Continuing its drive to move into new areas and expand its business frontiers, Google has unveiled a new application that allows users to share basic spreadsheets using the Internet. Dubbed "Google Spreadsheets", the online application offers users versatility that exceeds desktop spreadsheet applications, according to the company, as the spreadsheets are securely stored on Google’s own servers. This means that spreadsheets can be shared, updated and edited by up to 10 users at once.
The company really does seem to be trying to offer an Internet oriented office experience, having recently purchased Writely, a company that offers a Web-based word processor, and also having provided a Web-based calendaring application earlier in the year. And although none of these applications can come close to the power and functionality of Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook, these offerings could well be regarded as the first sign of a fundamental shift from desktop-based applications dominated by Microsoft to an Internet based applications environment.
Some observers don’t seem to think this is likely, and see this effort as futile. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, writing for PcMag.com, claims that:
Web-based applications have not replaced, and will not ever replace, desktop-based applications. I have heard until I'm sick of it about how centralized, network-based applications are the wave of the future. I heard back in the mid-80s, and here in the mid-00s, I'm hearing it again.