back to article Google Docs set for 'get rid of' Office moment

By next year, Google says, its web-happy word processor will be so effective, most enterprises will be able to "get rid of [Microsoft] Office." Speaking with ZDNet Asia, Dave Girouard - president of Google's enterprise division - admitted that Docs isn't up to snuff at the moment, calling it "much less mature" than Google Mail …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Ah! :-) Marketing?

    Why sell one big, huge app that can do it all when you can sell lots of little apps that do parts of it?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Photoshop of Office Apps?

    Well, it's already overpriced for most users, so they're partway there.

  3. Gannon (J.) Dick

    You know ...

    ... like when the CFO calls her gramma to tell her to dump the stock. That sort of stuff.

    "specialized offering for people who need stuff above and beyond the norm"

    Pretty soon the use of Office will be restricted to those too stupid to know not to use Office.

    Somehow, this helps ?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Get rid of Office

    Sigh... That'll be the day.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    He might be from Google, but it makes sense....

    I actually like using office, i'll get torn apart for saying this, but even with the ribbon. Whatever people moan and whine about, it improves how I use it, and means i can use things quicker and easier. therefore it's good, surely?

    Anyway, I would consider myself a power user, yet I use about 15% of office's functions, so maybe this time Google are right. If their feature set could cater for 95% of employees, it could indeed become the next photoshop, required only by an elite set of power users.....

    However, what Google have failed to consider if Microsoft Office Online, which if people are used to using office, will be very similar to them, and also likely to be rolled into the behemoth that is Microsoft Volume Licensing, to provide low end users with cheap low spec offices, and power users with local copies of full office.

    So although Google are right in a way, its more in the way the model will go, rather than specifically to Google Apps.

  6. Doug Jenkins

    good riddance...

    I've been using either Star Office or OpenOffice instead of MSOffice since 2000.

    Google Docs is a late-comer.

  7. Chemical Engineer

    Office as Development Platform

    The company where I work, and I imagine many others, use office as a development platform. We have numerous addins and considerable specialized vba code for Excel. Google Docs will probably never be as extensible as Office. You can't query a relational database directly from Google docs.

  8. skajake
    Thumb Up


    This is more unlikely then even the Droid killing the iphone. I truly hope everyone wakes up and realizes Google is nothing more than a glorified Ad agency. They have tons of products but none of them leave beta stage. Btw I've tried both droids and they are severely lacking pretty much the same from what I hear about docs.

  9. Lee 13

    Hmm, "always connected" or "can't work, not conected"?

    With Office installed locally, I can store documents on my encrypted hard drive. I don't need a network connection to update anything and I only have a dependency on power and the reliability of my notebook.

    Take these same dependencies and then add my Internet connection and for Google Docs to be up.


    And that's before I decide to become non-compliant as my documents are being stored on some 3rd party host in Texas or something - my local regulators would murder me for that. But of course the US authorities would be well-chuffed to go on a state-approved fishing expedition for some data that *might* be there.

    As Gartner might say, if they were reinvented as a foul-mouthed scrote: "Unfuckinglikely"

    Love or hate Office, it's like that shaggy dog of mine - always there for me.

  10. wsm
    Thumb Down

    More marketing drivel...

    From the clueless to the clueless: who else would believe that the "Photoshop of word processing" could occur without the "overkill" of Word?

    Sounds like Google is already proceeding backwards to the stagnation of the larger corporate mindset. Can't beat the competition while you do that, you can only join them.

  11. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Gates Horns

    Office is already overkill for most folk.

    You know the one thing these M$ guys have got over the OO guys is the nice outliner view...

    What the heck is wrong with these OO guys that they can't bloody do that eh?

  12. Il Midga di Macaroni

    Bring on the improvements!

    I use Google Docs quite a lot, it works great for collaborative efforts. But I agree a lot more work needs to be done on it. A few bug fixes, a few feature additions, keep boosting performance, and it will be a Good Thing.

  13. Ben Tasker Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Document Security?

    And what if you don't want to store your documents on someone else's hard drive?

