February 11, 2007

Recasting the Word Processor for a Connected World - New York Times

Recasting the Word Processor for a Connected World - New York Times

I am a dedicated fan of Software as a Service (SaaS). I used Writely, now Google Documents (and Spreadsheets), when it first hit the Web and became hooked. I now have more than 250 documents on Google Docs and a handful of spreadsheets, too. I also continue to use Microsoft Office because I'm not ready to entrust all my documents to Google. I particularly appreciate the ability to access them from anywhere on any computer and not worry about backup. The tagging/labeling paradigm beats hierarchical folders hands down. For the time being, Google has grabbed more than its share of my online time, but you can't beat 'free.'

Google Spreadsheets has some way to go compared to PC based Excel. Google handles simple spreadsheets, but it is still clunky and does not support graphing at all and printing not very well. But Google Docs does everything I normally desire, except footnotes.

I think we'll see Microsoft launch a powerful product that combines their PC-based Microsoft Office product line and their Office Live endeavor but only when they can develop a sustainable business model. They won't purposely erode the powerful revenue stream from Office until they must. I use the free basic version of Office Live just to keep my hand in the game.

So. I'll probably buy Office 07 when I upgrade my desktop in a couple of months because I want Access, Publisher and PowerPoint. Nevertheless, I'll continue to use Google Docs for the bulk of my word processing.

What a tremendously exciting online world we inhabit!!
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