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Sun Microsystems Businesses Google The Internet

Google & Sun Planning Web Office 751

astrab writes "According to this post at Dirson's blog, Google and Sun Microsystems are to announce a new and kick-ass webtool: an Office Suite based on Sun's OpenOffice and accesible with your browser. Today at 10:30h (Pacific Time) two companies are holding a conference with more details, but Jonathan Schwartz (President of Sun Microsystems) claimed on Saturday on this post of his blog that "the world is about to change this week", predicting new ways to access software."
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Google & Sun Planning Web Office

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  • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:02AM (#13711471) Homepage Journal
    [X] Google Earth
    [X] Google Moon
    [X] Google Sun

    Looks like we live in a google universe.
    • by famebait ( 450028 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:04AM (#13711483)
      Yes I make mistakes. Don't we all?

      I dno't.
      • by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @02:21PM (#13714708)
        I was a little late to the webcast, but the gist is that Google and Sun are in the beginning stages of forming a partnership that begins with something about Java integration in the Google Toolbar (didn't catch all of that) and Google buying a lot of Sun servers. Whatever.

        In the Q&A session, Eric Schmidt says that they will *assist* in the distribution of OpenOffice (whatever that menas), but that they are *not* announcing a new product (i.e., Google Office).

        I think that the blog community got way, way ahead of this story.
    • by GreyPoopon ( 411036 ) <gpoopon@ g m a> on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:27AM (#13711680)
      Looks like we live in a google universe.

      Effective this week, the Universe will be officially renamed to "Googleverse". This is not just an effort to pay homage to Google, our new ruling class, but also to distinguish the Googleverse that we live in from other parallel universes.

    • What if? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sgant ( 178166 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:35AM (#13711765) Homepage Journal
      What if, behind closed doors at Google they're working on an OS? An OS that's based on Linux, yet with the UI and ease-of-use similar to OSX. And on x86 machines it will be able to run Windows software. And then they make the whole thing all open source.

      Google has the resources to pull this off. Sure, they're draining talent away from Microsoft to come work for them...why not do the same to Apple? Make a kick-ass UI, have it run on top of Linux...hell, you could even make your own API instead of using X-windows if you really wanted to. Start from scratch, why not? They have the money, the time, the personnel. Write the drivers for the hardware yourselves.

      I mean, come on. They have all that talent working there now and quite frankly, they've only come out with "neato" little things here and there. Yes, great search engine. But take all that talent and make something really cool! Something revolutionary!
      • Re:What if? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:44AM (#13711836)
        Yeah!! And what if in their secret underground labs they're working on a new hypermatter engine that could transport children and chia pets to distant stars in seconds??? I mean, they're partnering with and draining away talent from NASA, and they have like a kajillion dollars, so they could do it!!!
      • Re:What if? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Pxtl ( 151020 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:49AM (#13711872) Homepage
        Wouldln't be surprised if they just retask the Sun Java Desktop into Google desktop to continue this lucrative partnership.

        Firefox (hooked in with Google-stuff), Google Office, and some of the usual opensource tools. The trick is to get a major PC manufacturer on board like Dell or something, so that hardware support isn't a huge problem (you control the hardware).
        • Re:What if? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @10:15AM (#13712165) Homepage Journal

          Google could just ensure that their test team is testing major vendor's hardware like Dell, HP, etc. After all, if you're talking about business and joe user functionality, you don't need to focus on 3D acceleration and such.

          Google could just sink their cash into Novell/SuSE, RedHat, or Mandriva and provide a bundle that already works. Oh, wait, that's right -- you can already get Linux bundles with Java, OO/SO, etc.

          So what's the "new" aspect you're suggesting, other than Google becoming involved in the marketing and distribution? What precisely is it that we need for a desktop GUI that isn't already in KDE and/or Gnome? 3D alpha-transparency spinners? Corona effects for the "glint" off metallic 3D lettering?

          What Google could really provide in this area is some funding to improve the hardware support and configuration/maintenance utilities for components like configuring 3D support, adding/removing software, etc. I'm not talking about yet another front-end for RPM or APT, but some real improvement in reducing dependencies and manageability.

