Google Spreadsheet No Excel Killer

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News stories and blog posts have begun to fill with the carillon of funeral bells for Microsoft as Google readies its minimalist spreadsheet program for public debut.

Google Spreadsheet No Excel Killer
Does Google’s Spreadsheet Impress?

Does Google’s launch of a free web-based spreadsheet program offer some benefit for your business? Is the free price point enough to overcome your concerns about hosting private data on Google’s servers? Chart it out for us at WebProWorld.

Here is a selection of eye-catching headlines seen online about the pending debut of Google Spreadsheet from the search engine company:

Google adds web-based spreadsheet to Microsoft woes
Google Spreadsheets takes aim at Excel
Google unveiling Excel competitor
Coming soon: Google Spreadsheet. @SUM(trouble) for Microsoft’s bottom line?

Microsoft has been having plenty of trouble on its own, between delays in releasing the Vista operating system and being forced to change some unpopular policies with its human resources processes. Now we have the image of a Google monster stalking the P&L statements of Microsoft while wearing a bladed glove and a red-and-black sweater.

“Mr. Ballmer, your 9 am with Mr. Englund from Google is here.”

While the threat that is Google Spreadsheets does have some stylish good looks, as far as we can tell from the limited screenshots that appear in its sneak peek, there’s one thing that the product definitely isn’t, and that’s Excel.

What Google Spreadsheets presents is a way to craft a multi-columned list of information, and a way to easily share that list with others. The service has not been activated yet to allow for a closer look at its formulas, though a link to them appears at the top of a spreadsheet.

A tabbed interface will let the user switch between formatting the spreadsheet, sorting the information, and accessing those formulas. Google also included the ability to invite other people to view a created spreadsheet or to edit it in real time with an accompanying chat window running.

The service supports Microsoft IE 6 as well as Firefox 1.07 and up on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. Browser-based access over the web enables the ability to edit a spreadsheet created on Google’s service from multiple computers.

That remote accessibility probably precludes the service from being used on an enterprise level. The ever-present threat of Sarbanes-Oxley regulations would be cause for lots of uncomfortable audit questions should someone decide that storing information at Google doesn’t satisfy SOX requirements.

Google Spreadsheets looks interesting, and we’re looking forward to playing with it when Google starts inviting people into the controlled beta. But without advanced features like macros or pivot tables, Google’s newest Lab experiment just isn’t close to Microsoft Excel.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Google Spreadsheet No Excel Killer
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