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.


cliff said...

Besides Google spreadsheets, there are various online spreadsheets working in different directions, includes EditGrid and Numbler which you may wish to put on the list. They incorporated reat-time-update which distinguishes themself from the others.

You may visit http://www.editgrid.com/tnc/pkchan/EditGrid_v._Google which shows a comparison between EditGrid and Google Spreadsheets.

phil jones said...

Thanks cliff.

That's a handy comparison chart.

I wonder who EditGrid see their market as? Casual spreadsheet users or internal to enterprises?

There's a couple of things that really impress me about EditGrid. The developers' blog is really good : http://blog.editgrid.com/ (I love the fact that they post their usability test results etc. These guys rock!)

And secondly, I'm interested that they seem to come from Hong Kong. I studied computer science with a lot of Hong Kong and Singaporian students, but haven't seen much in the way of Web 2.0 stuff coming from there before.

cliff said...

In fact, EditGrid is obviously still seeking for room to survive. But fundamentally, they should keep service free for causal spreadsheet users. For enterprises, probably monetize EditGrid is not an easy task, hopefully they can make it.

As a Hongkong Company, EditGrid having the gut to challenge Google is really what a hongkongers should proud of. Let's look forward how is company work.