Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Online Wordprocessing and Future Web Apps

I tend to be very interested in the goings on of Google and particularly their applications like Google Docs that replace costly Microsoft products at no cost to me. So when I was reading this article by the Washington Post, I was struck by a statement that the author made in regards to Google Docs becoming a threat to Microsoft's productivity software dominance.
"Current fans of Google Docs will surely appreciate this new feature, but I still have a hard time seeing how a Web-based application could ever replace traditional word processing software for serious business computing."
Really? Ever? I imagine a journalist 60 some years ago saying,
"I still have a hard time seeing how a computer-based application could ever replace traditional typewriting for serious business typography."
It just seems like one of those statements that journalists quickly make that goes down in history as an "oh man were they ever wrong". I think that it's pretty clear that the internet is not a fad, and more applications are moving to it, and more than likely our entire operating systems will one day be on a server somewhere that we just access via a dummy laptop that's little more than a window to that OS. Now maybe that's looking a little far down the road, but to say you don't believe Word Processing will EVER be Web-based seems a little narrow minded.


~Angela~ said...

That is a lame comment indeed.

That said, I'm not a fan of Google Docs. At least in part because it doesn't work on my browser (Safari), and I have to switch to another browser in order to use it. Pain in the neck. Plus, I don't feel like it has the same editing capabilities yet... I'll stick to Word for the moment.

Suggs said...

I completely agree. I use Google pages to edit my websites that I maintain, and it is even more bugged and inconsistent than Google Docs. That being said, remember websites of yesteryear? They were God-awful by comparison to todays websites. The fact is, Google Docs will get sweet. I think there's just too much demand (or at least potential market) for the project to get scrapped in any foreseeable future, and in 2 years it will be freaking amazing. And in fairness, I loathe the fact that it's 2008, Microsoft Word has been around for 25 years and I still struggle sometimes to make a document look like I want it to, and I avoid using tables and such because they confuse the shit out of me in Word.

So while I agree that if you're looking for a word processor with more bells and whistles (providing you can figure them out) stick with Word. If you want a word processor for basic word processing and advanced collaboration ablitlities, as well as access from any computer, try Google Docs (providing your browser supports it).

My biggest point, of course was not a plug for Google Docs, but to point out the fault in that journalist's statement. I will go so far as to say that Word Processing will PROBABLY commonly be an internet application in the future.