So, it’s not surprising Google is apparently coming out with a Powerpoint-like service that will complete its online productivity suite portfolio – and, more important, give it the same arsenal as Microsoft Office. The question is whether it matters? Just because Google built it, does it necessarily mean users will come?
On my computer, I’ve got Office 2003 (no plans to upgrade to Office 2007) but I’ve also got an increasing number of documents on Google Docs, Spreadsheets and GMail. The Docs and Spreadsheets documents were created so I can easily share documents and spreadsheets with other people. While Google won’t replace Microsoft Office as the “go to” productivity suite any time soon, it is a nice complement to Office given I have yet to wade into the world of Microsoft Live.
But what will it take for Google Office to take major amounts of market share from Microsoft Office? There is a lot of enthusiasm for Web-based services but it’s difficult to see many people, particularly corporate-types, abandoning Office any time soon for Google. Why should Google Office be anything different as a competitive threat as WordPerfect or Open Office, which are, in theory, easier products for many people to embrace? (One different Google Office does have over WordPerfect and Open Office: it’s free. (Update: My bad, Open Office is free too).
That said, Google Office could get some more traction if wireless networks become more ubiquitous, and the use of Web-based services becomes more mainstream. One thing I have noticed in recent months is how Google-based services such as GMail, Docs & Spreadsheets and Google News have become key parts of my computing environment.
For more, check out Paul Kedrosky, who doesn’t care Google Office may not have all the bells and whistles as Office.