The ‘story’ is reported at the Webmaster Central blog that data from webmaster central reports can now be downloaded into either a CSV file (which has been available for a long time) or directly into a Google Docs spreadsheet. Google tells it like this
Webmaster Tools now has a new download option for exporting your data directly to a Google Spreadsheet. The download option is available for most of our data heavy features, such as Crawl errors, Search queries, and Links to your site. If you enjoy digging into the data from Webmaster Tools but don’t want to use Python scripts or the API, we’ve added new functionality just for you. Now when you click a download button from a Webmaster Tools feature like Search queries, you’ll be presented with the “Select Download Format” option where you can choose to download the data as “CSV” or “Google Docs.”
The read between the lines piece here is simply that Google keeps introducing more and more ways for users of various Google tools and services to stop leaving the Google ‘ecosystem’ (overused buzzword alert!) to get their work done. There is nothing evil or insidious about this but it is becoming more and more clear that Google is turning some dotted battle lines into solid ones. Do you think Microsoft is thrilled that Google has made it easy for millions and millions of webmasters to easily avoid using a Microsoft product in their work? I think not.
Granted, Google Docs are not as robust in many ways as MS Office products are but when they are free in a relatively crappy economy. When someone is faced (like I recently was) with the prospect of buying the latest office suite for a new machine vs. the free Google route it was a no brainer. Sorry Microsoft, you lose.
Are you seeing any other areas where Google has essentially opened the door for you to close it on someone else? Are you OK with it being a Google world and us mere mortals just being able to draw air in it?