      • Re:What if? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by OneSeventeen ( 867010 ) * on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @10:09AM (#13712077) Homepage Journal

        Someone already took an open source operating system and slapped a pretty GUI on it, that was Apple. But I agree, google might do the one thing Apple has left to do: be hardware independent.

        I don't know about a Google OS, but I wouldn't be surprised if Google replaced all of our day-to-day software with complex AJAX sites, making us not need anything else, other than a browser and possibly a hard drive to save sensitive information. (everything else will probably be on Google's server, making it even easier to publish stuff you want to go public with)

        The opportunity Google has with this, is you can have an entire workstation that is not only hardware independent, but Operating System independent as well. I can check gmail just fine in linux, windows, and MacOSX and have the same experience on all 3. Why not do something similar to that for all desktop applications?

      • Re:What if? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drsmithy ( 35869 )
        What if, behind closed doors at Google they're working on an OS? An OS that's based on Linux, yet with the UI and ease-of-use similar to OSX. And on x86 machines it will be able to run Windows software. And then they make the whole thing all open source.

        Even ignoring the whole lack-of-revenue-source-from-massive-expense and massive-barriers-to-entry things, such an undertaking would be a /minimum/ five year project. I don't think Google has had the time.

        • Re:What if? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by sgant ( 178166 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @10:48AM (#13712553) Homepage Journal
          Correct, they didn't have the time..but they certainly have the time now to work on it in the next 5 years. And I see them doing this, though not to the extent that I suggested.

          As others have said, perhaps they're working on a minimum OS that loads in a few seconds and just provides a browser to access the Googleverse.

          Companies always fall short in making products that are really revolutionary. Why couldn't Google create a small, bootable OS that works on a piece of hardware bigger than a PDA yet smaller than a full blown laptop. Large screen with great contrast to be able to read in very high or low light situations. Make it Wifi and touch screen. Surf the web, check your email, do work with the new Star/Open office through Google, chat, do your calender etc etc. Many many many companies have tried and failed to bring something like this to the masses. Why? Well, not only are they expensive, they are also limited. How many reviews of such devices are always "didn't have had this but would be nice if it had that..." kind of thing. Well, MAKE it have things people will actually need and use. Make it the size of an average paperback book...only thinner. Don't worry about storage because everything will be online...just provide plenty of memory and processing power to do things. And here's the clincher...make it affordable.

          Do I see Google doing something like this? Nah, not really. Would be nice though. Would be nice to have something like the little data-pads that were on Star Trek: The Next Generation. They were almost a perfect size. Maybe one day before I die I'll see a company that actually does it right and is a success with it.
      • Sun is doing it... (Score:4, Informative)

        by JavaLord ( 680960 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @11:12AM (#13712843) Journal
        What if, behind closed doors at Google they're working on an OS? An OS that's based on Linux, yet with the UI and ease-of-use similar to OSX

        Sun is working on project looking glass Which is linux based, and the UI is similar (and maybe even a bit cooler) than osx. Check out the screenshots []
    • Is Google the harbinger of the Sigularity []?

      I, for one, welcome our new Googleverse!

  • by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:03AM (#13711472) Homepage Journal
    I don't mean to blog, but I totally blogged this yesterblog []. Take that, blogosphere!
  • by Derkec ( 463377 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:03AM (#13711477)
    Isn't this what Microsoft has been fearing? Isn't this exactly why they went out to kill Netscape?

    Between Sun's passionate hatred of Microsoft and Google's competence, it's got to be a bad day over a Redmond.
    • by Moby Cock ( 771358 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:11AM (#13711531) Homepage
      Indeed it is a bad day at Redmond. However, let's be cautious. Google does have a knack for producing damned good products but this represents a new paradigm in how people use computers. It will be a daunting task to convince people to change. Expect a torrential outpouring of FUD from Microsoft and others as they try and keep their grip on selling software in the 'traditional' way.