    I'd much rather a local app (I'd also prefer it wasn't Office!) with Document stored locally, and one person responsible for backing up - me. Documents go missing because of a fail? My fault, my loss.

    As far as work goes, I'm sure they would rather have someone culpable as well, and certainly aren't likely to be happy about outsourcing the storage either (even if they were, I doubt Google Apps would be the first point of call.)

    Am I the only person left in the world who thinks the cloud is a bad idea??????

    Paris, because unlike some others, I haven't used her in a while

  14. Anonymous Coward


    Several issues.

    1. Most home users will use whatever is bundled with their PC purchase. Users don't have any need for all the functionality Office offers but that isn't going to give them a reason to move over to gDocs.

    2. Any business who actually makes use of Google's products for anything even slightly sensitive are idiots. Google only has an SLA on gmail currently, 99.9%, the TOS for the paid versions of the suite automatically give Google the right to reuse any submitted work (you have to opt out each time you create something new) and Google retain the right to terminate or suspend your service without any prior notice given. The number of business risks the use of Google raises is unacceptable for all except small businesses who don't really handle confidential information.

  15. MonkeyBot

    Fine if you're connected

    Frustrating as hell when your using the wifi on a train or an intermittent mobile connection. Email and calendar sync aren't a problem, but I need to be able to work when I haven't got a network connection.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, right

    I'll be firing up a 24-core OLED netbook powered by nuclear fusion first

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Office ain't going anywhere

    It's not just about functionality, it's also about "who controls my data?" and "how can I demonstrate compliance?" and "how do we manage the different security risks presented by Google's model?" While these questions remain unanswered Office is staying put.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    @Chemical Engineer


    You do /what/? You call yourself an engineer? I hope your chemical factory is on a different continent to me.

  20. Christian Berger

    The point: Own Servers

    The big point is if they will allow companies to install their own servers. If they do, many companies will give Office a boot preety quickly. Today the main reason against using Google Docs is that the documents are stored on a foreign server.

  21. Andus McCoatover

    Open Office, anyone?

    Firstly, we're not yet all connected to this weird 'cloud' thingumajig. I am, but granny isn't (although, in fairness, she's sitting on one at the moment)

    The thing I found really annoying was on a trip to the (un)Employment Office here in Oulu. As expected, they wanted proof that I'd been looking for a job. I keep a journal, using OOo's odf format. It details my searches, agencies I've visited, etc.

    Rather than print it - printer ran out of ink, and dole payment not made before visit - I couldn't buy ink before the visit - I uploaded it on the Google Document 'cloud', just before I went to the 'Jobcentre'.

    Imagine my surprise and unbridled delight when I opened the document in the presence of the 'consultant, using her computer, and discovered that the (OOo Writer) table where I'd detailed all my searches was - blank.

    Yep, I can stick 'em in Microsoft's Word format, and it's ok.

    Almost lost my benefits - and they don't eff about here - you get nothing for 90 days -wurkin daze - if they're not happy you're trying.

    (Forget appeal - it takes about a year. You'll be homeless, bankrupt and dead from starvation before then.)

  22. Shaun Hunter

    You are all wrong as usual. WordPerfect is the one true god.

    You can work with google docs offline with przim and of course save and back them up locally. I bet Google apps will make their way on to an appliance soon. Also your docs aren't safe on the Windows machine you browse the internet with. You should all know that by now.

    @Chemical Engineer - I see javascript macros on the horizon, why not ODBC?

    @Cade Metz - Acrobat is the Photoshop of word processing. Word is more like the Cheeze Wiz.

    @Ahem - Works or Wordperfect is generally bundled with prefab comps not Word. Word is $129.

    @sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD- I like OOo's outline view better.

    @AC - I love the ribbon

    @Andus McCoatover - I've never had an import/export problem with google docs and I do it constantly.

    @skajake - Android won't kill the iPhone, there will just me a lot more sold. Dude the HTC dream/Magic are on $79cdn promos, get real.

