(image courtesy of Google Blogoscoped)
Google quietly signed up several people for the beta for their Google Spreadsheets application today, providing a select few access to what will eventually most likely become Google’s newest web-based offering among its already-impressive suite of services. Admittedly after the successfuly launch of Google’s calendar application, a spreadsheet isn’t horribly far off, but the question does remain, who is this service for and what is its target audience?
With headlines like Google Takes Aim at Excel and so on, its obvious that many analysts believe that Google is moving progressively in the direction of creating and marketing an Ajax/Web 2.0-ish office suite of applications that are linked to its popular GMail and Google Calendar services; luring people away from the Microsoft Office suite of products. However, whether or not this is their real aim is still a matter up for debate. In the meantime, the story has hit news sources like the New York Times, which is taking an in depth look at the new Google Spreadsheets beta and puts it in context of developing a web-based set of applications and services that will take the need for desktop applications away.
In the meantime, Google Blogoscoped [ http://blog.outer-court.com/ ] has a few demo videos of the new service and a preliminary review that overall, looks positively on the new service; saying that usability is quite good and many of the commonly used and best features of any spreadsheet application are right there in your browser when you use Google Spreadsheets.