Google puts office apps on a common platform

Google puts office apps on a common platform

MIAMI: Google has integrated its formerly separate spreadsheet and word processing applications, giving them a uniform user interface and a unified document repository.

The combined product, called Google Docs & Spreadsheets, is available in test form at The company made it easier to switch back and forth because user feedback showed many people used both to work on similar tasks, product manager, Jonathan Rochelle, said.

The effort also follows Google's articulated strategy to group its individual online services into fewer sets, product manager, Jen Mazzon, said.

Google has introduced products and services at a dizzying clip this year.

The integration of Writely and Spreadsheets should be seamless to users, product managers said. Noticeable changes will include a more Google-like interface for Writely, which Google acquired in March when it bought the creator of the software, Upstartle. Another change will be the single list for documents and spreadsheets, with a shared search box. Users will also be able to publish spreadsheets and word documents to an HTML page, such as a blog.

Google's Writely and Spreadsheets are widely seen as shots across the bow of Microsoft, which has ruled the office productivity market with its Office suite. While Office is largely PC-based applications, Google's applications are hosted on its servers, a model many consider more attractive and less cumbersome for users. Writely and Spreadsheets are also free.

Although the Microsoft suite contains more applications, industry observers see Google moving decisively toward a full suite. Google has a hosted application for Web page creation, called Google Page Creator, which Mazzon acknowledged might make sense to include in combined set.

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