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Google moves into spreadsheet space

Google has launched a trial version of its newest software offering, Google Spreadsheets - an online app that enables users to freely create, store and share basic spreadsheets using the internet.

Google has launched a trial version of its newest software offering, Google Spreadsheets - an online app that enables users to freely create, store and share basic spreadsheets using the internet.

According to Google, the app offers increased accessibility compared to desktop-based spreadsheet apps, as the spreadsheets are securely stored on Google’s own servers. The new offering – like Google’s newly acquired ‘Writely’ word processor - doesn’t install any software on a user’s PC and can be accessed using only a net connection and a web browser.

Spreadsheets can be shared, updated and edited by up to 10 users simultaneously. In addition, users can chat while editing or viewing the same spreadsheet and enable control over editing and viewing of the spreadsheets – a feature also present in Microsoft’s Excel. However unlike Excel, the trial version of Google Spreadsheets doesn’t let users create charts or drag-and-drop data.

On the format front, users can import and export spreadsheets and also bring in information from other applications, including .csv and .xls formats. Spreadsheets created using Google’s app can be saved in default .xls format, as well as .csv and html.

Users who wish to try to Google Spreadsheets have to sign-up at http://labs.google.com. The company will then send invitations to users on its waiting list on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In March, Google bought a small California-based firm called Upstart. That deal added a free web-based word processing package called Writely to Google’s list of apps.

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