Google Spreadsheets Sounds Cool, But Why?

CNet (and a host of others) reports Google will today launch Google Spreadsheets, an online spreadsheet program that will compete with Microsoft’s Excel. The question is, why?

Google is getting so far outside its comfort zone, it risks tarnishing its brand by launching a crappy product because it reached too far. For example, have you tried using Writely (Google’s online word processor)? It’s a piece of junk. We’ve tried using it in-house to collaborate on documents and it never correctly saves and notes edits made.

I see two reasons for launching Google Spreadsheets, one of them legitimate.

1. Stickiness – The more products you use, that are owned by Google, the more likely you are to use Google’s search engine. Verdict: Legit.
2. Microsoft – Google is determined to “get up in Microsoft’s grill” and is launching products simply to take shots at the software company. Verdict: You can’t “out-Microsoft” Microsoft.

Lastly, how boring is the name “Google Spreadsheets”? It’s so unlike Google. It’s clear they are trying to position themselves as a serious alternative to Excel, otherwise they would have gone with some cool name like GSheets or something.

Admittedly, I’ve not yet used Google Spreadsheets. When I do, I’ll let you know what I think. In the meantime, Google continues to puzzle me. Just when you think they’ve re-aligned their focus to “core search”, they go and throw another curve-ball product launch.