One of Google’s recent acquisitions received a sneaky re-open on Thursday night. While the search engine juggernaut focused on publicising their involvement in the Star Trek convention, their Writely web word processor was quietly re-released to the masses almost secretly.
Writely offers users most of the standard features you would expect from a modern word processor, plus the benefits of online storage, collaborative editing from anywhere on the net and document sharing.
The feature that has many touting it as a Microsoft killer is Writely’s ability to accept Microsoft’s Word documents plus many other word processing document formats. This includes layout, tables, embedded images and fonts.
Google’s Writely, while still in beta, places pressure on Microsoft who is striving to control the online software market in the same way they did the personal computer software industry. Coupled with Google Spreadsheets, Google is definitely trying to stake its claim on the online SAAS (Software as a Service) market.
Another great feature that Writely offers is the ability to post directly to blogs such as Blogger, Movable Type and via Bloglines RSS feeds, which is an important feature in this user generated content environment.
That said, Google’s Writely does have its deficiencies. Grammar checking, word counts and other word processing add-ons are notable omissions. There is also an obvious lack of integration with Google Spreadsheets and Google’s existing accounts.
For those looking for a word processing alternative, or looking to embrace online software, Writely is definitely worth a look. I think its best feature is the ability to collaborate and review documents with colleagues online from remote locations in real time.
Give Writely a test drive and let us know what you think.