Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Web 2.0: Office 2.0 Heats Up

It's cold today on the east coast - 60 degrees, but things are heating up online. Zoho today announced the integration of Google Gears into their Zoho Writer. This is the latest move by one of the three leaders (Zoho, Thinkfree and Google) in the battle for the online office suite - Office 2.0. Offline functionality is one of the three primary criterion we can use to evaluate these products; the others being: completeness or number of applications included, and formatting/translation issues. In spite of nearly ubiquitous connectivity, offline functionality remains important - I would say a near deal-breaker or deal-maker for most users. Thinkfree has an offline version ($49.95) that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux; Google has no offline functionality but has introduced the open source project Google Gears, which has the potential to eventually take their web apps offline. Ironically, Zoho has used Google's project to begin to offer offline functionality. I say begin, because this update only includes Zoho Writer and is limited to read-only access offline - at least for now. Both Thinkfree and Zoho have all of the core office apps (word, excel, powerpoint); Zoho adds a number of additional applications - too many to enumerate here, but include project management, and web-conferencing; Google is missing the presentation component, but is expected to announce a presentation application for their suite sometime later this month.

It's great to see so much competition in this space!

Here's a two-minute video that details the update to ZohoWriter.

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