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Google acquires online word processor

The great war between Google vs Microsoft vs Yahoo. Actually for the past few months its only been Microsoft vs Google, writes Puneet Mehrotra.

business Updated: Mar 14, 2006 19:28 IST

Raid - the new war cry

The great war between Google versus Microsoft versus Yahoo. Actually for the past few months its only been Microsoft versus Google, Yahoo has been rather silent. The war is on General Ballmer and General Page are spending considerable resources on drawing war plans. If acquisition was the driving plan two years ago, this year 'poaching' is the central theme of the war plan. Microsoft trying to poach into the world of Google's search. Now Google has hit back in a manner which could hurt Microsoft rather badly in times to come.


Microsoft's envy, Google's pride - The brand new acquisition of Google

Google yesterday said that it had bought the Silicon Valley start-up Upstartle, gaining its Writely Internet word processing software. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The application allows users to write and share documents through a web browser rather than with software on their computer. As a result, files can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. Upstartle released a test version of Writely software last August. Upstartle has four employees, according to the company's Web site.


War - Google style

Last week on Google's starting a Payment service on Google base, a direct threat to eBay and Paypal I had written "a bang without even a whisper". This week Google does it again. Google and the art of subtlety. Such an important event, a challenge right in the heart of the world's biggest empire, Microsoft. Yet officially Google makes it sound as if this means nothing. The official Google Blog has the picture of a pug as the main post. Posted by Nickey from Canine Division titled as Pug-speak it says "Unlike some others, I may be a small dog, but size is just a state of mind: My Google job is as important as anyone else's. After my morning nap at the office, I go out on hall monitor duty."


The 2nd post has a rather important announcement, important to the rest of the world atleast. Written in exactly thirteen lines it starts with "For the last five months, I've been part of a Silicon Valley startup called Upstartle, which makes Writely, a collaborative word processor that runs in a web browser. Well, as of Monday, I'm happy to say that I, and the rest of the Writely team, are now part of Google."

Writely said Google and the art of subtlety.

The importance of Writely

Although Writely has only a few thousand test users, analysts believe Google's move presents a challenge to Microsoft's desk-bound software. There has been speculation Microsoft is planning an online version of its Office products. Google is trying to move as much of your work as possible online, away from the Microsoft Windows environment. The acquisition puts Google in direct competition with Word software from Microsoft and signals the intention of Google to expand its reach into Microsoft products. While Microsoft is already testing small-business software that is delivered over the Internet, the company is not offering word processing software that is delivered using the Web.

Is Google planning to replace Microsoft Office

Microsoft still is the leader in the word processing arena. Infact it is almost the standard software for word processing, presentation and spread sheets. Google and Microsoft have been at war for almost 3 years now. The earlier strategy was focused on acquisitions. That's changed lately. Microsoft is trying its best to dampen the prospects of Google by entering the search arena. Google is trying to get into the Microsoft space.

Writely is important because it allows users to write and share documents through a web browser rather than with software on their computer. As a result, files can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. This is almost a direct challenge to the new version of Microsoft Office.

The Google Performance

Every application of Google is almost a piece of art. Unlike its giant competitor Google applications have always been low on resource consumption. Their functionality have been super setting standards unknown to the industry before. Whether Google has exploited AJAX for some of its most eye-popping services such as GMail and Google Maps isn't really important to the user. What matters is functionality and the delivery factor of Google is super. The fact remains that Microsoft with all the resources at its helm hasn't been able to measure upto those standards. I sometimes wonder with a Gmail around how does Microsoft really feel about having a service like Hotmail in this age and time.

The next step of Google

There have been rumors about Google building an operating system, about Google global hard drive project. My guess is the next show from Google would be the latter, the server based hard drive, accessible to the user anywhere around the world on any PC with a net connection. The equation is simple.

Writely allows users to write and share documents through a web browser rather than with software on their computer. As a result, files can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

Gmail is already more than 2.5 gb and lets you access emails and attachments globally.

So add it up. Office documents + Files + Emails = Globally available at any computer anywhere with an internet connection. So my guess is a Google global hard drive should be coming soon.

Well done Google. The war been Microsoft and Google is getting interesting. Let's see who acquires or poaches what in the coming weeks. Trust me to keep you informed.

Puneet Mehrotra is a web strategist at www.cyberzest.com and editswww.thebusinessedition.comyou can email him on puneet@cyberzest.com