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Google Spreadsheets : Spread Across Network

Microsoft may not yet be losing sleep over Google's seemingly real WebOffice threat, as yet (and I think some of the things they are saying may be correct as well,combined with present user behavior) but are they really being arrogant or online Productivity Applications (MS Office or Open Office like applications such as PowerPoint or Excel or Calendar) a fad which eventually will pass?

Well leaving that debate to MS and Google, I decided to use Google Spreadsheets. Again you have to sign up and wait for the invite: "First Come,First Served".

I had read earlier that Spreadsheets will affect Excel usage heavily. Can't predict that as yet,but if your use is limited to entering/importing data (.xls and .csv supported) and performing mathematical,financial or statistical formulae on it and you don't need to advanced stuff like creating macros (in short use it like a basic spreadsheet only!) then you are in familiar territory. So apart from allowing importing and exporting data in .xls and .csv formats and preserving formatting done in MS Excel, (i.e. all the text and background colors, as well as fonts are preserved), Google Spreadsheets lets you do almost everything (exceptions as mentioned above) that Excel does.

The formula library is extensive and almost all the functions of Excel are available,but Excel has categorized them, which is not the case here.
Some of the Excel Shortcuts do not work. Insertion of rows and columns is farely basic and I enjoyed doing most of the actions. Google has always earned an honorable mention in UI department and it shows.
'Autosave' introduced with Google Homepage are here also, so your data is saved periodically as you are working on it.
Extra worksheets too can be added.
But these are not the guiding factors for deciding use of Google Spreadsheets.

Since this is an online application, your data is online and available from any where. Add to this the feature that you can invite other people for editing or viewing your file simultaneously. So if you have to share a file with someone else, then rather than updating the file and sending it by mail, it would be better if both of you can access the file simultaneously and decide the edits, through an inbuilt real-time chat! And it is so easy, you don't have to be a geek to do this.

This is the single reason, I believe Google is betting their buck.

The site is Web 2.0 enabled, which is obvious since Google has provided AJAX support to almost all its new applications (Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Google Homepages) and shown its intentions of promoting AJAX with AJAX Search API. (Demo of AJAX Search API).

There are some issues which spoil the party however. The default spreadsheet size is very small (only 20x100) but since rows and columns can be added, you can manage. But a large Excel file can not be imported! Also some of the test files, which I uploaded, were not imported properly and only a part of sheet (having the data ofcourse) appeared.

But I am hopeful that Google will sort out these issues very soon. True, that they have made mockery of 'Beta' (Gmail is still in beta!) but let's trust them. Try it out.


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