Office redefined

Many “Office” applications, including word processing, are being implemented and offered through the Web. I was researching this very interesting fact, together with the various tools already available, when I stumbled upon the news that

Google had just bought Writely


In fact I hadn’t had even the time to open myself an account with Writely. Now, this happened when I had just discovered what Writely was… namely, a word processing Web service, that lets one write and manage documents on-line. All through a simple Web interface, no disc space, and no installation issues.

Now, this is extremely interesting, also because there are lots of other services waiting to be offered through the so-called Web 2.0 protocol: presentations (à la PowerPoint), spreadsheets, etc., and I feel like a believer in the power of the Web to free up users’ memory space and software requisites (and monopolies, among other things).

However, I had to leave my e-mail address to Writely, hoping to get an account later “in the spring”. So I checked other sites offering the same set of services, and I found a few worth mentioning here: goffice, thinkfree, numsum, among others.

Before checking these sites out, I’d like to say thanks to the article that showed them to me in the first place: it is “Ajax Office Review” by Dan McCrea. Apart from Dan’s great review, his article shows reference to the Ajax environment for Web 2.0 development, which I’ll write about in a next occasion.

The sites are:

Now, I’m very curious why Google bought Writely, and not another of these services-companies. Perhaps goffice will be bought by Yahoo! in the next weeks! Or has already been.

However, these services and the shift from desktop (private) work-space to Web (much less private in the best scenario) services. What about privacy concerns? Will we understand and value accordingly the trade-off we’re making? What will happen when Google will have at its fingertips all our hard drives (remember the GDrive scoop of a few days ago)? Make no mistake: I love Google’s approach and ideas, but the idea that somebody is peer-reviewing my e-mails (and later, my documents…) is somehow disturbing (and yet, I use gmail!).

Another service mentioned in the article is a sort of operating system and personal information system, which seems worth checking: I’ll explore it, and write about it next.

About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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One Response to Office redefined

  1. Thank you so much for mentioning in your blog.

    We have not yet made a decision regarding any possible purchase. In fact, this has been a very busy week for us. So much has happened to this company since Dan McCrea reviewed the website. I hope you all stop by and take a look at some of the upgrades and new features.

    We have officially launched the Japanese version of our website at This is just the first of several language sites we hope to launch in the next year. Our staff is currently working on the second major translation. The gOFFICE web-based office suite currently supports typing in 33 languages, but the Japanese site is the only translated version of the web-based application. We believe it is currently the only web based word processor that has been translated into another language.

    We have improved our spreadsheet and it now offers upload and download of Excel
    documents, rather than exporting or importing files. Users have the option of storing worksheets to their account or on their desktop. These are two advantages our product has over competitive products, plus it is now available in Japanese.

    Best of luck and thanks for the mention!


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