June 17, 2006

Interesting Gillmor Gang.

Steve Gillmor is arguing with Mike Arrington about Google's Spreadsheet vs. the SocialText / WikiCalc deal. Arrington thinks WikiCalc, hosted inside enterprises, is going to be the bigger threat to Excel and a Microsoft Office oriented workflow than Google's Spreadsheet which business can't trust with its private data.

Gillmor thinks that Google are wiring their applications together to lure the user into their suite of applications. For example, an email received in Gmail that talks about a dinner-date, offers the user the chance to make an appointment via Google calander. This is turn leads to the option of looking up the venue on Google maps. Gillmor's assumption is that this will suck people into the Google-suite. Essentially each application recruits users for the next via a simple hyperlink.

Could Google eat Excel the same way? Automatically offer to import (and show via Google Spreadsheet) any Excel spreadsheet that passes through Gmail?

Finally there's an interesting discussion over the fact that these online spreadsheets can't really import the formulas from Excel. The Gang seem surprised by this, but given that Excel packs the whole of Visual Basic for Applications as scripting language, it's obvious that the more sophisticated applications built with it will be hard to port without reproducing the whole Excel / VBA engine.
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