      It seems to me that Google's brand recognition will be a hugem benefit in this endeavour, and I, for one, look forward to seeing how well it is adopted. My fingers are crossed that it might be a success. I am very interested to see how such a service will be embraced by the public.
      • by cavemanf16 ( 303184 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:33AM (#13711736) Homepage Journal
        IT admins everywhere with a few shiny new "Google 2U OS" boxes on the network serving up core desktop office apps to the entire office of several thousand people will surely be jumping for joy in 5-10 years. No more hell-desk, no more Windows reimaging that takes hours, far fewer virii to deal with in the workplace. We will welcome our Google overlords with open arms... until they make so much money and have so much political clout that they begin bending government to their own will. And then, like the thousands of years of history before us, we will rebel and proclaim that we never saw it coming, they're evil, they're the bane of the technology industry, etc.

        Let's just keep it in perspective. Open Source is the big revolution, and what is working wonders in the technology world today - not Google. Google is a company, and right now Google knows exactly how to serve and please its customers. Let's hope they continue that trend, but everyone fails eventually -- even a mega-billion dollar company.
    • Not really.

      Microsoft will do what it normally does: give it away for virtually free until the competition is destroyed or forgotten.

      Now I am not saying it will be successful, but don't put it past Microsoft to start bundling MS Works in with Vista with the option to "upgrade" it to the full MS Office via a monthly $9.99 subscription. What else do they have to do with Works?

      I will also admit this tactic is getting harder for them to pull off (Money vs Quicken, Media player vs iTunes, etc), but that does not
      • How it should work (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Mr. Underbridge ( 666784 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:49AM (#13711871)
        Microsoft will do what it normally does: give it away for virtually free until the competition is destroyed or forgotten.

        They'll lose here. Google gives it's products away for actually free and is tons better at running an ad-based business than MS is. MS can't use their typical predatory pricing schemes to kill google, unless they start paying people to use their software.

        Of course, they can always leverage their windows monopoly to try to do kill google. Still, if everything is web-based and platform agnostic, that will be harder than it used to be. The insidious bit is that google inherently runs on their software (IE), and there's nothing they can do to stop people from going to google's site. It's not like with Netscape, and they could pay OEMs to keep Netscape off the desktop.

        Imagine a web-based office application that could be used from anywhere, and also allowed you to download a platform-agnostic (likely Java) offline editor. You could access your documents anywhere, take them with you, and edit them anywhere. Key to success would be a method of integrating the offline document when you bring it back online - integrated (but transparent and seamless) version control would be critical there.

        Now HERE is where the real kicker is. Google could sell this system to companies so they could run it on their own network. Think MS Exchange for documents, only functional. This would inherently integrate backups, and it would allow tons of collaboration benefits that can only be dreamed of now. This is such a no-brainer I'm legitimately surprised MS hasn't done something like it.

        I think this is doable. If they pull it off, it could seriously threaten MS.

        • by snowwrestler ( 896305 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @11:46AM (#13713206)
          A Web-based office app is not your basic HTML's going to bend the browser as far as it can to accomplish what it wants, just like GMail and Google Maps do. Unfortunately by doing this, Google exposes their product to the whims of Microsoft, who is in the process of redesigning their browser already.

          If the app is like Gmail but even more complicated (which seems likely), even small changes to the browser features this app depends on (some of which are not standardized and were originally introduced by Microsoft) will have massive effects on the app's performance. And Microsoft could easily make such tweaks ad infinitum by way of "security updates" that close security holes by continuously re-tweaking the advanced features of IE.

          Most users won't download a whole new browser just to try out a new Google feature. They might not even realize they have to...when a site doesn't work right most users assume it's the site's fault, not the browser's.
          • by fupeg ( 653970 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @02:54PM (#13715120)
            If the app is like Gmail but even more complicated (which seems likely), even small changes to the browser features this app depends on (some of which are not standardized and were originally introduced by Microsoft) will have massive effects on the app's performance. And Microsoft could easily make such tweaks ad infinitum by way of "security updates" that close security holes by continuously re-tweaking the advanced features of IE.
            Ahh, but here is where the ASP-model of software really gives Google a huge advantage over Microsoft's more traditional model. If MS tweaks the IE rendering engine to "break" a Google web app (be it GMail or this new office thingy) who does this affect and can Google respond? Well it only affects people after they've updated Windows. Google can respond by changing the code on their server and having it instantly affect all users. They can do this overnight and without anybody's permission. It takes months for Windows updates to trickle through the home user base and sometimes even longer before sys admins let it trickle through the corporate user base.

