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Google Office Still in the Wings? 308

Posted by Hemos
from the Remember-ASPS?-they're-back dept.
Rob writes "Ajax Office, a proposed project to create an open source, web-based suite of office applications, has fallen by the wayside. But the project's founder Paolo Massa is convinced that not only will there be successful open source projects in the space, but that it is only a matter of time before the likes of Google or Yahoo! launch a web-based office suite of their own - going up against Microsoft Office but in the online sphere. "If you think about it, it would mean having access to your office documents from any browser," he told Computer Business Review, outlining his view that a provider could enable the creation and storage of office documents on their web servers. "I think someone will do this within a year," he said."
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Google Office Still in the Wings?

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  • No Thanks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KarrottoP (459750) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:43AM (#13703223)
    I would prefer to keep my documents secure and local. And I have Open Office to solve the open source office suite issue. (If only they could get vba in it)
    • Re:No Thanks (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Just because the "office" application runs from a web browser it doesn't mean you have to store your documents in the web server. You could keep them locally but still have ready-access to this and other web-based applications whenever you're online.
    • Re:No Thanks (Score:5, Interesting)

      by div_2n (525075) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:17AM (#13703391)
      (If only they could get vba in it)

      Do you mean MS VB or just general VB? Because it's already there. I've written macros with it before. Granted in version 1.x the programming environment and documentation was beyond crappy. I haven't explored it in the 2.x beta.
    • but a Web Based Office that Reads/writes OpenDoc (and MS Office) Files wouldnt be a bad idea.
  • by dancingmad (128588) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:44AM (#13703224)
    Who would want to keep their Buffy/Faye lemons...err, important business documents on someone else's server?
  • Fantastic! (Score:5, Funny)

    by generic-man (33649) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:45AM (#13703229) Homepage Journal
    OpenOffice.org is a passable imitation of Microsoft Office, but I think it would be really great if someone rewrote everything in JavaScript and let me run it inside a web browser instead of a mature desktop operating system.
    • NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
      From my experience, large system-like java applets work HORRIBLE through the web browser due to huge lag times and usually sloppy programming. Ajax would just be a better option all around IMHO. Besides, you would want it to "just work", not have it dependent on a JRE installed.
      • Re:Fantastic! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by grahamlee (522375)

        From my experience, large system-like java applets work HORRIBLE through the web browser due to huge lag times and usually sloppy programming.

        Whatever did happen to the applet version of Wordperfect? That was supposed to bring us this beautiful lag back in 1995.

        Besides, you would want it to "just work", not have it dependent on a JRE installed.

        Eventually, even when considering such a thin-client architecture you still have to make some assumptions about what said client is. If it's running Sun Java,

      • Re:Fantastic! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jsight (8987) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:37AM (#13703535) Homepage

          NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
        From my experience, large system-like java applets work HORRIBLE through the web browser due to huge lag times and usually sloppy programming. Ajax would just be a better option all around IMHO. Besides, you would want it to "just work", not have it dependent on a JRE installed.


        What are you saying now to? The parent poster said nothing about Java, he said JavaScript. You do realize that's what AJAX is based on, right? Javascript! :)
    • OpenOffice.org is a passable imitation of Microsoft Office, but I think it would be really great if someone rewrote everything in JavaScript and let me run it inside a web browser instead of a mature desktop operating system.

      Gee, I see no reason why that couldn't be done within a year! After all, Paolo Massa opened a SourceForge project to do it and then quit, so QED!

    • Well, be prepared to buy LOTS of memory and a very FAST CPU. JS is not really suited for complex applications.
    • NeoOffice/J (http://www.planamesa.com/neojava/en/index.php [planamesa.com]) is a Java port so feel free to figure out the JavaScript issues and share your pancakes!
  • by gelfling (6534) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:45AM (#13703236) Homepage Journal
    And a Google car, a Googledog and I want to clone myself on Google; Google Self.
  • by jeffs72 (711141) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:46AM (#13703239) Journal
    Personally, I haven't paid for a copy of office in something like, uh. Well, I've never paid for a copy of office actually. But would I be willing to pay some sort of subscription fee type deal for not only an office type app suite, but one that while I was at work I could get to my home documents, or on vacation, etc?

    You bet your software pirating ass I would! Provided it was SSL enabled anyway, one thing that chaps my hide is that all these free email clients don't have any security on them. That sort of keeps me from using goggle mail for anything but fluff email.

