The Wall Street Journal by way The Guardian is reporting that Google plans to add a speadsheet to its set of applications, that also include Writely, Google Base, Google Mail. When I asked Dave Girouard, head of Google Enterprise, about a spreadsheet application a few weeks ago, he said, “It’s important…I can’t comment beyond that."
Om Malik speculates that Google bought iRows, an online spreadsheet. At this time the iRow site and blog are inaccessible--it could be that the universe of Google watchers is pinging those sites into oblivion or it has a serious system outage at precisely the wrong time.
Like Writely, iRows or whatever number cruncher Google presents won't be an Excel killer. It will nip away at the edges, and compel Microsoft to respond with its own Live spreadsheet in the ongoing game of leapfrog. As Girouard told me, "We have no preconceived notion that people will stop using [Microsoft] Office. But for smaller businesses we can contribute some usefulness on the edges and help them be more productive.”
Here are some of the elusive iRow's capabilities that could attract Google:
* Dynamic web functions: stockprice, convert
* Upload and save Excel,CSV and OpenOffice files
* Reference cells in other spreadsheets
* Draw bar/line/pie 2D/3D charts sample
* Allow multiple people to view or edit the same spreadsheet
* Automatically saves previous revisions
* Display a spreadsheet on any web page
* Generate HTML from spreadsheets
* Cell merge and un-merge
* Scroll-lock, hide rows or columns
If iRows is no longer available and won this instance of the online spreadsheet lottery, browser-based spreadsheets Numsum and EditGrid are looking for suitors...and Dan Bricklin's WikiCalc mashes up wikis and speadsheets. Also JotSpot Tracker from wiki maker Jotspot is on the scene.
Update from Elinor Mills:
Google Spreadsheets, which will go live on Tuesday as part of Google Labs, supports the import and export of documents in the .xls format used in Excel and the .csv (common separate values) format, said Jonathan Rochelle, product manager for Google Spreadsheet.
The service provides automatic saving, so once a document is saved for the first time it is saved upon every change, as well as enables easy transfer of data from cell to cell, inserting and deleting of rows and columns and supports multiple sheets or tabs, he said.
Consumers must have a Google account to use the service.