            This would not be a game that Microsoft would want to play since they could spend a ton of effort only to see their hole patched without anybody even noticing. Not to mention that since Google relies on widely used features that are support by many browsers, breaking a Google web app will likely break many other web apps. The providers of these other apps probably don't have the resources to patch IE problems as quickly as Google does. So that could be another dangerous risk to take, suddenly giving IE a reputation of breaking lots of random websites every time you do a Windows Update. Those same sites will probably work just fine in Firefox or Opera and the providers of those apps will suddenly have a very good reason to advertise this fact!
    • I'm not so sure about that. Sure, they've been beaten to the punch, but you can bet that if this takes off then Microsoft will release their own version of the technology. The big difference will be that if you want to use Microsoft WebOffice you will need to pay, it might be per use or per month, but you *will* have to pay, and that kind of on-going revenue stream isn't so much Microsoft's worst nightmare as their wettest dream.

      Oh, I did I mention that all your data will belong to Microsoft?

    • This just confirms what all the anti-antitrust law people have been saying all along. If a company (like Microsoft) really has a monopoly and is exploiting to make lucrative returns, someone will enter and compete with them. And yes, that was a bold claim. 10 years ago, no one would have believed that anyone could go head to head with Microsoft on their office suite. In other words, no one predicted Google.
    • it's got to be a bad day over at Redmond

      Matter of perspective. When you drop the large rock upon the sleeping gorilla, bloodying his nose but failing to kill it, who's going to have the worse day, you or the gorilla?

      One thing's for sure, however: It'll sure get noisey inside the cage, and be entertaining as hell for anyone able to watch it from a safe distance...

    • Not necessarily.
      Google makes products that work the best on MS platforms.
      Google Earth - MS only,
      Google Talk - MS only, but thanks to Jabber other OSs can piggyback.
      Google Desktop Search - MS only (IE 5.5 +)

      All this talk about the mighty Goog toppling "Micro$haft" is pretty pointless, as it seems that google's code is not all that portable over different OSs and browsers.

      It's like a parasite, you want to exploit the advantages of your host (being installed on 90 % of world's computers), but you don't want to
  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:03AM (#13711478)
    I live in another hemisphere and i can hear the guys at Microsoft developing an ulcer!

        Seriously, if this is true, things are going to get pretty interesting...
  • Good deal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:03AM (#13711479)
    Now if you really want to take a real bite out of MS then put a link to
    it right on the front of the google home page.
  • But does it .. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by karvind ( 833059 ) <karvind@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:05AM (#13711486) Journal
    open Micro$oft Word and Powerpoint files ? And can it handle my 100 slide powerpoint file with zillions of pictures ? Will it handle complicated tables made by someone else in MS Office ? If not, why should I try this ? And is there any reason to believe that it will have more features than a full Staroffice installed on the desktop itself ?
    • Will this announcement or even the first several versions of a web office suite dethrone MS Office? Of course not!

      Actually, though, the concept of versions becomes a little irrelevant, don't you think? I suspect they'll launch a version 1 as soon as they possibly can. The marketing types will hype up a version 2 and version 3, but the engineers will know better. They'll be able to incrementally update their software every day, if they so choose. Zillions of little changes will evolve this suite into

  • by mopslik ( 688435 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:05AM (#13711493)

    "the world is about to change this week"

    Yes, accessing applications on a remote server. That's certainly a new, world-changing idea.

    Except that it isn't [].

  • by geoffrobinson ( 109879 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:06AM (#13711497) Homepage
    Seriously, is there a business model for this or is it just a way to lessen Microsoft's dominance?
    • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:20AM (#13711604) Journal
      Seriously, is there a business model for this or is it just a way to lessen Microsoft's dominance?

      If it lessens Microsoft's dominance, it's a working business model.
    • $.02 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sedyn ( 880034 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:23AM (#13711640)
      Java's been a huge investment for Sun. Yet, not as profitable as they would like (considering it's ubiquity). Assuming that this client uses ads, and Java (it would make sence). They may finally earn a little back at the cost of the time taken to build the new office suite.