    But a full blown web office suite that was an online repository for my data. That's smart. I really hope that someone can get this to production, and have an easy was to do an import of old office stuff that actualy works without losing formatting and whatnot.

    • Why not just buy a laptop? That way you can access gigabytes of documents at home, at work, and even in places that don't have Internet access. You could even load NeoOpenFreeGnulixOffice.net on it if you don't want to pay for Microsoft software.
      • theft and breakage (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jeffs72 (711141)
        Laptops get stolen. They break. They are another piece of luggage to have to worry about. My company wouldn't allow me to bring my personal laptop onto the corporate LAN either. They are also pretty expensive for a non-upgradable appliance in my opinion.

        • So instead of having a piece of (admittedly-brittle) hardware with your own documents and licensed software on it, you'd rather spend $X/month to lease a platform that is even less upgradable than a laptop and that is completely inaccessible without an Internet connection.

          To me, using a word processor written in JavaScript is like buying an MP3 player made out of folded paper [mac.com]. Then again, I don't write word processors.
          • Absolutely I would. You are assuming that this web version of office would never be upgraded, but there isn't any reason that it wouldn't be.

            In the age of free municipal wifi and internet cafes, internet access is easy to come by. Also, I don't need or want to use a laptop when I'm flying in business class, I'm 6'3" and 250 pounds, I barely fit into my seat as it, I certainly don't have room to look at a laptop.

            I'd probably pay once a year or something for online file storage and use of the office suite,

            • I still don't understand why you're willing to pay $120-$150 per year for a JavaScriptOffice.org lease, plus ($30/month for T-Mobile Hotspot access, $3/hour for Internet cafe access, etc.), but you can't be bothered to tote a cheap laptop around. You don't have to "look at a laptop" while sitting in business class; put your $500 Dell laptop in a case and throw it under the seat in front of you.

              I agree that having business documents everywhere is attractive, but computers are just too cheap to make the econ
          • by MindStalker (22827)
            Ok, it must be repeated these web apps arn't written in JavaScript. These apps are run on the servers, JavaScript or whatever language is used on the client side is simply essentially a network window system. Sorta like X-Windows. X-Windows is JavaScript is kinda stupid too, but its not as bad.
        • And you think your employer would let you write personal documents while at work sitting at their computer using their LAN and their bandwidth?

          As for them being expensive. Yes they are fairly expensive but what are you doing with it? If you want the "latest and greatest" and you want to play games on it then yes it's going to be expensive. If you want to edit a few office documents (which lets face it is what you would be able to do with the proposed web interface) then you aren't looking at that much.

        • So, how are you connecting to this web-based office suite on the road? Renting a machine and a connection everywhere you go?
      • Hey that's a great ide... Oh wait. If your laptop is lost or stolen or you drop it and break your hard drive, you're screwed.

        You'd just be trading a single problem (the host goes out of business without warning) for a whole bunch of other problems (see above).

        When X drive went out of business I lost some stuff. But it was my fault. They had given me ample warning.
    • by MirthScout (247854) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:01AM (#13703318)
      > Provided it was SSL enabled anyway, one thing that chaps my hide
      > is that all these free email clients don't have any security on
      > them. That sort of keeps me from using goggle mail for anything
      > but fluff email.

      Have you tried accessing Google Mail like this:
      https://gmail.google.com/ [google.com]
      • I had no idea gmail was SSL enabled as an option. YOU ROCK!
      • Hmm, but what difference does it make? The mail was sent to you in plain text over thousands of kilometers of unprotected internet wiring. Why bother encrypting the last little bit?

        Those Think Geek Ts that says: "I read your email", are true you know.
        • by Rescate (688702)
          What you say is absolutely true. One thing I would mention, though, is that for the most part the email traveling to your GMail account is riding with a sea of other email, taking various routes. It is not always interesting to a listener along one of those routes, since they don't necessarily care about what you are saying in your email.

          However, at a public hotspot, it is more likely that people *do* care about what you are saying in your email. Conferences are one example where people are using public
    • by ergo98 (9391)
      There are amazing technologies like VPN and remote desktop that allow one to access their documents, and even a rich GUI, from anywhere. If I can access some online office service, then I can likely access my own machines just as easily.

