Only a day after acquiring YouTube, Google has now launched a new online word processing and spreadsheets services called “Google Docs & Spreadsheets”. This service is pretty much an online version of the common “Microsoft Word and Excel” except that it’s free and runs inside of any browser without any extra software. The product is composed of the features taken from Writely, a company they purchased in March 2006, and a spreadsheet application they had developed. Google Docs & Sheets doesn’t seem to be all that well developed yet, but Google will just use their standard “it’s in beta” excuse until they’re ready.
Google Docs & Spreadsheets does have some good features such as online collaboration. Users can easily share files via Gmail, invite users to edit or view, and even track document changes using RSS feeds. Although this may be an easy way of working with documents online, it can be risky to leave confidential information on Google’s servers since Google may index and log your docs for internal purposes.
Google’s greatest intention with this product is probably to take a stab at Microsoft’s “Office Online” product which is supposed to be released soon. Google will most likely succeed since Microsoft’s “Office Online” will not be free. Anyways if you want to try out Google Docs and Spreadsheets you’ll either need to use an existing Gmail/Google Account or create one.