I’m getting well used to using Writely now. Really the only thing its missing for my day-to-day use is an automatic spellcheck. Having become used to Word’s automated red squiggleys I now seldom remember to click on the red squiggleys. So if Squash typos are annoying you, blame Writely. ;-)
I now post directly from Writely to my WordPress.com blog. That’s really kind of neat. As a journalist I’ve never had a production system where you could sent text straight out of your text editor into a production system. This is a functionality shared by Zoho Writer too.
Speaking of Zoho, I was well pleased to hear that the Zoho spreadsheet is on its way. It was due for any day now but is running a couple of weeks behind schedule. However, I’m already ruminating over what having all my Word documents in Writely and all my spreadsheets in Zoho Sheet will mean.
Zoho has gone on record as to the fact that they’re also working on a Powerpoint tool, so effectively they look like being the first and probably only provider of a full online suite. I’ll be interested to see how they bring this all together.
As I’ve said in the past, the primary reason I’m using Writely is I don’t like how Zoho manages your documents store. It’s fine if you have a half dozen, but as that mounts up, Writer really falls down and Writely with its ability to both tag and archive documents is far superior.
When Zoho pull together their suite, though, they’ll probably be able to leap across any stand-alone applications on this front because really I want to see all my documents, spreadsheets, powerpoint presentations, etc that relate to a single subject aggregated together.
That said, the nirvana is really to pull together my Writely documents, Zoho spreadsheets plus my Trumba calendar appointments, Gmail emails, etc. To all you AJAX desktop companies, take a tip. This is where you need to be focused because at the moment you’re just building gloried RSS readers. What I really want is to be able to tag something in Writely, Zoho Sheet, GMail, Calendar, tagged news articles, images, etc and them be able to click a tag on my Webtop and pull up everything under that tag regardless of what online app it exists in. Think del.icio.us meets Backpack. But where the aggregation all takes place automatically.
Of course, the challenge here is to be able to pull all of this data out of your various online applications so that you can aggregate it together. In particular, you’ll need to tap into GMail, Yahoo Mail or Hotmail because that’s where most people spend most of their day, these days, and that’s where your most valuable data lies.
So while an Office suite provider like Zoho is aiming to become, has a distinct advantage and could pull its application together in a way that makes life easier than using best of breed standalone online apps, eventually, it’s really only someone like Yahoo, Google or Microsoft that could pull the whole thing together.
Of those, Yahoo could do this most easily. Imagine if Yahoo bought Zoho. It could use del.icio.us as a central tag store, with tags from Yahoo Mail, Flickr, Yahoo Writer, Yahoo Sheet, etc all automatically populated. Give My.Yahoo a much needed overhaul built around pulling all this together.
Filed under: AJAX Challenge, Online Applications, Online Spreadsheets, Online Wordprocessing, Webtops