      Trying to create an office suite in a web browser with DHTML & "AJAX" would be ridiculous - the office suite will be the last thing overtaken by web apps, and by then the standards will have evolved such that it won't be HTML, but rather X Windows or RDP. Speaking of tha
  • htmlArea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by liquidpele (663430) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:46AM (#13703241) Journal
    Is it me, or is htmlArea [htmlarea.com] basically a word processor already?
  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jalefkowit (101585) <jason@jasonlef k o w i t z . n et> on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:47AM (#13703245) Homepage

    Why is this article getting play on Slashdot?

    It's just an interview with someone who tried to build a Web-based office suite and couldn't pull it off. Then the guy speculates that "someone else will do it within a year" with absolutely zero evidence for that contention other than his gut feeling -- he doesn't claim to have talked to any company (Google included) about their plans. Then the journalist takes the guy's wild speculation and stretches it out to Google being the ones who will do it "within a year".

    In other words, it's completely unsourced speculation. There's not even enough fact there for it to qualify as "rumor"!

    It's bad enough that it's running on CBR's blog, but why does Slashdot just pass along the article, complete with wildly misleading headline? Aren't "editors" supposed to be more about critical thinking than regurgitation?

    Oh, I forgot, this is Slashdot. Never mind.

  • fun stuff (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jleq (766550) * <jleq96@@@gmail...com> on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:47AM (#13703247)
    From dumb terminal to workstation, back to dumb terminal... ah, the odd cycle of computer technology.
  • Thin, web-based clients have been a good idea for a long time. As for security, it's obviously a solvable (solved) problem. I guess this might actually take off with ubiquitous broadband connections etc. I hope so, I believed it was a valid threat to the MS monopoly already when SUN raved about it ten years ago.
    • Actually, how can you secure such an application if you are expected to run it on strangers computers (coffee shops, schools, libraris, hotels, etc...)? Anybody can put a key logger on a keyboard and there is no software that could secure this.

      Thus, you can only be secure if you use your own computer. And if you bring your own computer anywhere, why not install the software locally? As for your documents, you can encrypt them and transmit them to a secure location.
    • Re:So far so 1996 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Zebra_X (13249)
      Thin, web-based clients have been a good idea for a long time

      This is a terrible idea (It's also not really thin client).

      Here are a couple scenarios: Internet down? OH CRAP, I just lost my work. Internet Down, "Ah, the word processor is down". CRAP I just hit the back button.

      Ideas like this can learn a little bit from the emergence and acceptance of services like Vonage. It layers complexity onto a currently reliable system - Vonage customers experience downtime on average 20 minutes a day, usually at peak h
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:50AM (#13703260) Homepage

    Online document editing has many major draw-backs

    1) The "online" bit. A large proportion of office document editing is done "off-line" either in-flight, on trains or in establishments with restricted internet access.

    2) Printing - You need much tighter integration between the printer and the browser than currently available, its no good generating an A4 PDF when my printer is A3.

    3) Its an ASP - Application Service Provider, there have been a few big successes (SalesForce.com for instance) but mainly they tanked. In the office apps perspective its hard to see the business driver, if its just a cost thing then Open Office would win.

    4) What do my clients use? Any browser based solution has to have a standard integration and export to MS Office, this is the normal practice and made doubly so now that Google searches all those files on your desktop for you.

    5) What is all the power on my desktop for? Dual Core AMD, 2GB RAM etc etc... Office isn't exactly a performance problem.

    ASPing Office was suggested by Microsoft and it tanked, its been suggested before and it tanked. I think Google are spot on to not continue funding an idea that has tanked several times before.

  • by LexNaturalis (895838) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:52AM (#13703267)
    Where I work, everything that gets stored on the hard drives at work is immediately considered For Official Use Only [navy.mil] and most companies that do business with DoD or other Government agencies have very strict rules on information storage (classification notwithstanding). If a web-based Office Suite were to succeed, there would have to be major security for it to be considered for use by most of the US Government and it's many (many) contractors. It's possible, but whoever tried to implement this idea would have to keep in mind that lots of big-name companies are tied by these restrictions.

    If one could develop a web-based office suite that met the needs of DoD/Dod contractors, then I think a lot of them might go for that idea. It would allow a military unit in Iraq and a command post at Ft. Bragg to view/edit their files without having to worry about transmitting them back and forth; likewise for contractors who have to travel all over the country. I know some contractors who travel 100+ days/year, so having a central repository of files would be excellent for them. I think if the security needs can be met, web-based office might just work. It'll be interesting to see if anyone can actually implement it though.
    • Where I work, everything that gets stored on the hard drives at work is immediately considered For Official Use Only and most companies that do business with DoD or other Government agencies have very strict rules on information storage

      Yes, but consider what this could do to the current mess with central requirements management systems and MS office documents stored out there on SMB.