      That being said, that wouldn't be the best strategy available from a monitary perspective. In this case, java would be considered a sunk cost. And I can't see any PHB's, even at sun, thinking otherwise.

      So, the strategy is probably focused on promoting Operating System agnostism. And, if sun is lucky, get attention and prove (to the average person, not programmers and admins) that they are relevant. Hence, the potential for long term gain. In this case, breaking even on the investment is well worth it.

      I don't think this is a game that Microsoft wants to play because no matter what the outcome they have to lose, with the exceptional case of this not catching on. But if google promotes it, at the very least, free office software should get attention no matter what.

      This is just my 2 cents, but with exchange rates I think it only amounts to 1.
    • by DZign ( 200479 ) <averhe@ g m a i l . com> on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:29AM (#13711697) Homepage
      My first thought is that it's just a strategic move to show MS they're ready for battle. It's now up to MS to decide if they continue the battle or retreat.

      Googles main business is searching.. and that's what they make their profit.

      MS otoh makes a large part of their profit from the Office suite.

      So MS got more interested in the search engine business.. Google doesn't like it and wants to fight back.. so they now pick their battle field.
      Not the searching business as they've got too much too loose, but the office business. Google doesn't have a lot to loose there but MS does.

      Things like these happened in the past.. if a competitor from another business comes into your business, you see where you can hurt him the most and attack him in this business..
      Shift the focus, make clear to him he's got more to loose than you, and hope he'll retreat and you can focus on your core business.

      So either an office suite war will start.. or MS will slow down on the area of searching and let Google have that part of the market.
    • by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:30AM (#13711708)
      Well, you could say that Microsoft is Googles (And Suns to some extent) primary competitor. And Microsoft fuels their operation against Google with profits from MS Office (among other sources). If Google manages to attack and harm those sources of cash, they will harm MS's capability to compete with Google.
  • Two Years Later (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SenFo ( 761716 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:06AM (#13711504) Homepage
    Thousands of IT people around the world are loosing their jobs as software and computer needs are all hosted in some remote location by application service providers. "We'd love to keep them around", said the CEO of a major Fortune 500 company, "but it's really not that difficult to reboot my little black box that gives me access to everything I need".

    So I wonder how long until we can expect to see a similar service from Microsoft.
    • Web hosted office applications is cool for a few things but not cool for most things.

      Do law offices want to create all their documents online, hosted God-knows-where and visible to unknown techs with access to the servers? This would probably be a negligent breach of confidentiality in many cases.

      With the exception of Slashdot, most people normally write docs and spreadsheets for a limited audience and would be uncomfortable not knowing who was reading it.

      I'll keep a local copy thank you. But if
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Thousands of IT people around the world are loosing their jobs

      Actually, most of those people are being let go because of their poor grammar skills.

    • Re:Two Years Later (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcc ( 14761 )
      Thousands of IT people around the world are loosing their jobs as software and computer needs are all hosted in some remote location by application service providers. "We'd love to keep them around", said the CEO of a major Fortune 500 company, "but it's really not that difficult to reboot my little black box that gives me access to everything I need".

      I heard Scott McNealy speak last summer and he was totally gung ho about this exact idea, in nearly those exact words. Except what did he call it, um, "Utilit []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:06AM (#13711505)
    In terms of things like clarity, ease of use, responsiveness, an office suite is probably the most anathemical thing to AJAX you could name. If they can write an office suite in AJAX, they can do anything in AJAX.

    This assumes the web office is written in AJAX and not Java. If it's written in Java, expect trouble. I used Corel Wordperfect for Java, man. It wasn't a usable tool.

    Also, to be quite frank, they're going to have to put some very serious interface cleanup work into this. StarOffice is really just not up to the level of quality in terms of user interface which Google's tools tend to follow.

