Google, Google, more Google

Google released spreadsheets recently. (Ok, now the world is not quite excited about Google releases).

But I am one of those guys who tries out anything that is thrown at us. I registered for the limited test of Google spreadsheets and tested it out today. And for the first time I felt that Google is losing its standard. They have done a good job no doubt, but it still needs a lot of work before it can be really used.

I could see some bugs and lots of usability issues. Some petty features that we see in full fledged spreadsheet applications are missing. For example, I miss the drag and populate feature where you write some numbers and then drag the pointer down from the last cell and see the rest of the cells populate automatically. I also miss the drag and move feature, wherein I can drag a cell's value and populate some other cell, there by performing an implicit cut/paste.

Am I asking for too much? I don't think so. For regular users of spreadsheets, I don't see an application like this suitable. The number of cells is far too limited (2000 cells). There are no graphs available. Lots of other important features are missing.

So now the question is who is Google targeting? I am sure Google has a definite agenda in mind. There could be 2 possibilities (may be Google is aiming for both):

1. Google is trying to build web applications and wants users to try it out and once they are stable you package everything together and sell an appliance that can help host these services in your enterprise (Software As A Service – SaaS). So users can use these from their browsers without requiring to install anything, but at the same time data remains behind the firewall and so is safe.

2. Google will provide API access to the spreadsheets so you will be able to manipulate your spreadsheets from other applications, and be able to send values, recalculate certain fields and get the calculated columns.

Now this is interesting!

Ok, so does that remind you of Ananya? It sure does! 🙂

And what is Google upto next? Google Presentations? Google Web Designer? If you ask me, I should say a full fledged development environment that can work out of a browser, full with syntax validating editors, inbuilt compilers, databases, web-servers and code sync utilities is something really cool to work on. That way, software is easy to maintain and also this ensures that people are using the same version of the products for development and thus eliminates some common problems faced during software development. Is anyone listening?