  23. Chris Miller
    Gates Halo

    "No-one uses more than 15% of Office"

    Quite possibly, I won't argue. And of that 15%, 10% is used by everyone, but the problem is that the other 5% is different for each user and organisation. Remove any given piece of functionality from Office and wait for the howls of anguish from Accounts/Marketing/HR/...

    Unless your replacement product replicates close to 100% of Office functionality, it's unlikely to succeed in the corporate marketplace.

    Oh and @hohoho - I don't imagine Chemical Engineer uses Office for real-time process control, you dolt. S/he may well use it for analysis, accounting or innumerable other purposes as do many organisations.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    AC @ 2009.11.13-2352

    "Why sell one big, huge app that can do it all when you can sell lots of little apps that do parts of it?"

    For the same reason that a surgeon doesn't use a Swiss Army Knife: precision, focus, elegance, and usability. These are all qualities sadly lacking from MS Office apps. The horrifying result is kids who use a spreadsheet instead of a database, a spreadsheet instead of a DTP app, a word processor instead of a drawing program, a presentation program instead of a word processor. They also seem to think that Paint is useful.

    If it can't be done in Office, the kids think, it can't be worth doing. "WordArt RULZ!!!!!"

  25. Ryan 7

    @AC (2009-11-14 17:17)

    Paint *is* useful, goddamnit!

  26. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Down

    I may have a Get Rid Of Office Moment...

    ...but it sure as hell isn't going to be so that I can turn my work over to friggin' _Google_, f'cripesake.

    We have Office 2004 -- or at least the bits of it that we need -- on all three Macs at our house (G4 tower, two G4 iBooks) as my wife uses Word and Excel for a fair amount of her work: Word for actual text-document work, and Excel for schedule/event tracking (her "retirement job" is booking musicians for local festivals).

    Even though I've slipped her a copy of Creative Suite, she still insists on using Word to lay out brochures, and when she runs into trouble, she yells for me to help her -- as if I know jack shit about Word, other than that _it's_not_a_page-layout_program_, goddammit. Countless times I've offered to show her some basic InDesign chops, so that she can lay out her business cards and brochures in a proper layout app, but she just won't hear it. I've given up.

    As far as the "Get Rid Of Office Moment" -- as I mentioned, the wife uses Word and Excel way more than I do. I barely touch Word, and only when getting copy for a brochure or newsletter layout from a client, so that I can strip out all the formatting and markup and other extraneous crap, and export it to a plain text file so that I can format it properly in InDesign. I've hardly touched Excel since I installed it; I've used it a grand total of _once_ in the two years I've had it, and that was to crack open a couple of pie charts so I could export them to Illustrator, where I could gussy them up properly for an annual report layout. I have PowerPoint on the G4 Tower; I installed it with the idea of learning my way around it sometime, but I just haven't been motivated; I launched it once or twice after installing it to make sure it installed correctly, but that's about it.

    So, the "Get Rid Of Office Moment" is pretty much academic for me, as while I have it on my computer, I pretty much act as if it isn't there, save the occasional Word file destined for a layout in InDesign. And, assuming a GROOM -- hey, cool accidental acronym, there -- I'm sure as hell not going to do it just so I can turn over all my work to Google so they can mangle it any way they damn' well please, and lose it in the "cloud", and so I can lose access to it and the ability to work with it on those occasions when connectivity goes south. I mean, c'mon; screw _that_ noise. Frying pan, meet fire.

  27. Mike Flugennock
    WTF? 14th November 2009 10:17 GMT

    Word = Photoshop? Dude. Bite your tongue.

    Photoshop works like a champ, was easy to learn, and can handle pretty much everything I throw at it and, unlike Word, doesn't pause at random moments, making me think that it's hung or crashed while it sits there doing its imitation of Curly Howard ("I'm tryin' to think, but nuthin' happens!")

    Photoshop gives me almost pure joy and satisfaction. Word, on the other hand, makes me bash my head on the desk until my brain dribbles out of my ears.