    Incidentally, is it just me or does it seem odd that they're targeting Word BEFORE Exchange?
  • Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dogers ( 446369 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:06AM (#13711506)
    I bet these guys [] feel stupid now ;)
  • by thammoud ( 193905 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:08AM (#13711516)
    Javascript AJAX? Or is this Google's push of Java to the desktop?
  • by Digital Vomit ( 891734 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:09AM (#13711522) Homepage Journal
    An online office suite? This is going to be bigger than Microsoft Bob!
  • Compatibility (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pureseth ( 917220 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:09AM (#13711523) Journal
    My question is how compatible will this software be with certain file formats? Will we be able to open or Word/Excel documents on this web office? And will it work across OS's..

    I can only imagine how Gates is feeling..
  • furniture (Score:5, Funny)

    by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:10AM (#13711524)
    I imagine a great deal of furniture is gonna be abused today.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:10AM (#13711527)
    Listen, I know there is some crazy love fest going on over Google because people are just *dying* to see MS knocked down a few rungs. Sure, Microsoft needs this, but the problem is with Google. You know what's 100x worse than proprietary formats? Proprietary hosted databases! Google is basically a huge proprietary hosted database application format, and they want to host everyone in the world on *their* platform. It's not "our" platform in the sense that Linux and the BSD's and other open source software create such a feeling.

    How could it be different? Well, Google would distribute their web apps *including* source code as bundles that could be installed on "personal servers" (like on the thousands of dedicated server companies run by smaller, generally independent shops ver&btnG=Google+Search [] ). Then, Google can provide services around those, but the core stack should be something that I can control where I host and control my own data!

    Think of it this way. How many corporations are going to start to standardize on Gmail? Not my company, and I'm happy for that. People, please see through this nonsense. Maybe we really do need the "click to download source" clause in the GPL v3. Otherwise, people will gladly give up their freedom just to see some lame company with an incredible data center suck away all of their freedom and privacy. Google is completely evil.

    If they wanted to be good, the proof would be in enabling other people by opening their software stack and allowing for a much more distributed architecture.
    • by zootm ( 850416 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:48AM (#13711861)

      If the data is accessible in a standard format (it seems likely that this will save into OpenDocument, and GMail can be accessed through POP3), the underlying database is unimportant. I can see the problem with GMail, since its labels don't map onto a currently-standard protocol, though.

      As for releasing source, Google's business model is based upon advertising, so it's not in their interest to release the source that would allow people to quickly create identical competitors. They spent the time and money on the development, it's theirs to apply their business model to. This does not make them evil. Not by a long way. They're conducting their business and systems in such a way that people can obtain their services for free, and that they can make a profit.

      They have not acted in a way remotely resembling "evil" in this matter. They're not sucking your freedom — your data is accessible through open protocols. They're not sucking your privacy — your data is analysed by a computer system to provide targetted advertising. As much as spam filters are "stealing my privacy", I'm not convinced it's a serious issue.

      • by SWroclawski ( 95770 ) <> on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @11:02AM (#13712732) Homepage
        As for releasing source, Google's business model is based upon advertising, so it's not in their interest to release the source that would allow people to quickly create identical competitors. They spent the time and money on the development, it's theirs to apply their business model to.

        You're missing the point of the original post, which is that the product is based on OpenOffice.Org, which is released (I believe) under the GPL.

        The idea of the GPL was to give everyone an equal opportunity. With the increasing number of services based on Free Software with slight modifications and then released as a web service, the GPL becomes a de-facto BSD license, which wasn't the purpose.

        There's discussion in the Free Software community to rectify this problem by requiring ASPs, if they make changes to code that's under the GPL, to be required to release those changes, in the same way they would if they'd given the code away in binary form.

        For the user, this is the same situation. If I get a copy of a binary or I use a web site, it's the same effect, as distribution. Therefore the GPL3 may include a clause to require the same effect of giving a binary as making a service.

