Google Opens Writely

Posted: August 18, 2006 in Just Out!
Tags: ,

I wrote a previous post about the current definition of the thin client, and how a lot of online applications are emerging to replace (or strengthen) their desktop counterparts.

For a while now, Google has acquired Writely, a web-based word processor, but it was not open for the public yet. Yesterday, it has been opened for anyone to use it, even though it is still in its beta version, and you have to register before using it, but it’s free anyway. This application does have a lot of powerful features. First, you can import documents with most of the popular formats (including doc, rtf, open office, pdf, etc.). It has most of the commonly used functionality in major word processors, and of course you can download the document back in any format you desire.

It also has a number of new and interesting features. For me, these are the things that got my attention:

1. Group Editing: More than one user can view and edit the same document at the same time. This is particularly useful in a team work environment (e.g. a team working on a report that has to be submitted soon). It saves the time spent on sending the document from one person to another to review and edit it.

2. Posting to Blogs: You can use Writely to directly post to your blog. It includes support for blogging formats like Blogger (which is also owned by Google) and LiveJournal, and allows publishers to publish via RSS feeds (in fact, I used it to post this blog entry).

However, since it is still in the beta release, it still has some shortcomings. For example, the spell-checker is not very good, it supports only English, and it does not perform grammar checking. I would also like to see a way of adding new fonts besides the currently suppored ones. But besides these issues, it is quite good.

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