Google has unified its online word processing and spreadsheet tools as it moves the software out of beta and into a full release.
The free service, which at the moment isn’t marred by advertising, has been renamed Google Docs and Spreadsheets, and has lost the reference to “Writely” which was the name of the word processing tool when Google bought it from web start-up company Upstartle.
The tools let people easily collaborate on group projects and documents; all you need to use them is a Google account. They can even import and export to different file formats, including Microsoft’s Word and Excel files.
The files can be viewed by one person, shared to with a group to view or edit, or published online for public consumption.
Although there have been attempts to spin this into a “Google takes on Microsoft Office” war, Jonathan Rochelle, Google Docs and Spreadsheets product manager denies this. “It made sense to combine these products and people were asking for that”, he said.
“It doesn’t change our strategy. This is complementary to desktop products … and lacks certain advanced features” of desktop products.