Google Spreadsheets: Share Your Work
Does it make sense for a search engine company to offer an online spreadsheet application? That’s what some analysts wondered when Google introduced Google Spreadsheets. It makes a lot more sense than you’d think at first glance. Keep reading to find out why.
The very first electronic spreadsheet dates back to 1978 and was created by VisiCalc. Why would Google go for something this ancient as its next "hot new service"? There are at least two reasons. First, many people still use electronic spreadsheets, and in ways they weren't originally intended (to-do lists, quick and dirty databases, and others). Spreadsheets serve a role in people's personal lives and hobbies as well as at work. The second reason is that the most popular current spreadsheet application leaves users a little frustrated, in ways that Google can easily fix.
I'm talking about Microsoft's Excel, of course. The analysts who didn't wonder whether it made sense for Google to introduce a spreadsheet application figured the move was aimed squarely at the software giant's relative stranglehold on office productivity applications. Actually, Google Spreadsheets is not an attack on Microsoft. Like many of Google's services that mimic desktop applications (Gmail, Google Calendar, and a word processor which might take on new users again next month), Google Spreadsheets is more of an attack on applications and data that are bound to a single computer.
I admit, I'm not a heavy spreadsheet user, but I know people who do it for a living. So in addition to playing around with Google Spreadsheets myself, I asked our office manager, Kimberly Keyser (if you watch our "News You Can't Use," you know who I'm talking about) to give me her impressions of the service. Her duties require her to use spreadsheets all the time, and to share them with her boss. She was happy to help, and I was grateful for the assistance. Before I get to that, though, I'm going to take you through the interface.
Next: How it Looks and Works: the Basics >>
If you're interested using this application email me and I'll invite you to obtain an gMail account. Then you'll be able to sign-up, use, and share Google Spreadsheets.