Google to offer another web alternative to a Microsoft Office application: Excel
Google is all set to launch online spreadsheet. This increases the range of Web Office offering from Google. A few months ago, Google had acquired Writely, which is an online Word alternative. There's Google Calendar, the day planner that matches a lot of the functionality of Microsoft Outlook's calendar. There's also Google Pack, a collection of online desktop features that compete with many of Microsoft's. More recently, Google Notepad is an alternative to Microsoft OneNote. There are already a bunch of such offerings on the web, including NumSum, ZohoSheet (part of Zoho Office) JotSpot Tracker, iRows, wikiCalc etc. The screenshot of NumSum is here.
For now, the Google Spreadsheet, which can import or export data from Excel's .xls format or the open Comma Separated Value (.csv) format, is aimed at small work teams in social life or small business, not big enterprises, Rochelle said.
Google has rolled it out to only a handful of subscriber and I am not one of them! So, here's a summary from news and media about it.
- Google Spreadsheets is easy to use and free. It works much like every other spreadsheet like Excel, OpenOffice.Org you've ever worked with. It takes very little time to learn to use it.
- Auto-save: I loved it, when this feature was introduced in GMail. It helped me not lose my email, I was typing in the web-browser, because of the loss of internet connection/ power failure or anything else. It is the same deal here. Once you name the spreadsheet you're working on or right after you import an XLS file from your computer, Google Spreadsheets saves your file. From that point, every change you make is immediately saved.
- The sharing function lets you collaborate with other users (Google account holders only so far). Alternatively, you can invite people to view, but not edit, your work. All changes are live, so you can be talking on the phone and editing the same work at the same time. This is not present in Excel.
- There's a good list of mathematical, financial, statistical, and other function types.
- Google Spreadsheets does support multisheet spreadsheets, just like Excel. And here's a nice little thing: it doesn't automatically make each file three pages deep, as Excel does, although if you want the extra sheets, it's easy to add them.
- There's no print function. But you can export your spreadsheet as a static HTML file.
- There are no visualization tools. You can't graph or chart your data.
- Aside from the good collection of formulas, statistical and analysis tools are missing. There are no pivot tables.
- No right-mouse options. Neither zoom.
Reference: New York Times coverage.