Adding to the list of office related web applications, Google launched Google Spreadsheets, a web based spreadsheet application that has similar functionality to your basic spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel. Although, it isn’t exactly launched just yet because Google has released it as a limited beta product where only a select few at a time may signup. I’ve subscribed to the mailing list to try out Google Spreadsheets, but have yet to receive an invitation. However, with the tour that Google has provided, Flickr, and other sources, I have learned more then enough about Google Spreadsheets capabilities.
Google Spreadsheets works much like your basic spreadsheet application in terms of formatting, formulas, and control. You can save and open any document formatted for spreadsheets in the format of CSV and XLS and work on them just like you would Excel with both keyboard and mouse support. It also has formula and formatting support to the point where Google states that when you open a file, all your formulas and formatting will come across intact. But what I feel makes it worthwhile is its collaborative functionality.
Similar to the spreadsheet service, Numbler, users can invite their friends or co-workers to work on a spreadsheet collaboratively in real-time. Users can chat with one and another with a chat window similar to what you get with Gmail messaging and even see changes being made to the spreadsheet as the other user works on it. This is excellent for groups or teams for work, although for the average user, I don’t see much benefit in it. I can definitely see myself using it as it seems like every other day I’m on the phone with my boss looking over and modify a spreadsheet, then having to send a finalized copy.
Even though I haven’t received an invite to Google Spreadsheets yet, I’m pretty excited about it. To keep you going while you wait for an invite (if you haven’t received one already), there’s a handful of photos to look at on Flickr and there is even a great screencast up at the Sitening Blog. You of course have other options to try as well including iRows, Numbler, Num Sum, and JotSpot Tracker, which all perform your basic spreadsheet needs over the web.
For more, Rafe Needleman of CNET has a great writeup covering the pros and cons of Google Spreadsheets.
View Google Spreadsheets (in limited beta).
Update: I’ve received my invitation and it really is an impressive application. It’s late so I’ll be taking a better look at it tomorrow, maybe with a follow-up if I have something to say about it that I haven’t already.