      Lotus Notes tried to distribute/centralise document management but it mostly died and one good reason was that the editing w

    • If one could develop a web-based office suite that met the needs of DoD/Dod contractors, then I think a lot of them might go for that idea. It would allow a military unit in Iraq and a command post at Ft. Bragg to view/edit their files without having to worry about transmitting them back and forth; likewise for contractors who have to travel all over the country.

      Connectivity is a big issue in this scenario - most people who design web based apps assume everyone is sitting at a desk with always on high speed
    • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:49AM (#13703630) Homepage Journal

      If a web-based Office Suite were to succeed, there would have to be major security for it to be considered for use by most of the US Government and it's many (many) contractors.

      I think web-based apps could be a big win in that sort of environment. Why? Because it eliminates the risks associated with having users with confidential and/or classified information on their hard drives. I know a couple of companies who are moving toward thin-client solutions for exactly this reason... so that all of the important documents are concentrated in one place, behind layers of physical security and logical access controls.

  • by SamSeaborn (724276) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:53AM (#13703277)
    Am I the only one who thinks the richness of interfaces you can build with AJAX is being blown way out of proportion?

    If I was going to implement "Google Office" I would do it with Java Swing or maybe Macromedia Flex. The idea of implementing an Office suite with HTML, Javascript, and AJAX sounds like the makings of one nasty, ugly, kludgey mess of a GUI.

    Sam

    • One option could be to have the UI and many operations could be done in Java....that way the user has the choice of a matching desktop version or the web-based version with the same code base. The main difference would be one of File I/O.

      Minus side is you loose the light-weightness of Ajax.

  • by mustafap (452510) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:53AM (#13703278) Homepage
  • by pubjames (468013) on Monday October 03, 2005 @08:55AM (#13703282)
    By far the best on-line applications are made by 37 Signals [37signals.com]. Google should just buy them - makes much more sense than some of the other stuff they've brought recently and would probably be much cheaper.

    • Do you work for 37 Signals?

      • No, my only relationship with them is having registered on their web site to use some of their products.

        Just try a few of their products, they are really neat. They are web based, simple, well designed and actually do really useful stuff. In my opinion, that makes them a perfect match to Google.

    • I just had a listener post his experieneces with web-based project management, and basecamp was among those he tried, with not a very good opinion of it. Based on the few remarks about basecamp, I'm rather surprised that a company so apparently publicly devoted to 'usability' overlooked such basic things.

      http://fireboxstudios.com/news/newapp [fireboxstudios.com]
      • You post a link to someone who is developing their own web-based project management solution (which of course will be better than anything else available when it is finished), who criticises the 37 Signals product. You think that is a good reference?

        So it didn't work for him. Fine. But I suggest you take a look at it, many people love it.
  • when he became afraid that Netscape could do this and decided to kill them before they did.

    Gates is nothing if not far-sighted.

    Disclaimer: only one (of five) of my computers runs ANY Microsoft product (Windows 98SE) -- and that one runs WordPerfect, not Office. RTF is fine with me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:00AM (#13703312)
    Do you really want government officials, Masters and PhD students, top scientists and engineers, buisnesses (and business employees) etc... to use a web-based office application?

    That will never ever happen. Think of the security! What if some hacker hacks away and downloads tons of sensitive documents?

    As for Google Office, we all know that they have a bit of a shady GMail privacy policy. Now you want me to trust them with my personal documents?

    Imagine a service in the future offered by Google that gives employers the tool to find out more information on a specific person. Imagine the amount of information that can be deduced from all the things you did on Google. They can know a lot about "who you are", your personality etc... just from all the interactions you do with Google itself. Six years ago, everyone didn't realize that Google will be able to search every nook and cranny of the Internet, and that it'll be able to dig up your personal message board posts you thought would be too hidden from a search engine.

    You have no idea what the future holds in terms of the advancements in data mining technologies.

    I cannot trust Google with my documents... the buck stops right here, right now.
    • There is no reason why such a service needs to be hosted by Google. If they developed such an app - or if anybody did - it would be saleable as a standalone system. Google is already selling search appliances in physical boxes, after all.