        It took me a long time to appreciate why this was necessary, but with this latest announcement, I think it is.
  • shortcuts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by totuck ( 870615 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:11AM (#13711532)
    One thing that makes many desktop aplications so productive is the use of keyboard shortcuts. That's one thing that web pages are lacking. Yeah, gMail has some minimal shortcuts, but web applications don't act the same way as desktop applications. It'd be great if there were a browser plug-in that user-approved web pages could interface with so that keyboard shorts would work with web-based server-side the new gOffice.
  • by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:12AM (#13711540) Homepage
    Hmmm...where that leavs their support for OpenOffice?
  • No kidding (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AutopsyReport ( 856852 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:15AM (#13711568)
    Over two years ago myself (an independent contractor) and a software company (which shall go unlinked and unnamed, and you know why) which produces critical software for airports around the world (Toronto, NY, Boston, Seattle, etc.) realized that a version of its desktop product may be more distributable -- and easier to manage -- if it were web-based. I ended up developing a web application which looked and acted little different than the desktop version. This was very cool, because as far as I'd known, I'd never seen anything like it. Every airport had their own database. It allowed clients the freedom of a deskstop app from home or work -- why stay late and enter data when you can log in from home and work on the exact same database? Of course, if the Internet was down, they could log things locally and batch upload once the connection came back. It was a beautiful system, and I think in a really small, unknown way, we pioneered a bit.

    Now, before this time we had never considered the concept, but once we did, it really opened doors for possibilities. I remember thinking to myself it is only a matter of time before more people start doing this. And now, a few years later, here we are with Google and Sun claiming they will change the world with this. The are a little late in books, and not far enough into the project to claim the world will change. Nevertheless, it will be cool to see it done (if it works well).

  • How is this new? (Score:3, Informative)

    by CarlHall ( 858949 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:18AM (#13711589)
    Lotus had this worked out in the late 90's with a product called eSuite (think Lotus SmartSuite written in Java for a thin client). eSuite was profitable but didn't make enough money for IBM after the assimilation so it was dropped as a product line.
  • by putko ( 753330 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:19AM (#13711596) Homepage Journal
    I'm feeling a terrible disruption in the force --- it is as if a million chairs just got thrown out a window.
  • by fleener ( 140714 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:19AM (#13711601)
    Sorry, I like to own software, or at least have free software that resides on my workstation without fear of intervention. Communal software I never really own -- that I use on a temporary "as long as Google feels like it" basis -- sounds a lot like a M$ rental plan. I don't hear Google announcing free-for-life software, nor anything coming close to a trustworthy privacy policy for all the data they collect about me. Google's Achilles heal is its disregard for privacy protections. I won't hand over my keys to the kingdom no matter what "we're not evil" unsubstantiated promises they tell me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:20AM (#13711605)
    Lets look at this from the reality side folks. How many companies are going to allow any data of any sort outside their environment? Not going to happen. How many companies will enforce security policies that all work done at home or on a Mobile device be done on the device itself? Probably Most. How many times will it take for data to be picked off from going back and forth from a portal before some MIS manager gets fired for allowing users to use that service. The MS haters of the world would use tin cans and string to avoid paying MS, but look at the Majority of Licensed Office users, It isnt the home consumer, Its the corporate, If you deal with a Multinational IS dept, You arent going to get a portal for documents through a Security committee, no matter how hard you try.
  • StarPortal (Score:4, Informative)

    by martinicus ( 228041 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:20AM (#13711614)
    Sun have had this technology for 5 was called StarPortal, and then Sun One Web Top as Sun's marketing people renamed it to their latest buzzword compliant version. I bet the new version will be something like 'JWS' - Java Web System.

    It is essentially a Java encapsulation of Star/Open Office accessible through a browser. Pretty cool stuff, but involved some hefty Java downloads (~100MB?) to get it started up. Once started up though, it was almost identical to using a native version of Star/Open Office.

  • by beavis88 ( 25983 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:22AM (#13711624)
    Now my office application experience can be just like the rest of my web experience -- slow, poorly designed, and ad-ridden! Yay!

    Although I guess in fairness, MS Office has the first two items covered already.
  • by Dracolytch ( 714699 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:24AM (#13711645) Homepage
    Why the hell would I want to surf to my word processor?

    I can download one for free, if I wish, and it does not have advertising.
    It starts faster, and will probably do more.
    It does not require an internet connection to work.
    It does not broadcast any document I work on over the Internet.

    Granted, some of these are speculation on how the new suite would work, but it's speculation based on similar existing apps.