  28. Gaz Davidson


    Screw Google Docs, everyone get on EyeOS instead. Their docs are powered by OO.o, is free software and runs on your own server. Currently it's not so good, but with the power of enough hackers it could easily compete with Google or Microsoft.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    @Andus McCoatover

    Did you lose your last job because you refused to use "Save As"?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google itself provides the reason to say no..

    Let me repeat this once more: Google Terms of Use. See clause 1.2 ("this overrides any other BS we spout about our services such as privacy policies"), and the full clause 11 where 11.2 takes away the limitations Google set itself in 11.1.

    So, to me there is no effing way I'll ever store anything on Google...

  31. dave 93
    Big Brother

    How many of you actually use Google Docs?


    Google Gears gives you offline access to your work, and innovations like real-time collaboration and 'Forms' that you can post, send or link to with all the responses ending up automatically in your spreadsheet are things that Office could have, and should have implemented decades ago.

    Please try it before you express an opinion, then you will see that MS has a Mountain to climb with their online offering. Too little, too late IMHO.

    Googles 'Paper Clip' would be awesome with all their data:

    "You appear to be a loser with no friends having a mid-life crisis. Can I help you with that?"

  32. Andus McCoatover

    @Shaun Hunter, and AC

    Shaun - Seems it doesn't like the content of an embedded table in open Office ODF format. May have been fixed now, that was a month or so ago. My mistake - I pulled it from Google Docs in ODF, and converted it to .doc format, and poked it back - WITHOUT checking it first! I was in a hurry.

    I was using another computer for this which didn't have the original on it.

    Annoying to win "Cretin of the Week" title at 07:00 on a Monday morning...

    AC 06:24. Nope, I'm not that daft. However, having bugger all to do sends me to the pub, and might be pushing me in that direction...Germans practically taking over part of a Finnish company, then screwing it into the ground vis ze "deutchland über alles" methodology did me in. The Krauts'll piss off in a year or so. Then it'll be Finnish again, but shafted, broke, CEO outsourced to India and taken over by Huawei. (Nokia Siemens Networks, natch).

  33. Doug Glass

    @Chemical Engineer

    Exactly. What Google and Microsoft both are missing is that corporations of all sizes don't simply use the base product of any extensible application.

    The whole cloud thing's success is based on uptake by the business world and if my former corporation is typical, and it is, changes of the cloud magnitude will be long in coming. And I mean looooong in coming.

    If a strong business case is not there that proves the cloud will grow the company, increase the bottom line and increase stockholder equity, it wont be bought. Especially in light of declining IT staffs.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: good riddance

    and I've been using LaTeX to create documents since 1986, at least when I have a choice. Never had any trouble producing complex or long documents. When I want to do calculations I use a programming language, not some abomination that confuses inputs with outputs.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Yeah, right

    "It'll be the Photoshop of word processors"

    It's a software application that comes in a box. And there all quality comparisons grind to a violent halt, accompanied by a uniquely MS error code.

  36. Mark 140

    Give me access.

    Not until MS Access is supported, it won't. Until then I'm firmly stuck with Office,

  37. Andus McCoatover

    @ Tony Gregory - DANGER, Will Robinson!


    Don't post words like that here, or Lester'll get his Playmobil set out again...

  38. David Moore
    Gates Horns


    @ AC 14/11 17:17

    Part of the problem with that is school IT depts. I remember doing my IT GCSE about 10 years ago (which I got an A* in - it was almost laughably easy), and almost the entire course was based around Office - we did the 'spreadsheet database' thing, and I remember wondering at the time why we weren't using Access. Apparently the school couldn't afford it.

    As for wordart.... fuck me. That brought back memories too - being told to design things in Word that should've been done in a DTP package.

    Now I have a mac...with office on it. : )

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Online apps

    The trouble with Google docs is that Google gets to see/store/anaylse YOUR content.

    In the environment I work in this is never going to be acceptable so a local office application is always going to be required.

    If you are happy for Google to index your entire life then fine but make sure you read the small print. If you can find it ...

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