      There is absolutely no reason why a web server with this functionality enabled should not be deployed by different organisations with different security requirements. Google itself could offer a free service using context sensitive advertising, a paid for service without...

  • Forget Word (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pubjames (468013) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:04AM (#13703326)
    To make the next step in office development suites, we really must completely forget about how Microsoft Word works!

    OpenOffice and the other open source office suites all hold themselves back terribly by trying to deal with the Microsoft formats and copying the interface. Guys, doing it that way you will always be playing a frustrating game of catch-up, and you'll never take off.

    The next generation office suites I believe will (should) be 1) web based, 2) simple 3) have collaboration built in from the roots.

    Come on guys, just stop copying Microsoft Office. It's boring, time consuming and doomed to fail. To compete with Microsoft, forget them.
  • Adwords in Office? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by G4from128k (686170) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:05AM (#13703328)
    Although I'm sure that Google could do this, its not clear that Google will want to do this. Where's the money? Would Google ads appear in the margins of all my documents while I work on them? Would people accept that intrusion? Would people actually click through? I know that the vast majority of the Office document work that I do would generate $0 revenue for Google because very little of it relates to buying stuff. And for people that work in offices, most of them have little buying authority, so adwords sold on the Office site would be a loser for advertisers.

    As much as some people (myself included) would love for Google to kill MS, its not clear that Google has a business rationale for entry into the Office market.

    • Although I'm sure that Google could do this, its not clear that Google will want to do this. Where's the money?

      Where's the money in developing and giving away a web browser? For Microsoft, the money was (and still is) in market share, not in sales revenue. Google might be motivated by an attempt to further ingrain their brand into the mind of everyone who uses a computer. They're already giving away plenty of services, several of them ad-free (Google News, Google Maps...).

      To be honest, I hope that Google do

  • To be consistent, it should really be called JA Office [davidflanagan.com]. Ajax is a nonsensical buzzword.

  • I can just imagine it now. Little Billy is writing his assignment the night before it's due, and his internet drops out. He tries to reconnect. No good. He fails his assignment. Thanks, but with how untrustworthy my internet connection is (it stays up for about 90% of the time, but it seems the more I need the internet connection the more likely it is for the internet to drop out) I'll stick with my computer (which fails enough as it is).
  • To me this does not sound like a plausible commercial idea as of yet. The one place I do see this as being possibly successful would be the corporate sector. You could just buy a small server that ran everybodies office application on the corporate intranet. No need for massive amounts of installs and it would have some interesting ways of document sharing.
  • ... because with it you can create nicer web applications with existing browsers, but why do so many people seem to think of it as the future? It is a mess of technologies and not nearly as powerful as e.g. Java applets or .net 'applets'. Besides, I don't want to edit my documents in a web browser I cry to regularly when I loose the text I'm editing in MediaWiki.

    I know it is a sin to say so, but when Microsoft (and Novell/Mono) has succeeded in making .net pervasive, smart-clients/applets will be a much mor
  • From my perspective, the first thing that needs to be done is add Calendaring to something like Google Mail. I think web based editors are feasable (check out FCKeditor [fckeditor.net] - a lot of functinality is already there), but a calendaring system makes a heck of a lot more sense as a web based app than an office suite. It would seriously challenge Outlook. And Outlook is one of the things keeping a lot of companies on Windows.
  • Speculation for Nerds: Stuff that might matter some day.
  • Why?
    Do you want to wait for MEGABYTES of jscript to be downloaded before you can type a letter?
    Instead of JavaScript why not just use Java? the complaints about waiting for the jre will be nothing compaired to the download time of an entire application the size of Word.
    Then let's talk about speed. JavaScript is not optimized for speed. For a large app that could become an issue.
    I know lets use UML to design it, code it in Ajax, and us an XML back end! It could be an an enabling paradigm.
  • Think Out of the Box (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tmortn (630092) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:27AM (#13703447) Homepage
    I see a awful lot of comments about how people would preffer to keep their data local or how the browser is just to limited to really use for an office system of any sophistication but no consideration of other options. Like for example having the option of not storing your documents online... or storing them both on and off line. There are other options to either/or scenarios.