    The most useful thing I can think of would to be able to download a copy to a local machine, which equates to some damn easy deployment of software.

  • wtf? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Underholdning ( 758194 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:25AM (#13711653) Homepage Journal
    According to what? An unofficial blog with 2 lines in it? What the hell are you talking about?
  • Maybe (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BenjyD ( 316700 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:34AM (#13711750)
    Thinking about it, I can see this doing quite well with home users - people who want to write the odd letter or short report. Microsoft Works users, rather than Office users. I can't imagine anyone doing anything serious with it, unless Google makes an Office Appliance for companies.

    One good thing that should come out of this is improved MS Office integration for Openoffice - users are going to want to import/export Office docs to send to other people and the kind of massive user base and testing Google can provide should help to catch all those annoying minor import problems with
  • by no reason to be here ( 218628 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:35AM (#13711761) Homepage
    this is going to take a lot of bandwidth to be at all usable.

    Maybe this is why Google was buying up all that unused fiber?
  • Dream comes true? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zulfi ( 875393 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @09:37AM (#13711770)
    This has been talked about for a long time now -

    I think it was IBM that first championed the cause of having applications that were provisioned only for selected users who paid for it. This was like in the 80s and early 90s. The more you paid, the more applications were available on the mainframe, for your user id. I am not sure about the details since never worked in this field.

    Then, Microsoft came along and cornered IBM's market. They cornered the market by making people realize that owning your software actually means having it on a disk, taking it wherever you want, etc. After they cornered the entire market, they started talking about Web Services - about Office being run on the web. This is like Steve Balmer's dream.

    Now Google comes along and actually moves forward in that direction, but interestingly, they have most people on their side. Will Google become the next Microsoft?
  • This is a big deal (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <mdinsmore&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @10:09AM (#13712080) Homepage Journal

    This hurts Microsoft right where they can be hurt the most. It's worth noting that their other divisions don't make near the amount of money that Office does; and it could be argued that as Office goes, so goes the OS. If you can access an office suite from any browser, would you care as much what OS you use, be it Win, Linux, OS X, or a Google OS?

    Here's some reaction to this, in no specific order:

    • Look for a stripped free version that will be useful for home users; perhaps Enterprise can buy a black box from google with a more featureful version that the enterprise maintains and runs on their own.
    • Which makes this a bad day for Citrix as well.
    • Expect the next version of IE to have compatibility issues with this application. Does Google respond by encouraging the use of another browser? Will that hurt the long term dominance of IE, or will users be more relunctant to give up IE than that?
    • Sun just became relevant again. Also, this is likely to use Java technology. That might be it for .Net.
    • I would expect that Google will couple this suite with a pretty decent amount of storage: search your Google Suite composed docs online as well, then get ads related to your search. Integrate with email and the other applications in the suite.

    This could really be online services done right, and if anybody would do them right it'd be Google: they have the server infrastructure to support this kind of move, and few other companies do, including Microsoft. We might remember this announcement as the day the PC died in 5 years--that might be pretty forward thinking, but if this works out as well as it reasonably might, do you need more than a browser platform for average computing tasks? Particularly when your email, browser, and office docs are unified by the great need to search that body of information by the best search engine yet designed?

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @11:25AM (#13713007)
    He may seem mild-mannered, helpful, even annoying--but you're about to find our what a ruthless corporate bastard he really is.


  • by MEGAGatchaman ( 749780 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @01:46PM (#13714348)
    Meh.. All that conjecture and just another corporate alliance. [] Wake me up when Steve Jobs et al, join the mega-collective also.. G~
  • Chairs (Score:4, Funny)

    by milimetric ( 840694 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @01:54PM (#13714432) Journal
    If I was anywhere Near Redmond I wouldn't be anywhere Near a chair right now...
  • Nothing To See Here (Score:4, Informative)

    by fupeg ( 653970 ) on Tuesday October 04, 2005 @03:04PM (#13715234)
    Turns out it's just a distribution deal. Downloading the Java JRE will give users the option to also download the Google toolbar. Similarly, the Google toolbar will eventually give users the option to download OpenOffice. There was some hintint at future collaborations between the two companies, but that's it for now.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak