Google Office or MSFT Office Live as real "Office" replacement options is that there's no offline story, right? Sure, editing docs online is neat until one of the 50 times a year you want to work when you aren't connected to the internet or your internet connection is down. If there ever were a time when an online app service was as available as an app on my hard drive, then this becomes feasible.
Think of our frustrations with TypePad's occasional downtime. Multiply that by 1000 the first time you miss a critical deadline because Excel Online is down. ;)

Joe Wikert

Jim, you're absolutely right. And I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't remind me of the periodic TypePad outages! It is indeed a great example of why you need both online and offline options.

Billz

Collaboration...even though the app is terrible, being web-based gives them the leg up on collaboration. I'm fairly certain people are in fact not ready to work (truly) collaboratively yet, but we are getting closer all the time. How often do you see people huddled around a PowerPoint deck perfecting it for a sales meeting? Bullets or sound-bites of info are easy for us to collaborate on now. Beefier docs will take more time, but it is getting there and Google is better positioning than anyone else. MS knows it too...where do you think LIVE came from??

Google office is just another form of social computing just in the business office ecosystem. Brilliant.

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