    I can't argue that web browsers are terribly limited in this respect though. Which is why I really think the answer is the next generation. There is a theory floating about that google is considering a web providing service... sometimes called a parrallel internet. Well how would one access it? How about portal software? Something similar to AOL but something truly unique under the hood instead of being a cheezy skin over default system utilities? IE Google makes its own browser system that includes HTML rendering but which also goes beyond. Something similar to Google Earth only instead of rendering a 3d globe it is a system designed for word processing and spreadsheets. With a large offline component that also uses online functions as needed... and perhaps caches the most commonly accessed ones to speed up the process and to deal with Lag. It may even allow for a full offline functionality that syncs up with its online counterpart as available.

    Even without a new 'browser' per say lets just say that Google Office is similar to Google Earth. The on and off line components are blended in and toss in a embedded firefox component that you can switch to if so desired for one stop shopping... IE tabs that include your office documents your working on as well as your net windows... system command line ? MP3 playing ? file browser ? its not to long before your talking about an OS portal... then if you make something like a Knoppix distro for sampling it and allow a full install you can design a system from the ground up to blur the line between on and off line in a way that really has yet to happen for the masses. They can use Windows install base as a stepping stone. If they can get to where people are just using windows to access the google progs then a full up OS replacement may then be possible on a scale that would have Blamer tossing a few more chairs around.
  • The thing is, we've all been waiting for this since it was touted at the 'next big thing" about 5 years ago. Either no one wanted to jump in and actually make it happen or the interest was sketchy. I'm guessing a little of both. The reason Google is named here is because they're have the expendable cash to throw at this and see if it sticks. It won't. Office on the Web is just not the answer. Yes, it may work out for the home user or even SOHO, but certainly not for enterprise offices. Security will become
  • No thanks. Those programs need to be here and run here thank you very much.
  • by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Monday October 03, 2005 @09:40AM (#13703560) Homepage Journal

    Google google is fine for google, however for web apps google google would be very easy for Google. But what about Google Google? Google google google would be Google's to google. Consider:

    1. Google
    2. Google
    3. Yahoo, MSN? No, Google!

    Google Google - the google of the google google.

    Right, that should cover this week's upcoming tech news pretty succinctly.

  • A good case of a premature vision, like Vannevar Bush's memex.

    I'm using DSL. My friends in the "real world" are about 1/3 DSL, 1/3 cable, and 1/3 dialup. Wifi isn't ubiquitous. I can't even trust my email provider not to change its domain name once every two or three years. People using Apple's "iDisk" (WEBDav-like online "disk") for backup run into scary snags every year or so.

    It's probably a pretty good guess that in ten years, connectivity will be fast, reliable, and maybe even secure enough--and the ave
  • Oh yeah... I'm not the target audience.

    Why will people use GoogleOffice? I'd say its because they understand web browsers, they trust google, but most of all because they can't afford MS Office. Why not use OpenOffice? Why not use Thunderbird for gMail. People don't because they are afraid of installing software because they might break their computer, or because it doesn't work first time out of the box. I believe given the choice between installing an office suite or going to a website that does almost th
  • Bad Idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Monday October 03, 2005 @10:03AM (#13703728) Homepage Journal
    This is a bad idea for 2 reasons.

    The first reason is from a technology point of view. It's possible to kludge together webpages so that the illusion of an interactive application, but it will be just that; a heap of kludges. With our super fast PCs, it works just about fast enough for simple interactions, provided the latency to the server is not too high. In 20 years of networked GUIs, no good standard for interactive remote user interfaces has emerged; X is too verbose, HTML is too static, and PicoGUI seems to have died.

    The second, and probably more important, reason is from a user point of view. You don't want to have your documents only accessible to a program on some other organization's computer. It's bad enough when the documents you store on your own computer are in a proprietary format you're not allowed to know how to process; not even having access to the documents without intermission of a 3rd party is much, much worse. Not just because of the huge potential for lock-in, but also because of the reliability and security aspects.
  • by TheGuano (851573) on Monday October 03, 2005 @10:13AM (#13703788)
    ...and the browser interface in general. That's been my major problem with web apps. One minute you're working, the next you hit backspace outside of the form and the page disappears.
  • by jimktrains (838227) on Monday October 03, 2005 @10:22AM (#13703847) Homepage
    If someone made this OSS, then coudln't people be free to put it on THEIR server? I don't see any reaosn why we couldn't run the thing on your server and then just access it from anywhere. Wouldn't this be perfect? Security and web access?
  • by hey (83763) on Monday October 03, 2005 @10:24AM (#13703861) Journal
    Yahoo Mail already has a Calendar (like Microsoft Outlook) and Notes (like Microsoft NotePad) added a couple more apps doesn't seem far fetched.

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