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Google Eyeing Microsoft Territory?

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Google is launching a Web-based spreadsheet program today that will allow people to view and simultaneously edit data, while conducting in-document chat. Initially, the service will be available only to a limited number of users, and they would all need to have a Google account for the purpose.

Reports say that Google's spreadsheet application will offer all the basic spreadsheet functions, except for the ability to create charts and drag-and-drop data. The application will allow multiple people to edit the spreadsheet simultaneously.

Jonathan Rochelle, product manager, Google Spreadsheet, said that the program's main goal is to make it easier for family, friends or co-workers; to gain access to the same spreadsheet from different computers at different times, enabling a group of authorized users to add and edit data, without having to have e-mail attachments back and forth.

Rochelle said that Google spreadsheet is available as part of Google Labs that supports the import and export of documents both in the .xls format that is used in Microsoft Excel, as also in the .csv (comma-separated values) format.

Rochelle said that the new application features auto-saving for enabling automatic saving of every change after the first change; easy data transfer from one cell to another; insertion and deletion of rows and columns; and support for multiple sheets or tabs.

According to sources, if the launch of the spreadsheet were to be seen together with the company's recent purchase of the online word processor, "Writely," it would seem that Google is building office applications to compete with Microsoft...
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